That’s Progress For You

The end of a brief era of audible phone calls

A shiny new phone system has been installed at work, rendering Moira’s Big Phone, with its beloved Amplify button, obsolete. I sadly unplugged it, remembering the pain which had gone into getting it in the first place. I winced at the memory of the unfortunate Occupational Therapy incident back in February, where I had been hoping to get a decent phone and some low-key advice on acoustics in learning spaces. Owing to a complicated series of mis-communications caused by an over-sensitive spam filter in the HR department, I ended up being interviewed by an independent doctor instead. The whole thing started badly when Doctor Gloucester opened his file and said,

“It says here that you’re Deaf…but you’re clearly not Deaf. Not with a capital ‘D’.”

“Oh god, no…I’ve got some mild Cookie Bite hearing loss.”

“Mmmmm…” hummed the doctor, “Cookie Bite? Never heard of that. I’ll just do a quick test of your hearing.”

He whispered a series of numbers over my shoulder, in an exquisitely sibilant hiss.

“Sssssssssixty sssssssixxxxxx”

“Ssssssssseventy eightttttttttt”

“Ffffffffffffffffifty ttttttttttwo”

I heard every single one clear as a bell, and this revelation made me wonder whether I should be asking people to whisper using lots of words with ‘s’ in, instead of asking them to speak up.

“Can’t find any signs of hearing impairment, so I don’t think you’d be covered by the Disability Act”, he concluded. “Had a lecturer chap in earlier and he couldn’t hear a thing even when I shouted right into to his ears with his hearing aids in.”

“That’s awful”, I mumbled, eyeing up the emergency exit and wishing my occupational therapy request to HR had remained in their spam filter. Just as I thought my embarrassment threshold had plumbed a new depth, I realised it wasn’t over yet.

“Can I see your hearing aid for a moment?” said the doctor, suspiciously.

Oh my god, he thinks I’m suffering from the world’s first case of Munchausen’s Syndrome by Hearing Aid, I thought with horror. I abandoned the emergency exit idea and contemplated just jumping straight through the window instead, to avoid being exposed as a phone-grabbing malingerer in an expensive two page report to my employer. After a quick wipe on my t-shirt, I reluctantly handed the NHS’s beige property over, wondering how many artificial legs and glass eyes had been passed across the table for independent scrutiny over the years.

Doctor Gloucester examined it carefully, while I cringed in the corner, then handed it back with his verdict.

“Hmmmmm. Could do with one of these myself, but think I’ll wait another few years. Vanity… it’s a terrible thing.”

3 Responses to “That’s Progress For You”

  1. 1 not quite like beethoven October 29, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Where do you find all these bizarre characters (doctors and NHS people)? Or do they find you?

    Love your writing and your way of looking at these experiences.

    • 2 moiradancer October 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      I think they find me. I have been a magnet for bizarre encounters all my life, owing to being completely unassertive and never asking the right questions.

      But there are always two sides to every story, and I fully expect that there is a trail of blog entries written by puzzled ENT consultants, etc, describing how they’ve just been visited by a very peculiar woman with a hearing aid and one leg longer than the other.

      I always really appreciate your comments and I’m an avid reader of your blog too…I only wish I’d studied harder at German at school, because the Babelfish translator does some very strange things to the deaf!

  2. 3 not quite like beethoven October 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I’d like to see that trail of blog entries for myself 🙂
    And I’m delighted that you like reading my blog.

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