Seven distracting days

29 09 2010

PhotobucketA 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.

Source: Association of Psychological Science



10 responses

30 09 2010
Beth Everard

Hi Tina,

I’ve written my own blog post inspired by this and Megan’s blog post: from HearingSparks.

Please let me know what you think:


30 09 2010
Shh! « Bee Communications | Blog | News from Bee

[…] funnyoldlife has recently had a cochlear implant fitted, helping her to hear for the first time. She recounts an amusing incident on the tube when she and a friend overheard a group of girls discussing their love lives. Hearing people take […]

3 10 2010
yummiee cupcake

haha people have no shame!

i can’t watch it.. its not available in my area ):

6 10 2010

Schönes Blog!Vielleicht können wir ja mal was zusammen machen? vg aus Berlin Matthias

16 10 2010

Auf Deutsch? Ich habe viel zu viel Deutsch vergessen! 🙂

11 10 2010
Catherine Mellor

I count eight distractions on those lips! One of your photos, Tina?

16 10 2010

Have you ever done that lipreading people in a tube window thing? I’ve eavesdropped on a lot of interesting conversations that way!!

Seriously, one thing I find very hard is to lipread one person and hear something else – for example, the train announcement comes over and I have to switch to lipreading the person I’m with because of the other voice drowning all other sound out. Background noise is fine, but another voice is terrible, it’s like I’m doing bilingual comprehension, one with the ear and the other with the eye!

16 10 2010

I know exactly what you mean! I can’t lipread someone if there’s another very loud background noise. At the moment, everything seems loud, so I need a graveyard-like room to converse easily, or where the background noise is something steady such as a boiling kettle or traffic which my ClearVoice software can reduce. (Gives me an edge over hearing people, haha)

I’ve never eavesdropped on the tube, I’ve always been too busy reading the paper or, usually, no-one’s talking! Last night though, Smudge was doing the rounds in my carriage and everyone was talking to one another and I was lipreading bits of that, and understanding what they were saying to me, too.

My colleagues think I can lipread across a pub or party … sometimes I can and it’s a good party trick.

One colleague took my hearing dog for the weekend and hopped on the train. She forgot he was wearing his hearing dog coat. A very loved-up couple sat down opposite her and, upon seeing the hearing dog coat, assumed she was deaf. They proceeded to have a VERY frank conversation …. LOL.

16 10 2010
Catherine Mellor

Now that is a good one!

16 10 2010

LOL . . . shows how little the couple knew about deaf people: we often, I have found, have the ability to lipread things when we’re not necessarily meant to!! (But it’s hard to understand sometimes when you HAVE to.)

I love people-watching (OK, eavesdropping!) and I’ve always done it – using the reflections in the window is usually quite discreet, but then the person sometimes looks in the window too and your eyes meet there and they realise you’ve been watching them. Don’t think anyone has ever actually twigged exactly what I’ve been doing, though.

Smudge is a real ice-breaker, isn’t he?

I don’t get graveyard quiet at the office or even at home LOL. The only place is the audiologist’s office . . .

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