Friday, December 9, 2011
Nana Learns Something New
The spouse got hearing aids last year. For some time he had been accusing me of mumbling, denying that I'd ever told him about various events, and watching TV with the volume set at levels that caused most humans to run screaming from the room. These symptoms, however, weren't enough for him to realize that he had a hearing problem. Then his brother got hearing aids and it made such a difference in his brother's life that the spouse thought maybe he should get his hearing checked too. A month (and thousands of dollars) later he was sporting hearing aids that were nearly invisible, but allowed him to once again hear.
He's had some challenges in adjusting to using hearing aids. He still has trouble distinguishing conversations in a room with a lot of background noise. He temporarily gave up using his aids at Thanksgiving with a room full of noisy relatives and our granddaughters' constant chatter, but the hearing aids have allowed him to once again be a part of the conversation of daily life.
In the past few weeks the volume on the TV has been creeping up and I was repeating myself constantly. The spouse said "My hearing aids have stopped working for me." So he made an appointment with the hearing aid technician to get them adjusted. There was nothing wrong with the hearing aids, but when the technician looked in the spouse's ears they were packed with wax. Turns out that when you wear hearing aids it can, over time, pack the ear wax into the ear canal.
The next day the spouse went to the doctor to get his ears roto-rootered. He reported that there were chewing gum sized wads of gunk in his ears!
Who knew that hearing aids could cause the formation of giant wax plugs that interfere with hearing. Since the wax vacuum sucked the gunk out of his ears he can hear again and the TV plays at a reasonable level.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned from this experience was after writing the above I googled "ear wax images." I was looking for a picture for the top of the post. Take my word for it, you don't want to see those images!
Ear wax, one more thing I get to look forward to on my journey to old age.