Really can’t recall a time when Joy wasn’t wearing these.

hearing aids 005a
A small collection of Joy’s hearing aids.

I was cleaning out my car today when I realized I’d been carrying these around for TWO years. I had every intention of donating them to the hearing aid store. Called them after Joy passed, and they assured me they could use them to help folks who couldn’t afford aids. I was taking them to the store any day now.

My earliest recollections of my Mom’s hearing aids were of those big aids that attached to the frames of her glasses. Between the hearing aids and the thick earpiece of her eyeglasses, her ears stuck out at uncomfortable angles. She tried to style her hair so no one would notice.

The technology improved somewhat over the years making the aids smaller, but she always had the big unit that went over her ear.

I accompanied her on one of her last visits to the ear, nose and throat doctor. She was determined to discover if there was anything new to help her hearing. I was a speech and hearing major in college and she wanted me in on the discussion.

I observed Mom through the thick glass of the darkened audiologist’s booth struggle with the hearing and speech test. She couldn’t understand speech at all unless she was looking at the speaker. The women literally could not hear a ringing telephone (the old kind, remember?) next to her ear with her hearing aids out. It was one of the poorest hearing tests I’d ever witnessed.

Hearing Test
Hearing Test (Photo credit: Selbe B)

I’ve opened my palms and parted with most of her belongings. I even faced the task of spreading her ashes by our beloved mountain cabin. Joy really didn’t own much when she died.

But these darned hearing aids….why have I been holding on?

My guess is they remind me of how Joy had a knack of turning a negative into a positive. She simply plowed forward and looked on the bright side. I remember how we mercilessly teased her about her poor hearing and she would smile and playfully swat us. Her hearing loss forced us to talk loud and proud to be heard. The grand-kids had to work at being understood. She always laughed and talked a bit uncomfortably loud. As she aged, I remember how she determinedly struggled to replace the impossibly tiny little batteries in these hearing pieces.

hearing aids 008a
Don’t think I could change the small battery in this aid.

When the weather warmed too much, her sweat would ‘short them out’ and she’d take the aids out to allow her ear canals time to dry. She was forever proud of me when I sang, but I KNEW she never heard a note.

By my estimation, she wore these things every day for 50 years. Funny, I  don’t recall any complaining.

For today, the hearing aids are out of the car and tucked away securely at home. Who do I think I’m fooling? I’m not ready to give them away. They remind me of a lesson worth pondering. They’re mine.

Have a blessed weekend.



3 thoughts on “hearing

  1. beautiful. I resently lost my father, and your words helped me shed some guilt for not donating a few of his items that are still sitting in my closet. Until your words, I thought they were taunting my inability to complete the task. I think I now understand that they are still there in my closet because they provide a comforting reminder of things my dad and I shared.

    thank you so much.

  2. Pingback: The Ears Have It | Mrs. City Boy

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