Seriously. Do you really think I can hear you, sitting directly behind you, on the highway? That was my father, who kept trying, after I, and my stepmother, had told him I couldnn’t hear him. Finally, I just stopped responding, and then he got this quizzical look. Hmmm. Now, this person is not new to hearing loss. He’s worn aids since his early 40’s (like me). And now he has a cochlear implant.

I find it particularly ironic, having adjusted to his hearing loss for, say, 50 years. And I’m certain that I don’t always do everything right, either. I just feel like he, of all people, should get that I can’t hear him in the car, after a few unsuccessful tries, on the highway, sitting right behind him (oh, I already said that, didn’t I?).

And I was an unwitting contibutor to the confusion. When he talked, I leaned forward, and to the left, as far as my seatbelt would allow, so I could hear a bit of what he was saying. But maintaining that position for the whole story, or the whole trip, was not sustainable. So he knew I was getting some of it, but didn’t know the limitation. And explaining that to him, in the car, on the highway, from his “bad-ear” side, was impossible.

Maybe it’s what my Audiologist of Record, Sandy, calls “cognitive issues.” I suppose that’s likely, given that he’s almost 90. In fact, while we were having the “i can’t hear you in the car” skirmish, he said he didn’t want to wait until we got somewhere quiet, because he’d forget what he was going to say.

He just can’t help trying to communicate.  It’s human nature.

So, what are my options? Talking to my stepmother, Mary, who’s driving? When I do that, he notices that there’s an exchange going on, but can’t make sense of it, so says, “What? What?” like a petulant teen, left out of the conversation. I guess a quiet ride in the car isn’t a bad idea.

Trouble on the home front, too

Not surprisingly, the problems don’t end whan we get back to the house. During a “conversation.” he keeps interrupting me, mid-sentence, as if he doesn’t know I’m talking. And he doesn’t stop. And I’m sitting right in front of him, three feet away, with virtually no background noise. On the ropes, I hold up my index finger, hoping that will send a “wait” signal and give me a chance to complete my thought. Using the finger seemed to work, at least once, perhaps due to the element of surprise.

Now, I am well aware that hard-of-hearing people, like us, have trouble detecting the ends of sentences, or when a pause is long enough to signal an opportunity to join in. And now I’m seeing how that plays out as you lose more and more hearing, get older (executive function overload), and are talking with someone who…well…I don’t know if that has anythingn to do with it. But it’s sobering, especially since I’m on the track, heading toward where is he is now.

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