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HELP FOR HARD OF HEARING ONLY A PHONE CALL AWAY

SHARE HELP FOR HARD OF HEARING ONLY A PHONE CALL AWAY

Dear Abby: In a recent column, you had a letter from Richard Zyman of New Jersey requesting consideration for older people with a hearing loss.

Your reply pointed out that hearing loss affects not only "older" people; more than 24 million people in this country have a hearing loss. Two million are deaf, and 22 million have varying degrees of hearing impairment.You should have told Mr. Zyman to check with his local telephone company. Chances are they have telephones with a volume control - which would improve his chances of understanding callers.

Finally, it would have been a public service to refer your readers to Self Help for Hard of Hearing People Inc. (SHHH), 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814. A self-addressed, stamped (52 cents) envelope is required. The organization keeps people up-to-date on the latest products, issues such as ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), and what people with hearing loss can do to help themselves (in addition to writing to Dear Abby).

There are many services and products available for people with hearing loss, about which many people are unaware. I discovered this the hard way when I had a sudden hearing loss at age 50. I'd rather have people know I have a hearing problem than have them think I'm stupid when I make an off-the-wall reply because I misunderstood what was said.

Thank you for supporting those of us with disabilities.

- Mel McGuire,

Irving, Texas

Dear Mel McGuire: I hear you - loud and clear. Many of my readers will appreciate your helpful input.

Dear Abby: It's time for schoolchildren to be free for the summer. That means they'll be getting their annual yearbooks.

My son came home last year with some X-rated comments written in his yearbook. His father and I are so proud of his accomplishments and the great photos - and some of the lovely sentiments expressed by his classmates - but those off-color jokes, cursing and wisecracks ruined his book.

Abby, please remind kids to be careful what they write in their classmates' yearbooks. These books should be a treasury of memories for the student to enjoy for years to come.

- Savannah Parents

Dear Parents: Thanks for the timely reminder. I hope the students will remember your wise warning when they are asked to sign a classmate's yearbook.

Dear Abby: Your column about snooping in medicine cabinets brought to mind something that happened in our home.

About four years ago, my husband and I became the owners of a very obnoxious, light-activated, battery-operated pig. We kept it in the refrigerator as a joke. For months, every time someone opened the refrigerator door, sounds of "oink, oink" came from the refrigerator.

One day, just before company arrived, I stashed the pig in a drawer in the powder room next to the kitchen. You guessed it! A male guest opened the drawer, and sounds of "oink, oink" could be heard. He never said one word about it - and neither did we. Of course, he should not have been snooping in our drawers, but the episode has given our family many laughs.

- Karen in Glendale, Calif.