Hearing – Can We Talk About It?


As I went to open a sash window, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a young guy, about 20 years old, tanding on the ridge of a roof.   From where I was standing, I could not see how wide the ridge was, but two rooves along, there was a seagull standing on it.

He walked along and wobbled.  My mothering heart leapt into crisis mode.    That ridge did have a long bar on top but still no clue as to how deep it was, a slope of tiles and then a small wall.  It did not bear thinking about and I acted on a first thought.  I yanked open the window and shouted across the square:

“Can we talk about it?”

This may be the daftest thing imaginable to say because I was at least forty metres from him and slightly lower.  There was no way that I could hurtle down the stairs, run across the square and then be faced with an entry system.  Mine has a number.  So I called the police.  They were very prompt, but apparently they tried to get someone to answer the doorbell!  Excuse me?  That’s far too slow.  I only learnt this when they came up to me to ask for details.

After the shout, the young man turned and went to a chimney braest perpendicular to me.   He seemed to sit down.   I had to leave the police to find a way up to that roof.  I hope they did; they seemed competent.

The point of telling the story is that I think the young man heard me.  This is a similar happening to the previous post where sound appears to travel across three-sided objects.  In this case it is a three-sided period building with a garden of trees in the middle.  What is it about the construction that meant he could hear me?  It is not important whether he could hear the actual words, although he did appear to listen, because he stopped and went to lean or sit against the chimney breast.  I want to understand how the sound travels.  Maybe knowledge of it will inspire other thinkers and inventors in other fields.

Do we need an Architect to explain it or a Sound Technician or both?Image


People Know How To Help Your Hearing

Library book sale 2013

Library book sale 2013 (Photo credit: Christchurch City Libraries)


Yesterday, a friend I hadn’t seen for ages, came over for the day.  We were walking down the street and suddenly she swopped sides so that she was walking on the outside.

“You’ll hear me better if I’m nearest the traffic.”

Such a simple gesture, so profound its impact on me; I was happy all day.  She just thought about my hearing and her natural compassionate instinct told her what to do.

If you’re hard-of-hearing, you know that the result depends on your hearing level that day, where you are and what else is going on around you.  Another person blocks the noise as the sound  has to go round them and you are effectively in their shadow.  For me, it was the thought that meant the most.

So to the husbands out there, never mind the coat over a puddle.  That’s been done, so old hat.   Go on make your loved one’s day.

Have a great week.


Debbie Jeffrey

Hearing Wellbeing

The Angel Islington London 2012 Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Switch Off The Fridge. It’s Too Noisy!

I love language,  writing it and hearing it.  Often people are surprised.  Why?  Does a sight issue rule their lives?  You could say it depends on how much you can see or hear.

In hearing, you lose a tiny bit in the high notes and suddenly the edges of words do not sound as sharp.  If you have just been diagnosed with a hearing issue and someone has arranged for hearing-aids, it is the start of an adventure.  You will hear things you have not heard in years, like birdsong.  🙂

When you clap your hands over your ears and ask your family to please switch off the fridge, be ready for argument!  It’s hard but try and relax.  Stay away from the fridge as much as possible for a few days.  (I can see this would be impossible for teenagers.)  You will learn to tune it out.  People with ordinary hearing do that automatically.  Be prepared for them to be disappointed.  They think your fantastic digital hearing-aids mean you are a superbeing, so when you complain about noises their reactions are the following:

a)       The hearing-aid is not working;

b)      It did not fix the hearing issue;

c)       They have failed you in some way.

Reassure them as well as yourself.  It takes a month at least to get used to them.  A colleague was on the point of taking his back after two months and then it was suggested he try the ones he had before.

“I had no idea.” He said. The aids were in and out of his ears in two minutes, back forever in the box.

“Can I have that in writing?”

We never did get his comment in writing but he did see the point.  You don’t realise what you have until you don’t have it any more.  He persevered with the hearing-aids and even took his life into his hands.  He went into the bank.  He went through the rigamarole of having the loop system switched on and went to the loop setting.  He said it was so peaceful without the background noise.  He was so pleased that people in the office, who have ordinary hearing, are envious.  An advantage.  Yippee!

Have a great week!


Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation’



If you’re interested, on Ebay

SR West Country No 34027 Taw Valley disguised ...

