Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Ralph” for 30 years. His hearing has gotten worse, and the TV is so loud that I end up with a headache every night. I have told him this, but he says I’m exaggerating. Yet, in the summer when the windows are open, we have had complaints from the neighbors.
Every mention of his hearing ends in a fight. He gets defensive, says he’s being picked on and generally acts like a 5-year-old. Our 23-year-old daughter is in the process of relocating, and instead of staying with us, she prefers to sleep on a friend’s sofa. Ralph is up late every night watching TV. I use earplugs, but our daughter can’t use them or she won’t hear her alarm. We even bought him a cordless headphone set for the TV, but he tried it twice and stopped.
Even the suggestion of hearing aids sends him into a frenzy of denial. He reads your column. Maybe he’ll see himself. – Stressed Out from Loud TV
Dear Stressed: Many people are in denial about their hearing loss. It makes them feel old and unhealthy. But it is a common problem – even rock stars have it – and refusing to address it won’t make it go away. You might tell Ralph that the longer he waits to deal with his hearing issues the harder it will be to adjust and the more isolated he will become (and the more irritated you will be). If you would provoke an argument by suggesting he check out the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association ( asha.org) or the Hearing Loss Association of America ( hearingloss.org), leave the information on a piece of paper taped to the TV.