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Dear Abby: Last year, I began to lose my hearing due to a genetic disorder and now I have to wear hearing aids. I will be a freshman in high school next year. My teachers all have to wear microphones so I can hear them.

I’m scared other kids will make fun of me for being different. I have already gotten laughed at. What should I do?

– Embarrassed Teen

Dear Embarrassed Teen: When people laugh at a person who has a disability, it is usually out of ignorance. Because this happened at school or another place where there is adult supervision, you and your parents should talk to the principal or person in authority so that person can speak privately with the guilty parties and explain why your hearing aids and the microphone are necessary. Your parents should also have a meeting with the principal of your high school before you go so the problem can be avoided.

When I was in grammar school, a classmate of mine had severe hearing loss. Because the students understood what her problem was, she was never ridiculed.

P.S. Making fun of a child who has a disability is a form of bullying, and should be treated as such.

Guilt prompts holiday invites

Dear Abby: My sister and brother-in-law passed away two years ago. I am the only living relative of their 28-year-old son, “Louis.” He is a loner, spoiled and a poor houseguest. I invite Louis over only because I don’t want him to be alone at holiday times. My husband, teenage daughter and I have nothing in common with him, and frankly, he spoils our holidays.

How can I stop inviting my nephew without feeling guilty? Or is there another solution? I hate to make waves.

– Holiday Hater in Canada

Dear Holiday Hater: If you invite your nephew for FEWER holidays you will be able to ease your conscience, enjoy more holidays and allow the young man a chance to become more proactive in planning entertainment for himself.

Card on flowers is private

Dear Abby: I may be wrong, but isn’t it presumptuous for someone to open the message card on a flower delivery before you get home when the flowers are for you?

– Kimberly in Maryland

Dear Kimberly: You’re not wrong. The person opening the cards isn’t being helpful, but nosy. And it wouldn’t be out of line to tell the person not to do it again.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.