Dear Blake,

After living with my husband’s gradual hearing loss for several years and his refusal to get hearing aids, I finally asked him to get them as a birthday gift to me. He agreed, and I expected that he would wear them once he got them. When he does, it greatly improves his hearing. Instances of my having to repeat myself diminish noticeably. But he seldom wears them when he’s at home with me.

I mentioned to him several times how important it was to me, then gave up. I managed to deal with it until the pandemic forced us to stay home so much of the time. I brought it up again recently, referencing the stay-at-home order and how much I would appreciate his wearing them, but he still wears them only occasionally.

I feel disrespected because he isn’t willing to do this small thing to make both our lives easier during this period of confinement. How do you suggest I explain this to him so he “hears” me?

Signed, Marsha
From Phoenix, Arizona

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Dear Marsha,

In my opinion, it is improper and disrespectful for him to have his hearing aid turned off at home. I would urge you to put him a position where he wants to keep it on as if his life depended on it… and it might. Ok, here are some ideas. Tell him to turn his back to you, and try to guess the sound that you’re about to create. Let it be the sound of you opening up some luggage, and warn him if he doesn’t keep the hearing aid turned on, that’s the last thing he’ll hear as you pack your bags and move out. Or, since you live in a desert, tell him you saw a rattlesnake slither into the house, and hopefully he’ll hear the dangerous creature’s warning before injecting its lethal venom. And this idea might work. Insist that he keeps his hearing aid off after letting him see some brochures for upgrading his life insurance policy, that’s laying next to a manual on how to make a silencer. And finally, ask him if he can hear the smoke alarms when his hearing aid is turned off, and then ask him if he knew the approximate temperature for a do-it-yourself cremation. I hope this helps.