What used to be an exciting event – planning a much needed vacation – is now an exercise, for some (particularly the elderly), in overcoming obstacles. There are many unconventional things that must now be considered before embarking on, say, a cruise:
Are there wheelchairs available in the terminals (and onboard the ship itself)?
Will all your meds be able to pass safely through customs?
Do you have a doctor’s note to explain the beeping that will (because of the titanium rods currently holding together your limbs) inevitably occur when you go through the metal detectors?
Mind you, these are only some of the obstacles elders will be facing getting onto the ship in the first place. Once you board:
Are there elevators to take you not only floor to floor but also to your seats in the dining areas and theaters?
Is there a special menu for diabetics?
Are there devices for the hearing impaired in noisy areas where BINGO and other activities take place?
And this doesn’t even cover any additional transportation snafus that might be incurred by using planes, busses, cabs or boat tenders to and from the cruise ship. Sadly, at this point, you will be so exhausted from merely planning (what should have been) this fantastic trip that you’ll most likely… just stay home!
For quite some time now I’ve been hoping to convince my Mom to get a hearing aid. She wouldn’t be the only one, by far, as I’ve seen (and heard) those tiny beeping devices in many an ear throughout our community.
It seems like I spend an inordinate amount of time repeating myself because Mom is completely deaf in one ear. So I have to shout out every question and statement in order to be heard.
When I leave, Mom doesn’t hear me say goodbye. When I come in, she doesn’t acknowledge my presence. And when I need an answer (“where is Dad?” “should I get the mail?” “are you ready to go?”), I practically have to stand directly in front of her and let her read my lips.
So, why is she so dead-set against getting a hearing aid and making her life (and that of those around her) easier?
I’ve finally figured it out. Mom likes not being able to hear… some things. It’s not that she has selective hearing and chooses what she hears. No. It’s actually quite brilliant. When Mom is talking to her friends on the phone, she is using her good ear to listen and, therefore, cannot hear all of Dad’s rantings. When she wants to take a nap in the afternoon, she curls up on her ‘good ear’ side and isn’t disturbed by the tv or Dad’s constant questions.That is how I know the ‘real’ answer to the question in the ad: “can you hear me now?” And the answer is: “not unless I want to!”
**** ‘Hear’ (haha) are a few hearing aids I’ve heard about (but not personally used):
In my quest to have a modicum of peace and quiet, I found myself searching online for a pair of headphones. Not just any headphones but ones that will knock out almost all outside sound. I’m not kidding.
They make these things for people who blow leaves and who work around airplanes. So I figured they’d be the perfect complement to my living in a house where answers are yelled from room to room or even from person to person within the same room because to wear a hearing aid would insinuate that you were hard of hearing. Heaven forbid.
At first, bearing witness (unintentionally) to these verbal sparrings, I found myself peeking out the front door – making sure no one else could hear. But then the strangest thing happened. As I walked down the hallway, I could hear tvs blasting, people shouting at one another and very loud one-sided phone conversations coming from inside every single door.
So now, when I want a reprieve from the loud ‘talking,’ I simply make myself a cup of tea, get out a good book, put on my headphones and enter my own little echo chamber of quiet. The only problem is… now I can hear the steady pounding of my own heartbeat magnified in my ears!