Posts Tagged 'hearing loop'

Hearing Heaven

stained glass  loop symbol

“Good God!”, I exclaimed to myself last week, in the rather appropriate setting of a church. I had finally found my first loop system which was not only turned on, but actually had a mic attached to the person doing the talking; and all this without even having to ask, or write a complaint letter. Wow. At the touch of a button, the minister’s funeral oration was instantly transformed from reverberantly unintelligible to crystal clear. It felt like he was speaking directly into my ear, and the difference it makes is dramatically illustrated by this loop demonstration clip. As an added bonus in real life, you also get to eavesdrop on the minister’s whispered asides to the undertakers, etc.

With the new superpower faculties temporarily bestowed upon me by The Church of Scotland, I made the shock discovery that Jesus is actually the way, the truth and the life, rather than the light, contrary to what I have believed for the previous 47 years. In the astonishment of clearly hearing an ‘f’ sound for the first time in yonks, I forgot where I was and made an audible gasp which I then had to turn into a funereal sniffle for the sake of propriety. Still, it actually was a bit sad having Jesus’ light turned off so suddenly by the hearing loop, especially after finding out that he wasn’t Lord of the Dance Settee either.

Sadly, my brief entry to hearing heaven has given way to hearing hell at work, so it’s back to Clinic O next week, to see if there’s anything that can be done for their least favourite cookiebiter.

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


Action Stations

hearing loop heist

Before posting off my comprehensive list of suggestions on how to improve the experience of hearing impaired jurors at Glasgow Sheriff Court, I thought I’d better establish that the Oticons were actually working properly. There’s nothing worse than accidentally perjuring yourself in a complaint letter to the Justiciary.

A loop testing opportunity presented itself that very evening, as the 17:02 train drew out of Exhibition Centre station without me on board, despite a heroic, if slightly reckless, sprint down the wet stairs. Huffing and puffing, I noticed the ticket office was less busy than usual, so I pretended to take great interest in the unattended luggage notice on a nearby monitor, whilst I hatched a plan. I kept glancing furtively at the diminishing ticket queue, until the final condition of my hastily devised Loop Testing Protocol was met.

1. Friendly looking ticket man, check.

2. Blue ‘loop system active’ light illuminated, check.

3. Microphone visible somewhere on counter, check.

4. No other passengers in immediate vicinity, check.

The time was right, I had to move fast. The ticket man was moving towards his kettle and reaching for the notice which says ‘TICKET OFFICE CLOSED WHILE ESSENTIAL STATION MAINTENANCE IS BEING CARRIED OUT‘.

I switched immediately to T-mode and lunged at his window.

“Scuse me”, I said, leaning sideways on one elbow and smiling seductively, “is your hearing loop switched on? I just want to test that my hearing aids are working properly…”

The ticket man put down his tea mug in surprise.

“Er…aye, ah think so…they’ve just refurbished this place…”

I could hear a suitcase on wheels bumping down the stairs. Damn. I didn’t want any interruptions right now.

Without warning, I suddenly found myself acting as if I was in the hearing aid equivalent of a bank heist movie. I wished I’d worn a beige balaclava for full effect.

“OKAY”, I said assertively, “SPEAK TO ME!”

The ticket man was struck dumb by the unusual request, but soon rallied.

“Testing, testing…can you hear me? How’s that?”

I shook my head…nothing through the aids. Not even a set of printheads. My heart sank.


The ticket man bent forward and tried again. Still nothing. A rhythmic clunking on the ceramic floor tiles signalled the approach of the suitcase on wheels, and I was beginning to get desperate.

“GET CLOSER!” I said.

I heard a rustle.


The ticket man crouched over the mic. His voice was faint, but it was the first voice to come through on the loop. Eat your heart out Marconi! I reached frantically for my volume settings, but I could feel the rumble of a train approaching. I couldn’t hang about.

“THANKS!” I shouted to my partner in crime, as I ran for the platform to jump aboard my getaway vehicle.


* * * * *

If you’d like to vote for a real movie in the Scottish BAFTAs starring our very own Soozie cyborginafield talking about her cochlear implant experience, vote for We Are Northern Lights here  (voting closes Mon 28th Oct 2013) 


Woman hears at station ticket office for the first time

Hearing loop symbol

Sadly, the title is slightly misleading. The new loop setting on the Oticons has given me superpowers of hearing, but not quite in the way I imagined. In telecoil mode, there is much excitement to be had in hearing the interference from invisible electromagnetic fields, and so far nothing sounds scarier than the sinister buzzing from 25 000 volts of overhead power lines in a train station, although the electricity meter in the hall cupboard at home runs a close second. I’ll be checking out some pylons when we go on the annual field trip to Loch Lomond later in the week.

I had hoped that the loop might prove useful for the more prosaic purpose of hearing through bullet-proof glass screens at ticket offices, etc, but I have not yet detected the sound of a human voice in that particular situation. I came close at Wemyss Bay train station last week, when I spotted the big ear sign at the ticket counter, and eagerly flipped my switches. Finding my first loop which was actually switched on was a breakthrough, and it was worth switching the spouse off temporarily to take advantage of it. I willed the magical words “That’ll be £6.70 each for two singles, doll” to be beamed straight into my brain via telecoil, but you can imagine my disappointment when I heard the faintly amplified sound of the ticket machine printheads going about their business instead. Fortunately, the thrill of hearing the electromagnetic field of the overhead power lines for the first time more than made up for it.

My tireless quest to hear a ticket transaction through a hearing loop will go on, but in the meantime, I shall continue to amaze people with my superpower ability to identify electric fences whilst out walking in the countryside.


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