Tee hee. I have to share two hearing loss related anecdotes from the reference desk.
On my shift today a woman came up to me and complained about another patron talking loudly on a cell phone. Hmm. Okay. I got up from my chair and walked back to the public computer area looking around for the offender. I could see that another person was annoyed about it as well.
"Which person is it?" I asked after not spotting an obvious culprit. The complainer looked at me incredulously. "She's right there by the copier! Can't you hear her?" "No," I admitted, "I'm hard of hearing." Understanding dawned on her face - as if she was thinking no wonder the librarian isn't upset by this rude person.
I was in an awkward spot. It's difficult for me to access whether or not a person is being disruptively noisy. Although in this case having two people complain should qualify. Of course, the patron pointed out to me was one of our more sensitive regulars. I would have to be careful of myself here. I went over and touched her arm gently and said in a quiet voice, "We don't allow cell phone conversations in here." Then I walked away.
Fortunately on my way back to the desk I got grabbed by another person in need of assistance with a scanner so I had a legitimate reason for not sticking around to see if she ended her conversation or not. Noise enforcement is not my forte! While I was helping this person, the cell phone lady came by, touched my hand, and said sweetly, "I'm sorry. I forgot the rule." Phew, glad that played out the way it did.
My other funny story happened on a different day. My colleague was talking on the phone to someone with quite an unusual reference research question. In disbelief, she handed the phone to me saying, "See if I heard that right." Ha, no one ever says that to me! I listened and yes the request was definitely unique. I had no problem passing it on to one of our subject specialists to handle.