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I suppose one of the most famous episodes of Seinfeld is the “Puffy Shirt”.

The puffy shirt

During the course of the show, for the two of you who’ve not seen it, Seinfeld unwittingly agrees to wear a puffy shirt on TV simply because he can’t hear the person talking, and doesn’t know to what he’s agreed.  Seems the person is a low talker.

Recently, and not so recently, I’ve been accused of being a low talker.

I can hear me just fine.

And the thing is, I feel like I’m yelling all the time. When I talk, sound reverberates all through my head, bouncing from one side to the other, increasing in volume until I catch myself lowering my voice lest I come across as irate, yelling, or just plain LOUD!

I generally try to keep the conversation volume at a civil tone, distinct, and I enunciate as clearly as I can, but, still, some people just can’t hear me.

Maybe their deaf?

Maybe they could use one of these…

ear horn

…an ear trumpet.

Ear trumpets date back to the 17th century.  The earliest mention of one is by a Jesuit Priest and mathematician in 1650.

They became increasingly popular in the 18th century, and there were some early models made by Reynolds, Townsend, and a few others.

Commercial production kicked into high gear about 1800. Frederick C. Rein, an innovator in devices for my good friend Jan the hearing impaired, created trumpets, fans, and speaking tubes.  All portable and all useful, they caught on.

Ear trumpets

As, Alexandra, Edward VII’s beautiful Queen, grew increasingly deaf, she resorted to an ear trumpet, they became “en vogue”, and people who didn’t need them started carrying them around.

Queen Alexandra

Well, we wouldn’t want to piss the queen off, now would we?

So, if you can’t hear me, and I’m typing as loudly as I can, just tell me to speak UP.

I will.

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