Hello, anyone home?

Welcome to Hearing Wellbeing where we look at the lighter side of 50 million people saying ‘What? Huh? Excuse Me’.

Have you ever been looking at the sun whilst talking to someone?  They move to block it and suddenly you don’t know what they’re talking about.   It’s because their faces are in shadow and you can’t see what they’re thinking.  Add a hearing issue and it’s a nightmare because you are used to focussing on facial expression and body language to work out what is happening.  It’s usual to panic!

With ordinary hearing you lean forward to hear better.  With a hearing issue, you can lean forward  instinctively or out of politeness yet it’ll make little difference.  Why’s that?  No worries; there are lots of ways to sort it out.  Here’s one.

Make your life easy by having people stand where you can see their faces.  If you can’t make the person move and let’s face it, people don’t like it 😉 here’s an experiment to try.  Move around so that your head is blocking the sun.  Slowly, or they’ll get scared and run away!  See the person frown and concentrate.  They might even lean forward to hear better.  Talk about what you did and see if there’s any reaction.  They might remember where to stand the next time but it’s unlikely.  The important thing is that you know.

Feedback welcome.  Next blog is about sunglasses.

PS. It’s going to take some time to get the appearance of this blog right as it’s the first one. .  We’re blogging anyway.

Getting a Job With Hearing Loss

Hello Everyone

Forget it.  That’s my answer.  There is no way that I can mention my hearing when I apply for a job.  During this recession I have applied for dozens.  The ones where I have tried to get in via a disability quota have received a polite refusal from a higher level.  So the Line Manager has replied.  Companies of any size cannot cope with a hearing loss because their main function is to have their staff communicate with the customer.  It is a fundamental misconception of hearing loss that says everyone who has it must have no hearing.

Hearing aids have solved the hearing issue.  Private ones enable your hearing; such a simple statement yet they really do work.  Conversation is now possible.  I’m in the conversation rather than always being on the back foot and on the fringes of groups.  I would be ready to run if I didn’t understand.  I succumbed to buying hearing-aids and they now provide protection when out.  The National Health Service ones are not far behind thanks to competition between the big hearing-aid companies to be awarded the contract to supply the UK public with hearing-aids.  The way forward for the NHS is to provide smaller moulds.  They will be individual moulds, not generic.  Those ones are for mild hearing loss.

Anyway I still haven’t found a regular-paid job.  I make it to interview stage and then find the sound is bouncing off hard tables, laminate flooring and the walls or the Panel of interviewers is sitting with their backs to a window.  It’s impossible to lipread faces in shadow.  I did ask one guy to close the blinds.  Did that lose me the job?  It’s impossible to say.  Still I have another interview next week.  Wish me luck.

Would you mention your hearing loss at interview?

I really would like to know.

Whenever I ask for feedback they tell me I’m better suited to something else  At the British Heart Foundation I was better suited to their retail arm, i.e., selling than I was to their Assistant Store Manager role.  Giving up on job hunting is not an option; I need to work.

Any input or suggestions you have, would be gratefully received.



Happy New Year! (copyright Hearing Wellbeing 2012)

Hearing A Talk Outside

Tour guides

Tour guides (Photo credit: Marcin Wichary)


Telling someone about a hearing issue works if you make it funny.  Going for a walk with total strangers can be scary, or not, depending on what you think.  I decided it was going to be great fun and leaped in.

The tour guide was nervous,  so telling him that one of his party might wander off due to not hearing him, made everyone laugh.  It’s also a great excuse if you are the sort of person who is likely to stop and look at something and then wonder where everyone is!

They wanted to know about hearing, but a ten-second response was not going to work.   Then someone asked:

“How are you managing?”

“I’m fine, there is no issue.  I just am.”

That confused her or maybe she was alarmed as I jumped in the air.  It was a fascinating walk and talk about the history of a place and I was happy and I think that when you’re happy, all problems disappear.  So that’s it; make yourself happy.   It takes a moment to decide to give yourself a break and have a new experience.  Those people were all kind, smiley, interesting people and we all had a great time.

To your happy time!


Debbie Jeffrey

Hearing Wellbeing

PS.  The book is coming out soon!  It’s for everyone.

The funny reason lip-reading sometimes doesn’t work

English: Easter egg at the Palm Sunday fair in...

English: Easter egg at the Palm Sunday fair in the Village Museum, Bucharest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On a light-hearted note, some days you can’t win for a funny reason.  You’re lip-reading your best friend, because that’s what you do and suddenly you lose the conversation entirely.  The word ‘sempre’ gave it away.  She’s Spanish, the other girl in the conversation was Spanish and she had slipped into it when I wasn’t looking.

I grinned, couldn’t help it.  There was no way I could have understood.  Yay!  I almost burst out laughing!

Try this on your nearest and dearest.

“Try saying ‘Easter Egg’ in the mirror. Now just mouth it.  Switch your voice off if you can.  That’s really difficult. ;)”

If someone else can lip-read what you’re saying (without you telling them) I’ll eat my hat.  Better make it a chocolate one.

Happy Easter Sunday.

Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join that chocolate 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




Jubilee Boats on River Thames (copyright HearingWellbeing 2012)

The $14000 /£9000 Hearing Aids

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)

Cool huh?  Some poor guy was made to pay $14000 for a pair of hearing-aids.  This was the boast of an audiologist at a convention in the UK about 3 years ago.

The good news is the customer won in the end.   Can you imagine how much customer service you can demand for that price?!  24-hour service available when you want.  The audiologist was forced by the customer to drop everything else he was doing and sort out every tiny problem that normally you would wait until Monday to do.  And he wanted them fixed like immediately.  Well you would.  $14000 is so far over average, it is a stupid price.  a greedy price.  It’s rare.

