Oh My God!! This is amazing…TOTALLY AMAZING!!!” I shrieked, forgetting that I was the only one in the office invisibly listening to Radio 4 streaming live to their hearing aids. Even more amazingly, not only could I understand every word that was being said, the clarity of speech made listening almost effortless. Wow. So this was why other people liked listening to the radio! Whatever next, I pondered, perhaps I was going to finally discover how they can follow ‘Top of the Lake’ without subtitles! I let out a little sigh of amusement at the very thought, and eagerly returned to my voyage of wireless listening discovery.

The next discovery was slightly less edifying, however. With Multi Mic and Radio 4 on 100% of my hearing mix, and the real world on 0%, I was now a frightening embodiment of the famous Lombard effect, which causes human beings to raise their voices in loud surroundings in order to be heard. The only difference is that whilst it’s quite acceptable to shout conversationally at cocktail parties, it comes across as totally bonkers in a quiet office.

My talking to myself in a very loud voice was attracting glances from a colleague, and I noticed a question being formed underneath his twitching beard. Unfortunately I couldn’t hear a thing with muted hearing aids and Radio 4 beaming directly into my brain.

“HOLD ON A SECOND…” I entreated, as I tried to remember how to get myself back into airplane mode without aggravating the rapidly developing sore spots on the backs of my ears. All that button pressing combined with the vice-like grip of the new hearing aids was taking its toll, and I didn’t even have my reading glasses on yet. “Oh, stuff this”, I said, giving up on buttons and impatiently ripping the Multi Mic’s audio lead out of the computer in order to take a shortcut to my normal speaking volume.

With normal conversational volume restored on both sides, I began to wonder if I had indeed made a terrible mistake by opting for 100% Multi Mic on wireless. It was all very well hearing Radio 4 with crystal clarity, but not at the expense of everything else. Fearful of taking the edge off my new found enjoyment of faceless speech, I carefully tucked away the Multi MIc and returned to my admin activities on the computer in silence. I needed to preserve all my energies for the ‘Top of the Lake’ TV test later that evening…

4 Responses to “Speechless…”

  1. 1 LaVonne September 11, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    So far it sounds like good points and bad points. I already can get totally immersed in an activity without tuning out the world. lol

  2. 2 Sue H September 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    😂 I have a T loop in my living room, (£15 amplifier off eBay & a geek husband to fix it and connect wire etc).
    Results very similar to your radio 4 experience I can listen to TV or plug in phone, Dab radio etc & hear stuff with sound off & rest of family oblivious, until I shout at Wimbledon or laugh at a joke.

  3. 3 roseclara January 2, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Since you are forced to choose only one percentage, I’d get two sets of domes, so you can switch them easily. If your plan is to listen exclusively for a while, chuck on the closed ones, if you want to listen to something and be able to hear the world too, put on some vented domes. It’s the only way to win, and the downside of the gadgets versus things which plug into the input socket, as I can get both 50/50 and 100%, just have to fidget with my ears to go through the billion program options!

    • 4 moiradancer January 3, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Good tip on the domes front, Rose. My follow up appointment is not till the end of Jan, so I’ll give the open domes a try in the meantime. The Multi Mic has been languishing in my handbag for months since it wipes out my awareness of all other sounds with the closed domes…kind of the opposite of what I was trying to achieve, d’oh.

      Mind you, mirrors the performance of the aids with closed domes as well, I need to take them out to hear on the phone and to hear quiet high pitched noises…handy, not 😦

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