Uplift Your Hearts - London 2012 (CCL Hearing Wellbeing Copyright 2012)

Could Sign Language Stop ‘The Terrible Two’s’


Ever seen a two-year-old in a rage?  It’s funny, frustrating and infuriating in that order.  I remember my daughter refused to go up an escalator because she was watching something.  Having been carried up and put down at the top, she threw herself on the floor and hammered it with her hands and feet.  We burst out laughing!  So did the adults around us and she never did it again.  That was lucky compared to what some parents go through.

If she had been able to communicate her frustration, she may still have thrown herself on the floor.  Let’s concentrate on the frustration.  Small children communicate visually.  They take visual clues off adults, their environment and other children.  (Aagh, how do Nurseries cope with mass tantrums?)  Signing the phrase ‘I want to stay here’ is difficult.  If she had signs for ‘stay’ and ‘here’ she might have felt less frustration.  She still would not have got her way but she might have been less furious about it.  It is worth a try for the child’s sake and parents’ sanity!



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.

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?

Visual and hearing clues for lip-reading

Lip-reading ‘Glass of Ice’

read my lips

read my lips (Photo credit: Reza Vaziri)

Lip-reading ‘Glass of Ice’

Oops,  I realised you might not want to comment, so getting out the answer..  Usually it’ll be mid-week and Saturday.

The reply to ‘Hearing a Glass of Ice’ is that lip-readers don’t understand what’s been said 70% of the time.  Expect that when you are lip-reading anyone.  Don’t get hung up on it, as it is reassuring to know that other people have the same issue.  It came from the biggest UK D/deaf/hearing charity and has to be taken as a story as I don’t know what questions they asked to reach that conclusion; it might be higher than 70%.  Needs more investigation IMHO.     If you are registered as ‘hearing xxx’  with any Sensory Loss Team or often your Doctor,  you can ask for a Lip-speaker to be present in employment interviews, appraisals and hospital appointments.  It costs a lot so you could offer to read what they say off a laptop.

Some people are great at lip-reading and will get it right most of the time.  One guy, deaf from birth, said he couldn’t lip-read at all.  That was partly a confidence issue.  In Manchester, the moment the staff knew he was deaf, they looked straight at him and spoke clearly.  He was delighted!

Angle matters.  A deafened guy said he could lip-read when the person sat at right angles.  Have you tried to speak to someone while you’re doing that?  It’s really difficult.  The old natural action used to be to look at someone when you speak.  Now everyone is too ‘busy but we need it.  You could try lip-reading someone sitting sideways to you.  It’s a good way of observing and giving you a rest!

When you sit directly opposite someone to lip-read, all of their emotions are flung straight at you.   In the US and it’s slowly spreading to Europe, Counsellors are taught to sit slightly sideways to avoid getting all the emotions of their clients.  Look at movies where psychiatrists are.  They sit behind a huge desk or they sit behind a sofa- that would be useless wouldn’t it? 😉  How could you lip-read from behind lol?

There was the kindest, loveliest man once who was so friendly to every person.  He had no hearing from birth yet he never let it stop him and he started off conversations with strangers, always accompanied by that friendly smile.  He had to go into hospital and his daughter said she found a Doctor shouting at him.  He hadn’t come round from an operation because they weren’t using the right stimulus.  Shaker*?  Would that have worked?  Doctors need to know … and they need to be taught.  You’re best placed to tell them.  Well, he was in the hospital for two weeks, having every test imaginable.  No-one knew until he came out that he had been absolutely terrified.  He had no idea what the problem was, what the tests were for, or even if he was better now.   His ‘treatment’ is why the rest of us need to make people with ordinary hearing aware of the issues and how to solve them: different angles of sitting, lip-speaking, shaker and the biggie, kindness.

*Shakers – ring, flash, shake – TBB = to be blogged?

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 😉

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.

A Wrap . This image is copyright to Hearing Wellbeing's blog 2012 and no copying is permitted. Thanks.

No More Signing Back Into Facebook

An example of an unreadable captcha. Created u...

An example of an unreadable captcha. Created using free captcha generation software. Polski: Przykład nieczytelnego CAPTCHA, stworzonego za pomocą darmowego programu . Category:Captcha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forget about signing back into Facebook.

Having problems with working out the new ‘captcha‘ box?  Try the audio … or not.

The audio solution for the ‘captcha’ box picks up the biggest problem of 21st century communication: we cannot hear in background noise!

What a joke.  I couldn’t hear it,  blah blah enough to hear in the background noise.  Women cry, men kick things.  Someone else had to do it.  Try it, tell us if you managed to do it with a hearing issue.

Related articles

Cup Final Day!

Pensthorpe - The Wensum Discovery Tour - No En...

Pensthorpe - The Wensum Discovery Tour - No Entry sign (Photo credit: ell brown)

This shot and the one before were taken at a world-famous football club … on Cup Final Day.

Who in their right mind has a Conference at a football club on Cup Final Day? Hearing-Aid Audiologists. They would have missed all the action wouldn’t they?   No chance!  They all took the tour of the club and the grass before the conference started at 9.00 am.  (Great marketing strategy for getting guys to arrive early.)  If there had been a match, the conference would have been deserted!

There’s this door, you see, totally unmarked and I grew up with a Dad who always looks on the other side of all those places with ‘No Entry’ signs and apparently nothing special.

Hearing-aid Audiologists may be the cleverest guys in the world.  There must have been a good chance that this club would be in the final.  I’m ashamed to say that I thought they were all totally disinterested in football, until a supplier jumped at the chance of looking on the other side of the door!!!

Background Noise – Choose It Or Lose It?

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволю...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been blogging about background noise for years and finally the glass ceiling is breaking.  Why?  It is starting to irritate people with ordinary hearing.

The bad news is it has a lot to do with mobile phones.  People babble in the street.  When they walk towards you, unseeing and uncaring, it can be scary until you see a hand clamped to the side of their heads.  When they can’t hear, they shout and share boring details.

A friend had no idea she was shouting into her Blackberry (could have been an iphone) until a construction worker stomped past, angry that a stranger should be forcing him into listening to something he would never choose.    He glared but she took no notice until, embarrassed,  I waved my arms about.   I was amazed as well which is why we got away with it.  He gave me a look that clearly said ‘sort it or I will’ and walked off.

“Three o’clock, make sure you’re in the right place.” She shouted and clicked off the phone.

Never in her life has she spoken to me like that.  We discuss philosophy not where her 16-year-old son better be after school or else.  In the space of a minute, there were extremes of feeling: her anger, my mortification and the builder’s angry amazement.  Multiply it by ten million and there is a problem.  Worse we are all sharing it.  It is easy to solve.  It is a hearing issue.

Next : Sorting Mobiles

Do you come across as unfocused?

Do you come across as a daydreamer?

It’s not daydreaming, it’s thinking and sometimes it’s about not hearing.

In our own world, thinking about something and we look up into a face puce with anger.  Well, it must be frustrating talking to yourself when that you didn’t mean to do it.

If you want our attention, wave lightly with the fingers, not the royal wave and definitely not the Mexican wave.  That  will make us laugh.

As a hearing tip, it doesn’t seem to go down very well if you ask the puce-faced person to repeat. 😉