Marriage-related hearing loss

Sometimes the husband and I pretend we have superpowers and can hear through walls, around corners and upstairs.

Yesterday he was in the kitchen and I was in the family room and he said, “Would you like to see ‘Hank the Dirty Narcissist?’”

We have different likes and dislikes when it comes to entertainment, but this was more puzzling than usual.

“Why would I want to see a show about some guy named Hank who is a dirty narcissist?” I called back.

He walked into the family room and slowly said, “Do you want to go see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra?”


Our superpowers aren’t as super as we think. In truth, sometimes we can’t hear each other when we are in the same room.

The husband thinks we may have age-related hearing loss, but I don’t think that is the case at all. I think we have spouse-related hearing loss, which is entirely different, but equally as frustrating.

Spouse-related hearing loss begins around the 20th anniversary, picks up steam by the 25th, and is a runaway train by the 30th.

The husband surmised he should have his hearing tested and I said, “Don’t bother, I can diagnose the problem.”

“You’re not a doctor,” he said.

“No, but I play one in real life—ear infections, sore throats, strep, sinus problems, chest colds, appendicitis, asthma, flu and broken arms. I can test your hearing right here, right now.”

He just looked at me.

“No charge,” I said.

“OK, have it your way.”

A few minutes later, we are in the same room and I say, “I’d like to go see a musical I’ve been hearing about. What do you think about Wednesday evening?”

Of course, in a musical the actors periodically break into song and dance and I knew that might be a problem for him.

No answer. Nothing. The man is within arm’s reach and he cannot hear me. His problem is twofold—tonal frequency and topic.

My tone told him I was about to attempt to sell him on something, so his hearing began shutting down. At the mention of the possibility of attending a musical, his hearing turned completely off.

Had I inserted the words football, basketball or baseball in place of musical, he would not only have heard and responded, but pumped his fist in the air.

To further test the theory, I try again.

“How do thick juicy burgers on the grill sound for dinner?” I whisper in a barely audible voice.

“GREAT!” he yells. “I’ll light the grill.”

Just like that, the man is out the door and fanning flames on the grill. Excellent hearing and even better response time.

Dinner is now on the table.

“The burgers are ready and I bought tickets to the musical,” I say.

“I heard the burgers are ready,” he says. “What else did you say?”

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