Balloon Tower Farnborough, Hampshire UK (Copyright to Hearing Wellbei ng 2012)

What the eye doesn’t see, this heart grieves over

Hello Everyone

Most women like looking at websites that sell houses.  It is not because we will buy one; we’re just looking.  Recently, I saw a lot of televisions and it suddenly came to me that people with ordinary hearing were having problems seeing and hearing.  The bigger the   TV, flatscreen,  Blu-ray, sting ray 😉 the bigger the problem.   The industry has a constant struggle to keep up with making all of the dots (pixels?) on the screen clear.

Clarity!  People with ordinary hearing are having the same problem as hearing-assisted people.  Why?  Because all of the TV’s, especially the bigger ones, were placed against the window.  It makes sense; people still want their pictures on the wall, so the only other free space is the window.

They don’t understand why suddenly they can’t see or hear as well.  It must be the TV.  Send it back.  Get a bigger one with more dots per square cm.  I know the dot idea has gone out of fashion but it doesn’t matter what TV Design Engineers create.  The problem will always be the same.

Basically, an object against a window will immediately put the front of it into shadow.

The bigger the object, the more shadow you get.  Housewives don’t like it, as it blocks the light.  Anyone watching it will turn the picture clarity up full and the sound up full.  Since they don’t think they have to do that with a new TV, they get irritated and send it back or complain to the manufacturer.  The latter refers back to the Design Engineer, saying it must be the fault of the design.

At this point, you’d think that the Design Engineers would start asking questions about how the product was being used.  They have the technical details.  The TV’s operate perfectly under their design criteria.  The Design Engineer creates questions for the public.  This is like Chinese whispers.  By the time the question is printed on card for the customer, the Marketing Department has made it more exciting and shiny, with colours.  When the Design Engineer sees it, there are sounds of breaking cups and something unyielding being kicked with smothered curses.

The only way the Engineers find out how the product is working, is by conducting their own unscientific surveys, usually amongst friends.  This shows the importance of dinner parties.  Someone is bound to complain to him, probably a wife complaining of lack of light.  Then her husband will pitch in about actors mumbling.  It is nothing of the sort.  If you’ve read this blog often, then you know my thoughts on lip-reading and casting faces into shadow.  You must see to read, books, faces, expressions.

If the is hung on a wall, think about your neck.  It should be level with the TV both on a monitor and a TV.

Ears act in conjunction with the other senses.  When seeing clearly becomes a problem, what do you think it is like for those of us who lip-read?

Feel free to comment.  These words are merely an opinion.  You can disagree if you like!

Have a great investigating week,

Debbie Jeffrey

Hearing Wellbeing

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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)

Hello

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’

Families

Hearing Can Have A Happy Thanksgiving

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello

Here’s a quick list of how to help yourself enjoy the festivities.  You’ll be under pressure with presents and festivities and meals.

1.  None of us are perfect.  If you’ve forgotten something, it doesn’t matter.  Families dine off what happened Thanksgiving ten years ago in my friend’s house when her husband insisted on doing something and then forgot.  They all sat down and fell about laughing.  She said it was the best Thanksgiving ever.

2. Sit against a wall.  It absorbs the background noise that you don’t want.

3. Tablecloths absorb noise from knives and forks.   If don’t want that, table runners help and anything soft will absorb the clatter.

4.  Do you have a listener for TV?  Take an extension plug with you if you’re going out.  TV’s have 2/3 sockets for other things like DVD, CD etc.  Take your own so that everyone else can relax.  It makes you an easy guest to be invited back!

5.Yesterday someone introduced me as ‘deaf’.  I hit the roof, non-verbally.  Okay, so I glared at him as he’s my Aston-Patterning instructor and knows it’s a hearing issue.  Okay, so sometimes I do my own thing when I’m not paying attention but he knows me.  Those who don’t, will look at me in amazement when I do look up but he’s quick to say that everyone moves differently.  Then we all grin.  Other people’s perception is a reason for that e- book coming out shortly.  The rest of the world doesn’t understand hearing so he was using a word other people relate to.   It’s up to us to tellt hem like it is.  It’s like wearing glasses.  Do tehy walk around saying they’re sight-impaired or blind?  Neither, it’s accepted and festivities are a time when you can gently explain.

6.  Likewise if you’re family, friends or partner of someone with a hearing device, look at them when you speak.   Don’t talk with your back to them and if you’re in another room and want a response, get over it.  You are talking to yourself!

