Hear, hear

TED talk

“Sorry, didn’t mean to make you jump,” said Hearing Aid Avenger apologetically as he appeared beside me in the office on Friday, “but why is your desk facing the wall… wouldn’t it be better facing the other way so you don’t have your back to the door? You’ve always sat facing the door…”

“There isn’t enough room”, I said glumly, “but jumping out my skin every five minutes is the least of my problems. Where have you been the last few weeks? I could have done with your help round here.”

I was in a bad mood and it was just about to get worse.

It turned out that Hearing Aid Avenger was just back from delivering a TED talk on Hearing Aids and Noise in the Learning Environment. I was slightly jealous of his all expenses paid trip to California, but when I heard he’d had a bit of a mixed reception for his ideas, which were remarkably similar to mine, I changed my tune. His hard-hitting presentation had ruffled a few feathers, with the unveiling of a manifesto which was as radical as it was brief:

TED projection

Apparently, when the manifesto appeared on the screen, there was a loud cheer from the audience, and a group of hard of hearing lecturers in the front row threw their hearing aids on to the stage in rapturous appreciation. Meanwhile, a fight broke out amongst a bunch of architects in the back row, some of whom were outraged by the suggestion that hearing and concentration were more important for learning than sensory stimulation. When they were unable to make themselves heard because of the poor acoustics, a riot broke out in the auditorium and Hearing Aid Avenger had to be escorted backstage for his own safety.

“Wow”, I said, “I wonder what would have happened after this TED talk by Julian Treasure…”


3 Responses to “Hear, hear”

  1. 1 Tina C. February 19, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Moira,
    What an inspiring talk by Julian Treasure, I’d have been standing up cheering just to realize that someone has actually thought about these problems. From what’s happening all around one wouldn’t think so. And especially from what’s happening to you. It’s incredible that a building was designed without thinking of the problems of people with hearing loss (apart from all the other factors mentioned in the TED talk, as regards stress, understanding etc.) Surely if an architect designed a public place impossible to access for people unable to walk properly or climb stairs there would be public outcry, whereas I have the impression nobody is trying to solve your problem in any way, apart from you yourself. I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the last few days without being able to come up with a solution, except for demanding some sort of closed space where you can at least do small sessions. I teach myself, so I really feel for you and can imagine what a nightmare it is. What have the ‘powers that be’ said when you’ve told them your problem? If they aren’t doing anything about it and it’s stopping you from being able to work effectively surely that’s some sort of discrimination.
    There is some info here:
    Anyway, just to let you know I’m thinking about you.

    • 2 moiradancer February 22, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Hi Tina,

      thanks for the kind words and the link. The powers that be are trying to sort things, but it’s probably going to take some time. A closed space was provided very quickly following a ‘straight to the top’ appeal on my behalf by my managers. They acted totally in good faith, but the room was designed for non-communication creative activities, and turns out to present a whole different set of rather insurmountable difficulties for the unfortunate hearing aid user. A fan and ducting nerve centre in the ceiling and speech obliterating reverb to name but two. To say I was gutted was a bit of an understatement, and I don’t think being seen to look a gift horse in the mouth will have made me employee of the month either.

      The money it would take to make the space work for me would be better spent on creating a small but perfectly formed separate discussion space in the studio, so I’m going to push for that once we’re allowed to make modifications to the architect’s interior spec in 6 months’ time.

      In the meantime, I have taken the art of bluffing to a whole new level, and am keeping my fingers crossed that the bit about teachers’ heart attacks in the Julian Treasure talk doesn’t come true before I get to the holidays…

  2. 3 Rose Rodent (@RoseRodent) March 9, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    “Surely if an architect designed a public place impossible to access for people unable to walk properly or climb stairs there would be public outcry”

    You’d love to think we’re that evolved, but speaking as one who comes with wheels attached, there is no public outcry, just some tears of frustration and a well worn letter to the offender. The local swimming pool has somehow just received permission to close for 7 months for a major refurbishment project in which their wheelchair access went from marginal to truly appalling. Their reply? It complies with regulations. Which is untrue, as the regulations are that if a real person cannot access it, they must find a better way, there IS no regulation which you can tick off to say you are compliant, that’s building code compliance, not Equalities Act compliance. The pharmacy also just got permission for a major refit, and despite that being the last six months, they were not compelled install a ramp even though they already had the floor pulled up.

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