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.

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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?