Husband's ear or hearing loss

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An amplified phone will make it possible for your husband to talk on the phone and hear what is being said
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Hearing loss can cause grave problems for an individual

I shall refrain from naming names, to protect the not-so-innocent, but a certain man, who happens to be my long-suffering husband, cannot hear for beans. For the life of me I cannot convince him of this. I wonder, is it husband's ear or hearing loss?

"Husband's ear" is a nickname for the habit that many men fall into of ignoring or failing to actively listen to their wives. "I didn't hear you," is an easy excuse for forgetting a myriad of requests. True hearing loss is a medical condition that requires intervention, treatment and hearing aids or listening assistive devices. If you are sensing communication problems, consider carefully whether is is husband's ear or hearing loss.

What is it with men and their refusal to acknowledge deafness? This is also known as the husband's ear syndrome. They think their ears are perfectly fine and everyone else is at fault. I am accused of mumbling and not talking loudly enough. If anything, I talk too loudly. My better half is the first person in the universe to accuse me of being soft spoken.

When a person suffers from a hearing impairment it is difficult for them and difficult for the people they live and work with. When that person fails to concede that he has a problem that makes matters even worse. Verbal messages are misunderstood or missed altogether, foul-ups result because of mis-communication and the hearing partner gets darned tired of repeating herself. If she is anything like me, after the second time she refuses to say it again, and another fight erupts.

Age related hearing loss is called presbycusis and it afflicts men more often than women.  One reason that men may lose their hearing at a higher rate than women is because of their long term exposure to loud noise, which may be one of the downsides of working in a factory, or the result of being in the military or hunting (loud gun shot blasts). Working with power tools in construction or noisy engines in automotive jobs can also cause hearing loss.

Hearing loss occurs gradually. You may notice that your husband is having difficulty understanding someone who speaks fast. Your husband will blame his inability to hear what is being said on the other person, complaining that she is slurring her speech or purposely mumbling. Your husband may no longer be able to hear someone talking when there are background distractions and sounds and he cannot understand the high pitched voices of women but can understand what men are saying, because they have deeper voices. You may notice that your husband can no longer tolerate loud noises.

Have you observed your husband cupping his hand around his ear? He is doing this because it increases the intensity of sound and he can hear better. You may notice that he has moved his recliner closer to the television set or wants to sit toward the front when at the movies.

When suffering from presbycusis, your husband may become less social and quit engaging with others because he cannot understand what is being said. This can be a very frustrating and isolating experience. In other words, a hearing-impaired man or woman will sacrifice the please of conversation and become distant because of his hearing problem. 

Your hearing-impaired spouse may quit talking on the phone because he simply cannot hear what is being said.

As these problems spiral, the individual is likely to become depressed and experience cognitive loss. He is also more like to succumb to dementia.

Encourage your spouse to see his doctor to determine if there is something other than hearing loss going on. If his problem is presbycusis, it is time for a hearing aid as well as other assistive hearing devices, such as a phone that is adapted to the needs of the hearing impaired.

There are various assistive devices for the hearing impaired. Hearing aids have improved immensely in recent years, not only in quality of sound but in appearance.

Assistive devices for the hearing impaired run the gamut from amplified phones and alarm clocks and signaling systems that let you know that someone has rung the doorbell or the phone is ringing. There is a device that will shake your bed, awakening you in the morning. Other devices consist of bright flashing lights that catch the visual attention of the hearing impaired.

A hearing impaired person can wear a monitor that vibrates, which lets him know, for example, that his grandchild is crying. Another device consists of a sound sensor and vibrating rod, which is put under the mattress. This wakes him at the appropriate time.

Getting your husband to wear a hearing aid may be a challenge because a lot of men are resistant but keep encouraging to do so. Once he realizes what he has been missing out on he may capitulate and become best friends with his new hearing aid. You will no longer have the issue of husband's ear or hearing loss, and conversation will be the pleasure it was before.


eMedicine: hearing loss

Urban Dictionary: husband's ear


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