Happy New Year! (copyright Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Hear Music Without Words

English: View of Boulder from Bear Peak. Unive...

English: View of Boulder from Bear Peak. University of Colorado far left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Boulder Theatre in Downtown Bould...

English: The Boulder Theatre in Downtown Boulder, Colorado. Taken by myself, Jesse Varner, on 12/25/04 http://www.flickr.com/photos/molas/27585158/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I have discovered, the last one as usual, that people with ordinary hearing can’t hear song lyrics.    It means we have an advantage.  We can switch our hearing-aids up and have better hearing.  Instantly!

It doesn’t mean I hear every word, yet it’s clearer.  Here’s The Indulgers, a Celtic Irish rock band from around Boulder, Colorado.  I truly envy anyone who can see them live.

The Indulgers

I don’t know the words, which probably means that I can’t hear them.  I adore the voices, especially the way they are layered.  Numbers 9 ‘The Promise That It Holds’ and 3, ‘Molly and Me’.

Have a great week!

Debbie Jeffrey

The Indulgers




Hearing Can Have A Happy Thanksgiving

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Here’s a quick list of how to help yourself enjoy the festivities.  You’ll be under pressure with presents and festivities and meals.

1.  None of us are perfect.  If you’ve forgotten something, it doesn’t matter.  Families dine off what happened Thanksgiving ten years ago in my friend’s house when her husband insisted on doing something and then forgot.  They all sat down and fell about laughing.  She said it was the best Thanksgiving ever.

2. Sit against a wall.  It absorbs the background noise that you don’t want.

3. Tablecloths absorb noise from knives and forks.   If don’t want that, table runners help and anything soft will absorb the clatter.

4.  Do you have a listener for TV?  Take an extension plug with you if you’re going out.  TV’s have 2/3 sockets for other things like DVD, CD etc.  Take your own so that everyone else can relax.  It makes you an easy guest to be invited back!

5.Yesterday someone introduced me as ‘deaf’.  I hit the roof, non-verbally.  Okay, so I glared at him as he’s my Aston-Patterning instructor and knows it’s a hearing issue.  Okay, so sometimes I do my own thing when I’m not paying attention but he knows me.  Those who don’t, will look at me in amazement when I do look up but he’s quick to say that everyone moves differently.  Then we all grin.  Other people’s perception is a reason for that e- book coming out shortly.  The rest of the world doesn’t understand hearing so he was using a word other people relate to.   It’s up to us to tellt hem like it is.  It’s like wearing glasses.  Do tehy walk around saying they’re sight-impaired or blind?  Neither, it’s accepted and festivities are a time when you can gently explain.

6.  Likewise if you’re family, friends or partner of someone with a hearing device, look at them when you speak.   Don’t talk with your back to them and if you’re in another room and want a response, get over it.  You are talking to yourself!

7.  Lights – it’s not the Blair Witch Project.   We need to see you but it doesn’t have to be bright.

8.  People who sit against a window will have their faces in shadow.   It’s hard to lip-read but with anyone you know well, you’ll be fine.  You’re attuned to their voice and the way they talk.  If you need them to slow down, tell them. They’ll be so pleased that you wan to listen to what they have to say.

9.  Follow the example of small children.  They know exactly how to communicate.

10. Most of all, have fun!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation!’




Olympic Hearing Has Stellar Effect

Hello and happy Saturday

Have you noticed the difficulty that everyone has when there is a huge crowd of supporters?  The background cheering is phenomenal and wonderful and hits the television speakers like a wave.  It’s not regular is it?  People talking and sudden shouts are not something a machine can cope with.  A burst of cheering will make people with ordinary hearing miss what the interviewer says to the new Olympic medallist.  Everybody is feeling like that and not just people with a hearing issue.  In one fell swoop they are hard-of-hearing!

Sky TV responded by making their commentators wear microphones very close to their mouths.  This is inside the arenas.  No wind noise or traffic to contend with just waves of emotional cheering.  If you have a hearing issue, you will recognise the sound issues.  It is like the whole world suddenly needs to be on a hearing loop.

The level of joyful noise and the shouts that suddenly penetrate  interviews at the poolside show that TV cameras and hearing loops face the same problem: they cannot make you hear perfectly in every situation.  Sometimes there are too many variables.

