Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

How can I convince my 55-year- old husband it’s time for a hearing
aide? He has damage from his time in the service, exacerbated by
years of machine work. He misses all of what I say at normal volume,
and half at semi-shout. When I yell loud enough for him to hear he
screams back “Why are you yelling at me?!” It’s become a problem for
us socially, especially at the bridge table or dinner parties. If a hearing
test said he was within normal levels I would be shocked, but would
drop the idea. But how can I get him to agree to be tested? I don’t
want to be isolated with him. He’s also cranky because half the time
he doesn’t know what’s happening.


Dear Frustrated:

It’s sadly normal in many relationships for one partner to tune out a
little at the sound of his/her significant other’s voice. That frequently
happens over time and is cause for concern about communication and
respect in the relationship. But your description goes past these
parameters. He needs to face reality, and likely won’t be happy about
doing so.

It would help if there were a best friend that had credibility. If not,
you’re going to have to tackle this yourself. Either way, any
intervention will likely make him feel a little cornered and defensive.
Don’t discount, btw, the added hurdle of his fears of aging. That will
add to the difficulty of what you’re asking. But you need tell him his
diminished hearing has begun to cause problems in the relationship
and for the two of you socially. Say you’d like him to consult his
medical doctor and ask to have a hearing test ordered. Tell him what
you told me: if he passes with flying colors you will drop the request of
a device. If not, you’ll help him find the most unobtrusive and effective
one he can find. Be sure to say all the I love you’s at the beginning
and end of the discussion. But make sure he sets a date for the test
and go along with him for it. Maybe offer to get tested too.