What Are The Chances Of This?

3128 beige dots and 22 blue ones: the blue dots show the proportion of cookie bite loss to all other types of loss, in one study of 3150 audiograms

The allure of the mobile phone is a bit of a mystery to me. I can hear perfectly well on mine as long as I’m in complete silence, but since silence is a rarity when out and about, my mobile is reserved for the express purpose of talking at people in an emergency.

This causes great disgruntlement to those nearest and dearest who, for some strange reason, wish to be able to have a dysfunctional mobile conversation with me at any time of the day or night. It was with great delight, then, that I discovered a kindred mobile phobic spirit recently. I had bumped into a long-lost friend from art school days and after a good old chinwag, we got round to sharing contact details.

“I’ll not bother giving you my mobile number,” I said sheepishly, “I never have the damn thing switched on, so it’s not much use.”

“Mine is switched on, but it’s equally useless”, replied my friend, ” I never hear it ringing.” Her son heartily endorsed this.

As we laughed, she said she now had hearing aids but wasn’t wearing them at the moment. Blimey, I thought, what were the odds on both of us having hearing aids in our early forties? I pondered whether an art school class reunion might reveal a bunch of people who’d been deafened by listening to too much Talking Heads and Bronski Beat in the mid 1980s. Then my friend startled me further.

“They say I’ve got something called cookie bite hearing loss”, she said. Cripes, the odds on us both having hearing aids and cookie bite hearing loss had just got much longer. About 22 (0.7%) of 3150 hearing loss audiograms in one academic study turned out to be mid-frequency cookie bite loss, so we’re a somewhat rare breed. The diagram at the top illustrates why there’s not much financial incentive for hearing aids to be developed with the cookie biter in mind.

As we gleefully shared our stories of cookie bite quirks, I was delighted to have confirmation that I am not going mad, and the spouse was much relieved to find that he was not alone in his tv translation duties and strange conversations in the middle of the night.


16 Responses to “What Are The Chances Of This?”

  1. 1 Sara Paton October 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Add me to the “rarely use a cell phone” list. I totally agree, it is just frustrating for me unless I am sitting in a completely quiet area and the person I am talking to is doing the same.

  2. 2 babs scott October 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Texting! – It’s the only chance you’ll ever get of a reply; I get millions of missed calls due to it ringing in my bag, in the drawer of my desk and in the footwell of my car but never in my ear. It doesn’t help that I can never remember exactly which buttons to press to make a call either, it simply shows how rarely I use the thing as a phone; either that or just how “ancient” I am becoming!

  3. 3 Liselotte October 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    You are all so vividly describing my relation with my phone and my conversations with my husband.

    Most starts by him saying something, and me guessing what it was, he said. And my success rate is rather low… But now that we both know about this hearing condition I have, he just continues this rather absurd dialog. We would be so much fun for a surveillance team;-)

  4. 4 moiradancer October 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I’m glad it’s not just me! I knew I was heading for trouble yesterday when my chums phoned me and invited me to join them for a drink in an unfamiliar bar just along the road. After several attempts at having the name spelt to me, I finally got it and set off for the Cheeky Bar, slightly worried about what bizarre concept lay behind the name. Fortunately, when I saw a sign that said TIKIBAR, I made the connection…

  5. 5 maureen October 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Hi All,

    I am just back this nano second from the peepers’ clinic, where, two weeks ago, the post-op glaucoma pressure had shot to stratospheric levels, so I’ve been resting somewhat, and taking the newly prescribed drugs for this, (to prevent permanent damage to the optic nerve).

    New drops seem to be working, as pressure more normal(ish) now, and vision still at post-op restored level, as far as we can tell, so I am starting to train the eyes again!

    I don’t have a mobile phone either – dropped it, and a vital part got lost. Text messages are too difficult for me to read, and I actually found charging the thing up, and remembering to carry it around, more of a hassle than anything.

    While I was at the clinic, my sis phoned – she was accidentally locked in her basement, along with her three year old granddaughter, who was becoming frightened. The door handle only works from the outside. She tried shouting ‘Help!’, but there are no neighbours nearby to hear – she would have to scream hysterically, at the top of her voice, for a very long time, in the hope that someone would eventually investigate, but this would have terrified the wean.

