I finally understand why hearing is important as a caregiver

Despite his initial hesitation, a columnist agrees to investigate his hearing loss

Carlos Briceño avatar

by Carlos Briceño |

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The other day, I heard what every husband wants to hear from his wife: “Honey, I love you, but you’re being ridiculous.”

The day had started off uneventfully. It was a Saturday morning, and I woke up early to watch a soccer game on TV. The earlier the better, since my wife, Jill, who is gene-positive for Huntington’s disease, doesn’t like soccer. She was asleep, and I went into the living room to enjoy the game. I didn’t worry about keeping the sound off because Jill sleeps with earbuds in as an audiobook plays throughout the night, which helps her sleep.

Later in the morning, I heard Jill say something from the upstairs bedroom. It sounded like, “You don’t have to turn off the soccer game.” I waited until she came downstairs to ask her, “How did you know I was watching soccer? Do you have ESP-N?”

When Jill laughed at my joke, I was surprised she did more than her usual groan and eye roll. She literally laughed out loud.

She was starting to love puns — or so I thought.

Jill smiled and told me that I watch television with the sound turned up so loud that she was surprised the neighbors hadn’t complained.

Over the last few years, my hearing has gotten a little worse, but it couldn’t be that bad. Could it?

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Answering questions has gotten harder for my gene-positive wife

Caring for the caregiver

Recently, Jill has mentioned several times that I should get my hearing tested, and I reply with a witty, “Huh? What did you say?” OK, so maybe Jill has repeatedly told me I need to go to an audiologist, a health professional who can identify and measure hearing loss.

I promised I would do it. In the future. Jill smiled, nodded, and said, “The near future?” She knew I wasn’t planning on going anytime soon. She finally looked at me and asked why I didn’t want to know if I had hearing loss.

I said, “What would I do about it? Wear a hearing aid? I’m too young for that.”

After she stopped laughing, she asked me if I was serious about being too vain to wear a hearing aid. I reluctantly said yes.

That’s when she said, “Honey, I love you, but you’re being ridiculous. Why would anyone be embarrassed by hearing loss? Why would you not want to hear what your loved ones are saying to you? Does that make you less of a man? Would you make fun of me if I wore them?” Then she got really dramatic, something she’s really good at.

She said, “So should I worry about being embarrassing to you now that I am showing Huntington’s symptoms?”

I said, “NO, of course not.” I never worry about that, and I would never care what other people think. Then I paused. I understood her point. I had never thought about my issues that way. I don’t know why I was worried about the possibility of wearing something that would help me in my day-to-day life.

I promised Jill that I would stop being ridiculous and get my hearing tested in the very near future, for real. I know taking care of my needs is important so that I can be 100% there for Jill as her Huntington’s progresses. I also know I can’t help her if I can’t hear her.

Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


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