Dear Annie: I have a wonderful daughter-in-law who is the stepmother to my two granddaughters, ages 8 and 9. My son has had custody of his little girls since they were toddlers, and “Jeanette” has been a real mother to them. She has done a good job teaching them responsibility and how to behave like young ladies. However, I am concerned that she expects too much.
The girls wash dishes, clean rooms in the house and do their own laundry — including their bed linens. I know things have changed since I raised my son back in the ’80s, but do you think it is right to make kids this age responsible for their own laundry? Jeanette does not work outside the home and has time to do this. Am I just old-fashioned? Should I say something or keep my mouth shut? — Concerned Gram
Dear Gram: Although most children probably don’t wash their own linens at the age of 8 or 9, there is no reason they cannot be taught to do so. If done properly, operating a washing machine and dryer is neither difficult nor dangerous, and the ability to handle their own laundry will give those girls a sense of accomplishment and independence. Say nothing, Gram.
Dear Annie: I want to respond to “Lady Lake in Florida,” the wife whose hard-of-hearing husband plays the TV so loud it drives her crazy. My father gets vertigo easily and does not like to wear hearing aids or headphones. In his case, a wonderful solution is a speaker box that brings the sound directly to where he is seated without disturbing others in the room.
More information (and occasionally free products and services) can be found through her state’s Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Current technology is amazing. Why not take advantage of all the possibilities? — Loretta
Dear Loretta: Thank you for the suggestions. Our readers had a lot to offer on this subject:
From the Midwest: My hearing aid works for everything except the TV. I have a sound transmitter and wireless earphones, but you have to cut off the normal sound to use them. Our solution is two TVs in different rooms.
Nova Scotia: Not all brands of wireless TV headphones work equally well. The ones I now use came from my hearing aid dispenser and are far superior to the ones from a national electronics store. They are twice the price, but the performance is twice as good.
Albuquerque, N.M.: There is a support group for people with hearing loss. It is Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814 (hearingloss.org).
Las Vegas: Wireless headphones are not as good as closed-captioning. The captioning has the added benefit of making my grandkids better and faster readers.
Alta Loma, Calif.: Using hearing aids can be a lot like trying to tune in a station on a radio by simply turning up the volume — it doesn’t make things clearer, it only makes the white noise louder.
Crestline, Calif.: I am 21 years old and profoundly deaf in one ear. I wear a hearing aid, and it works quite well. He should schedule an appointment with an audiologist who will tune the hearing aids so they are less tinny.
Massachusetts: Captioned Media Program (cfv.org) provides a free-loan media program of over 4,000 open-captioned titles (videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs). InSight Cinema (www.insightcinema.org) is a non-profit organization that brings captioned movies to theaters in over 500 cities.
Michigan: I, too, parked two expensive new hearing aids in a drawer. Wearing them made me dizzy and sick to my stomach. Some people cannot tolerate both ears being suddenly plugged up with artificial sound. Besides, if we had six ears instead of two, guess how many aids would be prescribed.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.