O'Donnell Kerr Financial Planners
  • 01 March, 2016

Hearing loss as we age. Could you turn up the volume please?

Wayne Clelland joins us again as guest blogger on Realise Your Dream…

Recently a neighbour asked me what radio station I was going to listen to on Sunday morning. I was quite surprised that he was interested in my listening pleasure. Turns out, I have the sound turned up so loud to hear, that if he’s going to be listening to the same station, he doesn’t need to turn his radio on at all…and he lives two streets away.

No point in ignoring it. It was time to get my hearing checked and so I booked an appointment with an audiologist. It reminded me that the last time I had that done was about fifty years ago when I was in primary school; it was an all-boys school. We had a lot of compulsory health screenings back in those days. School health nurses and other health professionals would appear every year or so and test our hearing and eyesight, examine our teeth, give us polio vaccinations and tetanus injections and do an assessment for any curvatures of the spine.

We would line up in single file and one at a time enter this little room where would have our hearing tested. Even at that young age I had some hearing loss. “Permanent sensory-neural damage resulting in a hearing deficiency,” she said.

It was quite a painless process. However this was followed by one procedure that every grade 3 child dreaded, made worse by horror stories told to us by the grade 7s. It was the physical examination.

It was winter, and the school health nurse never warmed her hands. She was checking to make sure everything that little boys were supposed to have were all present and accounted for and nothing was where it shouldn’t be. At least that’s what I thought she was doing. No one really told us.

Anyway, after producing one very large cough, as instructed, I was free to leave the room. The boy who went in after me had to cough three times so I knew something was amiss there.

And so it was, some fifty odd years later I found myself in a similar situation. Time for a check-up. I wondered how different the whole process would be.

The audiometric test was an interesting experience. Enclosed in a completely sound proof booth with a small glass viewing area, a set of head phones on and a buzzer in my hand.

It was unnervingly quiet and I started to hear my own breathing, along with ringing noises in my ears voices and bells, and other unusual sounds.
I sat waiting patiently for her to start. Occasionally she would glance over in my direction, raise her eyebrows and then slowly look back at the testing console. After about ten minutes she opened the door and said, “Hmmm, looks like the right ear is pretty bad, let’s see if the left ear performs a little better.”

Obviously I misunderstood the instructions. Apparently I was supposed to push the buzzer whenever I heard those voices, bells other sounds that I thought were going on inside my head anyway. I politely asked her if we could start again as I really hadn’t been listening.

The second time around was much better. However, after a few minutes I tapped on the window. When she opened the door I apologised and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m having trouble hearing anything, do you think you could turn the volume up a little?”

I think I frustrated her because during the debriefing she yelled at me. Which was really good because at least I could hear her. The end result: “Permanent sensory-neural damage resulting in a hearing deficiency,” she said. I’d paid $140 for someone to tell me what I’d known half a century ago. And she didn’t even do the physical examination afterwards.

The moral of the story: The ageing process can be fun but it’s not always cheap. Seek professional help if only to put your mind at ease. And don’t cough in front of a school nurse.

Wayne Clelland

Wayne has been involved in the financial advice industry for too many years to mention (easily over 20!) Prior to working in financial advice industry Wayne worked for a number of years as a nurse and a nurse educator so has a wonderful wealth of knowledge and experience. Spending most of early life in regional Australia, Wayne brings a dry wit and candor to Realise Your Dream.

Share This Artcle :