    Fortunately, she had her mobile with her, and was rescued, so, this drama had abated by the time I arrived home, and called her back on the landline’s 1471. She knew I would not be in, but had hoped that a workman might have answered my ringing phone.

    A long slow leak in a pipe under my bath brought down bits of my ceiling in the front room last Tuesday, (hence the restoring workmen).

    An absolutely gorgeous and charming young Brad Pitt lookalike arrived from Dynamic Rods in order to do the emergency repair. I told daughter number two all about him when she was round for dinner. He is returning tomorrow with more parts, whenupon I may bathe again – dinna really like the shower.

    I entered the room concerned at 5am, (gotta start the steroid regimen early), and noticed it was rather dark and stormy outside, with hailstones lashing furiously against the windows. I had rubber gloves on, (preparation for treatment), and crocs on feet, when I switched the light on, and found myself standing in water, while it also ran through the electric light fitting, hissing and zigzagging.

    I switched it off again pronto, then put buckets under the leaks. Called a painter and decorator friend of the family at 8am, telling him the receptacles were now half full, and the ceiling appeared to be bulging down. He came round and pierced the ceiling, releasing gallons of filthy water into a bunch of buckets, and diagnosed that the problem was not the weather, but a leak under the bath!

    My ceiling is absolutely knackered, as are the once prettily decorated walls, but the laminated flooring cleaned up surprisingly well, and the suite was okay, being at the other end of the room.

    The wooden bath panel is ‘blown’ and Brad said that the floor tiles, (designed to look like wooden planks), are now very loose, which he discovered as he sat on them and wriggled into the dark recess under the bath.

    Have been drying the sodden rug in the study, and drying out the electric light fitting, with additional electric heaters, so the hoose is actually very cosy of an evening.

    I do hope that all is well with everyone here!

    Best wishes to you all,


    • 6 moiradancer October 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Gosh Maureen, and you’re supposed to be taking it easy! Thank god for your magic glaucoma meds and your crocs, the last thing you need after a corneal transplant is to be electrocuted during a hailstorm!

      That’s so annoying about the devastation caused by the leak. The spouse and I are hardened leak veterans and have spent most of our married life surrounded by buckets and dehumidifiers, so totally sympathise with the upset in your previously spick and span nest. I suppose that having Brad Pitt to attend to the bathroom carnage is at least some consolation!

      Hope everything’s starting to dry out now and that you’re nice and toasty, it’s been bloomin’ freezing the last few nights. I think a light spot of interior design mag browsing could be just what the doctor ordered… 🙂

  6. 7 maureen October 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Moira,

    The surveyor has been, and taken a sample of the ceiling, ‘cos it is pre 2000, so it has to be tested for white asbestos.

    Then, whether by the men in masks and white suits, with the room clinically quarantined, and sealed barrier removal effected, or whether just by the tradesperson skilled in the art of replastering and ceiling replacement, the job will begin in earnest over the next few weeks.

    Hitherto, I had a statement wall, (didnae even ken walls could make a statement, this was sis’s and aforementioned family friend’s idea, 2 years or so ago), and 3 plain walls – creamish, statement paper deepest red with big gold leaves. All mucky noo – surveyor agrees they need redone).

    Dinna hae a clue aboot colour, design or fashion with regard to interiors. Never have I read an interior design mag. Nae taste, ye see.

    I’m tired of all the red, perhaps want blue, maybe with cream or white walls. I suggested royal blue, but sis said would be too strong (or something). Suggested duck egg, then discussed the azure shades of the new accessories. I got bored, and begged her to manage the insurance money, and get Mr C the painter and decorator to do whatever she and he want.

    Wish I was better at colour and design, but I am clueless, and would far rather just admit it, otherwise I will make a mess!

    Sis delighted – truly in her element – she got all the taste fae the design fairy – her hoose is a glittering palace up beside Whitecraigs train station. She’s got these lovely original prints of ballet dancers on her walls, which I covet earnestly, and loads of posters and prints from American modern artists. I can tell the difference between good and chocolate box art, (not a total philistine), it’s just interior colour schemes that leave me adrift on the sea of total incomprehension.

    Still, it widnae dae if we were all the same, wid it?

