Okay, gang, today we’re back to Being Old and today’s exciting topic is Hearing Loss. The book –enjoyable and very well-written indeed – is “Shouting Won’t Help”. Katherine Bouton was an editor at the New York Times who started losing her hearing and started faking it for many years thereafter. She ended up deaf, while I simply have impaired hearing (and now I know the difference). I suspect, though, that you’ll find the book fascinating even if you have no hearing loss at all – and frankly, after seeing some of those studies and statistics, I suspect you probably do anyhow.
It's delightful to come across some things that happened to me --yes, at first I took off those hearing aids carelessly and yes, I didn’t carry the little packet they go in so I mislaid them. She describes things I’ve figured out for myself --yes, solo instruments are sometimes okay, but an orchestra, she writes, is painful cacophony – exactly the word I arrived at myself as I gave up concerts and most of my CDs. And for that matter movies, and conferences, and airport announcements and tour guides and don't get me started on the kitchen timer or the telephone.
She offers explanations for things that have puzzled me. C’mon, I’m not that old, why did I have to leave the dinner party and go lie down in the dark? Just struggling to decipher conversation, she points out, is more physically exhausting than one realizes. And how come I arrived back home with the impression that – as usual – I’d talked too much? Why do I keep doing that? It’s comforting to read her explanation that the hard-of-hearing can be unconsciously garrulous because when they’re the ones doing the talking, at least they know what’s being said.She ends with a snippet of conversation—
“When are we eating?” my husband says.
“Chicken,” I answer.
Reminds me of the woman in O’Hare Airport who told me she was flying to Peter Rabbit. So I looked on the notice board, and the plane just boarding was on its way to