Borgman: Conversations are growing ear-resistible


Lori Borgman

My husband and I have experienced some hearing loss. The most frequently heard word at our house is, “WHAT?!”

More pressing than our physical hearing loss is our selective hearing loss, something that happens to couples who have been married a long time.

Just the other day, the husband was working on his laptop at the kitchen table with his back to me as I was scurrying from the stove to the fridge to the cabinets, making dinner and simultaneously telling a riveting story.

I’ve forgotten what the story was about, but I remember that it was a good story. I know this because all my stories are good stories.

I suspected he wasn’t listening to me, and that wouldn’t matter, but he was missing a good story.

I told him as much.

No response.

I continued with my riveting story and still no response.

I was quiet for a few minutes and then I said, “Your hair is on fire.”

Still no response.

I then walked around to where he could see me, got his attention, and said, “I just told you that your hair is on fire.”

To which he said, “Huh.” So there was some response, but not much.

The man is not easily riled. That’s OK, I can make up for that deficit, too.

Our hearing issues boil down to a frequency problem. I talk frequently; he talks infrequently.

The are only two things he hears 100 percent of the time. The first is, “Dinner is ready.”

It doesn’t matter if the man is upstairs, outside mowing the yard, or blowing leaves off the garage roof, if I say, “Dinner is ready,” he is front and center.

The second statement he always hears is, “The car needs an oil change.”

His priorities are clear: food and car maintenance.

I have learned that if my opening line involves something about food, I exponentially increase my chances of holding his full attention.

There is a concert series I’d like to go to, so I say, “How does bacon sound and what do you think about tickets for the summer series in the park?”

Bingo! BLTs and a concert series just like that.

He has gone so far as to say my hearing is worse than his. The other day he told me I should get a hairy chest.

“Why would I want a hairy chest?” I snapped.

He looked shocked then said, “I didn’t say hairy chest—I said you should get a hearing test.”

To which I said, “WHAT??!!”

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Contact her at [email protected].