DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have started wearing a hearing aid, which has raised some new etiquette challenges. I use an app on my phone to control the way the hearing aid processes sound -- for example, adjusting for loud environments or traffic noises.
Talking to others almost always involves changing the settings on my phone. With friends, I usually tell them what I'm doing, but what about in a meeting, when there are, say, eight people in the room?
I don't want to look like one of those people who are checking email when they should be listening, but I need to use the phone to adjust the hearing aid at the start of the meeting. Can I just do this as quickly as possible and put the phone away, or do I need to explain what I'm up to?
GENTLE READER: Be careful about chastising that rude person checking email, as he will angrily tell you that he is waiting for important test results, or news about a dying loved one, or is comforting a depressed friend. Everyone has a medical excuse for everything.
You differ both in having a legitimate one and, of equal interest to Miss Manners, still being concerned that you are not being rude to others. Make your adjustment as the meeting begins -- without explanation -- and then quickly and deliberately put away the phone. Everyone will think, incorrectly, that you were doing the politest thing of all: turning it off so that you can pay attention to the speaker.