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photo: © Bandika -

photo: © Bandika –

Hearing aids. You can’t live with them, can’t live without them…or so I’m told!

In my house, I have a dear loved one who needs them…but isn’t thrilled with them…at all! They have decided disadvantages. When they magnify sounds, they magnify sounds that he doesn’t want to hear!

No one wants to hear the sound of the air conditioning magnified, or the crinkle of aluminum foil or the sound of background noise in a restaurant!

He has had his first pair for about 10 years now. It recently became apparent that they weren’t working up to par for what his needs were.

Issues like hearing loss bring out issues in our relationships as we age!

But the kiss of death would have been for me to mention it. He is the sweetest man in the world…most of the time. He is a sweeter, kinder person than I am any day. He has saved me from myself often! He reads sensitive emails and tells me, “You have to decide if you want a relationship after this or if you want to share your right opinion.” Yes, he is a keeper!

But every once in awhile, there will be something that will hit a nerve and when it does, he turns into a bit of a mule. Yes, there is another name for it that is more crass, but I don’t use that word in this setting. Mule will work.

He won’t say anything, but he won’t do anything in that area is either! So, I have learned to wait. The man is smart as a whip. It’s not that he really needs me to point things out to him really. I might do it a little sooner than he would realize the need is there, but it doesn’t take him long. He is really quite astute. He just doesn’t like discussing it. He difinitely doesn’t like discussing it to death.

His definition of that and mine usually differ, but…so be it. I tend to chalk it up to his growing up in the Midwest vs. the South…or growing up in a home of all boys vs. all girls.

When it comes to his hearing, hearing aids or his lack of hearing…that has been one of those areas! This was an area where I couldn’t joke about it…or discuss it in public like I could many other issues. There weren’t other people his age with the problem. He didn’t start losing his hearing as early as his mom, but still…it was hugely embarassing!

One problem for awhile was that I needed to be in the room where he was and look at him…then he could hear me.

But that was a sign he couldn’t hear me. He needed to read my lips. Yes, the compassionate nurse and wife in me would have liked to have done that and made life easier for him.

But the realist in me said, “Wait a cotton pickin’ minute! I don’t have time to run all over the house just to maintain the ruse that you can hear! You are losing your hearing. You can’t hear unless you read my lips. Let’s face the fact and do something about it!”

After a couple of conversations like that, where I wasn’t trying to control him but wasn’t going to enable his misguided thinking either, he decided on his own to go to the ear doctor. No, I wasn’t always calm! I am not perfect either…remember, he is the sweet one!

A change has come after 10 years

Recently, he came to the same conclusion about his need for a new hearing aid…I didn’t even have to be “mean.” It turns out I have been learning to be more patient over the years. Who knew?

He got the new hearing aids a couple of weeks ago. It has been an interesting parable of life!

When the aids were put in, he nearly jumped out of the chair because of the noise. The audiologist turned them down so he could stand it. He actually had to turn the volume lower than the optimal volume until Ron can adjust to the more sensitive microphones in the hearing aids. There are now 2 per hearing aid.

After a week, he returned and the hearing aid was adjusted now that he doesn’t hear every wrinkle of the aluminum foil or the sound of the wind on his face! He also has settings that turn down the volume on background noise! His brain is gradually adjusting to the hearing aid too.

Oh, and for the record…just so you know. For those who are hearing impaired, don’t yell! The most helpful thing is to slow down your talking and speak more clearly and distinctly. I have learned that. I am not always good at it. But I have learned it.

How sensitive are we to the values in our culture?

It reminds me of how often we adjust to the parts of our culture that are godless, that don’t line up with the values of the 10 commandments. At first, when we are sensitive to them, we notice. We are sensitive and notice things on TV, in movies, and around us that are far off the mark! But as time goes on and we continue to expose ourselves to these values without standing up to them or questioning them?

We adjust and we don’t notice anymore. We don’t hear the jarring sound of their dissonance with our faith, with the values we know to be the ones we need to live by for a safe, satisfying life!

I guess that is how so many of us in the church have become so quiet…so immune to what is happening in our culture. Like the frog who sits happily in the water that is slowly heating up and bringing him to a boil, so, many of us do not “hear” as the culture around us changes us and conforms us to its image.

At some point, we were going to change the world. But our hearing has become dulled. We need the hearing aid of GOD’s Word to sharpen our hearing once again. We need it to wake us up and be sensitive to the values around us as we listen and watch.

We may even need to cut out some of the input that is lulling us into our sleep and dulling our hearing.

With eyes wide open to the mercies of God,

I beg you, my brothers,

as an act of intelligent worship,

to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice,

consecrated to him and acceptable by him.

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold,

but let God re-mold your minds from within,

so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good,

meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

Romans 12:1-2 (Phillips)

Where are you allowing the world to squeeze you into its mold?

Where do you need to have GOD improve your hearing or remold you mind?

Once again, you can come to Jesus in repentance to forgive you and give you the courage to make the changes that need to be done.

PS. Yes, this was read and okayed by Ron.