Dear Annie: On behalf of the approximately 40 million deaf and hearing impaired in the United States and Canada, especially those who wear hearing aids, would you pass this message to the TV stations?
I love watching TV: sitcoms, news, dramas, reality shows, all of it. Being hearing impaired, I rely on closed captioning so I don't miss the story and commercials. But if the station doesn't provide closed captioning, I will change channels to find a program that does.
In the newsroom, if the producers insist on playing music while the news anchor or onsite reporter is speaking, I can't hear the story and will change channels. (Speaking of news anchors, enunciation would be appreciated. Actually, that goes for everyone on TV.)
And you advertisers? I recommend you view your commercials on mute and see how they come across. I'm still laughing at the credit card commercial that somehow ties dogs and chocolate bars together. It looks suspiciously like dog droppings. I have no idea what you're selling.
Hearing aids are wonderful, but they pick up every piece of noise, and background music becomes as loud as the dialogue. It's impossible to hear what is going on. As our population ages, there will be more hearing impaired persons. And young people aren't far behind in experiencing hearing loss.
So, TV stations and advertisers, if you want your message to get across to another 40 million customers and fans, please ensure that your audio programming can be clearly heard. Thanks. — Frustrated Viewer in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Dear Canada: We cannot tell you how many readers (even those without hearing problems) have complained that they can't hear dialogue over the background music, and that actors and news anchors don't articulate sufficiently to be understood. If programmers and advertisers realize that viewers change the channel when listening becomes difficult, perhaps they will pay more attention.
Dear Annie: "Looking for a Relationship, Too" wants to know where the men are. I'll tell you where we are. We are in hiding. We left the dating pool because there are too many sharks. We are tired of sorting out the gold diggers, scheming manipulators, entitlement princesses, Toxic Thelmas and serial divorcees from the good women who are fewer and farther between.
It is now a dangerous occupation to be a husband and father, so we no longer want long-term intimate relationships with women. — A Good Man Gone Celibate
Dear Celibate: You sound like someone who's had a bitter experience, and it soured you on all relationships. And while you probably speak for many men, we also wonder whether you are subconsciously attracted to women who come with trouble attached. It is often easier to blame the other party than examine your own issues too closely.
Dear Annie: This is for all the young people looking to go overseas and the parents who would prefer they didn't.
Our daughter was obsessed with everything Japanese: the people, culture, land, language, food. We knew she would find her way there, with or without our help, so we chose to indulge her obsession. We paid for three trips to Japan, Japanese language classes and a master's degree that allowed her to get a job there.
She now lives and works in Japan, but we have never seen her happier. Her being so far away gives a whole new meaning to "empty nest syndrome" for us, but it is worth it. — Bittersweet in S.C.
Dear Bittersweet: Your daughter has been blessed with understanding parents who could afford to help her reach her dreams. You are all fortunate indeed.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.