Appreciate Beautiful Music With Hearing Issues

Mull Of Kintyre performed by Susan Boyle for the Diamond Jubilee


Olympic Hearing Has Stellar Effect

Hello and happy Saturday

Have you noticed the difficulty that everyone has when there is a huge crowd of supporters?  The background cheering is phenomenal and wonderful and hits the television speakers like a wave.  It’s not regular is it?  People talking and sudden shouts are not something a machine can cope with.  A burst of cheering will make people with ordinary hearing miss what the interviewer says to the new Olympic medallist.  Everybody is feeling like that and not just people with a hearing issue.  In one fell swoop they are hard-of-hearing!

Sky TV responded by making their commentators wear microphones very close to their mouths.  This is inside the arenas.  No wind noise or traffic to contend with just waves of emotional cheering.  If you have a hearing issue, you will recognise the sound issues.  It is like the whole world suddenly needs to be on a hearing loop.

The level of joyful noise and the shouts that suddenly penetrate  interviews at the poolside show that TV cameras and hearing loops face the same problem: they cannot make you hear perfectly in every situation.  Sometimes there are too many variables.

In the main studio, there is ordinary glass between the studio and the supporters outside.  They can be heard very clearly through it by the people in the studio.  At the end of every evening, the commentators turn around to the crowd, the accompanying athletes show off their new medals and the crowd goes wild.  It is great television entertainment.

The TV cameras were not prepared for it, but now it is affecting everyone, it is a wake-up call to solving  hearing in background noise.   Some companies with strategic vision and who have informed themselves about background noise are already more than halfway there with solutions.  We can look forward with great excitement

To everyone who has won medals, from all over the world, we are so happy you are shining at London 2012 Olympics.  We wish you the time of your life.  Your fantastic effort is reflecting on audiences everywhere and especially on us British.  Teamwork makes us grow and feel great!  Thank you!

London 2012 banner at The Monument.

London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation’


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.


How hearing loops can help – (The Washington Post) (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!


I wish … hearing … great opportunity for techies everywhere

Probably from an advertisement for the "A...

Probably from an advertisement for the "Acousticon", the first portable electric hearing aid, invented by Miller Reese Hutchison (1876–1944) in the USA and marketed there and in Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This picture shows the 4 most common Types of ...

This picture shows the 4 most common Types of zinc-air button cells, used in hearing aids. While the number noted is manufacturer-independent, the prefixes and suffixes of the numbers aren't and may differ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

. .. I wish I could do this over the phone  –

If a Doctor can have a heartbeat tested over the phone, why isn’t it possible to check hearing-aids?  That question is for Starkey, Phonak, Widex, Oticon, Siemens (who almost sold their Hearing Aid Division by mistake!) and all techie people reading.

All you have to do IMHO is input the programming set up by the audiologist and send a coded/sound message to the hearing-aids which then adjust themselves to the right settings.* It is possible; ‘no’ is not an answer.  I know you can do it ;  I just bet the techie thinkers will be quicker.  Hey, you know the hearing-aid manufacturers to approach with the program!  Come back and tell me you’ve done it.

If you’re hearing-assisted, you may know the best way of doing it.  BTW I want this for everyone and not just the thrillingly expensive end of the hearing market.

*To clarify (4/22/2012), the person would be at home.  They ring a number, press a button and are through to a database plus software program.  They attach their hearing -aids to the phone or leave them by the phone.  The database looks up their prescription and the software program supplies the answer code.  It is then transmitted down the phone to the hearing-aids.  No communication with humans and no menus wanted.  Can you do that?

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?

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.

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

Tranquillity until you see the maverick HOH duck (copyright to Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Thanking Facebook

Hearing Loop Conversor Pro

Conversor Pro Hearing Loop

‘Captcha’ is every webdeveloper’s nightmare, I’m reliably informed 😉

So thanks to Facebook for inventing the audio ‘captcha‘.  Trying to get into Facebook made frustrated tears well up, but we all have our frustrations, right?

So thanks to Faceboook for highlighting a huge, global problem: the waves of background noise that wash over all of us daily.

The  hearing-assisted can sort it.  What about the poor old ordinary hearing people?

Telephone manufacturers are running for cover.

“There’s a microphone right next to your mouth.” the sales guy said.

Only if your phone is long and fits the gap between your ear and your mouth!  It should.  That’s one way to stop people shouting into their mobiles.  It could also look extremely cool if you don’t mind wearing plastic on your face half the day.  Oops, sounds a bit like wearing a hearing-aid.

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!!!