In the main studio, there is ordinary glass between the studio and the supporters outside.  They can be heard very clearly through it by the people in the studio.  At the end of every evening, the commentators turn around to the crowd, the accompanying athletes show off their new medals and the crowd goes wild.  It is great television entertainment.

The TV cameras were not prepared for it, but now it is affecting everyone, it is a wake-up call to solving  hearing in background noise.   Some companies with strategic vision and who have informed themselves about background noise are already more than halfway there with solutions.  We can look forward with great excitement

To everyone who has won medals, from all over the world, we are so happy you are shining at London 2012 Olympics.  We wish you the time of your life.  Your fantastic effort is reflecting on audiences everywhere and especially on us British.  Teamwork makes us grow and feel great!  Thank you!

London 2012 banner at The Monument.

London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation’


Highlighting (CCL Hearing Wellbeing copyright 2012)

Cobbler Mend My Shoe – Echo of Line-Dancing Halls


Feet (Photo credit: Prio)


“You don’t need special shoes.”

Yes you do.  Today the heel fell off a pair of sandals I liked a lot.  Off to the cobblers who lip-reads over the sound of his machine.  A happy man, he sends all his customers home smiling.

High-heeled boots  act like stilts with the same fluidity and trainers stick to the floor.  There are some cowboy boots somewhere with pointy toes unless they went out to the charity store.  Jazz shoes anyone?   Suggestions welcome.

And this week I understood nothing at all.   All hearing was gibberish.   The homerwork was a leaflet which had the words :

‘Left, left beside left.’

If I put my foot to the left, how on earth do I do the next bit?  This week it transpires that it means put left foot to the left, then bring the right foot next to it and do a sort of hop from one foot to another.  Please correct me if I’m wrong before I engrave it to memory.

The echo was overwhelming.  No listener this week but there is no listener that can sort out that level of echo.  That’s a challenge if any echo geek wants to take it up. We could send you chocolate 🙂  .  Unfortunately it is not a good idea to have both hearing-aids on loop setting at the same time.  You become totally tuned into one sound source and at worst you could have an accident, at best you could miss a phone call.  There is work being done on a hearing-loop that will alert you to phone, etc. but there is a delay which is like someone eating and talking at the same time.  This is rambling.  I’ve got a cold in the head.  The ears are sensitive and need to rid themselves of hearing-aids for a while.  Ah, perfect peace.  Back on Saturday with a tip on hearing.  Happy Wednesday.





Seeing unidentifiable birds is the like hearing gibberish (Copyright Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Hearing Gibberish

You are supposed to be relaxing with a gifted guru, into a state that is not sleep. He speaks clearly, most of the time.  It is the same style as ‘smart casual’ which my daughter complains about every time the Boyfriend accompanies us to family occasions.

“We do ‘smart’ and we do ‘casual’ but not both.”

I agree entirely, but speaking  in a ‘smart casual’ way  is like hearing half  of what is said clearly and half in a stream of babble.

So I’m just dropping into this sleep state.  I wiggle hearing-aid into place which sort of defeats the object as it tenses up that side slightly.  I only notice  because the other side is jaw-dropped bliss.  Then he starts talking as opposed to reciting numbers in  such a gentle voice, but hearing-aid ear starts straining.  The other ear, nearest the amplifier is not helping at all; it can’t as am having a holiday from wearing two.

Shall I wiggle round so  left ear faces speaker?  No, brain will wake up and feet will walk to kitchen for cup of tea, its Sunday habit. Of course guru is speaking out of both speakers alternately.  Hands up who wants a single-speaker version?  My brain has to zip between the two.  A second behind because of the hearing loss and off it goes, somewhere else.  I catch a few words but no verbs.  I sit up and switch off.

Hearing gibberish is no fun.  Maybe I was too relaxed to concentrate.  But it is such a bore going to the hospital to have your ears done.  Comfy chairs though in a new outpost,  half-run by the military who have more experience in hearing than they would like.  When you’ve been in a war, hearing loss is not wear and tear.  Yikes!  I will have to have another hearing test.

“Press this button when you hear a noise.”

State of the ark.  In the US and France, hearing tests are conducted in background noise.  If we hear gibberish, the hearing-aid can be adjusted straight away.  Why don’t we start from the hearing-aid instead of starting the whole process all over again?  This would save money and please the time and management people.

