Posts Tagged 'hearing aid agony aunt'

Welcome back Auntie Mo!



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, since email is a textual medium, it may be that it’s too expensive for the NHS to supply the blindfolds necessary to reproduce the stressful experience of being deaf on a telephone. 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

Auntie Mo is back

The cookie bite ears have taken a bashing from three solid days of back-to-back academic presentations at the Enhancement Themes 2013 conference last week. This has inspired Auntie Mo, resident agony aunt at the Cookie Bite Chronicles, to do one of her occasional columns…

Agony Auntie Mo


Microphone muppet 

 Every time there’s a Q&A session at a conference, there’s always a cocky person who refuses to take the microphone and says “It’s okay, I don’t need a microphone, I’ve got a loud voice”. What’s the best way to make them understand that not everyone can hear them in a huge auditorium?

Snatch the unused microphone, tell them you’re deaf, and announce that if they’re not going to use it, you’re going to sing a song…


Lunchtime lipreading

I dread lunch breaks at large conferences because there’s a wall of noise and I can’t make out what people are saying while they’re stuffing their faces with mini-quiches and chicken drumsticks. How can I make lunch breaks less stressful for myself?

Simply take a hearing aid out, pick up a used chicken satay skewer and say, “Hold on a second, I just need to clear the wax out of this tube”. Your conversation partners will put their plates down and make their excuses pretty fast after that. Although originally devised as a hearing loss strategy, this technique also works if you want to get the cheesecake all to yourself.


Troublesome typist

 I was enjoying a fascinating paper presentation the other day, when the guy next to me started typing on his laptop at a hundred miles an hour, drowning out what I wanted to hear. I moved away from him during the break, but various others started doing exactly the same thing. Aside from the hearing issue, am I the only one who thinks that typing emails and constantly checking your mobile while someone is presenting is just plain rude?

Unfortunately, this type of behaviour is becoming quite prevalent at conferences these days. Don’t, however, move further away from the offender next time it happens. Instead, get yourself nice and close, then lean intrusively over their shoulder as they type. Hopefully this should cause them to retreat to the corridor where they belong, but if it doesn’t work first time, just try cupping a hand over your hearing aid to create some annoying feedback right next to their ear.

You can find more of Auntie Mo’s unique problem solving solutions here and here

The Return Of Auntie Mo

Cookie Bite Agony Aunt

Festive Feedback 

Every time I hug someone to wish them a Merry Christmas, my hearing aids make an embarrassing squealing noise as our heads meet. Is there any way to prevent this?

The only way to prevent it is to thrust both arms rigidly out in front of you as the person approaches for a hug, and shout “Get off me! I’m wearing hearing aids!” This approach does have its limitations, however. At best you will be considered anti-social and, at worst, positively frightening. No, it is far better to accept the situation with humour. At the first signs of feedback during a festive embrace, pull away firmly and shout “Was that your hearing aids, HAHAHA!”

Other people always like to say that as a joke whenever there’s a funny noise, so it’s nice to have an opportunity to turn the tables.

Lipreading  blackout

My sister likes to have drinks and nibbles by the light of the log fire at Christmas, but I struggle to make out what people are saying in darkened rooms. I feel like such a party pooper when I ask for a light to be switched on. Have you any suggestions?

Carry some ball bearings with you in your handbag. Slip a few into the salted cashews when nobody’s looking, and those lights will go on without you even having to ask.

Pain in the ears

Over the festive period, my hearing aids frequently make me want to kill shrieking children and smash up their noisy electronic toys…is this normal?


Telly Trouble

My family like to have the telly on in the background when we’re sitting around talking, but I find it hard to concentrate on what’s being said. When I ask if they can turn it off, someone always says “But I thought your said your hearing wasn’t that good…it’s not as if the telly’s that loud.” 

How can I make them understand?

Don’t bother. Just ask for the subtitles to be turned on, and watch that telly being switched off immediately. People with normal hearing can’t seem to tolerate a telly with the subtitles on.

Auntie Mo will be back some time next year. You can find more of her unique problem solving solutions here

I’m All Ears


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