Did You Know

Before Sunrise! (What?) — I said, 'Before Sunrise' (What?) 'BEFORE SUNRISE!!'

By Paul Viau | Feb 10, 2016
Photo by: File CAROL, CAN YOU HEAR ME? — Mother nature has conspired against us, making aging couples hard of hearing.

You learn the most unusual things watching older movies — just as long as the volume is turned up loud enough. And these days, my wife and I both need “…a little more cowbell.”

So when we recently streamed the charming 1995 romantic comedy, “Before Sunrise,” we were all ears. After all, we courted in the early 1990s, so we quickly acclimated to the plot — a young, American man nearing the end of his European vacation and an attractive, young, French girl (Is there any other kind?) returning to university, meet on a train from Budapest.

The French Girl, Celine, played by Julie Delpy, is on her way to Paris to continue her studies. The American, Jesse, played by Ethan Hawke, is on his way to Vienna to catch a flight back to the U.S.

The plot heats up as Jesse persuades Celine to disembark in Vienna and keep him company until his flight in the morning. Jesse doesn’t have enough money to get a room, so the two (wannabe young lovers) wander the streets of Vienna after dark.

The rest of the movie is mostly relaxed, yet poignant dialogue. At one point, Celine sees an old married couple on the train having trouble communicating and enlightens Jesse with — Did you know? — As men grow older they tend to lose hearing first in the high end of the audible range, while older women lose hearing in the low end.

In other words, (Listen up, now!)  — As a couple grows older they gradually (but naturally) lose the ability to hear one another.

Celine summarizes this phenomenon as, “Nature’s way of keeping couples from killing one another as they grow old.”

My, Carol — As in, “Carol, (louder) CAROL, (even louder) — C-A-R-O-L!” — and I have both had our hearing evaluated by specialists at Mountain Audiology in Clyde. Among other things, I have lost the ability, to hear anything about or related to Carol’s extensive and recurring “Honey do” list.

Conversely, Carol has lost (among other things) the ability to hear anything but the first, few words of those personal stories that I have re-told hundreds, if not thousands of times over the years. She doesn’t seem to pay attention and often gestures with an emphatic eye roll.

Seriously, though, we both have hearing aids in our future — I hope our marriage (and our IRAs) will survive that.

In the meantime, having just returned from Hawaii, I can assure you that our partial hearing loss did not interfere with our adventures in the least.

My noise-cancelling headphones kept things peaceful on those long flights. The roar of the waves on Maui’s long road to Hana, rang loud and clear. The happy crowd at Maui Brewing Company’s grand, new tasting room was relatively quiet, but the clinking of glasses really resonated, complimenting the great beer.

However, while whale watching, I was unable to hear the whales give me the ‘head’s up,’ that they were going to breach. And on Kauai I couldn’t hear much of anything but peace and quiet — except the faint “Puff” of a magic dragon on the beach called Hanalei.

About now, I need to quit making light of hearing loss and remind everyone — especially folks age 60 and older. Hearing loss is a serious matter and it pays to get tested to see — I mean, ‘Hear’ — how you’re doing.

So if you’re having any difficulty hearing your spouse or anyone else, get your hearing tested.

Please don’t let this column fall on deaf ears.