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.