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Eh? What Did You Say?

Updated on January 24, 2017
JanTUB profile image

Jan T Urquhart Baillie has many sides to her personality, born out of a difficult life, and success due to her optimism and practical skills

Bob | Source

Stop Mumbling! I Can't hear You!

I suffer from hearing loss.

Not mine, Bob's.

It is so frustrating to have to repeat myself over and over.

Does your partner yell instead of speaking?

Perhaps he or she has hearing loss.

Are you tired of being able to hear the television from the other end of the house?

Could your husband or wife be suffering from hearing impairment?

Loud voices are the go at our house

I have to speak at the top of my voice

So that he can hear me when I am having a chat to Bob, I speak very loudly.

I can hear Bobby from anywhere when he speaks, as he talks so noisily. He can't hear himself, so he has no idea how thundering his voice can be.

If I am out on the footpath at the letterbox, and he makes a remark to the TV, I can hear it so clearly.

Our poor neighbours! They will know which programmes we watch and when, because the volume is turned up to 40, when I can hear it fine at 20.

Noisy workplaces were Bob's life

Nobody gave you ear-muffs back then

Bob spent many years working in heavy industry, like many men (and women in smaller numbers) in the Hunter Valley region of NSW.

He worked in the steelworks, on large construction sites, and drove steam cranes and large trucks for several years. One job he had was working inside a turbine in a power station (as a rigger), where the noise was amplified considerably.

His hearing loss had been gradual, so he was (blissfully) unaware that he couldn't hear properly, he just thought what was, was.

Silent Steel Works - Now it is!

Titled by the Photographer

BHP closed its steelworks in 1999 after 85 years of operation.

This was taken just before demolition started in 2000

And the biggest cause?

Of hearing losses in Australia

Loud noise!

Quote from Australian Hearing:

The most significant single cause of hearing loss in Australia is exposure to loud noise. 37% of hearing loss is due to excessive noise exposure. Hearing loss can also be acquired through illness, accident, exposure to certain drugs and chemicals, or as part of the normal ageing process.

How loud is too loud?

Noise is considered excessive when:

You need to shout in order to be able to speak to someone sitting at the same table as you are, in a night club or restaurant, for example.

Please note that if you have some hearing loss already, you MUST protect what hearing you have left. The loss can increase if you are subjected to excessive noise constantly.

Stay away from venues where the noise is really loud.

Information on hearing loss

Excellent information for you about hearing loss from loud noise. Links below.

Your children might benefit from the information, and turn down their iPods. ;>)

What did you say?

I can't hear you!

Bob Was Surprised

I made an appointment for Bob to have a hearing test.

The local chemist had a poster on the counter saying: "Free hearing tests from Australian Hearing here next week. Book now."

Bob's name was the first one in the appointment book. His reaction to that was just what you'd think. He is a bloke after all.

"I don't need my hearing tested", in a booming voice. "I'm not deaf!"

The day of the appointment, I went along too. I sat on the opposite side of the room to Bob and the lady who was giving him the test, who had her back to us both. He was fitted with earphones, and given a small button on a hand piece. The idea was that he was to listen for the sounds in the headphones, and click when he heard anything.

As I watched, the expression on his face grew more and more puzzled.

Suddenly, it lit up as he pressed the button gleefully. It was working now, I could see him thinking. Of course, I knew that there would have been sounds before that moment, he just couldn't hear them!

When the technician completed the test, he said exactly that to her. (She'd heard it all before.) She produced a pictorial graph which showed him which parts of his hearing were missing.

Bob was stunned. ("I'm not deaf!", remember.) He had no idea that he was missing out on half the conversations around him.


Off to the hearing laboratory for more complete testing

Exhaustive tests established that Bob's hearing loss was mid-range, and permanent. He needed hearing aids in both ears.

He was devastated, because he felt that everyone would see them and think he was old. They are almost invisible and anyway, I tell him, no-one else cares. They aren't looking to see if you wear hearing aids!

The day he had the impressions taken, he told the audiologist that he'd have them just like that, because he wouldn't be able to hear me nagging him any more. The (brand new) technician didn't know whether he meant it until he saw me smiling.

Poor man, fancy having a cheeky bloke for your first patient.


Bob could lip read

He didn't know he could!

Apparently, Bob had been watching people's mouths as they spoke to him, according to the audiologist.

This is commonly how people whose hearing is diminishing cope with the problem.

Bob can hear after all these years

Bob was fitted with the new aids and as we waited for the paperwork, I brushed my trouser leg to remove some fluff on the black faille fabric. Faille is a fairly stiff fabric that rustles, and Bob turned to me and said, "I heard that!"

I promptly burst into tears.

He could hear even soft brushing sounds.

Bob used to love shopping

It was one of his favourite activities

When Bob goes to the shopping centre now, he can't stand the noise!

He always wondered why I said it made me agitated to be bombarded with all the non-stop sound.

Sitting in the food court, he can hear wives berating their husbands, children whinging, noisy eaters, banging and clashing of utensils, machinery running...

Hearing aids ruined his fun, he claims.

Of course, he doesn't wear them enough to get used to them, nor will he alter the programming to suit the noisy environment!

Photograph: Microsoft ClipArt Gallery

Put your hearing aids in your ears! - I've threatened to super glue them in his ears while he's asleep!


Checklist for signs of hearing loss

Read the list and if you can apply several of these statements to yourself, perhaps you have hearing loss.

  • It's hard to understand people in a crowd.

  • I often ask people to repeat themselves because I don't clearly hear them.

  • Unless people are facing me, it's hard to understand them.

  • Most people seem to mumble or slur their words.

  • My significant other complains that the TV is too loud.

  • I often don't hear the phone or door bell ring unless I'm right next to it to it.

  • Following a conversation when two or more people talk at once is impossible.
  • I misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately, often.
  • I have trouble understanding the speech of women and children.
  • Being too close and staring at people in order to work out what they are saying.

And then there's selective deafness

All husbands suffer from that.

(Or is it the wives who suffer from it!)

Loss of comprehension in the brain

Bob went for a check up a year or so back and it was discovered that, while he had had no further hearing loss, his comprehension skills had diminished considerably.

The cause was two-fold:

  • He didn't always wear his aids
  • The aids he had were not the right type

He had to get new, much tinier, and much, much more efficient ones.

He wears them every day (except every now and then just to be cantankerous and annoy me) because they work, he can hear.

He likes shopping again, he talks more quietly, he finds them comfortable...

© 2009 Jan T Urquhart Baillie

Suffering from hearing loss like me? - and not suffering in silence either!

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    • JanTUB profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 

      9 years ago from Australia

      [in reply to ChineseKitesforKids] Bob's latest thing is: My ears have healed now, I can gear perfectly! As if! Thanks for the *s

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is fabulous. My husband is hard of hearing (I think it's selective) because he's worked on a printing press his whole life. I've tried to get him into a doctor for it but men are such a pain in the (__[__) when it comes to doctor stuff. **5**


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