The experts tell us that, at the end of life, hearing tends to be the last of our senses to go. But at mid-life, it’s often one of the first to wane.
This age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis (toss that word out at your next cocktail party). As we age, structures inside our ears start to change and their ability to function declines (all those loud rock-and-roll concerts and cranked-up stereo speakers didn’t help us baby boomers, either). As a result, we start having trouble hearing high-frequency sounds, understanding someone when there’s background noise, or telling apart certain sounds.
We all know what happens next. The television volume gets cranked up. We start watching people’s lips when they talk. You rely on a spouse or companion to “translate” what others are saying. And conversations can be both frustrating and hilarious. For example:
An online acquaintance recently wrote about how she heard “phone” when her husband said he’d misplaced his (mustache) comb, and she offered to call it so the ringtone would help him track it down.
One evening a few months ago, my husband and I were watching a Netflix movie when I announced that I had to go to the bathroom – a cue for him to pause what we were watching (since he, of course, controls the remote). His reaction was, “Why do you have to do that now?” I rather snippily replied, “Because my bladder’s full, that’s why.” Then he got it. Turns out, he thought I’d said “I have to go vacuum” and was totally puzzled as to why I felt the need to do so in the middle of a movie.
But maybe the best misunderstanding we’ve had from mishearing happened in the boudoir, and went like this:
When we awoke one weekday morning before my husband retired (and we were still relative newlyweds), I suggested we have a fast amorous encounter – a quickie – before he had to get out of bed and off to work. He misheard me, however, and fastidious Felix Unger-like, had a most interesting response, inspiring this haiku:
I offered “quickie;”
He heard “cookie” and asked me
“Why get crumbs in bed?”
Which just goes to show you, fellow boomers – hearing loss can affect your sex life. So listen up!
What’s the most memorable misunderstanding you’ve had from mishearing? Please share…