One of the gifts of aging is the equanimity we budding seniors show when confronted with our diminishing physicality. We notice we’re squinting, we can’t hear in the ambient noise of restaurants, that hill we’ve always walked suddenly seems steeper and we look it all in the face and deal with it.
Yeah, right! If you’re anything like me, you deny, deny, deny!! Yeah, my hearing is going, but no big deal. Yeah, I probably should start doing Pilates or Yoga. Maybe tomorrow. Hey, anyone could forget someone’s name, it doesn’t mean dementia is setting in. Well, you have a point, maybe I should know my wife’s name. Etc.
I’m well aware of my diminished hearing. I never played in a rock band or put my ear by the big speakers (well, once), but between a couple of years of Balinese gamelan and intermittent Bulgarian bagpipe playing, I’ve done my share of stressing the old ear drum. And now it’s starting to impact my work a bit. Don’t tell my school parents, but in music class, kids often are practicing on xylophones and a kid motions me over and asks me for help. Well, that’s what I guess they’re doing, because I see their mouth open and their lips moving, but no sound is reaching my ears! So I just nod my head and say, “Yes, keep working on that.”
Well, I’m proud that finally I decided to schedule a hearing test. Of course, the person at the desk thought I’d have to have my primary care doctor, who I haven’t seen in six years, refer me, but I kept trying to convince her that being 66 is enough and could she please repeat what she just said? Finally, she relented and I’m off to the doctor in two days.
My two Orff buddies, Rick and Paul, would be so proud of me, as they’ve been begging me to do this for the last few years. They were badgering me again while we were in the car and I said, “Look, I know I should do it and I think I finally will this Fall. But I guess I’ve been putting off taking a hearing test because frankly, I don’t want to hear what the doctor will tell me.”
And without missing a beat, in perfect unison, they both said: