Is tinnitus just too much detail? CCL Hearing Wellbeing 2012

Upstairs Downstairs Hearing

Hi there

A CD is playing downstairs.  I don’t know it’s on and there’s no way I can hear it whilst upstairs.  So how can I come downstairs humming it?

It happens every time – different CD’s.  I call it subliminal hearing.  It is instinctive, below the level of conscious thought.  Maybe we used it to protect ourselves at one time and it has fallen into disuse.  What do you think?

Have a great hearing week


Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation’


The Angel Islington London 2012 Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

The Problem With Facebook

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Writers can think for days, wrestle with ideas and eventually tell a story.

How long do you think on Facebook?  You see a subject, read it and respond within a minute.

Any writer will tell you that the first ten minutes of writing can be absolute junk and is often trashed.  What if your Facebook comment is in the first ten minutes of decluttering the mind?  What if you are really upset about something else, totally unrelated, like your mother/lover said something hurtful?

I used to write emails to web-developers.  I would get the MD ringing me up asking what they had done to upset me.  On reading the email again the next day, I could see it could be taken harshly.  In the agony of the moment, when your heart is full of some reactive emotion like defence of a friend, or stress over a part of your life where no-one appears to understand,  it all comes out in the moment.    Your usual way of speaking becomes different, usually angry.

It leads to confusion.  For example, I met a very kind man.  He helped with my hearing when he heard me asking someone else if a microphone was switched on.  He did not say anything yet a few minutes later, I could understand everything again.  He never acknowledged that he had adjusted something and it meant that I could not express my gratitude.   It makes me think kindly of him.

If he ever says anything  that I see as mean, it hits me harder because I see him as a kind person. I still react against it but I should not do that.  He may not have meant it like that.  I should be giving.

The instant comment is part of the decluttering.  It is part of what Great-Grandma said:

“think before you speak’

unkindly translated by someone who shall remain nameless:

“engage brain before opening mouth’.

Maybe we should think a little longer before making comment.  The problem with that is that we may never comment.   I definitely don’t want to be scared of making a comment in case someone doesn’t like it.  Maybe someone is always bound to disagree.  I think we should all be allowed to discuss.  I may not agree but I will always think about it.  I can’t say that I will understand your point of view, but I will accept that it is yours and therefore valuable to you.   Giving you value matters.   Being open-minded matters to me.  Does Facebook make you want to share your thoughts or clam up?

One Of A Kind (CCL Hearing Wellbeing copyright 2012)

Non-Technie, Not Practical, Say It Differently

Today is one of those that started well and then all the machines in the place you are, have stopped working. It’s as though some man’s hand has turned off the knobs so tightly that you can’t get them to work. Except there are no men here. So you push and pull and tug and nothing happens.

In defeat, you wipe your hand across the tap and water splashes out. Yippee! Small snag is those taps were decorative after all.

So next time someone doesn’t hear you, don’t give up. Think of another way to say it. If you believe you are above this, say the sentence, whilst looking in a mirror and without hearing your own voice. Not a whisper. That’s cheating! Just waggle your lips up and down and see if you can lip-read yourself.

Nine out of ten people realise how difficult they just made life for a hearing-assisted partner.

Make their day. Life is too short for taps with design faults.


So much going on, do your eyes find a focal point? Hearing-aids have to do that. (CCL Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Hearing – One Lump Or Two?


“A  lump of concrete in your ear?”   That was twenty years ago.

Twitch your jaw around to ease the pressure?  Ask for the escape route from the hearing mould!  It was the dentist who diagnosed that for me!

Moulds that framed the inside of the ear work meant the skin can breathe.

If you’re mild to moderate, it’s now mushroom shape or tulip dependent on your hearing.

One lump or two?    If it’s like walking with two feet, I’ve been twenty years on the hop!  Is it fashion? How many studies have been done to show two are necessary?  Not many.  At first I thought it was dreamt up by the industry but I grudgingly acknowledge  it’s about speed of transmission to the opposite side of the head.  If you have binaural hearing loss (both ears) then you need the mostly the same help in both ears.

It’s also about balance.  The body’s balance organs are in the ears.

One or two?  I went to two because colleagues said at work that I wasn’t hearing them well enough.  Since they were also hearing-assisted, I gave in.

“They can see my aids!”

Easier for women as you can hide them with your hair.    We’ll discuss that old chestnut later, but guys, please, since when does anyone talk to the side of your head?!     If they’re looking face-on they will not see them so just be cool, you’re fine and you can hear!



The Angel Islington London 2012 Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Can’t Hear Your Own Voice?


Everyone has days where hearing is great.  Sometimes it drops slightly with a head cold.  Think of that slight drop and know that is permanently like that for some people.

What happens when your own voice sounds weird?  When you have ordinary hearing, you dismiss it.  When you have a hearing issue*, you think you have mispronounced the word.

Can’t Hear Your Own Voice?

Apart from managing hearing, I have not heard of a definite way to stop hearing loss.  No need to worry as it usually takes years.

One solution is to try to keep what you have now.  To make an audio dictionary, we want actors who speak words accurately.  Naturally we need one from every country and language on the planet.  Later we can do regional variations except we need an American and a British actor straight off as the vocabulary is different. You might say the same for Brazilian and Portuguese.  Your call.

Wanted: Speakers not Squeakers. 

Hearing loss happens frequently amongst the high notes.  Having said that, most actors and actresses can change the pitch of their voices.  Choose a man or a woman.

Which actor/actress speaks your language the best?

We will choose the top three and make in a poll for hearing-aid users.  They are also experts in language.

*Hearing only has to drop a tiny amount for you to mis-hear the beginning or end of words.

Please do this.  You will make a difference to someone’s life.


Voice Occlusion – Your Voice Sounds Distorted To You

Following an article on Lipreading Mom (article link below),  I have posed the question to a few Hearing-Aid Audiologists on how to help voice occlusion.

I don’t accept there is nothing to be done.  The medical profession has said that for years about issues they do not understand. In hearing, people are more proactive, at least in amplified equipment.

In hearing , one example is tinnitus*.  They still haven’t cured it after 30 years’ research but it can be managed.  If you have high-pitched sounds in your head permanently, this is a great step forward.

We stand by our idea of an audio dictionary.  If it is made by someone with your local accent and ordinary hearing, then you may be able to train your brain to remember how it should sound.  How we link that to speech is another step.  Back to you early next week with a response from a Hearing-Aid Audiologist I hope.

Shall We Should We Just Tell Them About Our Hearing?

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

No chance, not in a million years.  It doesn’t work.  If you say you have a hearing issue, recruiters run and keep running.  They think that hearing is key to every communication when we know it is about body language, expression and guessing 😉 .  Getting it wrong is better than not trying, at least on a good day.

Recruiters in a recession have, of course, found a way around the disability quota.  They cannot fill it because the person does not fulfill the basic requirements of the post.  there is no description of what these are but you can bet your bottom dollar that you need to hear on phones.

Amplified phones!!  Hearing loops for meetings.  It’s not difficult!  Of course if you don’t tell them and theyfind out, it is grounds for dismissal because you lied.  However the difference between applying under the disabled flag and not is the seniority of the refusal.  A real Manager might refuse a disabled person as they do have to be careful.  There’s a lot of rubbish around about not fulfilling the basic requirements.  If we knew what they were, we could make sure to fulfil them.  It is just another way to refuse.

Saying you’re disabled just to get a guaranteed interview (if you fulfil basic requirements) is a towering problem in itself.  I’m not disabled; I’ve just got a hearing issue, solved by the best equipment etc. etc.  Would I be tempted to keep quiet and hope that the interviewing panel speak clearly.  I’ve met a lot of holistic ideas.  I’ve said them to people about relaxing and stuff.  When they’re said to me, I wanted desperately to laugh.

“The tables (desks) are in a circle.” said the Chairman from at least twenty feet (6 metres) away.  “The hole in the middle,” he said, one hand stirring in air like he was making a cake, “the hole is for all the negative emotions.”

I grinned, I know I did.  The women flanking him were deadpan, completely, utterly and I was wriggling around, coughing and trying not to grin. Did they have a single candidate who managed to nod and keep completely still?

I did focus, but I was swinging from tree to tree by the end.  What that means is I was guessing and my guesses were following on from each other as I dug the biggest hole of incomprehension.  Did they make it easier?  Oh yes, they said things like:

“What is the most interesting part of the job and how would you apply your skills to it?”

