The month of December is always an interesting time in our practice.

You wouldn’t think it would be possible to have a rush on hearing aids, but we often do in December. As a young professional I remember thinking this was odd, until I realized the cause … the grandchildren.

As we age, we lose the ability to hear certain tones, not all sounds. Many people visiting our office claim that they have no difficulty hearing a plane flying overhead or the hum of traffic, but trying to carry on a conversation in a restaurant or at a social gathering, is often a struggle, especially with soft spoken people. The problem is not actually individuals with “soft voices”, but more accurately people with “high pitched”, soft voices. Naturally occurring high frequency hearing loss is more noticeable in background noise because the brain is tasked with not only trying to discern the variations in high pitched sounds in order to understand what is being said, but it is also compensating by filtering out unnecessary background noise, reading and interpreting body language and filling in missing gaps. In addition to missing conversation, this extra mental undertaking can result in frustration and mental exhaustion … hence the problem is more prominent when it causes stress.

So when your grandson or granddaughter is telling you about their latest adventures, and the dishwasher is running, the TV is on, and his/her parents and siblings are playing Monopoly a short distance away, you may not hear their whole story. Children may voice aloud their frustration that their grandparent can’t hear them, or family members may notice your reaction and/or lack of participation.

Once a grandparent has lived through this type of experience, they’re often motivated to remedy the situation for next year so that they don’t miss out on a single part of the holidays with their grandchildren. When December 1st rolls around and the decorations come out, grandparents are reminded of their grandchildren’s impending visit. This festive reminder often results in a call to Capital Audiology in order to be in peak hearing readiness, because there is a year of important stories, adventures and dreams to catch up on.

So thanks to grandchildren, my calendar gets very busy in the month of December!