“Do you hear that?” In our family, we have a hearing problem. It is genetic. My grandmother, mother, both aunts and my brother all needed hearing aids. It is not from loud noise, although for me teaching middle school and high school for 30 years probably did contribute to it. (Have you ever ridden on a bus for a school field trip? My husband did it once, and he said that was worse than listening to a jet engine warm up. He is sure the field trip is what took his hearing.) Actually, Bill flew jets for 33 years, so he did have work related hearing difficulties.

My problem started a few years ago when I kept the volume up on the television. I like to watch British mysteries and I use closed captions. Hey, they really believe they are speaking English. However, when I watched a telenovela called, “Gran Hotel,” with all the trials and tribulations of any soap opera, it was in Spanish. I still had the volume up. So, no matter what shape the show is in, I have trouble. I highly recommend the show, the setting was beautiful, the writing good and the actors to-die-for gorgeous.

Back to hearing.

I recently had a physical, and the end results were good except for my hearing. After getting a recommendation to get a test, I wound up at Costco on Eubank. They have a hearing center and all the bells and whistles to do it. (Did you get the bells and whistles joke? Ta-da! OK.) They have a form for you to fill out and part of it is easy, name, address, phone.

Then comes the hard part: “When did you notice your hearing being a problem?” “Do you ask people to repeat themselves?” “Do you have trouble understanding what people say over the phone?” “Do you strain to read people’s faces and lip read?” “Do you not participate in conversations?”

My hearing loss never stopped me from talking. “Do you become irritated with people when you can’t understand them?” My answers were yes.

Since Bill and I both have hearing difficulties, the bottom question of irritation is probably a 10.

“Did you really say you wanted to bathe the cat in the tub?”

“No, I said I wanted to give the sink a good scrub!”

“What did you say?”

“I didn’t.”

“After 47 years do you think I am crazy?” I am not repeating the reply to that question.

Let me do say that the test was completely free, and you are not pressured to buy. Noelle Fowler did my test. From talking to her and giving my medical history, I found out her mother, a physical therapist, helped me five years ago at Lovelace. She was very thorough. The thing you might not know, which they explained to my brother at the Veterans Hospital, is you must have your ears cleaned out so the test can be done. The test counts on being able to send a signal to the ear drum and if it is blocked by ear wax, it can’t be done. If you use ear plugs for shooting, if you listen to music all day and push those buds into that ear canal; you are helping the wax to press on the eardrum. Sometimes if the nurse or doctor cleans your ears, you get some of your hearing back. It is a simple process—my brother Arch said they use a little teeny-tiny vacuum cleaner.

Noelle’s partner Jeffrey Pagodor explained we all clean the outside, but you must be careful what you put inside. Don’t use a bobby pin or a chopstick or a table knife. I tried them all and it doesn’t work. Be careful with cue tips even if you have Micky Mouse ears. Roaring Mouse, listening carefully, out.