Is tinnitus just too much detail? CCL Hearing Wellbeing 2012

Upstairs Downstairs Hearing

Hi there

A CD is playing downstairs.  I don’t know it’s on and there’s no way I can hear it whilst upstairs.  So how can I come downstairs humming it?

It happens every time – different CD’s.  I call it subliminal hearing.  It is instinctive, below the level of conscious thought.  Maybe we used it to protect ourselves at one time and it has fallen into disuse.  What do you think?

Have a great hearing week


Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation’



Type too much, your fingers fall off … concentrate on hearing so much, do ears drop off?


The quick answer is yes.  If you have to concentrate very hard on hearing, your body will put its energy into that.  If the body gets no help, it will start to wear out.    Your ears won’t drop off physically but the level you can hear today will not be as good in 2/5/10 years’ time.  It varies.

The main side effect is exhaustion.  Besides, to the ladies, wrinkles anyone?  We have all seen people who screw up their faces in concentration.  It’s because they cannot see or cannot hear.  Look at actors.  They must forever be concentrating on Directors standing at least 10 metres away, too far to lip-read.

If that’s not an advert for hearing aids, I don’t know what is.  Life is hard enough without putting added pressure on yourself.  When you have them, the relief is enormous.  And for guys, worried about hearing-aids being seen, ninety-nine percent of people speak to your face.  There is no way that you can help the other one percent.

Have a great week.


Debbie Jeffrey

‘Join That Conversation’


A Growling Car Stops Me In My Tracks

English: Ford Zephyr 6 Mark IV post facelift a...

English: Ford Zephyr 6 Mark IV post facelift at Classic Car Show Knebworth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night as I was closing the curtains against the night, I heard an unfamiliar but powerful growl. It was a car speeding away, its headlights dancing in the dark.

That is when I started to think about cars and engines and where it was possible to see them.  Surfing the internet I found Beaulieu National Motor Museum in Hampshire.  I knew it existed but hated the English pronunciation ‘Bewlee’ when of course the true way of saying it is ‘Bow-l-yuh’.  It is French and we should not massacre someone else’s language.  However we are expected to be willing to understand ‘keek’ for ‘cake’. A war of words withe the French is truly terrifying.

An hour’s drive there was worth it.  A classic car day.  How lucky was that?  Old Beetles with hooded headlights and Postman Pat vans for children to the gorgeous, sleek lines of old Bentleys.    A famous –  12-cylinder Bugatti, black, one-seater  bullet with a fin behind the driver-s head.   It was static, but there were plenty of growlers: Austin Headley – beautiful sports cars, beautifully rounded chassis and a red one with red leather seats.

Was it the same sort of growl that I heard last night? I’m not sure.   I’m waiting for it to come back.  Do you have a favourite sound memory?


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.

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?”


“ 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:


“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 😉

Background Noise – Choose It Or Lose It?

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволю...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been blogging about background noise for years and finally the glass ceiling is breaking.  Why?  It is starting to irritate people with ordinary hearing.

The bad news is it has a lot to do with mobile phones.  People babble in the street.  When they walk towards you, unseeing and uncaring, it can be scary until you see a hand clamped to the side of their heads.  When they can’t hear, they shout and share boring details.

A friend had no idea she was shouting into her Blackberry (could have been an iphone) until a construction worker stomped past, angry that a stranger should be forcing him into listening to something he would never choose.    He glared but she took no notice until, embarrassed,  I waved my arms about.   I was amazed as well which is why we got away with it.  He gave me a look that clearly said ‘sort it or I will’ and walked off.

“Three o’clock, make sure you’re in the right place.” She shouted and clicked off the phone.

Never in her life has she spoken to me like that.  We discuss philosophy not where her 16-year-old son better be after school or else.  In the space of a minute, there were extremes of feeling: her anger, my mortification and the builder’s angry amazement.  Multiply it by ten million and there is a problem.  Worse we are all sharing it.  It is easy to solve.  It is a hearing issue.

Next : Sorting Mobiles

Do you come across as unfocused?

Do you come across as a daydreamer?

It’s not daydreaming, it’s thinking and sometimes it’s about not hearing.

In our own world, thinking about something and we look up into a face puce with anger.  Well, it must be frustrating talking to yourself when that you didn’t mean to do it.

If you want our attention, wave lightly with the fingers, not the royal wave and definitely not the Mexican wave.  That  will make us laugh.

As a hearing tip, it doesn’t seem to go down very well if you ask the puce-faced person to repeat. 😉