Opinion: Now (I) hear this


This week I purchased a good pair of hearing aids. My wife has bugged me for a long time to do this.

Hearing loss runs in my family. My grandmother was born nearly deaf. When she finally got hearing aids, they did little more than raise the volume of sounds. “Don’t speak louder, speak slower” she would say. At dinner she would constantly ask us to repeat things. But when she said something to annoy my father, he’d whisper under his breath to my mother, “What a pain in the butt Mildred is tonight.” Then Grandma would glare at him and say: “You’re a pain the butt, too.”

 When I give a presentation about humor, I tell this joke:

A man reports to his doctor that his wife is in denial about being hard of hearing. The doctor tells him to go home and see how close he has to get to her for her to hear him. That night, he calls from the front door, “I’m home, honey. What’s for dinner?” No response, so he tries calling from every room. “Honey, I’m home. What’s for dinner?” Nothing. He goes into the kitchen and screams near her ear, “Honey, I’m home. What’s for dinner?”

Wife: “For the fifth time, Edward, pot roast!”

This joke is particularly funny to older women with stubborn hubbies who refuse to face reality about their hearing, claiming the loss is just a part of aging and nothing can be done about it. That’s kind of what I did, until this week. Here’s what I discovered…

The turn signal makes a clicking noise when you hit the lever.

Leaves do rustle when you step on them.

At night, rain on the roof can wake you up.

Just joking, of course. My loss was easily corrected with the appropriate devices. Severe hearing loss, though, is devastating and life altering. Helen Keller once said, “If you are blind, you are cut off from things. If you are deaf, you are cut off from people.”

I once did a story about a racecar driver born deaf. He had neveexperienced the roar of the engines — or the roar of the crowd. After he had a surgical procedure to repair the congenital issue, I took a camera crew to tape his first trip back to the track to watch (and hear) trials at the Indy 500. Oh, the expression on his face that afternoon.

I’ve been bragging to everyone about how great my hearing aids are. I took one out of my ear and showed it to my friend Bob.

“What kind is it?” he asked.

“About 4:30,” I told him.

It was a very old joke, but I’ve waited my whole life to find a way to use it.

P.S.,  did you know bacon makes a sizzling noise when you fry it?