DEAR ABBY: My wife of 25 years has an annoying habit that drives me crazy. When she starts a conversation with me, she'll speak in a very low voice and mumble without looking at me. I truly cannot hear or understand what she's saying and have to respond with, "Excuse me?" "Pardon me?" or "What?"
When I speak to her, I make sure I talk clearly and in a loud enough voice, but she always throws the same remarks back at me -- "Excuse me?" etc. She doesn't do this with anyone else. I have pointed out to her that what she is doing is annoying, disrespectful and rude, and asked her to please not do it, but she continues.
Why does she do this to me, and what can we do to change it? There's nothing wrong with her hearing. She's always telling me to turn down the TV. -- MARRIED TO A MUMBLER IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR MARRIED TO A MUMBLER: Allow me to offer a suggestion that may improve the situation: Have your hearing checked. If you can't hear your wife when she speaks softly and isn't looking directly at you, and she "always" tells you to turn down the TV, it could indicate that you are suffering from a hearing loss.