One of the multitude of things people don't want to admit and face up to is loss of hearing. My wife got eternally sick and tired of me saying "What? What?" every five seconds. Finally, I was forced to go get my hearing checked. I first went to Costco since I thought this task would be a simple one: I would walk in, the tech would stick something in my ear, and I would walk out with hearing aids so I could hear every golden word my spouse uttered from then on. Not so. Hold on, the tech said, the hearing in your left ear is worse than the hearing in your right ear. You need to go see an ENT (ear-nose-throat) specialist. So that was the next step
I went to a wonderful ENT guy who used the latest electronic gizmos to measure my hearing loss. He turned me over to a charming audiologist who decided which of dozens of possible hearing aids she would recommend for me and settled on a pair that cost only $2,000, of course, not covered by insurance.
I have now had my hearing aids for about three months. As I talked to other "wearers" of hearing aids, I have learned that most of those I have talked to don't bother to put in their hearing aids. Their wives gripe continuously about this level of incompetence after spending thousands of $$$ to solve their hearing problems. My wife's favorite question now is, "Did you put in your hearing aids?" Once in awhile I have done so. Most of the time I have not. Meanwhile, experts advise that once you get hearing aids you must wear them all the time for them to be effective and for your own hearing levels to adjust to the stuff stuck in your ear. More frightening, one is warned that failure to wear your hearing aids can lead to senility and all manner of egregious stuff.
My reasons for not wearing my hearing aids are: (1) I forget to put them in. (2) I don't like to wear them, (3) the left one is hard to put in, (4) they are little bitty things and they are hard to clean with my big broad clumsy fingers without losing the little itsy bitsy white end cup; (5) they some times make my ears itch or feel uncomfortable, (6) I am forced to go get a haircut every six or seven weeks and I am afraid the Great Clips barber will nick my hearing aid wire, and (7) the blankety-blank batteries are always sounding warning beeps, like in church, telling you that the batteries are now deceased. So you can either sit there listening to them beep, or take them out and hope you don't lose one of the thousands of dollars of little bitty parts of which they are ingeniously made..
Meanwhile, the hearing aid industry seems to be booming. Several times a week full page or even page and a half inserts appear in all the newspapers wherein some celebrity opines that he has tried each and every hearing aid and that the one he is being paid to advertise is the one and only good one on the market. Hearing aid ads tout free steak dinners, seminars, happy hours, or whatever, to draw one in to their hearing aid world and convince you there version is the one and only. However, I quickly ascertained that a good audiologist has access to every model on the market anyway and can capably recommend the one that he/she feels is best for your situation.
As my wife and I talk to people about hearing aids, the most frequent comment we get is from wives who opine that they wish their hard-of-hearing husbands would go to the ENT or an audiologist because they are tired of them saying "What? What?" 24 hours per day. My audiologist confirmed that, indeed, the psychological issue of facing up to and admitting that one needs a hearing aid is a difficult hurdle for many to pass through. However, I am now committed to being good and trying to get my hearing aids in each day. It is now 11:15 a.m. and I just remembered I have to go clean them, replace the batteries, and then try to get them stuck in my ears.
The wonder of hearing aids today is that they are an electronic marvel. Before computer software, hearing aids had to be manually adjusted in a tedious and imperfect fashion. Now the hearing aid is stuck in one gizmo, the audiologist turns on the software which has registered the technical details of your personal hearing levels in each ear, separately, and so the hearing aids are automatically adjusted.
And so, in conclusion, the Curmudgeonly Professor advises you to go get hearing aids if you are getting hard of hearing, if background noise drives you nuts, if you want to hear the continuing advice and words of affection from your dear spouse. There's a whole new world out there once you realize what you have been missing with poor hearing. Have a nice day.