When it comes to hearing issues, misunderstanding is often in the ear of the beholder.
That's what I like to think, the older I get. And that would be fine if beholders stopped insisting the problem is the other way around.
It can be hard hearing you have a hearing problem. Particularly if you're deaf to the suggestion.
Which reminds me of a joke I heard recently, or maybe I read it, given the accusations flying round lately?
A person is worried about their partner's apparent hearing loss, so they go to the doctor who advises a strategy.
"When your partner's in the kitchen, and you're in another room, ask what's for dinner," the doctor advises.
"Each time you don't get an answer, move a little closer and ask again."
So the person duly follows instructions, three times, to no avail.
Eventually the concerned partner is standing right next to their forlorn companion in the kitchen, and they ask again in a caring manner, "what's for dinner?"
"For the fourth time," comes the slightly annoyed reply. "Chicken!"
It's a bit of a Sixth Sense scenario, as in "I see deaf people". And telling that deaf person "we need to talk" poses obvious challenges. Unless done in sign language.
Lucky hearing tests are freely available at most shopping centres these days.
They enable paid professionals to resolve stuff loved ones at home don't want to hear anymore. Or possibly can't.
Least that's what you try and communicate to your new best friend, the audiologist, as he pops the headphones on.
And as they do you think to yourself this alleged inability to hear may simply be a failure to pay attention, because there's a difference between hearing and listening.
And this can impact heavily on that other big issue with hearing loss, obeying.
Legend has it Mary only asked Jesus to turn water into wine after realising it would be too big a miracle to fix her husband's selective hearing.
A modern take on the concept runs a bit like this: "You need to clean the house." To which you reply: "Sure, let me grab a beer."
Proving who's got the hearing problem can be a lifetime's work, and sometimes it's easier not to bother. Consider that classic happy-go-lucky trio who go for a walk.
One says "it's windy today". The second says "no it's Thursday". The third says "so am I, let's get a drink".
And in this way we come to understand our world, and how possibly state and federal governments roll out their response to COVID.
Meanwhile, the audiologist comes to understand what sounds I can identify.
The machine seemed quite sensitive and I hoped it couldn't pick up when I was guessing. To my satisfaction, when finished I was told I had the hearing of a normal middle-aged man.
That sounded like good news to me but wasn't greeted with any great optimism when I got home.