During August 6th’s Republican debate, where Donald Trump’s remarks gained him disproportionate attention, Trump seemed to comment on Rand Paul’s hearing aids.
As the Times’s David Barbaro reported: “‘I don’t think you heard me,’ [Trump] scowled at Senator Rand Paul, when the lawmaker — who uses hearing aids — sought to interrupt him, then added condescendingly, ‘You’re having a hard time tonight.’ “
Rand Paul does wear hearing aids, but they’re so invisible that most people aren’t aware of them. Whether Trump was making a deliberate slur about Paul’s hearing aids, or was simply shooting his mouth off, is something we’ll probably never know. A campaign source told The Washington Examiner that Trump was unaware that Paul wears hearing aids.
If someone as prominently in the public eye as Rand Paul can wear hearing aids and not have it be an issue, so can everyone else. We should all take that lesson from Rand Paul. Get hearing aids, wear them, help make hearing loss a non-issue.
Those journalists who do know that Paul wears hearing aids treat it as simply a fact, as Barbaro did. The Wall Street Journal did the same: “Occasionally, he has trouble hearing questions; he wears hearing aids in both ears.” It doesn’t strike me that either is suggesting hearing aids affect Paul’s qualifications for President.
The occasional, perhaps unintentional, slur does slip in, as in this quote from Nicholas Wapshott on Reuters: “Nonetheless, Paul remains an odd candidate. He appears resistant to all attempts to package him or make him media friendly — which is refreshing. His television interviews are curt to the point of ill manners, even when being quizzed by the GOP mouthpiece Fox News. His hairline is a Donald Trump-like mystery. He is profoundly deaf and wears hearing aids in each ear.” Combined with ill manners and a questionable hairline, hearing loss in this instance is a deficit
Beyond that, note that Reuters refers to Paul as profoundly deaf. If you believe Politico, he “sometimes has trouble hearing.” The fact that we don’t know confirms how irrelevant this is to his qualifications for the Presidency. Given the age range of the candidates, it’s likely that several of them wear hearing aids – or at least should. The only reason Paul’s are even mentioned is because at a boyish 52, he breaks the stereotype.
Issue dismissed — as it should be for everyone who wears hearing aids.