What Got You To Wear Hearing Aids?

I had a gradual decline for years but coped fairly well. I realize now what I didn’t then - that I was increasingly putting far more work into stitching together what I did understand with faint clues from what I didn’t, along with the context of the discussion.

Then one day we got some tragic news that the son of some dear friends had committed suicide. They were loved within their church as well, and at the funeral it was packed to the rafters with mourners. Afterwards there was a reception that completely took over a large nearby restaurant.

At one point the father of the deceased came around to our table and thanked us for our concern, and since many were in shock at how such a thing could happen, the father gave a brief but gut-wrenching account of what had ultimately brought us all together like this.

He went on for a few minutes, but I could get virtually nothing of what he said. The restaurant was too noisy, the only context I could have had was what he was delivering and I couldn’t get a toe-hold. He addressed everyone, and when he looked at me I couldn’t even know what facial expression was appropriate. And I certainly couldn’t ask him to repeat it.

I should have resolved right then and there to look into hearing aids. I never even considered it. I learned what had happened to our friends later from my wife.

A few years later I retired and we moved to a new house. The living room was open to the second floor, which offered acoustics that were very different from our previous home. We spend a lot of our time there, and even my formerly-workable frantic real-time sound-bite assembly process wasn’t cutting it. My frequent requests to have her repeat things got just too annoying. (“What was the first part of what you said?”)

I talked to my PCP, went to her recommended audiologist and nearly fell off my chair when I heard what HAs would cost. (I’m a mechanical engineer with background in electronics packaging, so I knew those prices were just bonkers. I came here, learned a lot, including about Costco, and got the same HAs the first audiologist was selling for $4000 less.)

I never thought about stigma. I had worked with someone with profound hearing loss who wore HAs that were almost as big as my finger. My impression was so what - if he needs them he needs them. I was quite surprised at how small and innocuous most of them are today.

My issue was that I just didn’t want to deal with all that when I was doing OK without. And I was, sort of - until I wasn’t.

If you’re getting indications you need HAs, be proactive. FAR better to start using them when they’re a little more than you think you need, than to encounter a situation where you really need them and not have them. And if you’re like me, you’ll find that all that frantic background processing just to keep up really takes its toll. You don’t notice it as much when you’re doing it because it’s just the reality you have. I didn’t even know it was happening. Getting HAs is a little like the alternative to banging your head against a wall - it feels so good when it stops.

If you’re wondering, get tested. Until then, you don’t have the objective reference you need to make that decision.


I was in denial for the longest time before I finally addressed the issue. I struggled in group conversations. The TV was always turned up to obscene volume. I constantly asked people to repeat themselves. The wake-up call for me was not being able to hear my grandson clearly. I wish I had taken care of it years earlier. For me, they have been a game changer. Life is just so much more peaceful when you can hear your surroundings.


Happy hours and dinners with friends … my wife could participate just fine, but I finally realized (epiphany) that I was missing half/most of the conversations. We’d get home and talk about conversation, and I’d often not know what was said. Ugh…

Restaurant conversations are still often a challenge, but at least I can keep up with conversations these days :slight_smile:


Funny story about that issue. I often chat with the barista at our town coffee shop. She is cute and nice and single, so I mentioned I would love to set her up with my son but she is a bit young at 21 and is religious, so maybe not a good fit. She replied, well, I am not sure how you got that impression, I am 25 and atheist. Moral of that story - we don’t even know what we are not hearing correctly. So glad for my cochlear implant and HAs.


I know the feeling. Often my story is so wrong.

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I started feeling left out in conversations when being with my favorite people. Also, I felt annaoyed asking “Say that again” too often. When my two best friends made the step and reported that their brain worked better and reported that they could memorize more, it became clear that it’s time. No regrets. Not only my brain is waking up, my body feels more alive. Who would have thought…


I was born with severe profound loss in one ear. My other ear was fine. It wasn’t until I was in my 50’s that I decided I needed help because I was struggling. I had been wearing them for 8 years, until my good ear took a ski slope dive into severe profound loss. Then I really struggled in all aspects of hearing.

I’m forever grateful I decided to move onto the next level of hearing care, by getting a CI. I’m now bimodal and my hearing journey has done a complete 180° turn around. Life is good now.


I was constantly asking people to repeat themselves. My hearing got so bad that my husband had to mute the TV to talk to me and be heard.


My father’s side of my family all suffered hearing loss. It was hereditary - otosclerosis as I later discovered.

My wife noticed I was not hearing her as well when I was driving the car. We lived in Ireland at that time and had a right had drive car. My left ear was getting worse with hearing in my forties. So I had a hearing test and both ears were not good with my left being the worst. So I was recommended to get hearing aids.

We came to Holland and tried to buy them there but then had to visit a consultant due to the hearing loss imbalance. Within 5 mins he told me I had options. My reply - yes, I can pick any brand of hearing aids I liked. That got a laugh. I decided to go with the stapedectomy.

This operation was a success but within 3 months I had a symphony in C playing in my left ear which got louder as the day progressed. Yes, tinnitus became my new reality in my left ear.

