Books Magazine

Beg Pardon?

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
As I repeat my request for the fourth time I feel the frustration bubbling up inside my chest. Does he realize his loss of hearing is becoming a huge problem to me? Luckily I am finally heard and the request acted upon (I only wanted something passing to me, for goodness’ sake) but my frustration takes a while to dissipate.
The husband is a man in denial. It's the way he deals with any indication that he might be getting older.It was the same with his eyes.Despite the fact he couldn't read a newspaper or see small objects, he assured me his sight was fine. At some point, after eating a raisin that turned out to be a small piece of rolled play dough, he must have succumbed and secretly slunk along to the opticians.I found him looking worried and slightly guilty every time I entered the room, and eventually discovered, much to my amusement, he was a closet glasses wearer, only donning them when alone, and swiftly whipping them off if anyone approached.To be fair, one of the kids had spotted him wearing them and started calling him Roy Orbison, which can't have helped.
We seem to be following the same path with his hearing. The volume on the TV means that any conversation in the same room is impossible. Maybe that's his plan. I've noticed he's started putting the subtitles on every programme now, which could have been a problem with the 'closet glasses wearing' but I'm happy to say he quickly progressed to contact lenses, saving the need to whip his Roy Orbison's on and off - which must have been a great relief for him. Although the changing of the contacts only takes place once a month, it's quite an event, involving two people, two pairs of eyes (he can't see the lenses to apply them), four fingers and a lot of shouting.
Back to the husband's hearing.Phone conversations take on a new dimension as he bellows into his mobile.He goes out into the garden to make or receive all calls so our neighbours (at least four houses each side and the same number opposite) know every detail of Dave's life: arrangements for a drink, how he played at golf, the state of his broken arm, and probably how much his wife is annoying him.  Each time I broach the subject of a hearing test I am told in no uncertain terms, that his hearing is fine.Actually, that's not quite true. His answer could be anything from, 'yes, it's a bit windy,' to, 'cabbage for me,' depending on what he thinks he has heard.The hearing loss denial usually comes round about the third attempt.
I do understand how frustrating it is not to hear properly. I've had a few episodes myself, usually mishearing something on the radio. A few years ago I spent a puzzled and indignant hour, wondering why a new law had come into force, banning stockings. It was only when I heard the next news bulletin, read by somebody with an English accent, rather than Scottish (try it) that I realised the anti-stocking law being introduced was actually an anti-stalking law. Relief all round.
My mom and dad are both extremely hard of hearing, and whilst I have a huge amount of sympathy for them it has led to some interesting exchanges. One time they were in different rooms when mum started coughing. 'What did you say, Mary?!' shouted dad from the front room.Mum continued to cough. 'What?!' yelled dad. Between coughs mom shouted back, 'I'm COUGHING!' 'Oh yes please,' called dad, 'I'll just have a small one.' With a sigh, mom decided it would be easier to make the coffee dad was expecting than to continue the conversation.
I've related amusing incidents but I do know how debilitating hearing loss can be. My mom never complains but she did confess to me once that she finds it quite isolating. She wears hearing aids at all times, but when she attends her literature class she says background noise, combined with several people talking, is particularly hard to deal with.In an effort to overcome this we managed to procure a special pen that she points towards people when they're talking in a group.This works to a degree although we did have to explain to her why people were sniggering when she told them its catalogue name.Answering, “It's my Roger Pen,” when asked about it was always going to cause a ripple of amusement. Since the explanation I believe the name has been dropped and it’s simply, ‘The Pen.’
As for me, I know my ears aren't as good as they were thirty years ago but maybe my inquisitiveness makes up for lack of hearing.I can still listen in to conversations two tables away when in a restaurant, and detect the opening of the biscuit tin from upstairs. When the TV stops sounding like an earthquake, and I can’t hear the husband sighing as I ask him to do something, then I’ll book that hearing test.Until then, whisper on.

Beg Pardon?

Secretly Listening In

What? (written specially for the husband in denial)
What? Pardon? Say again? I didn't quite catch that
Huh? Sorry? What say? I didn't quite catch that
Errr? Say what? Beg pardon? I didn't quite catch that
I was looking the other way My ears need waxing You're whispering I was thinking You turned away I had my hat on I was eating I was watching TV Listening to Spotify Cleaning my teeth Running the tap I didn't quite catch that My ears are what?
Jill Reidy
Thanks for reading,   Jill

Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog