Ask Majella: Majella O'Donnell solves your problems
My husband is going deaf but won't admit it
My husband's become very hard of hearing, but is refusing to acknowledge it.
He doesn't hear me when I speak to him, he misses the doorbell ringing, and the TV and radio are blaring so loud, the neighbours can hear. He also shouts when he talks to people.
When I suggested to him that he didn't hear something, he says there is nothing wrong - he blames the doorbell being faulty and says that the phone is ringing in another room, etc.
I know friends notice and one did half-jokingly suggest once that he needed a hearing aid.
My husband prides himself on his health, which is very good, and has not been to a doctor for years.
We are both in our late 60s but I just am not sure if I should put it down to a sign that we are getting on and live with it.
Do you have any advice?
I know someone exactly like that myself! I suppose sometimes we don't want to give in to what we perceive as failings as we get older.
It's a shame really because there is no need to put up with loss of hearing if we can do something about it.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time the person concerned doesn't realise how bad their hearing is. It is a known fact - as I was told at the hearing centre - that the first to notice hearing loss is not the person themself but their family. I recently had a hearing test and I thought it was really informative.
What I didn't realise is that doing nothing about it can actually cause your hearing to get worse more quickly.
It's not your total hearing that is actually failing, it's just certain frequencies that you lose, which makes it hard to make out certain words that are said.
You say your husband prides himself on his health, which is great, but does he realise that his hearing is also part of his health and should be looked after along with his physical health, his mental health and his eyesight?
I suggest that you tell him that you are worried about his hearing because you notice a deterioration in it and, if only to put your mind at rest, ask could he please go and get a hearing test.
He has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. If he thinks his hearing is OK, and the test shows it is OK, then everybody is happy. He might be surprised how much he learns about his hearing when he goes.
My wife prefers reading magazines to sex
My wife and I are two years married and the only time we have sex is when she is really drunk. The rest of the time she tries her best to avoid situations where sex arises.
She goes to bed before me and pretends to be asleep, or else she claims she has her period, which seems to be every week now.
Once when she was drunk she admitted she thought sex was overrated and preferred to read a magazine. We are both in our early 40s and got married within 14 months of meeting. I feel very cheated now and don't know if I can remain married. We have no children, and it looks now like we never will.
J. by email
I wouldn't take that comment too personally because women say things like that all the time! However, I understand where you are coming from and of course you want to have a happy, regular sex life with your wife.
It's all part of expressing your love for one another. You say you are both in your early 40s, that you have no children and now you think you never will. Did you discuss having children with your wife before you got married? If she is in her early 40s and you both want a family, then she really needs to think about having babies now.
As with all relationships, communication is the most important thing between you. You have to be able to talk to your wife about these things so that you can better understand each other's feelings. Explain that you feel that she only wants sex with you when she has had a few drinks and that that makes you feel bad. Maybe she doesn't like sex for a reason. Maybe it's a physical reason or maybe she feels she needs drink to help her to relax. You need to tell her that you are very attracted to her and that you would like to make love more often.
Ask her how she feels about it. Maybe you could take her away for a romantic weekend where she is relaxed and you are both focused on each other. Sometimes a change of scenery can make the world of difference.
If things don't improve then maybe you should both consider going to see a sex therapist so that you can both talk about your feelings in a neutral atmosphere. Either way, you will never resolve this situation until you talk to each other.