That’s why I chose to go with hearing aids. They minimise the tinnitus and enable me to engage better with people.

Now I’m using Phonak Audéo hearing aids and am hearing sounds I haven’t heard in decades. I love music and hearing those acoustic guitars again more clearly is just heavenly.

I was brought up with people wearing hearing aids and struggling with them. I also saw the damage it caused by some of those people being excluded through hearing loss.

These days the technology has come on leaps and bounds. Hearing aids are a life changer.


I went to an ENT at my hospital 5 years ago. I was 70 at the time. I was complaining that I felt like I had something stuffed into my right ear. I had absolutely no idea I had hearing problems. Actually thought something was in my ear. I had grown up in the firearms industry as a kid, (oldest brother was a sales rep for Winchester) Shooting was like breathing to me for decades. Never once did I ever think it was damaging my hearing. Wore Lee sonic ear valves most of the time. anyway, I first had to have an audiogram done and was I surprised when she told me I needed hearing aids. At first I thought she meant only the right ear. I was stunned when she said both. I actually laughed thinking she was joking. Well, long story short when I finally got my aids I was surprised to hear things I hadn’t heard in many many years. You might laugh but for many years I would say to my wife “Isn’t it strange there are no birds around any more?” and things like that. When I got my aids and could really hear again I was so surprised when I went out one evening and heard all the birds. I still go out to hear them and enjoy it.


My first hearing aid was around 1965 or so and was a single earmould connected to a box that went into your pocket. Although I definitely had hearing issues I couldnt come to terms with everything being made louder, not just speech, so stopped wearing it.
Next attempt was somewhere in the early 2000’s and I had a similar problem. In my opinion at the time, the downsides failed to make the upsides attractive enough. This was with my own purchased aids
But my hearing wasnt getting any better so around 2012 (give or take a year or two) I had another go, this time with the NHS (in the UK). These helped quite a bit, but I found, when using the phone, that my hearing was better without the hearing aids. However, I was using a volume boosted phone so that helped, it was just awkward ripping out the hearing aid to hear before the caller put the phone down.
I had a couple of NHS upgrades over the next few years, which were a bit hit or miss due to the limited time that the NHS specialist was able to spend with you - not helped with the total lack of soft furnishings in the NHS office so the room was “echo’y” and not typical of normal surroundings.
In June 2022 I decided to splash out on a pair of Widex hearing aids, and after they were reprogrammed to the NAL standard instead of the Widex standard, they have been very good, although I still have trouble hearing in noisy situations. However, I no longer dread phone calls as the iPhone streams in stereo to my hearing aids. I also appreciate the noise cancelling effect of the Widex Moment 440’s when driving as they make the car quieter than it would be if I took them out.


When I started my career in the Air Force…my ears would ring after a shift…by the next shift, everything was alright…after 2 years of this, all of a sudden the ringing did not stop anymore…fast forward several years and I was having trouble understanding oral instruction…My supervisor set up an audiology appt for me and ordered me to go…Been wearing hearing aids since 1980…


Well I’ve been wearing HAs my whole life but even lifers like me can get out of the habit with a pandemic and WFH :sweat_smile: My kick in the butt was when my last remaining HA (I usually have my current pair with my previous pair as a backup) had the earhook break and I was getting it fixed the same day by a very nice HIS I had never met before and who was doing it for free during his lunch break. We finished up and my husband said “why don’t you make an appointment since you need new hearing aids anyway” - he never puts me on the spot like that normally! But I made the appointment and both he and I are very happy to have my ears back :blush:


My story is so similar to yours! I’m a mechanical engineer too. A difference….
I have qualified for hearing aids due to exposure to loud noise at work

I have great respect for qualified people who set up hearing aids well. I’d like to know how to find them

Thanks for your post!


Ah well, it was an easy decision made FOR me. My genetics demanded aids by a certain age. I was born with the defect, limped along as a child, teenager, 20-something. And by my early 30s, it was GAME ON! As in, get the hearing aids and TURN THEM ON. I would wear these 24x7 but I sleep like a tombstone when I take them out. Small benefit.



Laughing. Me too.

“I slept like a tombstone when I take them out. small benefit.”

I used to think I had reasonably good hearing until the Auckland Philharmonia, sponsored by Phonak, offered a free hearing test, with a discount on HAs - if they proved to promise improved hearing. Which they did.


A coworker of mine was always flustered and removed from his role as project manager for a major client.
He thought he was going to get fired over it and they ended up having me replace him. I later found out he couldn’t hear what was going on, and that was why he was flustered most of time.

That was my “aha” moment.

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I sure hope your coworker got some kind of treatment for his hearing issue. There is still too much stigma attached to one’s needing some HELP with HEARING and SPEECH COMPREHENSION. We provide large print books for those with vision issues, and most health plans cover mental illness treament, along with other body health issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.,). Some of these conditions can be improved with a change in diet and lifestyle.

But for some bizarre reason, hearing seems to get short-shrift. It should not be relegated to Medicare for elderly. Folks of any age can have a hearing issue. It needs to be addressed, acknowledged and dealt with - no hangups or guilt-trips dished out.


He did, and he said (as many others including me) it was life changing.