May your gibberish be short.  Stronger hearing aids or a hearing loop or preferably both will fix it.  I will let you know how the hearing loop works as it arrives via internet and post rather than time-wasting and hospital waiting-room.  I am not giving up as one-sided relaxation is halfway to bliss!


How hearing loops can help – (The Washington Post)

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/how-hearing-loops-can-help.html (posted on an article by The Washington Post)

Hearing Loop Conversor Pro

Conversor Pro Hearing Loop

If you’ve read the article you know it’s about hearing loops.  If you haven’t, please read it even if you don’t live in the States. Hearing loops in buildings seem to be put there by people who ask for them.  You’re best placed to ask. In 2004 the UK Disability Discrimination Act made local Councils put hearing loops in some public buildings, but not in hospital Audiology Departments!  Politicians are not known for asking advice from those who know so they missed the obvious places.  You could think about the best place in your town where a hearing loop should be.  If it suits you, it may suit other people.  Talk about it, start a community initiative.  Who will be grateful?  You and the old who can’t be bothered but want it.  This blog is about getting the best service for hearing everywhere.

1) The idea of having static hearing loops is state of the ark (not a typo).  See the blog about ‘bobbers and swayers’.  Besides a portable hearing loop with extra receivers may be the cheaper option.  In the picture, the receiver is at the top.  The transmitter can be placed either at one end of the room or you can hold it and point it at people.  Have the advantage in a conversation for once.

2) The best position for the wire of a fixed hearing loop is at your ear level when you’re sitting down.  Why do electricians still persist in putting them tidily under carpets?!  Walking on them won’t do them any good either.

Nobody will fix a hearing loop unless you ask.  In 2009 at an Audiology Conference no less, in the UK there was guess what, a cheap wire stuck to the floor with masking tape.  I had brought with me a state of the art hearing loop.  It meant I could sit at the back and hear  every word :faints gracefully:  Take your own  radio hearing loop and be independent of any public building.  This is what to do if you can’t persuade TPTB.   You can use it discreetly with hearing-aids or with headphones for a mild hearing issue.  Radio hearing loops are designed for hearing aid wearers.  You can also use it with headphones.

Putting loops tidily? – you just have to watch the installers 100% of the time!


Bobbers & Swayers – Hearing Loops

You’ll see temporary induction also known as hearing loops at Conferences that consist of a tape stuck to the floor with masking tape, attached to a box for the Sound organisers and the microphone onstage.

Sitting in front of you will be the ‘bobbers’ and the ‘swayers’. They bob up and down to try and see the speaker with the vain hope of lip-reading. Further away than a metre and you cannot see the lips well enough to lip-read. The swayers are desperately trying to catch the best signal by swaying ever so slowly to one side and then the other. It must drive the people behind crazy!

Fixed hearing loops work in churches.  At a christening, I had a far more interesting experience than the rest of the congregation as I could hear everything the Vicar was saying to the parents 😉 .  That is until Baby made another grab at the microphone and almost succeeded.  Rustle, rustle, can you guess what happened?  She threw it over her shoulder. Not the baby, the microphone! Then there was silence and the baby could have been named Jamie Jamboree Jeffrey for all I knew.

You could hope that hearing-aids help you out in any public place yet they are really meant for talking on a one-to-one basis and social groups. At parties and socialising you need extra help. Take your own hearing loop.  There are loads on the market but you get what you pay for.  Read the small print.  If it says, you can hear within 2 metres of the loop, forget it.  You’ll be a ‘swayer’.  We talk about loops in our upcoming ebook.

Hearing-aids enhance the hearing you have and hearing loops enhance it a few more notches. We were told that by a man who has spent his life in loop systems. It’s like standing on a 5-metre diving board then being given the courage to go up to the 10-metre board. You can see so much further from up there.

Can you just switch the hearing loop on?

AFTER Interior Bank Décor | Bank Teller Design...

AFTER Interior Bank Décor | Bank Teller Design | Custom Bank Wall Mural | Venture Bank (Photo credit: I-5 Design & Manufacture)

Customer services

Customer services (Photo credit: gordon2208)

It would be very naughty if you were to visit your local bank and tell them you just need the hearing loop switched on.  You know it is not on, when you hear a buzz or nothing at all 😉 .

The usual reaction is they want you to change queues and go to another counter where the loop is positioned (more waiting). It’s like a cushion loop around someone’s chair.   In a local bank this has now been upgraded to a loop that runs around the counter.  Do you want to post the reason hard-of-hearing people ROFL when that happens?

