DEAR ABBY: I had to comment on the letter from "R.H.G.," whose mother refuses to wear a hearing aid because she thinks it will make her "old." If she tries one matter-of-factly and refuses to let it change her lifestyle, hardly anyone will even notice it.
I am a male who lost my hearing at age 5, and got my first hearing aid, a clunky body-worn thing, at age 13. My parents were positive that I was frail and weak, so school was all academics and no athletics until I left home for college and started making up for lost time. Of course, I couldn't wear the hearing aid while playing basketball or wrestling, but my teammates and partners had no problem with speaking louder when necessary.
I have been coaching high school and youth league wrestling teams for the last 20 years. My current hearing aid is a behind-the-ear model that I take off and put back on several times at every practice, yet even some of the wrestlers with whom I have worked the most closely have failed to notice the aid for years until I happened to mention it.
"R.H.G.'s" mother could style her hair to conceal a hearing aid, but the best and most effective "cover-up" she can use will be to lead an active life and treat the hearing aid like any other routine item of clothing. -- NAMELESS, PLEASE
DEAR NAMELESS: In this case, the woman's attitude impairment is more disabling than her hearing impairment. I hope she sees your letter.
DEAR ABBY: I know that you have touched on my problem in your column a number of times, but someone wrote an excellent letter you printed, suggesting to family and friends around Thanksgiving that they wished to eliminate gift-giving for the upcoming holidays.
Would you please run that letter again? It would be helpful if I could reread that letter and your response.
Please do not print my name. -- LONGTIME READER
DEAR LONGTIME READER: Here it is, with pleasure:
DEAR ABBY: I think it was about this time last year that you ran a suggested letter for those who wished to discontinue giving Christmas gifts to friends whom you felt sure would appreciate being removed from their gift-giving list.
I failed to cut it out, and now find that I need to let some friends know that we both probably would appreciate not having to go through the gift-giving procedure simply because we've been doing it for years. Thank you again. -- ANONYMOUS, BUT ONE OF MANY
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Be absolutely up-front with your friends. Around Thanksgiving, write them a short note saying that you are counting your blessings -- and among them are friends with whom you can be completely honest. Then suggest: "From now on, let us exchange only Christmas cards -- no gifts." I assure you they will not be offended.
DEAR ABBY: My husband recently asked me not to wear high-heeled shoes when we are together -- at church, for example.
This did not come as a total surprise to me because in the past he has persuaded me to wear flats. He is 5 foot 7 and I am 5 foot 5 1/2, so when I wear heels, we are about equal in height.
My question: What is the real issue here? Is he insecure? Or is it an "ego" thing? -- MISSOURI MRS.
DEAR MISSOURI MRS.: As I size it up, it doesn't really matter why your husband prefers that you wear flats when you are with him.
If I were in your shoes, I would accommodate my husband without making an issue of it.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600