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Robert Anderson had started to zone out.

The retired Army colonel began having a hard time hearing conversations about two years ago.

Being in a crowd while talking to friends made it worse for Anderson, who’ll be 80 in February.

“It was like I had earplugs on,” he said. “I couldn’t hear. If the noise wasn’t controlled and had a lot of free talking, that was really hard.

“I just started turning everyone off.”

Wife Joanne also started noticing at home.

“If he was in another room, he couldn’t hear me,” he said. “I’d ask, ‘Don’t you remember?’ And he’d say no.”

Adding to Joanne’s concerns was that her husband of 40 years was diagnosed with dementia.

“I almost thought dementia was worse than advertised,” she said. “But then we found out part of the problem is the hearing loss.”

After getting hearing aids four months ago, Anderson said he feels about 85 percent better. He engages in conversations again. Life isn’t perfect but Joanne feels like she has her old Bob back.