Would you mind repeating that?


During a recent email exchange with a old friend and colleague who is even older than me, the discussion turned, inevitably, to deaf aids.

I explained that my hearing was slowly deteriorating to the extent that I was considering the purchase of such a device. The type of model I favoured, I explained, was a sturdy black box which hung round the neck connected to a pair of large headphones. At my age (65 next week, I'm OK for socks, thanks) one leaves nothing to chance.

My chum, replied with this little vignette:

One of my duties as a very junior reporter on the Evening News/Hampshire Telegraph, Portsmouth, was to take copy from district correspondents, one of whom, a Mr Tully, wore just such a hearing aid as you excellently describe. 

One press day I took a call from Mr Tully who wished to file “a couple of pars” from Droxford Council for the weekly. “But you’ll have to speak up,” he said, “because my deaf aid’s gone wrong.”

Me: “OK Mr Tully. Hang on a sec while I find a typewriter.”

As it happened all were in use in the reporters’ room so I had to take the call from the sports desk in another part of the building. 

I sat myself down, inserted copy-paper in the typewriter, got the headphones on, put the jack-plug in its socket, and told the switchboard girl to transfer the call – just in time to hear Mr Tully say: “That’s all for now old chap. I’ll be back with more later.”

This tale brings to mind the following gag:

Fred feared his wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.

Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem.

The doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the GP a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here's what you do," said the doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and Fred is in the sitting room. He says to himself, 

"I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

Then in a normal tone he asks, "What's for dinner, old thing?"

No response...

So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "What's for dinner, my sweet?"

Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, "What's for dinner, dear?"

Again no response.

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away... "What's for dinner?"

Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her... "What's for dinner?"


And finally...

Two blokes in the pub:

‘I bought an expensive deaf aid the other day.’

‘Oh yes? What kind is it?’

‘Half-past twelve.'

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre