Archive for the 'Perception' Category

Welcome back Auntie Mo!

Paradox

 

Technical troubles 

In loud background noise, I was frantically cycling through my ha programs trying to find the background noise reduction setting on my hearing aids, but I couldn’t hear the program beeps because the background noise was too loud. I lost my place and ended up with one hearing aid on the music setting and the other on T-coil at maximum volume. The only way to sort it was to take them out in public, switch them off and turn them back on again. Why can’t they make the beeps louder…am I the only person to find this annoying?

By a strange coincidence, this happened to me yesterday in front of a group of new students, causing me to fall from my pedagogical pedestal before I’d even had a chance to cock up on curricular matters. Although I fear that the terrible sight of my exposed domes is now forever imprinted on those impressionable young minds, I have belatedly come up with a solution to prevent further incidents of the same nature:

Before attempting to fiddle with your settings in a noisy environment, tap a wineglass with a knife and shout ‘SPEECH!’ to temporarily create enough hush to hear the beeps. If you still can’t hear them, and you get lost in the settings, break wind noisily to create a diversion while you do the necessary with the battery drawers. Everyone will now be staring at the ground and concentrating on hiding their sniggers, instead of watching you tussle with your hearing instruments. Believe me, this approach is far more dignified than troubleshooting your aids in full view of an expectant audience.

Turning the tables

My other half took the hump the other day because he was asking me if I had my hearing aids in and I couldn’t hear him because I didn’t have my hearing aids in. How can I get him to frame his questions about my hearing aid status more sensibly?

Forget this ‘sensible’ nonsense, and have some fun with a bit of empathy training instead. Hide his reading glasses, and when he goes looking for them, insist on communicating their location via microscopically written instructions on tiny slips of paper. Roll your eyes and sigh heavily when he begs you to read them out to him, then angrily rewrite the words in giant capital letters to reinforce the message.

Telephone torture

My hearing aid clinic will only allow you to make an appointment by telephone, and then they get annoyed when you turn up at the wrong time. They also do hearing aid fitting follow-ups for new users by phone. How ridiculous is that. Why won’t they let you communicate by email?

I don’t know what the official reasoning is, but with email, it may be that it’s too expensive for the NHS to supply the blindfolds necessary to recreate the stressful experience of being deaf on a telephone via a textual medium. Seriously though, I think it’s because email can be a bit ambiguous; tone of voice is very important whenever a receptionist feels the need to be condescending.

Tweaking twerps

When I go to the hearing aid clinic, why do they always wait till they’ve got my hearing aids in their hands before they start asking important questions like “Do you need any more batteries?” and saying things like “I’ll just cut the retention tails off these new tubes, shall I?” How am I supposed to respond to a question I can’t hear? God knows what they’re saying during the bits where they’re talking with their back to me, they could be offering me an upgrade, or telling me I’ve won a lifetime supply of 8mm domes and a rare printout of my audiogram for all I know. Is this a sneaky NHS cost-cutting tactic?

Forget the conspiracy theory, they’re just being totally thoughtless.

 

You can find some more of Auntie Mo’s unique solutions to hearing aid problems here

Requiescap In Pace

dead bird

“Oh dear”, said the spouse as he made coffee at the Buteshack on Saturday, “there’s a dead bird over there beside the planter on the seafront.”

I rushed to the window to see if it was Pegleg. My favourite gull has been missing, presumed dead, for several months now, but it turned out that this wasn’t him.

“Looks like an oystercatcher”, I observed mournfully from behind the net curtain. The forlorn mound of inky black plumage on the verge next to the road had a distinctive flash of white, and I could just about make out a hint of vermilion leg against the green of the grass.

“Poor thing”, I said, “it’s a bit undignified lying there next to the bus stop… I’ll put it down at the low water mark once the tide’s gone out. It’ll be like a Viking funeral but without the flames. Or the longboat.”

“You’re on your own with that,” said the spouse, shuddering.

Later, once the tide had ebbed to reveal the familiar rocks dotted about the exposed sea bed, I approached the deceased bird with great solemnity and more than a little trepidation, since I had no idea how long it had been there. On getting close, however, all solemnity was lost when I realised that I had been planning a burial at sea for a discarded black baseball cap with a white emblem on the front.

Time to make that overdue optician’s appointment…

Guilty, M’lud

“Oh no”, said the spouse, “there’s a letter here from Glasgow Sheriff Court…don’t say you’ve been called for jury duty again? Twice in one year is bad enough, but three times? That’s unfortunate.”

“Don’t worry”, I said, excitedly, ” I sent them a letter about their hearing loop. It took me ages to write, I put my heart and soul into it…that’ll be their reply.

I made myself a nice cup of tea and settled down to open the letter, noting that it was a bit thin. Hmm. No compensatory free front row tickets for the public gallery at Court No 7, or gilt-edged invitation to see the ceremonial flicking of the ‘ON’ switch on the induction loop system for me, then.

I started reading.

‘Dear Sir/Madam,’ began the letter. I noted the personal touch. ‘Your comments and ratings are appreciated and helpful in particular where you highlight the hearing loop issues, perceived lack of training…’

Perceived lack of training? interjected my inner Rumpole of the Bailey, perceived?

I cast my mind back to the clerk of court saying that she wasn’t sure how to operate the loop system. The lack of training had seemed very real to me at the time, but I had to concede that if one now analysed the situation from a phenomenological point of view, then I had indeed perceived the lack of training, in the same way that I had perceived the courthouse, the clerk, the lack of a loop signal, and everything else since I’d got out of bed on that October morning. It certainly was real to me, but I had no way of proving that it was real to anybody else, and with the insertion of the word ‘perceived’ the Sheriffdom was making it clear that it wasn’t necessarily real to them.

I read on. I still had another three lines to go.

‘…perceived lack of training, door closers and public announcements. All of the foregoing will prove invaluable in our attempts to improve service to all court users and be taken forward in early course. I do hope that on any future visit you can see an improvement in these areas.’

“Future visit? Future visit?” I screeched, “If there is a future visit I’ll be sitting on the other side of the dock. Still, at least I’ll be able to hear the indictment next time.”

All of a sudden, I was transported to my new and improved future visit to Glasgow Sheriff Court.

“All stand”, said the clerk.

The Sheriff entered solemnly and took his seat. This time, the door closed silently behind him instead of banging shut. The packed courtroom was hushed apart from an intermittent high pitched whistling noise coming from the front row of the public gallery. A few feet away, the prisoner in the dock was fiddling with her ears.

“Moira Dancer,” began the Sheriff gravely, “I charge that on the fourteenth day of November two thousand and thirteen, at or about 8:45pm, you did blow a gasket upon reading the reply to your complaint letter from the Estates and Administration Department of the Sheriffdom of Glasgow and, after removing both hearing aids in a calculated manner, committed a breach of the peace in the kitchen of a tenement flat in the south side of Glasgow. How do you plead?”

“Guilty as sin, M’lud,” I answered, “although, in my defence, I perceived at the time of the incident that I was speaking at a normal conversational level.”

“Have you anything else to add before you are taken down?” asked the Sheriff.

“As a matter of fact, I have. For the benefit of myself, and any other hearing aid users on the benches or in the public gallery, would you please remember to speak into your microphone. It’s currently pointing at the wall.”

Complaint letter

reply

A Bad Lipreading Of The First 2012 Presidential Debate

 

Political debate can be engaging after all. Crank the volume up, turn the subtitles on and enjoy.

via The Limping Chicken

I Think We Got Something Just Then

It was the moment of truth (again) at Clinic O on Tuesday, as the programming leads were disconnected from the shiny new Oticon Spirit Zests which the very nice senior audiologist had managed to wangle on my behalf. I was a bit disappointed that she wasn’t doing the fitting, but hearing aid chap was doing a thoroughly fine job in her absence, in the hope that it might be the last Clinic O would see of me for a while.

