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Gill has suffered, for some years, with poor hearing.  It used to annoy me no end to call  her from one room in the house to another, only to have her scream, “Eh, Ma? What did you say? I’m deaf!” I always assumed she was just being annoying, using  the same kind of ‘selective hearing’ my own father used.

But things finally came to a head last summer when she really couldn’t hear much at all. I’m sure that, when I asked her about it previously, she had hypothesized that the steroids she took for a while for her arthritis caused the deafness. She claims now, of course, that she said nothing of the sort. But I ask you, dear readers, how would I have come up with such an outrageous, far-fetched idea on my own? I know nothing about steroids and it isn’t something I would have associated with deafness. She will, I know, refute this in her blog, but I stand my ground. And it really doesn’t matter what the cause, at this point,(I cite Hillary Clinton’s famous comment about Bengazi), it is a fact. Gill is deaf as a doornail.

She did also concede that all the rock concerts she attended as a teen might have contributed to her deafness. That I can understand. Why, just last week, I went with friends (none of us younger than 65) to a local rock performance by Kiefer Sutherland and his band. The audience included a wide range  of ages — including one old guy who was a ringer for Bernie Sanders!) We had a great view right beside the ginormous speakers. The floor was vibrating and by the end of the evening, I couldn’t hear myself speak. The sensationa cleared shortly after, but given all the rock music Gill listened to, I can imagine that accounts for a lot of her hearing loss.

Being far-sighted, she applied to the NHS to get hearing aids pre-Brext. Fearing the worst, as has now happened, she thought the health budget might be cut back and she’d be left gesturing wildly in her office, unable to hear the conversations. She already couldn’t hear her family, but apparently she deemed that an acceptable loss. She may be right.

Last week she received the hearing aids. We all know the sayings ‘there is no free lunch’ and ‘you get what you pay for’, so it should surprise nobody that the aids she was given aren’t top of the line. They will take some getting used to. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that her grandmother’s hearing aids (that were top of the line in their time) didn’t do much for her…besides give her something to do with her time since the batteries required changing almost as often as her underwear. They kept her busy.

I still feel certain that, even when Gill does become accustomed to wearing them, they won’t hold a candle to my visiting puppy Hershey’s hearing. Now I’m glad the puppy can hear exceptionally well. It means I can be confident that she hears my orders. “Stay” I say.  “Sit,” I command. “Not for Hershey’ I offer authoritatively. Mind, I didn’t say she obeyed the commands; she just heard them. How she interprets the commands are anybody’s guess.

Why, on Canada Day evening, she impressed me no end with her impeccable hearing. I stayed up a bit later than usual to make sure the fireworks had settled down. I certainly couldn’t sleep until the booming was over. Hershey felt it necessary to tell me that there were strange bangs and a potentially dangerous booming in the distance. She barked…and barked…and barked. I wasn’t surprised since every dog I’ve ever had hates fireworks and thunder.

We went to bed and slept — until, as Gill says, some ‘bright spark’ (no pun intended) began setting off more fireworks at 1 a.m. Again, Hershey felt she had to protect me from the bangs. She barked. At 3 a.m., a person had the temerity to walk on the sidewalk in front of my house. Again, she bolted upright and barked–just in case I hadn’t heard the footsteps and was oblivious to the imminent threat. At 5 a.m., the water softener clicked on and she heard it, from two floors below us…and barked.

Since Gill’s hearing aids may not be quite up to snuff, I’m considering inviting Hershey to have sleepovers when my daughter  is here this summer. She could act as Gill’s hearing aid dog, protecting us both from the peril that lurks everywhere.

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