SR West Country No 34027 Taw Valley disguised as 34045 (Photo credit: Peter Broster)

Fishing boats at Lyme Regis, West Country, UK

Fishing boats at Lyme Regis, West Country, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We rarely talk about marketing yet we’re selling a small stock of hearing-assisted items on Ebay.  Our callsign, or name is deafhearingwellbeing.

All products are guaranteed.  Try them out.  You will know within a couple of hours  and definitely within a few days whether or not the equipment suits you.  Try it in all the scenarios you want.  Someone bought a Conversor Pro hearing loop over Christmas and he tried it out with the TV, meetings he attends regularly and even used the microphone attachment to talk comfortably with his wife.   He bought it.  After the guarantee end date, please feel free to come back to us.  Equipment for better hearing has to be right first time, as being hearing-assisted is enough bother.

Some people think ease with hearing equipment is about  age but I used to have a colleague who is 84* and hates old people!  It’s about flexibility of the mind and attitude matters.   Hey, we have plenty of that!

We’ve given advice and information for six years but are struggling with making a living in the niche.  If I can get the dratted ebook out, I will.  Negative feedback stopped us but hey, there are positive people.  A Social Worker in UK National Health Services said

“You tell it like it is.”

It’s the greatest compliment we have ever had.  Thank you, Anna in the West Country and thanks to Hannah as well from Southampton  and all of the Social Workers in Hampshire and Surrey whom we knew during work at deafPLUS.  You’re all heroes.

We’ll keep blogging, mostly because there are so many things happening in deafness and hearing and  we have incurable curiosity.

Best wishes to you for 2013,

Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation’

Hearing Wellbeing


Happy New Year! (copyright Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Can’t Hear? You Are A Leader

Bassenthwaite and Scotland from the top of Dodd

Bassenthwaite and Scotland from the top of Dodd (Photo credit: Ed.ward)


The Citizens Advice Bureau Logo.

The Citizens Advice Bureau Logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




We make our own happiness.  No-one knows how we feel, except other people with a hearing issue – that’s 8 million people in the UK!  You’re bound to meet someone who understands and this works every time:

“Hey, just look at me when you speak.”


“I’ve got hearing-aids like you’ve got glasses.  It means I’ve got most of my hearing.”

Instant explanation works.  Every time you do that you are leading.  If talking is a function of the body then it has to be developed.  You are a leader in the hearing field.  Take it and fly!

We know what it is like.  If you are newly-diagnosed, you don’t know and that’s why we have to talk about it.


Everything that you say about hearing teaches someone else.  It is really about commonsense and good manners with a sprinkling of kindness.  Most people are kind.  If they’re not, they are having a bad day. Every time you are helping that person to communicate and not the other way around.  You’re a leader.   The world of ordinary hearing needs you to communicate.  Does it make us succinct?  Absolutely not 😉  One of the classic ways of diagnosing a hearing issue is that people talk too much … enough said 😉


Strangers with ordinary hearing understand.  They have no concept of you as a person and so they are just reacting to what you say, I suppose and reading body language.  Are you threatening?  As if!  But that depends.  We won’t let anyone take advantage of a hearing, yucky word alert ‘loss’.  I avoid that phrase as I was lucky enough to meet an American from a hearing-aid manufacturer, who has spent 30 years in hearing-aids.  It brings tears to my eyes that anyone should care that much to spend a lifetime making hearing better for people.   He used phrases like ‘hearing-assisted’ with a ‘hearing device’ as hearing-aid is so dull.  We want a great life and hearing is only one way to facilitate it.


A former colleague is 84 and hates old people.  He works three days a week at deafPLUS, a hearing/deaf charity to make life easier.  He’s an unsung hero, one of the millions who helps with hearing and will be furious with me for naming him, but John, John Rendle, you deserve a medal.  He’s also a Hearing Counsellor with Citizens Advice Bureau.  We need his experience, his thoughts and most of all his understanding to pass all that information on.  Actually he won’t see this so just you and I know.


These people are my heroes of 2012.  You have met your own.  Hear their experience, live it for yourself and teach eveyone else.

Let’s make 2013 a great, happy hearing year.


