February 3, 2017

Lip Reading

I’ve suddenly discovered that I’ve become dependent on reading lips.

I’ve worn hearing aids for years; I have what basically amounts to arthritis of the ears, and believe me, it’s better than arthritis in your knees or carpal tunnel or whatever. But I don’t hear terrifically well.

So last Saturday I was in Logan Airport’s International Terminal, talking to a reporter, and she wanted to do a standup with her iPhone. She asked if I wanted to use my name, and was surprised when I said “sure”.

So, it’s a big noisy room with lots of echoes – a really challenging environment, but I was coping fine until she starts with the video. To get a good angle, naturally, she holds the camera in front of her face. Suddenly, I can’t hear a word she’s saying. Literally: I cannot make anything out.

Now, when the pitcher and the catcher are talking on the mound, I don’t have a clue. When Tom Brady is talking on the field, I have no idea what he’s saying, unless (of course) he’s saying “Fuck!” which he says a lot, but everyone knows that one. But it seems that, day to day, I’ve been learning.

Kind of alarming.