A new TV program is showing on Channel 4, called Seven Days. It piqued my interest as it follows real people living and working in Notting Hill London, and it’s captioned. The website Seven Days Chatnav is unusual as it allows you to have an interactive dialogue with the characters. Dialogues have always intrigued me. Did you know that hearing people hear 80% of a dialogue but deaf people lipread 25% and worry like crazy about the other 75% they are missing?
Not being able to hear, I’ve always wondered what people say when I can’t hear them. All these mysterious conversations wafting around me. I’ve been told that actually people talk about very boring things. When I’m lipreading, I’m so curious as to the content, and can sometimes do this (it’s tricky not to look like I’m staring). But now that I’m able to hear, it’s so distracting when I am hearing the full blast of someone’s voice, seemingly very loud to me, although I can’t understand what I’m hearing.
But there are funny moments. One night I was going home on the tube and Michele was with me. She’s had her cochlear implant for over a year and can hear without lipreading. She started giggling and relaying the overheard conversation …. a group of girls next to us was advising one girl what to do about the man she liked….. we couldn’t believe they were discussing this subject frankly and loudly enough for the whole train carriage to listen to. Everyone else looked bored, but we were riveted, stunned and embarrassed for them!
This distraction was proved by a study at Cornell University New York, showing that it requires more effort for the brain to understand half a conversation. The brain has to fill in the blanks and work much harder at this, requiring more attention, making it harder to ignore and very distracting. This is why people hate overhearing other people’s phone conversations.