Sara and David are at odds with one another. Their 32-year marriage which had been loving, tolerant and interesting had gradually turned into misunderstandings, snide remarks and regular arguments. Both Sara and David have a hearing loss. Sara has a set of hearing aids that are six years old and she wears them every day, all day long. But she finds herself having to work extra hard to follow a simple conversation. Throw in some background noise, and it becomes impossible to understand. She knows that it is time for her to invest in newer technology and is getting ready to do so. Sara also wishes David would come to Avalon for his hearing care.
David, on the other hand, has hearing aids but rarely wears them.
His hearing aids are only five months old and he literally hates them. They make everything sound tinny and artificial. So, he rarely wears them. This infuriates Sara because she wears her hearing aids full-time. She can’t comprehend why David won’t put in the effort to ‘get used’ to how hearing aids sound like she did over six years ago. She thinks that he is stubborn and inconsiderate of her needs. David, on the other hand, thinks that Sara is unkind and controlling because she doesn’t believe him when he says that it is painful to listen through these aids.
Three weeks ago, David and Sara participated in my HEARING HAPPINESS Class.
Sara received an email from me, inviting her to attend my HEARING HAPPINESS Class. Since there was little happiness in their relationship, she signed up and then, asked David to attend the Zoom meeting with her. He accepted her request.
This one-hour class was packed with new and different ways of reconnecting with loved ones despite hearing loss. Immediately after the class, David called and made an appointment to have his hearing tested and his hearing aids checked out. He did this for the sake of their marriage. Sara felt grateful and relieved but did not dare to feel hopeful, not yet.
We asked David to bring Sara with him because a hearing problem is a family problem.
What happened at David’s appointment was beautiful. It was eye opening and heart opening for both Sara and David. You see, David was only getting 60% of what Sara says. Using our Hearing Loss Simulator, she actually heard how David hears without hearing aids. Then, I tested him with his hearing aids. His understanding went up to 76% which is better but not a big improvement. Just for the record, his hearing aids sounded like an old radio, harsh and distorted. No wonder he did not want to wear them. Nobody would want to wear them. That’s because these hearing aids were basically amplifiers.
David received six extra tests that most medical clinics and retail stores don’t do.
After all our testing was completed, I actually had some good news for David and Sara. He could expect to understand at 96% with properly fitted hearing instruments and Avalon’s ALWAYSCare Program. But first, I reprogrammed his current hearing aids to give them a second chance. David agreed to wear them every day until his follow-up appointment. We all knew that this would not be the best solution as David’s hearing needs warranted better technology for his sensitivity to loudness.
What happened next was truly a miracle!
I asked David if he would like to hear how Sara hears. He was blown away because Sara has a severe hearing loss. That’s why she wears her hearing aids all the time. Then, I checked her ability to understand with her 6-year old hearing aids. Sara only scored 40%.
No wonder they were frustrated with one another and felt hurt and misunderstood. Sara was only getting 40% of what David was saying. David was only getting 60% of what Sara said. In that moment, they both realized that they weren’t just being stubborn and unkind. They were human. And there was a “huge elephant of misunderstood hearing loss” standing between them.
With the extra testing we do at Avalon plus the educational approach we take, we began moving that elephant out of their relationship. David asked Sara to have me test her hearing as soon as possible so she might start hearing the best she could with new hearing technology.
No longer do Sara and David just need to cope with hearing loss. By participating in the HEARING HAPPINESS Class and then coming to this appointment, together, they have the understanding and motivation needed to make things easier in their relationship. They started the exciting journey of truly reconnecting. I can’t wait to be with both of them next week to guide them further along this path of connected hearing and living!
Do you and a loved one need help to reconnect?
Would you please start by watching the HEARING HAPPINESS Class? The link is at the end of this email. Just click on the link and you will find yourself in class!
Then, make an appointment to have your hearing checked. Whether you have hearing aids or not, take this important step to ensure that you are hearing and understanding the best you can. Do it for yourself and do it for your loved ones. If Sara and David can do it, so can you!