All the best




Debbie Jeffrey


‘Join That Conversation * – you know, the one where you stand on the fringes.  Love life!

PS The Conversation is a blog from the University of Melbourne, Australia, the Internet is great for reading isn’t it?


Hearing Wellbeing




Quality of hearing-aids – why do we bother?

It’s like a house where the estate agent tells you ** location, **location, ** location!!  They think it’s the most important thing to look for.   It’s actually about personal choice or we’d all live in eggboxes.

In a hearing aid, it is about how well can you hear someone talk to you from a metre away?  Are you getting clarity in a conversation on a one-to-one?  Communication comes top for most people.  If you want great music first, then you must try out the hearing device in the presence of your music. Taking mp3 player/ipod to the Audiologist‘s office is only a good idea if he has a state-of-the-art acoustic studio that’s set up for your hearing.

On holiday once we bought a case of  wine after we had tasted it chilled  from a  roadside vendor with his own labels.  It was such a romantic idea.   When we got home and cracked open a bottle, it was pure white wine vinegar.  We did the age-old roll it round your mouth and regrettably spat it out as fast as possible.  No way was it going down the throat!

Try out your hearing-aid(s) in the best possible surroundings for you to enjoy the best experience.  We rely on you finding a great Audiologist and having a proper hearing test.  They’re mostly state-of-the-ark where you have to press a button when you hear a sound.  Repeat anyone?  That aside, you’ve got this great aid that you want to do certain things.  Audiologists always ask what you want but they never get the answer they’re looking for.  The answer is you want to hear people talking clearly on a one-to-one.  And you want a programme to cut out background noise when you’re on the phone.  If you want great hearing for music, you need a loop system.  There are hearing-aid manufacturers who want to programme hearing-aids so that we can hear the doorbell, the TV, the phone and not go crazy.  Do I want the doorbell chiming in my ear when I’m listening to a TV drama?  No.  Do you?  IMHO that is a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.  The problem, of course is accessing that loop.  Hearing-aid manufacturers are trying to skip a step of the process and put all of the technology into a tiny hearing-aid.  Please stop!  We want quality.  And quality means specialist.  Get communication and music right.  What about a hearing-aid for talking and one for listening to music and surround sound films?  It’s about quality of components in the hearing-aid.  Then when you access a specialist TV hearing loop, like Sennheiser, you will get the best possible hearing experience.

If you want rubbish hearing, there’s plenty of cheap loops on the market and cheap hearing-aids.  If an Audiolgist or equipment seller talks to me of  discount, I run a mile.  I’m not focussed on price.  I WANT QUALITY.  Is anyone listening?


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.

Can you see the birdie? Let it merge with the background like your tinnitus.

Steve the tetrapod and his stapes – *‘What we see is governed by what we expect to see’

Professor Jenny A Clack*  studies the dried-out, literally.  Dried out bones and it’s exciting because of what she found.  Like looking for a jigsaw piece, you know it’s there in front of you but you can’t find it amongst the others.   She found digits, loosely described as fingers which previously  had been thought of as a bone broken into three parts.

Using the ‘what if’ principle, what if they were paddles attached to the four limbs? It would explain how he could swim through swamps and move on land.  It was a phenomenal discovery.

Then she found a stapes, a tiny bone in the ear that conducts sound.  It had been overlooked by other palaeontologists, including her boss, who thought it was just part of the dust.  When she looked at it and didn’t understand, she wondered. …

The stapes did not look like the finely tuned ones found in humans.  It was the wrong shape for hearing and wouldn’t be able to filter sound.  Steve couldn’t hear!  Then she thought,

‘What was there to hear?’

There were no animals and no birds at that stage of evolution.   That means there was a time when hearing was not present because it was unnecessary.  Wow!

The onslaught of noise that our ears have to cope with today is enormous.  What if the stapes in human ears can develop a coating or harden and therefore be unable to conduct so much sound?  What if it is a protective mechanism against overloading the brain with information it doesn’t want?  Maybe hard-of-hearing is not a retrograde step. Maybe the process is not a negative at all.  It is evolution and we are at the forefront!

Professor Jenny Clack, who now has stacks of awards in palaeontology, took part in a TV programme from the BBC called ‘Beautiful Minds’.  She said:

‘What we see is governed by what we expect to see’.


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.