Renee and I have the most fantastic conversations! The problem is that neither of us can hear the other. First, a little background. Renee is a speech pathologist. When we first got married, she taught me to modulate my voice.
I used to talk very loudly. In a lecture hall of 500 students, I did not need a mic. Everyone could hear me. Ever hear the expression, “Happy, happy life?” I quickly learned to tone it down and, for many years, my wife was happy.
Flash forward to 4 years ago. Renee’s hearing got progressively worse. I had to relearn how to talk loudly. It was not an easy task, Parkinson’s naturally soften your voice and, to make matters worse, there is a fine line between talking louder and yelling.
Renee admonished me for yelling. She taught me to look her in the face when I wanted to talk to her. She taught me that if I was behind her and trying to communicate, she could not hear me. Eventually she got hearing aids and things got marginally better, but, she began to mumble as her aids amplified her own voice. The only time I could truly hear her was if she was on the phone. On the cell phone, she projects her voice over many miles. The neighbors could hear her.
Flash forward to today. My hearing is now bad. Even with hearing aids, I miss much of what she says. The funny part is that now I’m admonishing her for the same things she accused me of. Isn’t getting old fun?
Communication between spouses is so very important that we all should take care that we understand what our spouse is saying, and we follow Renee’s rules. If you or a loved one has hearing problems, talk face to face. Speak slow and verify that what you said is what they heard. Be patient with your loved one particularly since one day in the future, your hearing may be just as poor.
One of my favorite sayings is attributed to Alan Greenspan:
“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”
Think about it! If you or your spouse or loved ones are hard of hearing, take care that you verify what you think you heard. Remember, “Happy wife, Happy life!” Hearing what your spouse said and meant will lead to a happy spouse and life.