20 OCTOBER 2001, Page 87

Q. In solving a problem presented to one of your

correspondents by a deaf, retired psychologist (A.F., Your problems solved, 22 September), you have created another for me: what to do when one is pilloried — and crassly misunderstood — in your column? When I appear to have lost one or both of my hearing-aids, have let batteries run out, or in any other way am disbarred from meaningful conversation, why oh why does not A.F. and everyone else grasp that I do not wish for conversation at that time, however gabby I might be, to avoid seeming rude? I have always thought that message to be obvious to the meanest intelligence. Apparently not, and not even to you. Please correct your answer to A.F. or publish this letter, and perhaps at last I can get some peace.

H.K., St Leger sous Bouvray, France A. Thank you for setting the record straight.