Anyway last week, the teller leapt out of her chair and ran out.  Frowns from other customers.  Just about to join another queue when she reappeared with an old-looking portable radio loop … that was showing a red light.

“Er , it needs charging for about 8 hours.”

She went not just pale, but white.  No worries, really, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  All work stopped.  Two more Customer Service people and three Counter Tellers gathered around the loop, their backs to the customers like pecking pigeons.  When I looked round at the queue, a guy smirked and some were smiling.

“It’s okay, your colleague can just speak up.”

There was a giggle behind me and everyone ROFL.  Customer Services gaped ; this failure to accommodate the customer was not in their game plan.  Had they just had a training day on hearing and felt everything had to be perfect?    Really, it didn’t; we can wait.   Then a Manager appeared and took me away on his white charger …  wishful thinking, but we sat down on a one-to-one and he had a 10-second lesson on charging hearing loops.  Poor guy!  You could do this and banks could help us hear better.

So who helps companies?  You do.  If you don’t want anyone to know it’s you asking and hey, we’ll talk about that, get your Human Resources to call in a D/deaf charity to give the training (they get paid for it).  Spreading the word is a great way to move hearing forward.

  • How hearing loops can help(psychologicalscience.org) – If you live in the States and there’s one article you want to read, make it this one.  It backs up Hearing Wellbeing.  Next blog is about the article as the Comments are closed.

Headphones Make You Deaf

There were people at the Ideal Home Exhibition giving demonstrations whilst wearing headphones.  An attached microphone was five millimetres from their mouths.  Why did they all look strained?

They could talk but they could not hear.  The headphones were acting as earplugs.  Hard-of-hearing in one fell swoop!

Whilst the headphones cut down background noise, the demonstrators had to rely entirely on visual clues … like people with a hearing issue.  They had to lip-read.  They had to watch the body language to gauge audience reaction to their demonstration and they were finding it a strain.

When they took the headphones off, they would feel enormous relief.  You know it is because they could hear again.  What if you could never take the headphones off?  That’s an example of what it is like to be deafened.  What if you never had hearing?   It is an example of profound deafness yet deaf people have their own language and Sign Interpreters* to communicate with the ordinary hearing.

What do deafened people have?  Er … screenphone which you speak into and the response is typed back onto a screen.  In public there is nothing to protect you from the fish-people: moving mouths and no understanding.  Lip-readers get it wrong 70%of the time.  What is being done for the deafened?  Er … there’s Hearing Link, a merger of the charities Hearing Concern and Link.   Any other help apart from welfare benefits which feed but don’t nourish?  I don’t see anything.  Do you?

* In 2004 the repeal of the Disability Discrimination Act gave British Sign Language status as Britain’s fourth language.

Implants For Cell Users Too Close To The Bone

Privately-owned Public Space Potluck 1

Privately-owned Public Space Potluck 1 (Photo credit: urbanomnibus)

The idea of using BAHA implants for cell phone users was an April Fool’s joke that no-one saw. It’s possible isn’t it?  Smoking is banned in public places as it could cause disease in the unwitting non-smoker.

When people can’t hear on mobiles, they either stick a finger in the other ear or shout.  They can’t hear because of background noise, which is moslargely caused by other mobile users doing the same.   Multiply it by a million and there is a problem.

Do you remember ‘road rage’ when everyone suddenly started yelling at each other for some misdemeanour in traffic?  The offenders were removed from public view and went to spend time at Her Majesty’s leisure (in jail for US bloggers ).  You can’t do that with background noise.  It is something we have to sort out by thinking, creating ideas and getting them implemented.

There is huge opposition from the mobile phone companies.   Two years ago, two multinationals: one sent me to a non-monitored voicemail, the other suggested coming back when I could see how to make a profit.  Last weekend  a company selling components for mobiles forecast sales of one billion phones a year until 2016/17 (seen on Bloomberg).  They can be part of the solution. Why wouldn’t they?  If we can quieten everyone down, they can sell more mobiles.

One solution: Hearing Loops on mobiles, that’s hearing-aid wearers sorted.    Needed: a way of connecting the phone to the ear for someone with ordinary hearing.   Thinktank?  Competition for the public?  What do you think?

It’s not about financial profit, it’s about saving us all from the consequences of background noise.

PS. City of Philadelphia –  LOL.  Food for thought.