How to end up having your hearing aids surgically removed

nutty hearing aid nibble

If you wear hearing aids and glasses, don’t leave your hearing aids near a bowl of nuts or you’re just asking for trouble, according to this recent article in the Telegraph. Apparently, the short sighted man in the story ate his hearing aids thinking they were cashews, and had to have emergency surgery to remove them from his stomach.

Presumably, two cashew nuts were removed from his ear canals at the same time…

When Santa could do with hearing aids…

creda cavalier cooker

 

Over Christmas, I was wondering when I first became aware of my propensity for mis-hearing things, when I suddenly remembered an early childhood incident. On that occasion, it was not my own hearing which was at fault, but that of the elderly Santa, upon whose knee I was excitedly perched, in a grotto in the middle of a Glasgow department store.

“So, little girl, what’s your name?” said Santa, before being seized by a sudden phlegmatic bout of coughing.

“Moira!” I replied with great enthusiasm. With three days to go until Christmas, I needed him to remember me.

“Eh?” said Santa, leaning a bit closer. His beard smelt of nylon and cigarettes.

After several repeats of my name, I was getting impatient, but eventually Santa seemed to have got the message.

“So, Moya, what would you like me to bring you for Christmas?”

I decided it was best not to antagonise Santa by correcting him on the name front.

“I’d like a scooter please Santa!”

“A cooker?” said Santa, a little incredulously. “That’s a very unusua…”

“No, not a cooker, a scooter! A red one!” I interrupted loudly.

I was getting slightly anxious now. I had to make Santa understand what I was asking for, since the last thing I wanted to wake up to on Christmas morning was a cooker. That special treat is reserved for when little girls are much older.

“A what?” said Santa, looking round to my mother for help. Unfortunately she had been abducted by the nearby shoe department and was busy eyeing up a purchase with four inch purple platform soles. Poor old Santa was on his own with my high pitched voice and confusing consonants. After several unsuccessful repeats, I was still in danger of getting a cooker, but this time a red one with wheels and a bell.

Finally, Santa looked at his watch, changed the subject and reached into his sack. I thought I was going to absolutely die with the suspense and did my best to suppress a little shiver of excitement. What was going to emerge from that sack? After another short bout of coughing brought on by the exertion, Santa handed me a very small parcel.

My heart sank. I was devastated. There was no way there was a scooter inside THAT.

“Thank you Santa”, I said politely, hoping that Santa’s elves might have overheard the earlier part of our discussion, and safely deliver me a red scooter with a bell on Christmas morning.

A Cautionary Christmas Tale

Ice swan

Hearing Aid Avenger pictured on top of his ladder seconds before disaster strikes

Moments after this stunning photograph was taken at the Govanhill Ice Carving Championships yesterday, a terrible double misfortune ended Hearing Aid Avenger’s chance of winning Gold in the Medical Devices and Prosthetics category (a triple misfortune, if you count the fact that he was the only entrant).

Just as he was putting the finishing touches to his daring and technically challenging re-interpretation of the traditional ice swan, an infuriating scenario occurred which will be very familiar to all hearing aid users; both Left and Right batteries ran out unexpectedly within minutes of each other, with no new ones to hand.

Keen not to interrupt his creative flow by going in search of batteries, he carried on smoothing a tiny imperfection on the swan’s neck, an imperfection which, ironically, not even the most eagle-eyed judge would have spotted. Unfortunately, with his batteries gone, he heard neither the final time up signal, nor the ominous creak which signalled that he was now dangerously overworking the ice.

He was immediately disqualified for carrying on after everyone else had finished, but worse was to come. An impatient official tapped him on the shoulder from behind to alert him to his disqualification, and Hearing Aid Avenger got such a fright that he accidentally snapped the weakened neck of his beautiful swan and sent it crashing to the ground. All that remained on the display pedestal was an ugly frozen blob, which local youths later used to smash the window of a local off licence shop in order to get at the Buckfast display.

So, dear readers, remember to pack those spare batteries over the holiday period and have a very merry Christmas!

