5 things to do at work which will make people suddenly need to speak to you out of the blue.

1. Run a tap.

You could have been sitting in silence all morning, but the minute you go to fill the kettle or do the dishes, people will almost be queuing up to ask you a question they could have asked just two minutes before, when you’d have been able to hear them. Now you won’t see them coming because your back is turned, and your hearing aids have digitally transformed a harmless trickle of tap water into the thunderous roar of Niagara Falls. Those who persist in trying to get your attention under these circumstances will be rewarded by the sight of you jumping out of your skin and breaking the boss’s favourite mug.

2. Look like you’re concentrating really hard during a meeting.

While your colleagues were having a laid-back coffee and dragging their heels to arrive at the meeting venue, you were already there, frantically rearranging the furniture so that you’d be able to see everyone’s face round the table. Now that the proceedings are underway, they’re all happily multi-tasking with their mobile devices, reading and writing emails, doodling, staring into space. You, on the other hand, are locked in a lipreading death stare with the Quiet Speaker, and displaying your strange predilection for writing illegible notes without looking at the page. You’re looking far too serious, what you need is for someone to whisper a series of inaudible witty asides in your ear…

3. Take your aids out to get some peace.

This one never fails, it’s as if people are psychic or have some sort of smartphone hearing aid tracking device that tells them when to pounce. With hearing aids out, you’ve finally managed to concentrate long enough to write that two line email which has eluded you all morning, and your reading glasses are no longer fighting for behind the ear space and hurting your lugs. The unexpected appearance of a question at this juncture means you’ve now got to take your glasses off to hurriedly get the aids back on again. More often than not, carrying out this operation under the quizzical gaze of a superior can result in some yellowing part of the hearing aid being left protruding embarrassingly from your ear until you next look in a mirror.

4. Open a window for some fresh air

It may well have been quiet outside since you first opened that window half an hour ago, but be assured that the moment the dustbin lorry appears at the kerb and starts its deafening crushing operation, someone will need an urgent answer to something. Especially if you’ve just taken your aids out to get some peace.

5. Walk along a corridor

The sight of a HOH person in an echoey corridor would appear irresistible to some. The individual who had no questions when you asked “Has anyone got any questions?” in a quiet room a few minutes ago will suddenly find one, and it’s now urgent. Unfortunately, in the corridor acoustic, you can’t hear it and will have to choose between looking where you are going and lipreading. In my experience, few such questions actually merit the risk of walking into door frames. Just pretend you heard and are ignoring them, it’s easier.

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14 Responses to “5 things to do at work which will make people suddenly need to speak to you out of the blue.”


  1. 1 Juliet July 17, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    The whispered witty asides are a killer 😁 I love your blog!

  2. 3 whirley July 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Quiet speakers are excruciating aren’t they?
    I work with a lovely lady who uses a perfectly normal volume in a one-to-one conversation, but in a big open meeting room she drops to a mere whisper. Which, as you describe so well, reduces me to the lip-reading death stare. SPEAK UP please!

    • 4 moiradancer July 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Ironically, I can be rather guilty of being the Quiet Speaker myself, in situations where there’s a lot of background noise coming from talking. It’s amazing, though, how many people don’t try to project their voices when addressing a group in a professional situation, one can only assume they have either very good, or very bad hearing!

  3. 5 VeganDee July 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Oh my gosh! I was laughing out loud at the Second Example. Then I was cringing at the Fourth and Fifth, as those happened to me this week at work. You are brilliantly funny. Please keep writing for us.

    • 6 moiradancer July 18, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Thanks Dee, it’s lovely to know that I am not alone in my terror of bin lorries and that you’re enjoying my witterings πŸ˜‰ I shall endeavour to keep them coming!

      • 7 VeganDee July 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

        I do everything you said in the Second Point. Everything. I get there early…always! Sit near the Speaker. It is good to know we have company out there that understands why we do what we do. πŸ™‚

  4. 8 alicia July 31, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Yes, keep writing! Know you are not alone and your humor is much appreciated.

  5. 10 Juliet July 31, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Agree! Your gentle, laugh out loud humour was enormously helpful when I was diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss (not cookie bite) earler this year and I was struggling to get used to hearing aids. I read your blog from the beginning and found it very therapeutic. I wanted to send you a private message to say a heartfelt thank you but can’t see how to do that on your blog so am doing it publicly instead 😊 your blog details should be given out with every new hearing aid prescription!

    • 11 moiradancer July 31, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Thanks Juliet, I really appreciate that and take it as a big compliment πŸ™‚ Getting used to hearing aids was a real struggle for me at the start, but writing on the blog has been very therapeutic, and I’ve also had lots of really helpful advice and support from readers. I’m delighted when I hear that it’s turned out to be a useful resource for others, makes it all worthwhile!

  6. 12 kerry August 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I hate it when people come up behind me or walk up to the desk when Im concentrating. The number of times I’ve uttered and expletive in response!
    Now Im starting work again in a call centre (yip I know but it pays) and the line manager has forgotten I cannot sit centre aisle

    • 13 moiradancer August 11, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Respect for taking on call centre work, and hope you manage to get a desk with your back to the wall before too long!

      • 14 BadBunnyEars May 2, 2015 at 9:06 pm

        Do bin lorries have special HOH people detectors?

        Having been to the audiology clinic, I find a lovely quiet back street to ring my other half when the peace is completely shattered by a great red Biffa truck


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