    Lots of best wishes,


    • 8 moiradancer October 15, 2011 at 5:42 am

      Oh Maureen, how annoying to have all the upheaval, hope it is just the skilled tradesperson version of the revamp that’s required. Once everything’s dried out, they do go at it with their plasterboard and electric screwdrivers with amazing speed, so hopefully you’ll be back to a flawless ceiling before too long. Fingers crossed!

      Good news that your sis is a whizz with the decor and happy to sort out the paperwork, looking at paint swatches is a nice task to deal with if you’re either into it, or you’re doing it at your leisure, but not something you want to be agonising over when you’ve got no ceiling and a Bute novel to write (love the update btw, fab) :).

      We’ve made some ahem, bold, decisions over colour in our time and a nice neutral cream has a lot to be said for it in moments of decorative crisis…

      Hope sis and Mr C have you fully restored to normal soon!

  7. 9 maureen October 15, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Hi Moira,

    Many thanks! I am, as usual these days, up with the shipping forecast, ready to begin the regimen of steroids, immunosuppressants, and eye drops. Only way to do it, otherwise I’d be up all night, at the other end of the day, (if that makes any sense).

    Still on a massive dose of steroids, as the ophthalmologist consultant thinks it much too soon to reduce the dose,as autoantibodies would then rage, destroying all of their artistic endeavours with the restored eye.

    I can see art in many things, including restorative surgery, (just not in colour schemes!), and also in toilets. I saw a photograph of the restored Victorian toilet facilities in Rothesay, and can see the appeal.

    As part of my ongoing scholarly pursuits, quite some years ago now, I went to a talk, given to a small group of which I was a part, hosted by Janice Galloway and an artist, in which they set out some contraptions to do with gynaecological treatments of women.

    I helped the lovely artist carry her display to the car later, and walked with her part of the way to the arty place, (used to be cried the Third Eye Centre, don’t remember its new name, and don’t even know if it’s still there, as my excursions have been limited for so long – due to the danger of tripping in unfamiliar terrain).

    Funnily enough, she inspired me about the artistry in some public toilets, (posh ones, all decked out in marble or such like), and the symbiosis that can flow when art is set alongside poetry.

    I think that she and Janice set out their display in a forest, but I respectfully asked, while we were chatting and walking up Sauchiehall Street, why they chose the poetry or prose, (tied on labels to the trees), that they did, (‘but, what do I know?’, I hastily added, in all honesty).

    She was happy to discuss possible alternative choices, in the way that truly talented and confident professionals are, and asked me what other literature I thought might have complemented the message they sought to portray.

    An interesting conversation, (I really like artists and writers), but I somehow don’t see sis going for my ideas with the upstairs bathroom.

    Daughter number two and housekeeperly services did not really think much of my initial plan, which is as follows:

    1. Rip up damaged floor tiles and ‘blown’ bath panel. (That part okay).
    2. Replace above in gleaming white. (Ceiling,door, suite all white, anyway).
    3. Erect glass shelves on the white wall tiles. Arrange white candles.
    4. Draped white towels arranged.
    5, White blinds and white bathroom curtains.

    ‘Naw’ said housekeeper, ‘Ye’ll be bathing in snow!’

    ‘Might be overpowering’, said daughter number two.

    I got bored, and have passed the decisions on!

    I hope that all is well with you, and that you enjoy a lovely weekend. Would you go to the Buteshack during the school week? My sis’s son, wife, and weans go any chance they can, quite rightly!

    All the best,

    • 10 moiradancer October 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      Hi Maureen, I’m a big white fan but it just goes to show that, in matters of decor, you cannae please everyone!

      Nipped over to Bute on Saturday after a burst water main in Union Street wiped out a large part of the south side water supply, hope you were spared as you went about your regimen! The spouse woke me at 6:00am to announce that there was no water in the tap, no water in the toilet cistern and, worst of all, no water in the kettle. We had the bags packed in the blink of an eye and were soon enjoying a cup of coffee and a roll ‘n sausage from the Seaview café at Wemyss Bay before getting the ferry…unwashed bliss.

  8. 11 maureen October 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Moira,

    I’d take your advice (as an artist) over that of others, (nae offence to housekeeperly services, and daughter number 2 wis jist trying tae be tactful, not wishing to contradict what the cleaning ladies thought). Daughter number 1 phoned from London, and opined that the white silvery theme sounded rather retro and cool to her).

