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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Chewing Ice at Meals Sets Wife's Teeth on Edge

DEAR ABBY: My husband has ice water with every meal. During breakfast and dinner he loudly crunches all of the ice in his glass throughout the meal.

I have asked him not to do it at the dinner table, but he thinks I'm being unreasonable. At breakfast, I usually eat in another room and wear noise reduction headphones.

I'm deaf in one ear and have only about 60 percent hearing in the other. We have been married for more than 30 years and he claims he has "always" done it and it's part of his enjoying his meal.

Am I selfish to ask that he not crunch while I'm sitting next to him? -- HATES THE CRUNCHING IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR HATES THE CRUNCHING: I reviewed your letter with an expert at the House Research Institute in Los Angeles and was told that hypersensitivity to sound can occur as a result of hearing loss. If you haven't discussed this with an ear, nose and throat specialist or an otologist, you should, because your problem may be related to your limited range of hearing.

If you wear a hearing aid, it may be amplifying the noise, which could contribute to your hypersensitivity. Also, because you find your husband's habit irritating, you may think you are hearing more noise than you actually are.

For him to persist in doing something he knows annoys you is not only insensitive, but also rude.

P.S. I'm surprised his dentist hasn't cautioned him about chewing ice because it can chip the enamel on his teeth -- or even cause a tooth to fracture.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Health & Safety | Marriage & Divorce