Gremlins

 

I positively skipped through the sunshine in the park on the way home from Clinic O. The mute setting was now working like a dream and I toggled enthusiastically on the ear gear to put it through its paces. A three second press of the button and it was goodbye traffic noise, hello tweety birds. Another three seconds on the button to unmute, and it was hello passing baby with an intense screech like a plank of wood going through a bandsaw. I reached joyously to the ears to mute it again, but owing to the intensely high pitch of the noise given out by the purple faced infant, the illusory bandsaw was still very much there. I took some consolation, however, from the observation that the shouts of “haw big yin, get yer tits out” from the drunken jakeys on a nearby bench, had vanished into the cookie bite zone.

I burst into the house, and shouted to the spouse that it was safe to come out, all had gone well with the Oticons. He was very relieved. Then I headed to my study and settled down at the computer, lasting all of five seconds tending to my email inbox before getting distracted.

“Gosh it’s turned windy ouside all of a sudden” I said to myself, as the sound of the leaves rustling in the tree behind me caught my attention. I turned round for a look and was puzzled to see that the leaves were perfectly still. Strange. I hit mute, and the rustling leaves disappeared instantly. I hit unmute and they were back. Were they real?

After checking the house for other possible sources of rustling leaves sound, I cycled through all the programmes. Beep beep, programme 2 speech in noise, the rustling was gone. Beep beep beep, programme 3 music, no rustling. Beep beep beep beep, programme 4 loop, no rustling, just a bit of crackling. Beep, programme 1 automatic, and the rustling was back. The realisation dawned; I had hear this sound before and it wasn’t the beautiful sound of leaves rustling, it was my old enemy: circuit noise.

“Noooooooooooooooooo” I wailed, “they’re buggered! Why did I ask them to change anything…I’m going to have to phone Clinic O again!”

“Noooooooooooooooooo!” groaned the spouse, bracing himself as I headed for my favourite diagnostic tool for hearing malfunctions, the piano.

It seemed to me from some detailed musical experiments, and the fact that my voice sounded louder than usual on programme 1, that programmes 1 and 2 had somehow shuffled. I phoned Clinic O and asked if they could check my notes to confirm that the programmes were still assigned to the same slots as before. It turned out that they were, but they offered to get saintly hearing aid chap to check the setup in detail when he next emerged from the soundproof booth, to make sure there wasn’t some other simple explanation. He phoned me back very promptly and it turned out there wasn’t a simple explanation, so he offered me an appointment at the end of the day to see what was going on with the aids connected to the computer.

To cut a long story short, there was nothing going on that could be identified, so the tried and trusted troubleshooting method of reverting to the previously saved settings was employed, and the problem disappeared. I was very tempted to quit while ahead and exit Clinic O muteless and loopless once more, but saintly hearing aid chap patiently re-added the mute setting and the loop, and this time success was achieved. The gremlins were gone as quickly as they had arrived.

I breathed a nicely audible sigh of relief, offered my profuse thanks and skipped back along the slightly shadier corridor.

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