The whole lot was two-in-one.  Next time I’m flying a flag.  Maybe I’ll get one question at a time?  Son looks at me sardonically.

“It’s jargon.  They might say it slower but they’ve got to ask you the same questions as everyone else.  To be fair.”

The lesson: if you’ve got a job, stick with it.  I don’t care if you hate it.  If someone is paying you and that is regular, please say thank you and keep your head down.

Iphone Hearing App. Techies, Geeks And Hearing-Aid Wearers Help Req.

iPhone 2g, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4

iPhone 2g, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (Photo credit: reticulating)

Nice shape Dodge Airies in hearing aid beige. ...

Nice shape Dodge Airies in hearing aid beige. Rare to see a K-car in such good shape these days. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know anyone with a hearing issue who has tried the Iphone hearing app? If yes, can they or you hear clearly with it?

How would we find out how the app. works?  I’m wondering if there is some sort of telecoil on a chip?  Is that sci-fi?   We’re looking for a way of making more hard-of-hearing people able to hear on a mobile.  Amplified mobiles have hearing loop program.

Can we talk about making up a spec. for a manufacturer in the hearing market?   My ideas of sound great, look great would make a manufacturer scream in frustration – way too broad a definition.  We need techies and geeks and people with hearing issues thinking and talking to come up specific ways of making us hear better.

We might even be able to persuade them to have (your name/company name/ group name) and their brand name as a version of the phone.  Anything’s possible right?

Hearing A Glass of Ice

“Would you like a glass of ice with that?”


“ I got you up to ‘a’”

so I learn forward and ask her to repeat.  Nope, no good, nothing at all.  It’s hopeless, she’s getting impatient and I’m conscious of the next customer beside me.  Then a young guy walks behind her, holds up a glass and says:


“Oh, yes, thanks .”

Such a relief.  He realised that I couldn’t understand and used a combination of visual and hearing clues.  More visual than anything else, but I could make a guess at the word ‘ice’ when he was showing me the glass.  Credit where it’s due, that was in Costa Coffee.

If you have ordinary hearing, say the first sentence in the mirror.  Switch off your voice if you can, otherwise it’s cheating!  Tell me if you can lip-read it without exaggerating your normal speaking.   Tell me if you can understand any of it.  There’s a reason for asking that I shall forget if you don’t reply 😉

Advertisement for the greatest 21st century problem: background noise

Hearing Stage Accompaniment

If you’re hearing-assisted, you’ll laugh after the first sentence.

“It’s about continuity and filling the silence between the talks.” said the organiser.

What?!!!  Why does it have to happen?

Okay ‘Money, money, money’ as am talking to Federation of Small Businesses.  Severe look of disapproval from teens.  Okay, how about ‘March from Aida‘ , full of cymbals crashing to give the audience of taste of what it’s like with a hearing issue.  I can start the talk with – ‘do your ears feel numb, are you overwhelmed by the orchestra?  That’s what it’s like with a hearing issue’ and I’ll beam at them.  But the organiser couldn’t find it.  I’m fairly sure that was a fib.

Repeated begging for nothing at all did no good.  Some cacophony started up as I approached the stage and  suddenly I understood why Oscar winners are forever tripping up those dratted steps to the stage.  You cannot hear yourself think, which is just as well because your brain has stopped in an effort to block the noise.  With no instructions, the legs falter and suddenly you’re looking at the floor.  How they end up at the podium is amazing.

Arrival was no better.  Draped in wires: a neckloop for me with cute receiver smaller than a credit card, an improvement on the old rugby balls.  A  £2k/$3.5k wireless transmitter* grasped in nervous hand  and they’re giving me a microphone.

“They won’t hear you without it.  Where do you want to put this (burble, burble, … sounds like …square box)?” said the organiser urgently.

“Can you hold it?”

His face went blank, poor man.  It is kind of nerve-wracking to give 5-second instructions to every speaker and hope it all works.  Bad time to make a joke.   It was stuck in a pocket.

“There are lots of ways small businesses can work together.”

The blank-faced man fainted gracefully away.  A guy in the front row grinned and I knew that he understood.  I grinned back and it was easy after that.

* Borrowed transmitter.  The reason is worth a blogpost of  its own.