1842 Spousal Deafness
“I told you that yesterday.” “No you didn’t.” “Did.” Spousal deafness doesn’t require marriage. But it does require some togetherness and a ton of understanding.
“You weren’t listening!” “Yes I was.” “Weren’t.”
Your definition of marriage doesn’t matter. This is a happenstance with every gender, race, etc.
It works with people who live in Tiny Houses, studio apartments, mansions, palaces, tents, sleeping bags and with stable long distance romances-- conducted entirely by telephone, Skype and email.
A possible solve: detailed notes, signed, dated and retained. Not post- it notes, real or computerized. Not text messages or emails (always subject to deletion.) Real notes on real paper in real time.
If you want to be fancy about it, you can have pads printed. “Note to Margaret from Henry” and “Note to Henry from Margaret.”
Even put a thumbnail picture on each page. Sometimes we’re not only spouse deaf, we’re spouse blind.
“You didn’t hear a word I said!” “Did so.” “Not.”
After a certain length of time, our attention during a conversation (or lecture, or sermon or diatribe or scolding) tends to wander. The older you are, the easier it is for someone to get away with this particular affliction -- or is it this particular survival strategy?
After all, as we age, people accept that there’s some hearing loss. But fighting this requires some skill. If your beloved other talks too much, hauling out something like this will not work:
The “offender” may think it’s funny the first time. But don’t leave it around because eventually the toy will either get thrown out or crushed. Or worse.
If you pretend not to hear, it’s going to take some doing. It’s easy early on. All you have to do is say “could you say that again, please?” Eventually, you’ll convince your other that your hearing is deteriorating.
“You always hear Martha Stewart when she mutters her way through a cake recipe.” “No I don’t. I have to pay close attention.” “Yes you do.” “Do not.”
In a restaurant or other noisy location, you can focus your hearing on what goes on at nearby tables. Did you know you can focus your hearing? Well, you can. Try it.
After awhile, this degree of phoniness is accepted. The Other will be careful to speak you face to face. While one pretends hearing loss, the other pretends to lip read.
This means it’s time to haul out the heavy artillery. Heavy doesn’t mean heavy as much as it means fearsome.
Rummage through those old magazines before you put them in the recycle bin. Look for ads that start off “NOT A HEARING AID.” They put that in bold face all upper case type so you’ll hear it better.
These are ads for what the trade calls “personal listening devices.” Sellers make all kinds of claims for these but always point out they’re not really hearing aids. There are two reasons for this:
- It’s the law. And
- They aren’t hearing aids which need to be fitted and cost six month’s rent per ear.
Personal listening devices do not work as well as hearing aids.
Send away for one of these, the bigger, more noticeable and uglier, the better. And when it comes put it in your ear, but don’t turn it on. And with a huge smile on your face (be sure to include the eyes. They are, after all part of your face. And we’re trying to be Stanislavski sincere and authentic!)
Now, for a brief time, you’ll hear every word he or she says.
After a week or so “forget” to insert it one day and go back to your deaf act.
“You didn’t hear a word I said! Where’s your (NOT A) HEARING AID??”
“I’m sorry dear, the thing’s so uncomfortable.”
“Well go put it back in.”
So put it back in.
But now, gradually, the hearing loss will intensify. Remember… you have worn the thing but never turned it on.
If you’re really hard of hearing, see an audiologist, and prepare to spend half a year’s rent on each deteriorating. Otherwise, the methods here outlined will serve you just fine when you hear those three little words of love: LISTEN TO ME!
-“What was the question again?” - Professor Irwin Corey.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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