    I wisnae affected by the recent leak – although our water was turned off a couple of weeks ago – perhaps because of another leak. My neighbour called in saying, if housekeeperly services didnae stop cleaning the path, there wid be nae watter fur me to flush the toilet – although they had assurances the watter wid soon be back oan.

    If you and your husband find yourselves in such dire straits again, call on moi!

    I would of course supply you with a multitude of receptacles containing H20.

    Or milk – ye could take this back wae ye, and bath in the manner of Cleopatra! (I get tons delivered from the dairy, on account of the steroids, in order to offset the osteoporosis). Don’t drink it all. Too much, really.



  9. 13 maureen October 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Moira,

    What housekeeperly services are starting to do is to give the empty 2 litre milk cartons a run through the dishwasher. That way, I shall have a stock of clean empty receptacles that can be filled with water in an emergency, e.g. from a supply tap that the council may set up if there is a burst watermain.

    This happened about 15 years ago in Giffnock. I had to get a taxi and queue before filling up empty petrol containers that I bought en route from the garage next to the white church on Fenwick Rd., and the said garage is no longer even there. Just as well I was in the girl guides – being prepared and all that!

    When the recent, temporary, shutdown to the water supply happened, I was all set to order a cheese and tomato pizza, and 12 bottles of water, despite trying to avoid calorific food, ‘cos the drive to flush the loos and drink copious coffee supervened. However, the water came on again.

    I won’t be caught out again, (I hope).

    Daughter number one phoned last night, and we discussed who might win the Man Booker prize. We’ll find out this evening. Never did I ever think that a Western would be shortlisted, but it sounds good, going by the reviews on radio 4.

    I’ve been to the doctor’s and the chemist’s today, so feel quite virtuous for having accomplished so much in one morning, (and lucky at missing the periodic deluges from the heavens), and am now playing CD’s from the 60’s, lent to me by my sis. I am sorting out other CD’s, belonging to my daughters, and playing those that I like, in between doing the plethora of eyedrops.

    The programme of eye training is going well, as I am managing to read and send a gradually increasing amount of e-mails, while remembering to take it easy, and keep within the limits advised.

    With best wishes,


  10. 14 Sabs October 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Hi Moira, just discovered your blog after googling cookie bite loss and ended up on here.

    I got my own cookie bite diagnosis today and am getting (NHS) hearing aids in two weeks, so I’ve been going through all your old posts to see what I’m gonna deal with. Found myself laughing at a lot of your stories, especially since I recently graduated from a design course at another scottish university and it’s quite interesting to hear about “the other side”.

    I’m a piano player as well and after reading about your first experience when getting your aids I’m a bit freaked out (Daleks! Panic!). Should probably prepare for the fact that those aids are gonna turn my (sound) world upside down.

    I’ve bookmarked your blog and am gonna drop in every now and then!

    • 15 moiradancer October 22, 2011 at 9:18 am

      Hi Sabs, lovely to hear from you. Don’t be put off by my histrionic hyperbole, I’m a bit of a delicate flower and ‘a slight hint of dalek in certain listening situations until they got the settings right’ is a more accurate description of my initial experience! I’d no idea what to expect and thought hearing aids were like glasses and you just put ’em on and bingo, you automatically had absolutely normal hearing and off you went. I didn’t realise the settings might have to be tweaked to get everything sounding the way it’s supposed to, but once they were sorted it’s been fine.

      With the piano, you’ll be amazed at how much fuller and resonant the notes sound. I got really excited by that initially, but now that the novelty has worn off I find the lop-sided effect of having only one ear amplified really annoying, so I’ve ditched the aid for playing. I’m lucky just to have a mild loss, so unaided, I can hear all the notes fine.

      Hope all goes well with your fitting, you’ll not believe what you’ve been missing when you get your aids, keep us posted on your experiences!

  11. 16 Clara February 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    My crowning achievement with the telephone was a recent call from my husband. “Can you hear me?” he began – always a wise question, though one which I am known to lie in the answer as I know that’s what he said, it’s what everyone says. But this time I said “Yes, but not enough to know who you are… all I can tell is you are a Scottish male”. My husband is not Scottish. I returned that phone.

    The guy at the Action on Hearing Loss stand at an exhibition gave me one last hope of a phone to try then ended the sentence with “And if that one doesn’t work I think you will need to accept you are just too deaf to use the phone”. Thanks, you made my day there.

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