Nothing was too much trouble. “No problem”, he said with saintly forbearance, when I told him that I like the retention tails to be left on the tubes. Unfortunately it was just a fraction of a second after he had cut them off with a scalpel. A couple of fresh tubes with tails were snapped on, and I was soon reporting on the sounds of the soundproof room, as requested. I could now hear a faint circuit noise type sound, but I was told that the air conditioning was on. I decided that phenomenological proof of whether the noise was coming from the hearing aid or the air conditioning could never be established, so I decided to focus instead on reporting the fact that the sound was cutting out every time I moved my jaw or raised my eyebrows. My report was less than articulate and took the form of a high pitched strangled whine and a frustrated exclamation of “Bloody hearing aids, why are they always such a pain in the arse?”

“Ah well, you see, that’s because the tails are getting in the way”, said hearing aid chap in a saintly fashion, despite my tantrum. “I’ll cut them off for just now and give you a spare pair with tails on, and some larger domes that you can try if they still won’t stay put. You can find the combination that works best. It’ll save you having to come back every five minutes.” I thought this was a jolly good idea, and happily abandoned my initial hypothesis that the tubes were too short.

Some more saintly forbearance was required as I practised changing the volume control and programme settings.

“Oh…what…they’re not making clicking noises when I press the volume”, I whimpered, wondering what was going wrong this time. Hearing aid chap patiently reconnected them to the computer and checked the settings.

“Try that,” he responded, positively beatifically, “you should be hearing something now.”

“Nope, still not doing anything”, I said. Hearing aid chap held an aid up to his ear and reported that it was, in fact, making a noise when he pressed the button. Quite a loud one, apparently. I cringed as I remembered Mrs Richards in Fawlty Towers complaining to Basil that the radio didn’t work, and wondered if everyone sitting next to me in meetings was going to wonder what the strange woodpecker noise was whenever I changed the volume.

“Don’t worry”, said hearing aid chap patiently, “I’ll increase the frequency of the beep to one that you can hear better. It’s set to 1kHz at the moment.”

Unfortunately, there was no dog whistle 16 kHz option in the volume beep frequency preferences, so we settled for the max frequency of 2 kHz, which was marginally less near the bottom of the cookie bite, and selected LOUD to make up for it.

“Yes, yes…I think we got something then”, I said, making a mental note to only press the volume button in quiet surroundings, and when no-one else was around.

Stand Well Back

The optician pulled out my notes as I took my seat for a routine lens check this morning, and I noticed that the word DANGER was written assertively in giant letters along the top. The cheeky sods! That eye infection had cleared up weeks ago and there was no way I needed to be treated as an optical Typhoid Mary at this stage. In an undercover display of fake nonchalance, I leant a bit closer and stared a bit harder to make sure they hadn’t mixed my notes up with somebody else’s again. They hadn’t. I was actually looking at my married surname, Dancer. Phew. I was silently reflecting on how people can’t write properly these days as well as not speaking properly, when I was interrupted by an invitation to read the chart.

“Vision still okay with the lenses?” said the optician hopefully.

“Yes, perfect thank you”, I replied haughtily, not mentioning my inability to distinguish a capital G from a capital C.

What’s In A Name

“I thought you were ignoring me there!” said a breathless colleague who had been chasing me up the street for a few hundred yards in the rain yesterday morning and shouting my name with no success.

“Ignoring you? Oh no, it’s just that I’m a bit, er…” I trailed off, distracted by the problem of how to share my tiny umbrella with a man who was a foot taller, without getting soaked or poking both his eyes out.

Once in the office, I ventured out to the studio to fill the kettle and heard someone say “Moira!”. I stopped in my tracks and looked round.

“Did someone say my name?” I asked, worried that  an urgent request for tutorial assistance might get in the way of my planned cup of tea. I was met with puzzled looks.

Over my cup of tea, I pondered the strange paradox of how I regularly respond to my name when no-one’s actually saying it, yet  fail to respond when somebody is. I imagined people describing me as that woman who ignores you all the time and hears voices. Better than the woman with the funny hair and hearing aid, but just as unflattering. I came to the inescapable conclusion that it must be my name that’s at fault. Moira. Too many vowels and no sibilant action going on. Cookie biters, like cats, need an ‘s’ in their name if they’re ever to recognise it being called out. Aha! The solution is to change my name to one which has a proven track record with cats.

With my new name, nobody will ever need to tap me on the shoulder and say “Hey, Sooty, I thought you were ignoring me there…”


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