hearing loss

Life with Harry’s Hearing Loss

Harry is 62 and has been married to his college sweetheart, Sue, for almost 40 years. Sue knows that Harry doesn’t hear as well as he used to, but she’s not sure what to do about it. Every time she brings it up he has an excuse, such as “Kids these days all mumble.” Sue wants to be supportive, but she’s starting to resent having to negotiate her life around Harry’s hearing problems. Here’s how a typical day with Harry goes.


Sue and Harry have a cup of coffee together before heading to their respective jobs.

Sue:  Remember, I’ll be home a little late tonight.

Harry:  What are you bringing home tonight? Pizza? Make it pepperoni.

Sue:  No, Harry. (Raises voice) I said I’ll be home a little late tonight. I have dinner plans with Janet and Sarah. Remember, I told you when I made them last week.

Harry:  You never told me that. But fine.

Sue:  But I did on Friday when we …never mind. I thought you heard me.

As Sue washes their coffee mugs in the sink, Harry is half out the door.

Sue:  Don’t forget it’s trash day!

Harry:  Huh? Oh, you have a good day, too.

Sue:  Did you hear what I said?

Harry closes the door. A few moments later, Sue hears his car pull out of the garage. She sighs, goes outside, and drags the trash can to the curb.


Sue gets an email from her friends saying they need to postpone their dinner plans until Thursday. Sue calls Harry to make sure she’s free that night.

Sue:  So the girls would like to reschedule our dinner tonight, because Janet has to work late. Did you and I have anything planned for Thursday?

Harry:  Can you talk into the phone more? I can hardly hear you.

Sue (pressing her lips to the mouthpiece and raising her voice): Is that better?

Harry:  Good enough. What was that about being thirsty?

Sue:  No, not… do you and I have any plans for Thursday night? My dinner tonight was postponed.

Harry:  I’m sorry, hon, people are talking behind me. I only caught ‘plants’ and ‘postman’.

Sue spots co-workers in neighboring cubicles giving her irritated looks.

Sue (Cupping her hand around her mouth):  I’ll just send you an email. Bye, Harry.


Thanks to Sue’s email, Harry knows she was disappointed to have her dinner plans canceled, so he decides to take her out to their favorite bistro. The restaurant is crowded tonight, with at least one table filled with people talking and laughing loudly.

Server:  Welcome to Bistro 365. Would you like to start with a drink?

Sue:  I’d love a gin and tonic. (Looks at Harry who stares back). Harry, what would you like to drink?

Harry:  A drink? I’ll have a vodka and tonic.

Server (smiles and nods): I’ll get those right away.

Sue and Harry catch up on their days. After about ten minutes of all but shouting to Harry over the noisy crowd, Sue is relieved to see the server show up with their drinks.

Server:  Here you go. Are you ready to order?

Harry (to Sue): What?

Sue:  Do you know what you want for dinner?

Harry:  The meatloaf.