2014-08-28 / Senior Savvy

'I Heard That'

Florence Archambault

Do you have to ask your friends and family to repeat what they have said? Do they tell you that you need hearing aids? This happened to me, but my reply was always that people shouldn’t speak so softly. One day my granddaughter came into the living room and asked why the TV was turned up so loud. It seemed OK to me.

Soon, however, it became apparent to even me that I was missing a lot of the conversation, especially in groups and at lectures. It was embarrassing to realize that I was making inappropriate comments or addressing a subject that had just been thoroughly discussed because I couldn’t hear. So, after a number of years of making excuses, I took myself to an audiologist for a hearing test and – guess what? – I have a bad hearing loss.

It took a while for me to decide that I really needed hearing aids, but I finally made the plunge about a year ago and got them. It turned out to be one of the most important decisions I ever made – what a difference!

Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 84 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history. Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 84 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history. The first time I wore them to church I could hear an announcement from the back! I had always sat down front so I could hear the sermon. The next time I went to the church’s knitting group I could hear the conversation from across the room. I then turned down the sound on the TV. I hardly ever have to ask someone to repeat what they said to me, and if I do it is because I’m not paying attention, not that I can’t hear.

For some reason, we seniors who suffer some degree of hearing loss are reluctant to admit it. I don’t know what that reason is. Maybe we do not want to admit that we are aging or maybe it is a vanity issue – although hearing aids are not as ugly as they use to be. You can’t even tell that I am wearing mine.

I am not going to recommend a place for you to go for hearing aids. There are many options, but I urge you to do some research. Hearing aids come at all prices, and unfortunately the cost is not covered by Medicare. Some suppliers do offer reasonable payment plans or are partnered with a bank that can issue you a loan. I will admit, however, that they certainly are not cheap.

I recently read something in a recent issue of “Modern Maturity” that said, “A study by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers suggests older individuals with hearing losses are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. They suggest that an intervention – such as a hearing aid – could delay or prevent dementia by improving hearing!” What an excellent reason to consider all options available to you.

So, if this sounds familiar, I urge you to think about doing something to improve your hearing – and your life! Center Happenings

What an amazing summer weather-wise! Somehow I have a feeling that the other shoe is about to drop and we may be in for something not so nice in the fall.

The Edward King House Senior Center had a very successful Senior Week in July with lectures, food events, teas, and wonderful miniature golf. Let’s hope the week becomes an annual occurrence.

Now that we have most of the outdoor activities taken care of, it is time to think about what we are going to do with our time and energy when fall arrives. I’m sure you have all renewed your memberships at the island’s Senior Centers and soon will be receiving newsletters outlining upcoming classes and events.

The familiar ones return term after term, but there are always new programs being added, and it will soon be time to sign up. If you are a couch potato and realize that you should do something about it, you might consider taking one of the low impact aerobic classes or even easy-to-do tai chi.

Aquidneck Island offers many opportunities for volunteer work, if you are so inclined. Service organizations, church groups, and social clubs usually resume their regular meetings in September, so check them out.

The Edward King House will be closed the week of Aug. 25-30 for the annual top-to-bottom cleanup. Speaking of volunteers, they would welcome your help. Call 401-846-7426.

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