This story may sound very familiar to many of you. It starts with a holiday visit to my friends Monte and Kim. They live on a beautiful farm in Fresno County, California and I live in Washington, D.C. Given that distance, it takes an extra effort to be together. It’s been our tradition to celebrate the holidays at their home every December. Not surprising, the COVID pandemic put a crimp in our visits, and I finally made my way to their home last weekend after missing 2020 and 2021.
I was excited to see them again and we spent many an hour catching up and sharing stories. At one point Monte brought out a letter from an audiologist that he saw in 2020 after I encouraged him to schedule a hearing test. The letter was unopened. He said he was waiting to open it until we could review it together. He did tell me that the hearing test revealed a hearing loss and he thought he would have a copy of the test results in the letter. Unfortunately, the results were not included and even more unfortunate for him and Kim, he did not take any action after learning his results. Did this surprise me? Not at all. On average people wait 4 years after learning about their hearing loss to do something about it.
It took some cajoling, but Monte agreed to let me schedule another hearing test for him before the end of the year. We talked about his many options, including whether an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid would be of value to him depending on the extent of his hearing loss. We discussed what features would be important to him, things like rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth streaming, trial periods and return policies, and the various price points for prescription hearing aids. He indicated a preference for having the support of a hearing professional help him throughout the process. I showed him all the information available at www.betterhearing.org and hope that he keeps his appointment next week.
Monte, like so many, hesitated to take action. But armed with information and with encouragement from family and friends, I think he will this time. And no one will be happier than Monte, except perhaps his wife Kim.
If you have a family member or friend that needs some encouragement, I hope you will share this story and encourage them to follow in Monte’s footsteps.