Most audiologists want a fair price.  They buy from a network, have a shop’s overheads, a life to live and they sell them on.  Of course they have expertise and are interested in your particular hearing- loss, but their job is to find a hearing-aid that suits your hearing issue.  It is like any other industry.  The audiologists know which hearing-aids are the best like you know who the geeks are.  If you want to try a different brand to the one you’re offered, ask about it.  You should get an explanation about how suitable it is or not to your hearing issue.

What’s the average price? It depends on where you’re buying.  You can get really cheap $10/£0.99 aids online that will not fit any ear; they are cheats.  The way to buy is to have a hearing test, have a mould taken and then the aid is added.  How you buy online without doing the first two steps I don’t understand.  Do you agree?

Professional Hearing Aid Audiologists are usually registered with an association.  In the UK the Health Professionals Council has taken on audiologists as of June 2010.  There is BSHAA* and AIHHP*.  They need to make a living same as everyone else.

Unfortunately the big companies in the hearing market are trying to stamp out independent choice by starting with zero, adding  $£1 for staff and nothing for research and development.  They sell at prices no independent Audiologist can buy at.  The result drags down quality as bigger companies look for ways of cutting the price.  We all lose out in the end.  Personally, I want quality in a hearing-aid and no messing about.

You might be tempted to go directly to the manufacturer.  Forget it.  They make the device.  Fitting it is a different skill.  After-sales service is something they run a mile from although some are starting to offer help-lines.  Most will blame any buzzing on equipment like phones and hearing-loops.  They could of course make them interference-proof, if it is not too much trouble.

In Europe, namely France, you’re given 400 Euros towards hearing-aids.  Some people are going over the border into Belgium to buy cheaper aids than they can buy in France.  That won’t help the market.  Again, they’ve made the customer focus on price.  We want the focus on quality as that will make them innovate into better hearing-aids.  We don’t want cheap components or cheaply made plastic or even dubious plastic that doesn’t comply with EU standards.  Who do you think is checking?  The Hearing-Aid Council was considered a quango in the UK for customers’ complaints and was  axed.   The Health Professionals Council issues standards for audiologists, but what about hearing-aids?    And what do you think is a fair price?

  • BSHAA – *(mouthful alert) British Society of Hearing Aid Acousticians, AIHHP – Association of Independent Hearing Health Professionals –
  • Hearing Loss Association of America – http://www.hearingloss.org –  Do you know them?
  • Audiology Now is a magazine for professionals, not for the squeamish
  • There are not many related articles today as they are all about buying hearing-aids online – sorry, we don’t agree with that.
  • Hearing aids ‘could truly benefit dementia patients’ (moneysavingguides.com) – HWB says it only helps some types of dementia and hearing-aids are described here  o-n-l-y to help them know what’s going on around them.  HWB never recommends hearing-aid distributors.  We are independent.

Talking Watches – Guys stop running, Feminists stop shouting

Sears, Roebuck & Company Mail Order Building, ...

Sears, Roebuck & Company Mail Order Building, 2650 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Talking watch anyone?  Guys, stop running!  It’s okay it’s not nagging which covers far more eventualities than it should; it’s a man’s voice.

Feminists stop shouting ‘betrayal’!  Most hearing (loss) starts with the high pitches, i.e., children and women’s voices.

Stop guys!  It is not women’s  nagging that has deafened you slowly.  (It is highly recommended you never try that excuse.) It’s the pitch of the voice that you can no longer hear.  Got it?  If you have tuned out women’s voices, that is a problem we can’t help you with!

Men’s voices can be calming, soothing and very good at putting babies to sleep.  That might be, of course because they haven’t had a small person yelling in their ears all day.

It’s an advance on the talking clock where you ring a number and it squeaks three times.  Then you are told the time, by women, female celebrities when really what we need here is a low, calm, mellow pitch voice.  If you can get that in a woman, let there be choice.

The watches have clock faces, or alternatively with digital and a more fun child’s version in ultra-predictable pink or blue.  Must be a new product.  From Connevans, whose website is the fault of a dopey twerp web-developer who said

“Of course you can replicate your mail-order catalogue”.

Opinions and detail galore.  You interested,  best of luck, you go :


Looks like global delivery.  I just had to click on ‘doorknock beacons’.  It’s a flashing doorbell although it could take you three minutes’ reading to find that out.  Sorry, but it makes me laugh and then cough as I’m trying to be respectful.  Nope , doesn’t work 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hearing And Listening Are Opposing Forces!

Allegory of Hearing

Allegory of Hearing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Just listen!”  she said.  At the guilty face in front of her, the penny or other shoe drops.

“You never listen, do you?”

A rueful shake of the head.

“There is a reason.”

Say that to a guy and he goes ballistic.  To a woman and she stares at you in amazement then demands an explanation.

Simple really.  If I can talk and talk and talk, there is no chance you will be able to ask a question.  Not going to hear the question.  At least there is a 50:50 chance of not hearing it.  To lower the odds, people with a hearing issue learn to talk a lot.  Sound familiar?

It also happens when you’re interviewing,  I’ve been caught out a couple of times by people saying ‘yes’ to questions.  It is only when you rephrase the question and it doesn’t allow the  ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer  that you realise:

a)       They have not heard you;

b)      You have to figure out how much they have heard, if anything(!);

c)       You have to revise your questions so it doesn’t happen again.

We’re past masters at it as we’ve been doing it for years.

If you disagree,  people want to know why.  If you agree, they’re happy.   If you agree but do nothing and they find out,  they will explode!  We have a badge on Hearing Market, an old commerce site, that reads  ‘If I agree, I haven’t heard you.’  If you want one, email us your snail mail!  And that’s a global offer for a global issue J


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.