Out Of The Frying Pan

Ever since my first incredulous realisation that hearing aids do not have OFF switches, I have longed for a method of discreet, instant relief from life’s little amplified auditory trials. Like the bunch of shrieking teenagers happy-slapping each other on the station platform yesterday morning. It was with great excitement, then, that I seized the opportunity to test the revolutionary (to me) MUTE stand-by setting on the wondrous new Oticons.

I gripped both aids firmly, as if about to lift my head off my shoulders by the ears, pressed the buttons for the 3 seconds advised in the instruction manual, and waited. And waited. 20 seconds later, the amplified teenagers were still screeching, and the devastating realisation dawned that the mute option must not have been activated in the software when the Oticons were set up.

Never mind, I said to myself, I’ll just sit in a different carriage when the train arrives and all will be well. I kept a close eye on the teenagers’ erratic herd movements as the train approached, and headed swiftly in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, I was so focussed on the teenagers’ movements, that I failed to notice the occupants of the next carriage along until it was too late.

The train doors snapped shut behind me and, for once, I didn’t hear the sound of them bleeping. In a horror scenario, the beeps were being drowned out by the unbelievable noise of a full carriage of hyped-up 7 year-olds on their way to the seaside with their battle weary teachers.

To everyone who works with large groups of little people in a confined space on a daily basis:


The NHS Oticon Spirit Zest instruction manual can be found here

7 Responses to “Out Of The Frying Pan”

  1. 1 babs scott June 28, 2012 at 6:28 am

    One of the main reasons I no longer wear the old ear trumpets on a daily basis is the noise of young children in confined spaces, sometimes it’s just better not to be able to hear! Thus I can avoid the excitement of a wet playtime, snow, windy days, the cooncil men cutting the grass, an unidentified insect in the classroom, a fall out between friends “and she said…”, any unusual visitors or disruption to the normal routine; it seems children don’t actually talk to each other these days, they SHOUT.

    Can you tell I am a teacher in desperate need of a holiday? Not long now though, only another 5 hours……sigh!

    B 😉

    • 2 JaniceB June 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      I found your website when I looking up Robert Fulford’s details (I am one of those involved in his research project), and have just spent a very enjoyable couple of hours reading all your posts!

      So many of your experiences are familiar to me as I too have low frequency hearing loss (actually mine is more of a reverse cookiebite). I’ve had NHS aids for nearly 10 years, since my mid-40s – I now have two Oticon Spririt Zests (but with ear moulds and tubing).

      I love all your ‘kookybite innovations’ and must find a batterybot for myself 🙂 A battery matrix would also be useful when I’m doing the regular hearing aid maintenance session in the daycentre in town…

      As I write, the children from the primary school up the road from me are passing our house on their way home – why *do* they have to shout all the time?!

      Will definitely book mark your page.

      in Hastings

      • 3 moiradancer June 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

        Hi Janice,

        lovely to hear from you, and delighted to hear you’re involved in Robert’s research project, it’s a really interesting study and I’m looking forward to finding out about the conclusions when he finishes.

        Thanks for saying you’ve enjoyed the blog, I’m sure you’ll have had lots of interesting experiences with your low frequency/ reverse cookiebite and the NHS over the years! Must say I’m absolutely delighted with the new Spirit Zests though, and they work really well with the digital piano, which I’d all but given up on in the aid department. They hate my tuneless whistling, but so does everyone else, I’ll forgive them for that 😉

        Keep up the good work with Robert & Co, and drop in anytime!

    • 4 moiradancer June 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Hee hee Babs, you’ve taken me back to my own schooldays with all those small things that can get the weans excited, especially the unidentified insect in the classroom. The hysteria induced by a crazed wasp making an appearance was always a welcome distraction from whatever tedious activity was on the go in a 1970s classroom.

      I can see why the hearing aids get the heave-ho when the number of assembled kiddiwinks reaches a certain critical mass! It is a further bitter irony that the most sensitive portion of our hearing comes under greatest assault from the helium voices and can’t be switched off…

      Hope you have a nice peaceful holiday, you’ve earned it!

  2. 5 babs scott June 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Hi Moira

    Am now looking forward to a peaceful holiday in my sound deadening Turkomen carpeted living room (they’re on the walls too; so no reverb). I spent a horrendous afternoon yesterday at our end of term foodfest due to an acoustic nightmare of a venue. A large square room (Owen tells me this is BAD, due to the bounce back off the walls) with a coombed ceiling and nothing to stop the echoing racket, coupled with about 40 drunken teachers screaming and shouting almost as loudly as their erstwhile charges meant a super migraine and an early exit for me. The peaceful silence of my car was bliss by comparison.

    Enjoy your summer away from the air conditioning unit and mumbling students!

    B x

  3. 6 babs scott July 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Moira,

    Saw this on the Beeb website and thought of you! Seems you’re not the only frustrated aid wearer, some people seem to have gone to even greater lengths to achieve an acceptable level of hearing.


    B x

    • 7 moiradancer July 8, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Ah, music to my cookie bite ears, Babs, nearly forgot to get out of bed this morning I got so absorbed in all the links.

      They need to hack much quicker though, I’m getting very impatient for my deluxe bespoke hearing aids with 20 separate thought-controlled programmes. One for the high level train, one for the low-level train, one for Finnieston Street, 10 different ones for the studio and office, one for doctors’ waiting rooms if Thursday was anything to go by, and several to deal with the peculiarities of individual human voices ranging from people who speak too loud, people who speak too softly, people who speak like Yoda, Sean Connery, etc etc.

      The documentary by the Eyeborg guy who’s implanted a videocam in his prosthetic eye was very interesting, too. Think I feel a Kookybite Innovation coming on…

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