Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

With a little aid I'm hearing again

Wick's World


The days of, “Huh?” and, “What did you say?” are over. I finally listened to my wife and friends who kept telling me I really needed to get hearing aids. I just didn’t think I was the one with the problem. I figured most of my friends mumbled and were soft-spoken people.

At my annual physical in Moose Lake, Dr. Dewey gave me passing grades on most everything, except hearing. I flunked the test with the left ear and scored between zero and none with my right ear.

“Not true,” I said to myself. “If I hold my hand up to my right ear and cup it, I can almost hear what the television is mumbling.”

I finally gave in and went to the Mayo Clinic to visit an audiologist who confirmed that not only did I have hearing loss, I also had a clump of dead blood somewhere inside my head just a little past the inner ear canal. That’s when the serious testing began. There was little doubt I’d had a small stroke at some point in the past.

The professional hearing guy asked if I remembered having any strokes. I asked him if he remembered having any lobotomies.

If I had a stroke, of course I would have remembered it. How stupid did he think I was? Although insulted, when I picked my brain for some long lost memory of stroking out, an odd incident came back to me. Maybe this hearing professional wasn’t that far off the mark.

After some deep thought, I gave him the story from one August afternoon in 2007 or 2010, give or take a few years. I was driving three friends of mine to a concert at a theater in downtown Pierre, South Dakota. A husband and wife duo I had known for many years were in town and anytime they were within driving distance, I would travel to hear their blend of classic French and outlaw country music. My incident happened on the way to the concert.

By now, I had this entire story in my stroke-addled brain and repeated it to Dr. Audiology. As he let out a breath, he was more certain than ever I indeed had suffered a stroke sometime in the past, but since the blood was dried up and not going anywhere, all I had to do was get hearing aids.

“Wait, there’s more,” I said. “Just about two blocks from the concert, I got this extreme case of double vision. There was two of everything spinning around in my line of vision and I’m on this busy street still driving the car,” I told the doc.

I said to my three fellow passengers, “Holy cow, I’m seeing two of everything and my world is spinning out of control.”

By the time I heard the third seat belt click, I had made it safely to the side of the road. “Yes, that certainly could have been a stroke,” the doc said.

Last week I picked up a set of brand new, expensive, high-tech hearing aids. I stepped outside of the Mayo Clinic building and the first sound I heard was the click from a stoplight that had changed from red to green. The next event was an angelic concert from the birds. The chirping I heard this time in my ears was not from tinnitus but from chickadees, sparrows and nuthatches. I felt as though I could hear a hummingbird on his way from Texas with the flutter of monarch butterflies close behind.

If you think you are hard of hearing, you probably are, and it is probably much worse than you realize. I can now hear my wife. I can hear the waitress at a busy restaurant and every word being spoken by three people who are on the other side of the room. I can even hear several people speaking at the same time.

Do yourself a favor and keep track of how many times a day you say, “Huh?” and, “What did you say?”

If your answer is more than one, you should probably go see Dr. Audiology.


Reader Comments

wiggy writes:

Well that convinced me. I am going to have my hearing checked. Thanks Wick


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