Opinion: Now hear this


Last week, I had my annual physical. I was sitting in the waiting room filling out a form


Here are a few questions, verbatim:

“Do others complain that you watch TV with the volume too high?”

My wife comes into the bedroom while I’m watching Colbert and says, “I can’t believe how loud this is.” I know she is saying that, because I can read lips.

“Do you have to sit up front in church to understand the sermon?”

I’m Jewish, but when I was a kid in Hebrew school, I cut class all the time. Even when my hearing was perfect, I didn’t have a clue what the rabbi was talking about.

“Do you have difficulty understanding women?”

The questionnaire says some loss is so gradual you don’t even know you have a problem unless someone brings it to your attention. Gee, I wonder who that would be?

“Do you have trouble understanding children?”

Babies? Not a word. Toddlers? Not a problem. Teenagers? Not a clue.

“Do you know where sounds come from?”

This is a trick, like the “tree falling in the forest” question. Here’s another: If your spouse is complaining about something and you can’t hear the griping, is there still a problem?

“Can you hear people in another room?”

No. That is the main reason I went into another room.

“Have others mentioned that you don’t seem to hear them?”

Maybe, but I was probably in another room at the time.

“Do you avoid family meetings because you can’t understand the conversations?”

No, I avoid family meetings because in the words of Hoosier humorist Kin Hubbard, “There is plenty of peace in a home where the family doesn’t make the mistake of trying to get together.”

“Do you have ringing in your ears?”

Occasionally. But I realized the noise meant there was someone at the front door.

I showed my wife the new smartphone I just bought. “What kind is it?” she asked.

“It’s 8:30,” I told her.

That’s an old joke. But my wife never heard it.


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