# money, money, money….. something funny….. is going on #

31 01 2007

I went to the BBC studios today to do a spot of filming about banking facilities for deaf people. Watch it on See Hear on 17 February. And start getting mad.

Who likes going to the bank? Hands up

Who doesn’t like going to the bank because a) you’re deaf and b) they play loud music to drown out conversations being held in an open plan area with hard surfaces so hearing people can’t hear each other and deaf people can’t hear at all and c) they act as if you have leprosy when you start using sign language? Hands up (9.5 million in the UK)

Who likes telebanking? Hands up

Who doesn’t like telebanking because you’re deaf and can’t use a telephone, so use a) Captel - the bank hangs up before you can say Oi I’m Still On The Line Don’t Hang Up! b) Typetalk – No Sorry We Can’t Talk to You As There is a Third Party on The Line Even Though Typetalk Operators Sign The Official Secrets Act c) Minicom – there’s just no point. You get an answermachine and they don’t even have the courtesy to call you back. Then they say yes their staff are trained to use a minicom. But they didn’t have anyone available at the time. And if they are honest, they will admit that no one knew how to use it therefore they didn’t pick up the call. Hands up (9.5 million people in the UK)

Isn’t this a piss-take? Your money is sitting in a bank and you can’t get access to your account because your ears don’t work that well. Huh? Run that one by me again? Which planet am I on?

Guys, get your act together. Fast.





Shhh…. switching over

29 01 2007

I’m *trying* to switch over from one digital brand of hearing aids to another. You would not believe the difficulties I’m having. I thought what I heard through my old ones was ‘normal’ i.e. I can understand speech and make sense of what I’m hearing around me. These new ones are a whole different can of worms.

So, what’s the difference? And why are they different? Hearing aids are so advanced now, that my new pair compared to my old pair is the equivalent of a new laptop compared to a ZX Spectrum (remember those?). My old pair ‘flattened’ out speech frequencies – well they pretty much flattened out everything! so I could gain volume over clarity. Everything was loud. I would not wear my hearing aids crossing London on my way to work, as the scream of the tube at that time of the morning was just unbearable. One day, I let myself into my office, sorted myself out with coffee and prepping for the day, then I ‘switched on’. I realised all the phones were ringing, including my mobile. What on earth….?? It transpired that I had forgotten to switch off the alarm, hadn’t heard it ringing, and all hell was let loose…… oops.

The new pair give me clarity over volume. Everything is so darn QUIET. Yes, I am now realising, it IS a quiet world out there. The trouble is, speech is quiet too, so I’ve got a series of appointments set up for adjustments to the aids, to squeeze every last bit of technological advancement out of them, to customise them a little more for me. I find speech is too sharp, the beginnings of sentences hurt my ears, loud people hurt my ears, crockery hurts, ….arrgh! The audiologist said this fluctuating ‘sharpness’ is normal sound, we just need to tone it down ever so slightly for me. It normally takes 12 weeks for the brain to adjust to new sounds, so I have to be patient and keep wearing them. I’m not looking forward to 12 weeks of asking everyone to repeat themselves…

With my new pair, I’m now hearing the following sounds, that I didn’t hear before

  • the kitchen strip light buzzing (it doesn’t switch on at the moment – drat!)
  • Smudge’s claws on the wood floor
  • my mobile vibrating from another room
  • sounds from a TV on the loop setting
  • doors and stairs creaking
  • spoken consonants and breathing in a quiet room (only in one ear though – the other ear isn’t able to pick this up)

To be continued…





Morning!

28 01 2007

….or should that be ‘nite’? Midnight is a funny time of night. Don’t want to go to sleep, don’t want to miss anything, but hey, some people have work to go to in the morning! Luckily my dog keeps me sane. His schedule is regular with a capital R. Meet Smudge.

Smudge, one year old

I know. Ahhhhh. What a beautiful dog. Smudge is a cocker poo, cocker spaniel and poodle cross. And he’s got ME for his mum….. I grew up totally scared of dogs! Meeting Smudge changed my attitude :-)

If he was human, he’d be forever regaling the pub regulars with his tall ‘tails’ and funny stories, nipping off for a quick sail down the coast and a dip in the sea. This dog LOVES the water, can’t get him out! He’s even got his own lifejacket heh heh. At the seaside, I have to wade into the water to drag him out. Here he models his swanky lifejacket.

But mum, where's the water?

Smudge is a type of assistance dog called a Hearing Dog, he’s trained to tell me about lots of sounds around the office and home as I’m profoundly deaf. He tells me when the phone rings, or there’s someone at the door (or not!), and lots of other sounds, and gets rewarded with a biscuit for doing this. He’s really clever. A bit too clever. He has sussed out that he can blag it and maybe still get his biscuit, he can get really excited – there’s someone at the door mum, hurry up! quick! let’s go! c’mon! – I open the door, and there’s no one there……and it’s 3am. (‘Biscuit, mum?’ with such an innocent look) Hmmmmm. Smartass.