2 May 2017

Hearing


What's your hearing like? Normally, I think my hearing is pretty good. When lying in bed I hear every little sound both inside and outside our house. Inside, a tap drips downstairs or there's the unexpected creak of a contracting floorboard. Outside - a distant train rattles along far away in the valley or an owl hoots from a rooftop. I hear it all.

But there are other times when I think my hearing is rubbish. Take Sunday night for example. We were at a 60th birthday party held in former industrial premises. There were no carpets or curtains, just cool post-industrial chic - exposed brickwork and polished concrete.

We arrived early and sat at a bench with our drinks. It was okay at first. I could hear everything. Then the background music was cranked up and more and more people started arriving - most of them work colleagues from Shirley's health centre along with their better halves.

The hubbub of conversation might as well have been in Arabic as far as I was concerned. It was as if I was in a Moroccan marketplace subsumed by a wave of loud mumbling. Other people sat at our bench. I was introduced to them but for the life of me I couldn't hear their names or pretty much anything they were saying. There's only so many times you can say "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry could you repeat that?"

In this situation, after a short while, I tend to give up trying to communicate and just sit there listening to the din, wishing I was in a quiet place.

It has become very similar in my local pub. It was refurbished last year and now has no carpets, curtains or soft furniture. With music playing in the background and sports on the giant TV sets, customers tend to raise their voices in conversations - just to be heard.

This leaves me languishing in another virtual Moroccan marketplace, lost in  the impenetrable rumbling of congealing human voices. Fortunately, there are midweek nights when the pub is almost deserted but when it's busy I have to pretty much switch off simply because I cannot hear a bloody thing. And it's sad because in that pub I have had many happy times and participated in hundreds of lively conversations, lubricated by Tetley's bitter. But if you can't hear stuff, what then?

Maybe I should get my hearing tested. How about you?

25 comments:

  1. It is not your hearing that is at fault, rather it is the fact that there are no soft furnishings to absorb the noise.

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    1. But lots of other people seem to be able to cope with it Heron - happily continuing with their chatter - seemingly without problems.

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  2. Heather Whitestone couldn't hear stuff, and she became Miss America. Helen Keller couldn't hear stuff, or even see stuff, and she -- I could go on but I have made my point.

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    1. Pardon? What did you say Bob? Could you repeat that please.

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  3. I doubt it's your hearing, Yorkie.

    All the extraneous, loud noise with nothing to absorb it is the cause...not a failure in your hearing, I am sure.

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    1. PS....others probably are just pretending they can hear and understand...when, in truth, they don't! No one can hear each other, so none are the wiser!

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    2. Perhaps I should just go with the flow. Mumble along in pretend Arabic and nod and smile every so often.

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    3. Why not? Everyone else is! :)

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    4. Mumbmumbamumbamumbamumba...ha-ha-ha....mumbamumbamumba etc.

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  4. I can't stand the kind of background noise you mention. Restaurants, bars, shops, all seem to think it's the thing to do to blast music at the public. I can't concentrate in a noisy environment and it makes me tired. And like you, I have trouble hearing conversations and will finally quit asking others to repeat themselves. I think my hearing is pretty good. I'm just sensitive to noise. Even going to a friend's house and having a tv playing in the background irritates me.

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    1. There's a lot to be said for quietness. I know two or three pubs in Sheffield that have no TV's and no background music. I would visit them more often in they were close by.

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  5. There is no harm in getting your hearing tested. Actually, perhaps there is. Mrs P's hearing has never been great and she recently got a pair of digital hearing aids. As a consequence, the volume on the tv has been turned down and now I struggle to hear it!

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    1. Get one of those ear trumpets Ian. It will go nicely with your wicker-work bath chair and your night cap.

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  6. I have worn hearing aids for the last twenty years (nerve deafness - inherited) and even with them in the sort of environment you describe is indeed very much like jmar-el-Fnar in Marrakesh (but without the eastern promise!)

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    1. Ha-ha! Without the eastern promise! Up here in Yorkshire it's the northern promise!

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  7. I hear better with my left ear than my right, but it has always been that way.
    My husband and I have both noticed than in some movies the background music is so loud we have trouble hearing the dialogue, poor sound mixing.

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    1. I hate it when you can't hear what the characters are saying in films. Quentin Tarantino is an expert in that kind of sound mixing.

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  8. Certain kinds of hearing can be lost before others. It might be worthwhile to get a hearing test if this bothers you. Then you would be sure.

    My husband can hear some things and not others. We joke that all the years of me talking to him has worn out his wife-hearing, because my voice is in the range he has trouble with. He will never get a hearing test just on principle - he tells me I am mumbling instead, just to see my hair stand on end :)

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    1. The poor guy! All those years of you giving him earache. Let's hope he doesn't sue you for hearing loss.

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  9. I lost my hearing in my twenties and have worn hearing aids for the last thirty years. It changes your life. I avoid social gatherings because it just accentuates my feeling of isolation. It's no joke.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that Sue. How did you lose your hearing back in your twenties? Was it an inherited condition or perhaps the result of an illness/infection?

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  10. I struggle to hear in that kind of situation, as well. I think it is just poor design.
    There is a dessert bar not far away that has a huge selection of wonderful desserts but they pump out the music so loud that it's no point even attempting a conversation. I think they do it so people leave faster but I just don't bother going at all anymore

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    1. My favourite desert is the Sahara. Much better than the Gobi.

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  11. I know my hearing is limited and I don't need a hearing test. I just need hearing aids.

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    1. If you had hearing aids you would hear every word The Micro Manager says! Mind you, I guess you could switch them to "mute" every so often.

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