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Tracy Beckerman: Honey, can you hear me now?

Tracy Beckerman
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The Daily Herald

“What did you say?” said my husband. “You think I need to get my meerkat net?”

“No. I said, ‘I think you need to get your hearing checked!’” I sighed.

“My hearing is fine,” he argued. “You were mumbling.”

I shook my head. I am not a mumbler. Nor am I a soft-talker or a dog-whisperer. If anything, I’m typically whisper-challenged ... which is why I knew the issue was my husband, not me.

“Just go to the audiologist,” I said.

“Why do I need an archeologist,” he wondered.

I just stared at him and then left the room, muttering under my breath. Now if he didn’t hear me at least there was good reason.

I, myself, had recently been diagnosed with an issue called Hidden Hearing Loss, which is really just a problem hearing conversation in a crowded room. On a side note, I also suffered from Silent Reflux and Phantom Knee Pain, so apparently, all my problems were secret ones. My husband, however, had a hard time hearing me clearly all the time. It was pretty obvious, at least to me, that there was nothing phantom about his hearing issues, although he may have had some not-so-hidden denial about it.

“I hear everything I need to hear,” he said

“So, you have Selective Hearing Loss,” I said.

“I dunno. Maybe,” he replied.

“Which means you have elected not to hear me,” I said.

He shrugged. “I probably can’t hear my mother, either.”

Eventually he went to get his hearing checked just to prove me wrong, and was surprised when the audiologist gave him her diagnosis.

“You have ‘Spousal Hearing Loss,’” she said confidently.

“What does that mean?” we asked.

“You are tuning out the frequencies of your wife’s speech,” she said to my husband.

“Just me?” I wondered.

“Maybe his mother, too,” she said. Clearly, she’d been around the block a few times with this topic.

“So, this is really a thing?” I asked her.

“Not officially,” she replied. “But I do see a lot of it.”

When we got home, I wondered if my husband would be able to hear me if I spoke an octave higher or lower. I decided to try out some different frequencies when talking to him to see if my theory worked. I am typically an alto so I had a wide range of other vocal ranges I could try.

“What do you want to do about dinner?” I sang in my highest operatic soprano. My husband was in the next room, so I thought it was a good test of our theory. I wasn’t sure if he would hear me, but there was a good chance I might get a female solo in the next Met performance of La Traviata. At the very least, I knew at that pitch the dog could hear me.

“Yeah, I think you look a little thinner,” he replied when he walked into the kitchen.

So, clearly going an octave higher didn’t help.

“How about some fish,” I asked, dropping my voice down to a tenor.

“Yes, honey,” he said, coming behind me and wrapping his arms around my waist. “You are definitely a dish.”

I smiled. Maybe this hearing loss issue wasn’t such a bad thing.

You can follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyBeckerman and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage.