Auntie Mo is back

The cookie bite ears have taken a bashing from three solid days of back-to-back academic presentations at the Enhancement Themes 2013 conference last week. This has inspired Auntie Mo, resident agony aunt at the Cookie Bite Chronicles, to do one of her occasional columns…

Agony Auntie Mo


Microphone muppet 

 Every time there’s a Q&A session at a conference, there’s always a cocky person who refuses to take the microphone and says “It’s okay, I don’t need a microphone, I’ve got a loud voice”. What’s the best way to make them understand that not everyone can hear them in a huge auditorium?

Snatch the unused microphone, tell them you’re deaf, and announce that if they’re not going to use it, you’re going to sing a song…


Lunchtime lipreading

I dread lunch breaks at large conferences because there’s a wall of noise and I can’t make out what people are saying while they’re stuffing their faces with mini-quiches and chicken drumsticks. How can I make lunch breaks less stressful for myself?

Simply take a hearing aid out, pick up a used chicken satay skewer and say, “Hold on a second, I just need to clear the wax out of this tube”. Your conversation partners will put their plates down and make their excuses pretty fast after that. Although originally devised as a hearing loss strategy, this technique also works if you want to get the cheesecake all to yourself.


Troublesome typist

 I was enjoying a fascinating paper presentation the other day, when the guy next to me started typing on his laptop at a hundred miles an hour, drowning out what I wanted to hear. I moved away from him during the break, but various others started doing exactly the same thing. Aside from the hearing issue, am I the only one who thinks that typing emails and constantly checking your mobile while someone is presenting is just plain rude?

Unfortunately, this type of behaviour is becoming quite prevalent at conferences these days. Don’t, however, move further away from the offender next time it happens. Instead, get yourself nice and close, then lean intrusively over their shoulder as they type. Hopefully this should cause them to retreat to the corridor where they belong, but if it doesn’t work first time, just try cupping a hand over your hearing aid to create some annoying feedback right next to their ear.

You can find more of Auntie Mo’s unique problem solving solutions here and here

8 Responses to “Auntie Mo is back”

  1. 1 Babs Scott June 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Hi Moira

    it’s not just the cookie biters who struggle with large echoey venues and people with microphones. The eldest was recently given the unenviable task of doing the live sound for a lecture being delivered at the local college where he now works, this required setting up the microphones (directional and tie clip) and ensuring the speakers’ words were clearly audible to the audience.

    Imagine “Golden Ears” frustration when one of the speakers decided to wave his arms, head and body around as he talked, causing him to rub the tie clip mic repeatedly creating all sors of weird noises which the eldest then had to try to balance/erase on his mixing desk; added to this the speaker also resolutely avoided speaking into the directional mics as his head swung backwards, forwards and side to side occasionally producing popping noises as his lips touched the mic. All this with the Head of Sound eyeballing the eldest from the audience as he tried desperately to instantly adjust the unexpected sounds emitting from the system.

    Sometimes it’s better not to be able to hear too well.


    • 2 moiradancer June 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Babs,

      oh dear, that’s a horrible challenge, especially the lip smacking, I never considered the poor sound guys behind the scenes!

      There was certainly plenty of clothes brushing and accidental microphone bashing going on last week, I pitied anyone who was hooked up to the loop system, their nerves would have been in tatters. As it was, I nearly jumped out of my seat when one of the presenters instinctively dipped her head towards her lapel mic for a sudden coughing fit…

      Trust you are well and looking forward to the imminent arrival of the end of term!

  2. 3 Tina June 16, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Spot on as usual Moira, thanks for giving us a smile!

  3. 5 JennyC August 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve just been diagnosed with cookie bite hearing loss and have a brand spanking new pair of hearing aids. If anyone else rustles a plastic bag I will have to kill them.

    Thank you so much for your comments Moira, they have me in stitches!

    • 6 moiradancer August 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Delighted to have given you a chuckle Jenny. You have my sympathies with the plastic bag rustlers, I am always surprised that there are not more hearing aid related crimes of passion in the news. HOH Woman goes berserk at mere sight of A1 flipchart and squeaky marker…that sort of thing 😉

  4. 7 kentigernc August 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Dear “Auntie Mo” I have this problem with a member of my family who is unable to contact her loonie brother…could this be the condition “selective deafness” or is the bagpipes…
    Luv big bruv

    • 8 moiradancer August 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      My goodness Kentigern, that all sounds very familiar. Definitely the bagpipes to blame though, my aversion to the National Instrument is well documented. No good can ever come of a deafening instrument made out of an inflated sheep’s stomach which has been studded with table legs; unless one falls off the Rothesay ferry after the highland games and needs a flotation device which can make a blood curdling alert sound for the emergency services…

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