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How hearing aids changed my father-in-law's life.

Tania Monaco March 05, 2014
Close up of senior wearing a hearing aid.

Today’s guest post comes to us straight from Tania Monaco, head of Tania2aTee.com. If someone you love has trouble hearing, this touching story might be just what it takes to get them to seek help.

My father-in-law is a hard-working man who came to Canada when he was 23 years old, with a young family and not knowing a word of English. As he puts it, he did deliveries with nothing but a map book to guide him, finding his own way around Toronto.

He eventually went from deliveries to working at a waterproofing company, doing epoxy flooring and later on concrete. That’s where he worked around lots of noisy machines, which caused some damage to his hearing.

He got his first pair of hearing aids when he was 42 years old, but stopped wearing them shortly after, as he hated the way the bulkiness of them felt on his ears. He also has only purchased one hearing aid, so he always felt off balance. By the time I married into the family, he was content living his life missing out on the conversations around him.

We lived with my in-laws after the wedding and since there were only four of us in the house, we often ate dinner together. Most of the time he kept his head down, not participating in the conversation, or else we had to repeat everything, as he wouldn’t be able to hear me talking. And I sat right across from him.

Funny enough, he could hear me crunching on a crouton in my salad, and would say it was too loud for his ears, while most of the time he ignored all conversation.

Over the years, we all had to endure devices that were set at a higher volume, including his cell phone and the television, and he barely answered the house phone when it rang, for fear he wouldn’t hear who it was.

Then, sometime after we bought our own house, he decided it was time to get new hearing aids. The devices he got came with a state-of-the art watch, where he could control the volume of the sounds all around him. He was a changed man and he became addicted to the new technology that was now available. He changed his home phone and got an amplifier for his television set and told anyone and everyone who would listen about what each of those things could do.

It was nice to see him engaged and excited. I think he appreciated the fact that he could now hear what the kids were saying…sometimes! Of course, he often had to turn the volume down when they were around, as four kids aged 2-8 can be sort of, well, loud!

Not that long ago he upgraded his hearing aids again, as he said he found he was picking up too much background noise, which the watch couldn’t control. His newest hearing aids are able to cancel out that background noise, allowing him to hear only the voices and sounds he wants. Sometimes he wears a receiver around his neck, which helps to amplify the sounds he needs, such as the phone or television, at the volume he wants.

It’s amazing how different he is now. He is obviously happier that he can hear what everybody has to say, and now nobody can get anything past him! I think it’s also safe to say that we are all happier because the volume on the television is at a reasonable level, he isn’t yelling into his cell phone and he is part of the conversation at the table now.

Whether he wants to be or not!