The last few days I've developed a new tactic. Instead of saying "pardon" all the time (like 230 times a day), I repeat to the person what I think they have just said to me. Usually it's something so far from what they actually said it gets a laugh and then they repeat themselves without me having to ask them to. This worked well last night, while I attended two parties, a 50th and a 40th. I knew people at both parties so they just laughed when I repeated silly things I thought they said. I'd give you an example but I didn't really understand what they actually said in the first place, even after they repeated it, but it still broke the mood and got a laugh and that's what parties are all about. I may have a new life as a deaf comedian, at least I wouldn't hear if I was heckled!!