7.  Lights – it’s not the Blair Witch Project.   We need to see you but it doesn’t have to be bright.

8.  People who sit against a window will have their faces in shadow.   It’s hard to lip-read but with anyone you know well, you’ll be fine.  You’re attuned to their voice and the way they talk.  If you need them to slow down, tell them. They’ll be so pleased that you wan to listen to what they have to say.

9.  Follow the example of small children.  They know exactly how to communicate.

10. Most of all, have fun!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation!’

www.hearingwellbeing.com

www.debbiejeffreybooks.com

 

One Of A Kind (CCL Hearing Wellbeing copyright 2012)

Non-Technie, Not Practical, Say It Differently

Today is one of those that started well and then all the machines in the place you are, have stopped working. It’s as though some man’s hand has turned off the knobs so tightly that you can’t get them to work. Except there are no men here. So you push and pull and tug and nothing happens.

In defeat, you wipe your hand across the tap and water splashes out. Yippee! Small snag is those taps were decorative after all.

So next time someone doesn’t hear you, don’t give up. Think of another way to say it. If you believe you are above this, say the sentence, whilst looking in a mirror and without hearing your own voice. Not a whisper. That’s cheating! Just waggle your lips up and down and see if you can lip-read yourself.

Nine out of ten people realise how difficult they just made life for a hearing-assisted partner.

Make their day. Life is too short for taps with design faults.

 

Cooee!

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!

 

Can you just switch the hearing loop on?

AFTER Interior Bank Décor | Bank Teller Design...

AFTER Interior Bank Décor | Bank Teller Design | Custom Bank Wall Mural | Venture Bank (Photo credit: I-5 Design & Manufacture)

Customer services

Customer services (Photo credit: gordon2208)

It would be very naughty if you were to visit your local bank and tell them you just need the hearing loop switched on.  You know it is not on, when you hear a buzz or nothing at all 😉 .

The usual reaction is they want you to change queues and go to another counter where the loop is positioned (more waiting). It’s like a cushion loop around someone’s chair.   In a local bank this has now been upgraded to a loop that runs around the counter.  Do you want to post the reason hard-of-hearing people ROFL when that happens?

Anyway last week, the teller leapt out of her chair and ran out.  Frowns from other customers.  Just about to join another queue when she reappeared with an old-looking portable radio loop … that was showing a red light.

“Er , it needs charging for about 8 hours.”

She went not just pale, but white.  No worries, really, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  All work stopped.  Two more Customer Service people and three Counter Tellers gathered around the loop, their backs to the customers like pecking pigeons.  When I looked round at the queue, a guy smirked and some were smiling.

“It’s okay, your colleague can just speak up.”

There was a giggle behind me and everyone ROFL.  Customer Services gaped ; this failure to accommodate the customer was not in their game plan.  Had they just had a training day on hearing and felt everything had to be perfect?    Really, it didn’t; we can wait.   Then a Manager appeared and took me away on his white charger …  wishful thinking, but we sat down on a one-to-one and he had a 10-second lesson on charging hearing loops.  Poor guy!  You could do this and banks could help us hear better.

So who helps companies?  You do.  If you don’t want anyone to know it’s you asking and hey, we’ll talk about that, get your Human Resources to call in a D/deaf charity to give the training (they get paid for it).  Spreading the word is a great way to move hearing forward.

  • How hearing loops can help(psychologicalscience.org) – If you live in the States and there’s one article you want to read, make it this one.  It backs up Hearing Wellbeing.  Next blog is about the article as the Comments are closed.
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?

Hearing A Glass of Ice

“Would you like a glass of ice with that?”

Whoa!

“ I got you up to ‘a’”

so I learn forward and ask her to repeat.  Nope, no good, nothing at all.  It’s hopeless, she’s getting impatient and I’m conscious of the next customer beside me.  Then a young guy walks behind her, holds up a glass and says:

“Ice?”

“Oh, yes, thanks .”

Such a relief.  He realised that I couldn’t understand and used a combination of visual and hearing clues.  More visual than anything else, but I could make a guess at the word ‘ice’ when he was showing me the glass.  Credit where it’s due, that was in Costa Coffee.

If you have ordinary hearing, say the first sentence in the mirror.  Switch off your voice if you can, otherwise it’s cheating!  Tell me if you can lip-read it without exaggerating your normal speaking.   Tell me if you can understand any of it.  There’s a reason for asking that I shall forget if you don’t reply 😉

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.

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.