Ann Rickard’sSnapshots of life
Ann Rickard’sSnapshots of life

OPINION: A $13,000 hearing aid! I just shout louder...

ONE of the myriad annoying afflictions many people experience upon entering their autumn years, is loss of hearing.

My hearing is still good - dare I say excellent - despite my autumn years nudging into the winter season. The same can't be said for my old husband of 47 years.

Along with hair and an alarming number of teeth, much of his hearing has departed the building.

He inquired about a hearing aid, but when he told me a proper aid, no second-hand cheapie from the internet, would cost $13,000, my shriek of dismay almost destroyed what was left of the diminished hearing.

"I could have a round-the-world-cruise for that price," I screamed into his good ear. "You are so not getting a $13,000 hearing aid."

Seeing as we'd just spent $12,000 to repair two of his side teeth, he shut up quickly and there has been no more mention of a hearing aid since.

(I just shout at him louder - every bit as effective as a $13,000 device.)

But here's an interesting side to the hearing scenario.

Despite my own excellent hearing (and full head of hair and gleaming set of teeth), I need the assistance of captions for movies and television shows.

This is because I can't understand the accents and mumblings of so many actors in an increasing number of movies and television programs.

I sat riveted in the packed movie theatre watching The Revenant last week without understanding a single word the bad guy said.

The hero, Leonardo DiCaprio, didn't say more than two sentences during the entire movie, so that was a relief.

His terrible cries of agony and dreadful grunts and excruciating moans were easy to follow.

But the villain, the bloke who left Leonardo for dead in the snow after the bear attack, mumbled into his beard in the strong accent of a Montana fur trapping frontiersman, and I just had to assume he was talking bad stuff.

In the dark and tense silence of the movie theatre I couldn't very well shout in the husband's good ear to ask him if he understood the bad guy so I had to leave the movie theatre guessing.

There is so much dialogue I have missed at the movies and on television because of accents.

It was only recently I discovered the caption set-up on rented movies and I must say this has enhanced my viewing pleasure no end.

I watched the complete series of Boardwalk Empire before this enlightening discovery and had to guess what most of the actors were saying, especially the Irish ones.

Some BBC shows are just as hard. I loved the drama Happy Valley set in Yorkshire but had to lean forward in the chair and strain to catch most of the dialogue with the strong northern English accents.

In telling you this sorry tale of hearing loss I realise I have revealed my television viewing habits, and they don't exactly make for a cultured mix...gangsters, talking donkeys?...but what can I say? Now I have discovered captioned television, the mix is set to become even more eclectic.

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