Hearing Aid Holiday

As last week’s day trip to Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae with the students loomed closer, the BBC weather website was taking a large number of hits from yours truly. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I clicked on Thursday’s forecast, it still said Heavy Rain all day. With a matching heavy heart, I packed my rucksack on Thursday morning, and waved bye bye to the hearing aid. It was going to be too wet to wear it, and since I have been of the opinion lately that I don’t need it anyway, I was looking forward to being able to tuck my rain soaked hair behind my left ear with gay abandon.

As I headed for the station, the first thing I noticed was that my waterproof jacket and walking boots were unusually silent in their operation. Cool. Here was reassuring proof that I don’t need to hear my arms moving or the thud of my footsteps to carry out the act of walking. The faint sound of some distant drilling caused my eyes to wander from my limbs to the ever expanding roadworks along Victoria Road. In the absence of the mid frequencies, I noticed that the rush hour streets had now acquired a nice relaxing Sunday morning ambience. How refreshing.

Next, I enquired at the station ticket office if I could buy a ticket straight through to Millport, and the complete absence of any vocals from the bad tempered ticket man from behind his bullet proof glass screen was an unexpected bonus. Hearing the intricacies of his rant was not necessary to my transaction, since his body language and facial gestures told me all I needed to know. I politely requested a return to Largs instead, taking my time to enquire whether it was cheaper to buy the ticket from Glasgow Central, oblivious to the formation of a large queue of people behind me. Awareness of this would normally rush me into making a hasty exit with the wrong ticket, and I wondered if I had been given my sensory deficiencies to counteract my naturally anxious streak. Hmmm. I decided I might ponder that one from outside the ticket office, the ticket queue looked like it was becoming a bit restless.

Once on the train, the doors bleeped shut without the usual two minute echo in the left ear, and this sudden reminder of my aural liberation made me run my hand through my hair just for the hell of it. It was silent. There was no irritating scrunching noise of hair on microphone, or whine of feedback. It felt so strange, that I did it twice in quick succession before tucking my wayward Billy Whizz curl triumphantly into the empty space behind the left ear.

Ah, this is the life, I thought, reaching into my handbag for the ultimate celebration of an empty lughole, a piece of chewing gum. Still, old habits die hard, and I let myself down by automatically trying to push the absent hearing aid tube back into my ear after a couple of minutes of chewing. I smiled to myself as I reckoned that by the end of the day, that annoying habit would be gone. After all, it’s been many years since I’ve tried to push my non-existent glasses up with my contact lenses in.

Once off the train, I strolled contentedly to meet my colleagues and students under the station clock, chewing my gum with unusually vigorous jaw movements, and satisfyingly running my fingers through the locks of increasingly frizzy hair on the left hand side of my head.


10 Responses to “Hearing Aid Holiday”

  1. 1 maureen October 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Moira,

    Cool post! Millport is great, were you and your colleagues and students going there to sketch things?

    Queues frequently form behind me, as I often inadvertently give the Sainsbury Local assistant the wrong money, or put the debit card in awry, etc. I just turn round and smile ingratiatingly at everyone, waving my arms, all in a fluttery panic, simultaneously inviting the assistant to take the correct money out of the purse, while explaining to all and sundry that I’ve had recent eye surgery, and cannot focus correctly.

    Folk are usually understanding, and the shades help, especially in inclement weather – I’ve obviously got problems! In fact, I think that just about all of the local shopkeepers know about my issues, which helps, as they do everything they can to be of help.

    There is something to be said for the village atmosphere that exists in a row of small shops, where the news vendor know your name, when you pop in to pay for the papers delivered. He has delivered extra things to me, ‘cos my sis and hubbie, (also his customers), were holidaying abroad. He sells the most delicious Morton rolls etc., as well as general groceries.

    Best wishes for now, and I do hope that you enjoyed Millport,


    • 2 moiradancer October 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

      Hi Maureen,

      we were off for a day of Millport found object hunting, but the biting wind and constant rain made it a bit more challenging than we’d hoped! The plentiful cups of coffee in the Ritz Café thawed us all out though.

      Your row of small shops sounds fab, I’ll bet you’re a local celebrity when out and about with your shopping basket. The wee shops near us on Victoria Road are disappearing fast, as many of the old characters retire, it’s such a shame. Until recently you could buy everything you needed for your dinner, get your watch fixed, and buy a three piece suite without going more than a hundred yards. Ah, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be…

      Hope your eyes are keeping up the good work and that your nest is returning to full decorative order!

  2. 3 babs scott October 23, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I have been having an almost permanetnt holiday from my hearing aids for nearly two years and now only pop them in when absolutely neccessary. A few weeks ago at a twilight cluster schools meeting I decided I may need to put them in as the powerpoint we were about to view looked as if its audio content was going to be played through tinny laptop speakers. I rustled about in my handbag for a few moments to retrieve my ears and then fiddled with the settings and volume so it was just right. Unfortunately I had failed to notice that the laptop had been routed through a “Coomber” and the resultant booming nearly increased my deafness exponentially. I spent the next ten minutes trying to adjust the volume to normal levels and missed most of what was being said about the Curriculum for Excellence. Muted volume and hearing is definitely preferable!

    • 4 moiradancer October 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      Hee hee, Babs, scarily loud noises from misbehaving audio equipment is the bane of my life with or without hearing aids!

      I’ve just got into the habit of wearing mine all the time, because if I take it out at work, everything sounds so horrifically noisy when I put it back in that I can’t adjust to it. It’s better to just bung it in in the quiet before leaving the house and then I don’t notice. The background noise of traffic, people and air conditioning is a real problem in the temporary building I’m in just now, though, so I’m seriously wondering if I’m actually better off just returning to my nice muffled world. For the one to one stuff in the studio, I don’t seem to have any more difficulty than those with normal hearing, as long as there are some mouth movements going on, although admittedly, those can often be rare!

  3. 5 babs scott October 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Luckily for me, the small people I work with have nice, squeaky, high pitched voices and a tendency to shout naturally; even when they are two inches apart. Also I’ve got pretty good at reading lips now and can work out most of what is being said if someone is looking directly at me. The only problem is when “the little people” want to tell me about something which someone “over there” has done, which neccessitates them looking in the direction of the said someone, while trying to tell me what it is. This usually results in several “look at me while you’re talking” rants before they get the message. When they all talk at once though my cookie bite ears (with aids in) go into meltdown and my brain feels as if it’s being fried. So I now tend not to wear them in class at all to preserve my sanity!

  4. 6 maureen October 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Hi Moira, Hi Babs,

    It’s good to know about the different tips that may be of help when communicating with a person who has your type of hearing loss, and I shall take these very much on board, as I do encounter people with similar problems in my professional life.

    I remember Victoria Road and its wonderful shops very well from childhood and beyond. One famously boasted a live parrot, and it was a sad day when that establishment closed its doors!

    The white asbestos removal specialists are arriving today – yes, the result was positive! I alerted two lots of neighbours, and asked that they pass the word along to the rest. E.g., do not needlessly drill into your ceiling, best thing is to leave well alone, but, should your ceiling fall down due to a bathroom burst pipe, as did mine, be prepared.

    I was at the clinic yesterday, and the post-op pressure is far too high, so they are contemplating further intervention, of the surgical kind. I am taking medication, but am to return Monday am for another measurement. A person has to be psychic to get on the right train from Hyndland, or else it’s my visual problems, but I don’t see Glasgow Central Lowlevel signposted on the board, so always have to ask the other travellers. They know I’ve obviously just come from Gartnavel, (clue being the big pharmacy bag), so, that, coupled with the shades, means that I do get a lot of help, thank goodness.

    I do hope that all is well with everyone who participates on this blog!

    All the best,


    • 7 moiradancer October 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Maureen,

      is that not typical about the bloomin’ asbestos, why couldn’t they just have found Gyproc plasterboard! Hope that doesn’t cause too much more disruption, and it was good that you tipped off your neighbours, it would be easy to be completely unaware that the stuff was there.

      Really sorry to hear that your post-op pressure has gone too high, the thought of having to undergo more surgery after everything you’ve been through, must be really unappealing to say the least. Keep up your diligence with the meds and I shall be crossing all my fingers and toes for you between now and Monday in the hope that things settle down, and I’m sure everyone else will be, too. Do feel free to email me if you need to sound off behind the scenes, I wish I could be as calm as you are in the face of such a difficult situation.

      As for train destination boards, well you’ve just touched on one of my current rant obsessions. Whenever I appear at any departures monitor in a non-mainline station, it flips from the train destinations to the security announcement which announces that they will blow up your unattended luggage, just at the point an unidentified train comes in. Why oh why oh why can they not have at least one monitor which always has the departures listed without interruption. Grrrr. And why are the automated announcements on the train often not synchronised with the stations? And why does the automated voice on the low level trains insert a phantom ‘B’ at the beginning of certain stations, eg, “This train is for Blanark, the next stop will be Banderston? Mind you, I have not yet been to Hyndland to confirm whether it says B-hyndland, but if it did, that would at least be funny!

      Take care, and every best wish for Monday’s appt


  5. 8 Liselotte October 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Dear Maureen,

    I shall like Moria be crossing as many body parts as possible between now and Monday for you and your eyes and some better news.

    I have been a bit absent from Moria’s blog. My own blog has been through a redesign phase and a relaunch, and then work and last a minor food poisoning.

    But I do read the comments every time a new one comes in, and I can’t say your life has been easy in the last weeks. I hope your ceiling/bathroom situation will be solved as fast as possible. This on the top of your health problems must be quite stressful.

    All the best,


  6. 10 maureen October 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Moira,

    I think, because the post op intra-ocular (glaucoma) pressure has reached the figure of 40, (which, judging from the consultant’s reaction, is worse, markedly much, much worse than 30 odd), some kind of operative intervention, whether by the laser or the knife, will be inevitable.

    Of course, the twice daily diamox tabs between now and Monday may well reduce the pressure, but, apparently, these are no use in the longer term.

    Most people are in great pain, vomiting and fainting with such a reading, but I felt okay. However, such symptoms make one seek medical help, so it’s not good, on the whole, to be asymptomatic. I am far from being stoical, and scream and cry when in great pain, but there was no pain.

    The danger is that the high pressure can destroy the optic nerve, or the blood supply to this, as it passes into the brain, leading to incurable blindness. However, thank goodness, the level of restored vision is largely unchanged. As long as that is the case, there is no need for panic.

    The boss of asbestos removal just phoned. I advised him to call and collect his cheque tomorrow, just to double check I’ve written it correctly, and do not post it to the wrong address, etc. etc. in view of the current problems. Although I am not in pain, I do feel very strange, perhaps because of all this medication, on top of the high pressure reading.

    Furthermore, I would not wish him still to be awaiting his money, based on an invoice that I’ve not yet received, and then my perhaps being admitted on Monday, stressed out by unpaid bills.

    He is coming round, so that is one less problem!

    The tiler is bringing white bathroom floor tiles on Friday, so that will soon be another good job done!

    Thanks for all of your good wishes, they are very much appreciated.



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