Hearing Aids with Attitude

hearing aid tattoos

I can’t seem to find time to write anything these days, so here is a Photoshop version of my latest ongoing hearing aid pimping exercise instead. I can’t think of anything better than a nice tattoo to set off a pair of flesh coloured NHS hearing instruments, and I’m hoping they might intimidate those irritating people in shop queues who helpfully insist on poking you on the shoulder from behind, if you don’t move at the speed of Usain Bolt once a till becomes available.

It would appear that, for some people, the sight of hearing aids in a queue can bring out the same primitive instinct as the sight of a caravan ahead on the road; they become impatient to overtake even when the caravan is travelling at the same speed as all the other vehicles…

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Secret Agent or deafie

Illustration with apologies to Dick Bruna

 

It occurred to me last week, after a series of frustrating occurrences at work, that my rapidly evolving HOH behaviour patterns have the capacity to be misunderstood. Just in case anyone else out there is wondering whether their deaf colleague might be a secret agent, I have prepared a handy checklist of similarities in order to clear up any potential misunderstandings. If the person sitting next to you does any of these, there may be a simple explanation…

Always first in and last to leave

They might be on an intelligence gathering mission for MI5, or just catching up with all their extra prep and trying to get some head space because their brain is fried after a long day of listening.

Their eyes always seem to be following you

They might be waiting to inject you with a poison dart hidden in their umbrella, or just trying to read your lips.

They keep fiddling with their ear

They’re either wired for surveillance, or it could just be that their hearing aids are making their ears itchy.

Jumps whenever someone sneaks up behind them

They might be up to no good with the Freedom of Information filing cabinet, or just not heard you coming.

Waits till there is no-one about before making phone calls

They might be reporting back to the Kremlin, or just unable to hear on the phone in background noise.

Hastily abandons dialling the phone whenever someone enters the room

They might be making a clandestine call to Julian Assange, or just abandoning all hope of getting some peace to hear on the phone.

Takes an unnatural interest in room layouts and furniture arrangements

They might be planting surveillance devices, or just trying to make sure that they can locate themselves in a position where they can hear during a meeting.

Ignores you when you call their name in the street

They may be operating under a false identity, or just not have heard you speaking from behind.

Sneaks off on their own during lunch breaks at conferences

They might be uploading some files to the Pentagon from a blacked-out vehicle in the car park, or just hoping not to have to nod and smile embarrassingly over a plate of cold chicken drumsticks for an hour.

Pretends they haven’t seen you at the train station

They might not want their cover to be blown in an area that’s crawling with police, or they might be trying to avoid the embarrassment of having a one-sided conversation on the hoof, in mind blowing amounts of background noise.

Goes to the toilet on staff night outs and doesn’t come back

They’re either on the next flight to Acapulco with a suitcase full of gold bars, or they can’t face another three hours of fake nodding and smiling.

Always makes an excuse not to go to the pub

Could be that they don’t want to risk the potential of a Rohypnol tablet being dropped in their dry Martini, or perhaps they can’t face three hours of fake nodding and smiling.

Looks blank when you ask them, over a cup of tea in the canteen, what they’re doing at the weekend.

Either they don’t want you to know that they’ll be hacking Google’s servers from the basement of their rented accommodation, or they just didn’t hear what you said for all the bloody racket in the canteen.

Looks blank when you ask them if they’ve seen that confidential file you accidentally mislaid.

Either they’ve already flogged it to the FBI and have six million dollars winging their way into their Swiss bank account, or they just didn’t hear you asking.

 

The Cookie Bite Chronicles is unable to take responsibility for any confusion caused by the complex activities of secret agents who also happen to wear hearing aids.

Welcome back Auntie Mo!

Paradox

 

Technical troubles 

In loud background noise, I was frantically cycling through my ha programs trying to find the background noise reduction setting on my hearing aids, but I couldn’t hear the program beeps because the background noise was too loud. I lost my place and ended up with one hearing aid on the music setting and the other on T-coil at maximum volume. The only way to sort it was to take them out in public, switch them off and turn them back on again. Why can’t they make the beeps louder…am I the only person to find this annoying?

