Monday, April 05, 2010


My mother comes out from the kitchen and says to the room at large, "Who wants glaze on the ham?" Everyone's hand shoots up except my Grandmother who at 95 is understandably hard of hearing and fussing with her annoying hearing aid.

"What are you talking about?" she says to me as I am siting closest to her.

"Glazed ham!" I shout. She shakes her head no, she did not catch that. Now the room begins a ridiculous, yet all too familiar game of trying to get the hard of hearing person to hear you. My sister tries a little louder. "Glazed Ham!" My aunt tries, adding a bizarre hand gesture that presumably represents the drizzling of glaze on a ham. My children, lined up on the couch politely visiting with the adults are watching all of this are trying not to laugh but when Aunt Nancy adds the confusing hand gesture it is too much for them and they bust out laughing as does Jeff who is sitting with them.

"GLAZED HAM!" I shout. Grandma fusses with her hearing aid.

"It's talking to me," she says and I'm not sure what she means. Please lord, don't tell me she's hearing voices in her head. "It talks to me all the time. Tells me the batteries are going. Asks me about the settings I want."

"That's cool," I say.

She shakes her head no. "No it's not. I just want it to let me hear. Where's the button for that?"

My sister comes in from the kitchen with a note that says, "Mom wants to know if you want glaze on your ham." My grandmother reads it and registers a face that says, "Good lord is THAT all you were talking about?" She shrugs and says, "Sure."

This scene is familiar to me. As a child I was frequently in the room with an elderly relative with poor hearing. My paternal grandmother wore hearing aids for years and my great grandmother was stone deaf but wore the hearing aids in a futile attempt to hear something going on around her. I know all the tricks--speak clearly and directly. Try a different pitch rather than just talk louder. But even all of this does not always work.

My sister comments on how much this sucks. Why are hearing aids just never quite right? Unlike glasses, which seem to immediately correct the problem, I have never known anyone who popped those aids in their ears, looked around and said, "I can hear!" No, there is always the fussing and screeching and fumbling with batteries.

I already have a small amount of hearing loss--normal I assume for my age--but with the family history it is pretty much inevitable that some day I too will be staring blankly as my grandchildren shout "Glazed ham!" at me.

This will not be remotely fun for me but I hope at least it will be funny to my grandchildren. I know it is to my kids. This morning at the breakfast table I got a huge laugh from them all by just shouting, "Glazed ham!" Lilly added to the hilarity by imitating her aunt's hand gesture, the now accepted international sign for dribbling sugary syrup on a piece of pork.

Happy spring to you all. I hope you had a wonderfully glazed ham yourselves yesterday and I hope no one had to shout too much for you to hear them.


  1. Well, I would have reacted as confused as your grandmother, and I'm only 46, because I haven't the faintest idea what glazed ham is.

  2. God bless you and your family, Judy. You're lucky to have your grandmother. My grandmother had all her wits and hearing about her until she left this planet at 95. Her legs were what failed her.

  3. Glazed ham! Do I remember glazed ham? Absolutely. Also remember gram^s hearing aid! Loved this...thanks for the good chuckle and bringing back my own family memories. Pat