The Angel Islington London 2012 Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

The Loneliness of Hearing-Aids

English: bulky and hydrophobic anesthetic mole...

English: bulky and hydrophobic anesthetic molecules accumulate inside the neuronal cell membrane causing its distortion and expansion (thickening) due to volume displacement. Membrane thickening reversibly alters function of membrane ion channels thus providing anesthetic effect. Actual chemical structure of the anesthetic agent per se was not important, but its molecular volume plays the major role: the more space within membrane is occupied by anesthetic – the greater is the anesthetic effect. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Hello Everyone


“You can hear one-to-one, can’t you? Be grateful.”


I try to be grateful but I cannot join in conversations around me because I have a hearing-loss. Sorry to whine but the so-called inbuilt loop programme doesn’t work properly. It works a bit, like a layer of foundation on the face makes an even layer, but hearing in a group of three women yesterday was useless. It did distract me. I was there for a dental appointment so any distraction is good.


I’m sure she gave me instructions at the end, but I was long past absorbing them. She had asked whether I wanted an anaesthetic before proceeding with a chip on a tooth. What? At the dentist with no painkiller?


“W can see how we go. Tell me if it hurts.”


Of course it hurts, I lift my hand. “Aagh argh …” it’s difficult to enunciate anything when someone’s fingers are in your mouth.


“Are you okay?  Oh the gum is sensitive.” She said and shifted to somewhere a little less painful.


Later I found out that she hadn’t used anaesthetic on the previous visit either. But I thought she was using a new painfree sort of anaesthetic. Is it my brain giving out a natural anaesthetic?


I wonder whether it would work if I told my brain:


“You can hear, of course you can hear. Don’t be silly; you don’t need these aids.”


I tried it, but wildly overslept on the first attempt and was late for the dental appointment. Has anyone else tried this sort of attempt at persuading the brain?


Have a great hearing week








Debbie Jeffrey





Orange (CCL Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

New hearing-aids

Hi Everyone


I’ve got new hearing-aids from Siemens. I bought them during a turbulent period when I was going to shoot a short film. With three guys. They would all talk at once, wouldn’t they?


My head would spin. I had determined to buy new hearing-aids. They were on an emergency setting as I had silt in the river, also known as earwax. Charmed.


“Hello, can I look in your ears?”


This would normally be an invitation to scarper, but the chances are that he or she is a Hearing-Aid Audiologist. I have the lady version, who speaks my language, I hope.


Ten days later my ears were wax-free, if that is the term.  Now we could see what they were really like.


These hearing-aids have receptors in the tips. They aren’t the plastic half-open moulds that I had two years ago and they aren’t the ‘tulip’ tips that I’ve had until now. With the latter, I couldn’t hear because every time my head moved, they stopped working. I’m having the same problem with these. I shall have to find some people to talk to, so that I can test it properly.


This is what I want from a hearing-aid:


• I want them to automatically re-adjust to people speaking loudly or softly.


• I also need a dampener on them, to alleviate loud noises.


• I don’t want to hear the conversation of the people behind me. Just sounds will be enough to warn me of a lorry etc.


I want a conversation in a group.  I’ve just heard of Book Club locally.


Can you think of anything else?


Have a great  hearing week




Debbie Jeffrey


‘Join That Conversation’ – the one you’ve been on the fringes for a while.  This blog is meant to give you confidence to plunge in!  What can go wrong?!  Tell us, we’ll sort them out.









‘Vibrating’ Translates to ‘Leap’

It seemed like a good idea to let the phone wake me up.  Loud ring and vibrate; nothing could go wrong, could it?

When it vibrated, it leapt off a table into that tiny space between bedframe and table, the one you can reach if you lie on the floor and reach for it.  Then it reverberated.  I thought, that sounds loud.  It probably woke everyone up.  Smile sheepishly and apologise but at 3.00 am, is anyone listening?  I was getting up for a teleseminar, but as it happened, I was an hour adrift, so no-one was best pleased.  I couldn’t switch the ring off.  In the end I stuck it under a cushion and switched it off.  Peace.

The SB alarm clock works.  At 110 dB it’s for profoundly deaf people on its maximum setting, but it’s adjustable.   A client recently reported that her dog tried to dig it out.   Hilarious apparently!  She has adjusted it to her hearing level and she’s waking up, relaxed.

If not waking up in time bothers you, try the shaker option.  It’s less prone to jumping off tables!  Tomorrow is a 3.00 am start. I’ll try the SB clock.  Let’s hope everyone else stays asleep this time!


Have a great week

Debbie Jeffrey




Hearing those 3 little words

You know that thing we always have with people who mumble?

The one where you go … “What?”

After a repetition you get “Blah burble blah weekend.”

Okay, progress, he/she wants to take you out.  You smile and your loved one looks at you like you’re crazy.  You sigh.

“Excuse me?”

“It’s okay sweetheart  … “

You hear that and then a mumble again and you get, you got it, zilch, zero, nada.

What’s the third thing you say?  Is it “OMG!”   Or  “I’m freakin’ here!  Speak properly.”

Or is it the one-word version of ‘love you really’ even if he has the hearing awareness of a half-dead ant.   People with ordinary hearing have no clue.