By a strange coincidence, this happened to me yesterday in front of a group of new students, causing me to fall from my pedagogical pedestal before I’d even had a chance to cock up on curricular matters. Although I fear that the terrible sight of my exposed domes is now forever imprinted on those impressionable young minds, I have belatedly come up with a solution to prevent further incidents of the same nature:

Before attempting to fiddle with your settings in a noisy environment, tap a wineglass with a knife and shout ‘SPEECH!’ to temporarily create enough hush to hear the beeps. If you still can’t hear them, and you get lost in the settings, break wind noisily to create a diversion while you do the necessary with the battery drawers. Everyone will now be staring at the ground and concentrating on hiding their sniggers, instead of watching you tussle with your hearing instruments. Believe me, this approach is far more dignified than troubleshooting your aids in full view of an expectant audience.

Turning the tables

My other half took the hump the other day because he was asking me if I had my hearing aids in and I couldn’t hear him because I didn’t have my hearing aids in. It’s like people going in the huff after asking you by text to let them know if you’ve received their text, when you clearly haven’t received their text. How can I get him to frame his questions about my hearing aid status more sensibly?

Forget this ‘sensible’ nonsense, and have some fun with a bit of empathy training instead. Hide his reading glasses, and when he goes looking for them, insist on communicating their location via microscopically written instructions on tiny slips of paper. Roll your eyes and sigh heavily when he begs you to read them out to him, then angrily rewrite the words in giant capital letters to reinforce the message.

Telephone torture

My hearing aid clinic will only allow you to make an appointment by telephone, and then they get annoyed when you turn up at the wrong time. They also do hearing aid fitting follow-ups for new users by phone. How ridiculous is that. Why won’t they let you communicate by email?

I don’t know what the official reasoning is, but with email, it may be that it’s too expensive for the NHS to supply the blindfolds necessary to recreate the stressful experience of being deaf on a telephone via a textual medium. Seriously though, I think it’s because email can be a bit ambiguous; tone of voice is very important whenever a receptionist feels the need to be condescending.

Tweaking twerps

When I go to the hearing aid clinic, why do they always wait till they’ve got my hearing aids in their hands before they start asking important questions like “Do you need any more batteries?” and saying things like “I’ll just cut the retention tails off these new tubes, shall I?” How am I supposed to respond to a question I can’t hear? God knows what they’re saying during the bits where they’re talking with their back to me, they could be offering me an upgrade, or telling me I’ve won a lifetime supply of 8mm domes and a rare printout of my audiogram for all I know. Is this a sneaky NHS cost-cutting tactic?

Forget the conspiracy theory, they’re just being totally thoughtless.

 

You can find some more of Auntie Mo’s unique solutions to hearing aid problems here

Crossed wires

Isle of Arran seen from St Blane's

Isle of Arran seen from St Blane’s

The Cookiebite Cortex, the part of the HOH brain responsible for piecing together fragments of speech and making up fanciful interpretations of what is being said at any given time, has two error modes of output: 1. Utter Gibberish and 2. Strangely Poetic. In my experience, Utter Gibberish tends to be the default mode, and the cookiebiter owes a great debt of gratitude to the invention of written language, without which we would be condemned to an entire lifetime of people laughing at our strange turn of phrase whenever saying anything out loud.

Just occasionally, however, the Cookiebite Cortex swings into Strangely Poetic mode, in response to a series of contextual cues from its internal and external environment. I was reminded of this yesterday, as I heaved myself wearily over a stile whilst enjoying a nice country walk in the autumn sunshine. I managed to narrowly avoid ripping my trousers on the neighbouring barbed wire fence, and the brief touch of the vicious metal thorns strung from post to post stirred a long-buried memory; as a child, when I first saw a written reference to ‘barbed wire’, it took me a while to connect the concept to ‘bad wire’, my own misheard version of the name for the shin-ripping wire which lurked unseen in suburban undergrowth, waiting for its chance to painfully ensnare children who were running about after dark in places they shouldn’t…


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