Image via WikipediaA recent survey found that “Deafness can lead to divorce”. Deafness can lead to heated arguments between couples and even marital breakdown, according to a survey about the social consequences of hearing loss published today. Actually it can also lead to death of pedestrians, as in the deaf man who stepped off the pavement, only to be knocked down by the bus. He died of deafness; he didn’t hear it coming.
Apparently the hard-of-hearing partner often feels upset that their spouse does not understand what it is like to suffer from the condition, the poll found. Contrarily, the deaf person's reluctance to recognize their condition and do anything about it is also a major source of stress. Joan McKechnie, an audiologist with the firm HearingDirect.com, which carried out the survey, said the problem was that many people were "in denial". She said: "It can be a real shock for many people in their middle age who begin to experience hearing loss, as they do not like the idea of wearing a hearing aid, which has a real stigma associated with “disabled” and old people.
Two-thirds also admitted to bluffing their way through conversations, while a half said they had become depressed and isolated. A spokesman for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) said: "Incredibly it can take up to 15 years for some people with hearing loss to get the help they need, a sad fact when you consider the impact hearing loss has on family and work life. "People with hearing loss often feel isolated from work colleagues and loved ones, and we would encourage anyone who thinks they may have a hearing loss to take action now.”
There is another argument of course and that is, a little deafness goes a long way to achieving marital harmony. After all who among us hasn’t, if they were completely honest, feigned momentarily deafness? Typically when it’s time to take the garbage out, or do the washing up. Or even “put the remote down and listen to me will you”! The response to which is not “in a pig’s ear” Best usually to ask one’s partner to repeat the question, just for clarification you understand. My wife calls it the passing train syndrome. “Can you help me with this” becomes a slow, rising murmur, getting louder and louder, then receding into the distance as the moment passes. The Doppler Effect in effect.
Now, take my wife (please!). Last year she called to say (cue for a song) come quickly, there’s a man selling frozen lobsters 10 for at $30, yes honestly. I quickly did the math. And pray tell, what is it about the American language that insists on the singular mathematics? What the hell is “math”? What, so there’s only one sum in math, nothing else, no division, multiplication? I don’t think so. So, this chap had set up his pickup truck by the curb, kerb, no sorry, sidewalk, with a sign selling boxes of said lobsters, other frozen shellfish, lamb, steaks and assorted cuts at a discount. I know, I know, that was my first reaction, what are you smoking, this can’t possibly be real. She was so excited that off she trots to the nearest ATM to get the required cash. I arrive; we look at the opened boxes, all very nice but are they all kosher I wonder? No, no, not because we’re Jewish or anything, but, well, you know. We’ll take a box of the lobsters, she says, he says that’ll be $130. Yes, that’s $130 not $30. Hello? The next day she had her ears blast cleaned!
Which reminds me of the time my father was contacted to schedule a urine test. Much surprised he denied needing one, well you would wouldn’t you. Upon clarification it was the medical office asking him to come in for a hearing test…well, they do sound alike don’t they, hearing and urine?