I need the three words you say in ever-increasing irritation: What? Huh?. ..  I kinda wonder if OMG is disrespectful.     Comment here please.  It’s for the uh-e-book.  Hardest work ever, whoever says it’s easy, is not telling the truth!  If yours is chosen, we’ll fly you chocolate or word credit wherever you like.  If you’re in a faraway place, it might take a little longer.

Which words do you say?  In what order?  Your opinion?  Well they don’t come more qualified.  Thank you; it’s doing my head in trying to choose.

You know, we may never get it all down yet we will not let this thing beat us, right?  People type with pencils in their mouths as their hands are not working and I can’t string a sentence together with ten fingers!  You guys rock.

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?

Repeat Ad Infinitum And Get Your Just Desserts!

Easter eggs // Ostereier

Easter eggs // Ostereier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My Mum - egg agent

My Mum – egg agent (Photo credit: exfordy)

The fruit jelly with Prosecco  had not set overnight and having decided to make a quick Eve’s pudding instead, I grated the apple, weighed out flour sugar, butter and found we had no eggs.  Drat, round to neighbour, Margaret, who was out.  Dash back inside and ring up Mum.

“Can you bring some eggs?”

“I’ve got eggs.”

“No, some eggs, two, round here?”

Teen is grinning and waving arms around but I ignore him, regrettably.

“What sort of question is that?”

“It’s an egg question.  Is there some problem? If you don’t have any,  I can go next door.”

I do have other neighbours.  Quite what they will think of asking for something so specific, I don’t know.  I begin to imagine the scenario, when my mother says slowly,

“What sort of eggs?”

I’m thinking ‘egg-shaped‘ when I see Teen grinning.  I am just about to hand him the phone, as Mum also has bionic hearing when she says

“Do you mean ordinary?   I thought you meant chocolate eggs!”

It is Easter Sunday.   Needless to say, this joke was repeated around the family. As usual, Teen put the lid on it.

“But Mum you’re always saying that if someone doesn’t understand, you have to say it in a different way.”

I am, I say it, write it and quite obviously when in a panic, forget entirely!

Implant Compulsory For Mobile Phone Users

As part of a global initiative to cut background noise, it is announced today that all mobile phone users must have an implant if they want to talk on their phones  in a public place.

The implant consists of a tiny electrical circuit inserted under the skin above the ear*.  This will connect with the mobile when a call is made.  Sound is conducted through the skull and reportedly feels louder to  the person talking.  They speak  more quietly and reduction in the level of local background noise is noticeable.

Bone-anchored hearing-aids or BAHA are commonly used for people who cannot wear conventional hearing-aids.   Using existing technology means that the implants will be funded under current fiscal budgets.  For further details, please contact the Department for Corporate and Social Responsibility of any mobile phone company.

  • Please note this operation can only be performed by a qualified Audiological Surgeon

Hearing Wellbeing takes no responsibility for any action taken after reading this notice.

Posted at 00.30 hours GMT 1st April 2012

You Don’t Lipread And I Don’t, So Who Does?


tennis (Photo credit: Marc Di Luzio)

English: It is good sportsmanship to shake han...

Image via Wikipedia

We’ve both been doing it for years with mixed results.  It’s natural to disbelieve us so here’s proof!

A few years ago, a tennis coach brought binoculars to a Wimbledon doubles match and lip-read everything one pair said to each other. He then relayed it back to his opposing team. Cheeky!

The following year all doubles players raised not just their hands but their whole arms across their mouths. Commentators were suddenly clueless about the psychology behind how the tennis players were playing. This was because they had been lip-reading without realising it. The moment it was taken away they stumbled. Experience, love of the game and mostly being ex-players themselves helped them through it.

The English were taken aback by this as Wimbledon is world-renowned for good manners and great tennis, in white as a mark of respect.

Following our original blog, a world tennis star who is now a Commentator for Sky Sports took note.  The following year Sky Sports employed a Lip-speaker.  Hooray, recognition for Lip-speakers who do a very tough job.   On the other hand, we’re big on privacy for the individual, so lip-speaking competitors in a game doesn’t tie in with that.  It could also act as a spoiler!

On The Fringe(s)

It’s where we stand:

  • on the fringes of a conversation – if someone asks a question, hard of hearing people can walk away.  Some run!
  • with our backs to the wall – see blog post Walls Have Ears

You have to have almost perfect hearing to hear people talk.  How do you notice a person with any sort of hearing issue?

  • The Fidgeter – be very careful!  People hop about when they are uncomfortable so they might just be waiting for someone lol.  1)  Grab their attention with a quick  flick of the fingers.  Contact should be avoided and so should the royal wave.
  • The Non-Contributor – if you couldn’t hear, you wouldn’t contribute either.   2)  Smile to show you are not a threat and look straight at them.  It’s all a question of degree.  If you grab a stranger’s arm and look deeply into their eyes, they will beat you off or run away.
  • Concentration on your face.  People do this when I mangle their languages.  It’s an effort to lip-read.  3) See the blog on Sunglasses.

If you have ordinary hearing, please check.  We all want to join the conversation.  It’s why we consent to blocks in our ears.

If you appreciate any of these, you’re welcome to follow the blog.  Hey, we know all about lurkers and we don’t mind.  I reckon it takes longer for people with a hearing issue to join in anything.  We’re always looking for an escape route in case we don’t hear and a) no-one understands b) they laugh.  Let’s make them laugh with us.

Next:  “Your talk is five minutes long.  What music would you like to accompany you to the stage?”

Are you kidding me?!!