Saturday, 1 August 2015

Meetings and hearing

I’ve just sat through another meeting – about fifteen of us in the room. Could I hear? Only the people immediately beside me.
Is this frustrating?
Do I ever leave a meeting nearly in tears?
Have I asked people to speak up?
Often, and they do for the first sentence. Then it’s back to normal volume.
It amazes me just how good ‘normal’ hearing must be. Even the soft speakers could be heard by everyone – except me. I’m sure I come across as aloof, disinterested, rude, even, when in fact I simply haven’t heard you speak.
It’s incredibly frustrating, not being able to hear in a meeting, and it impacts on my ability to participate and contribute.
Hearing aids do help – somewhat. So does positioning yourself at the table well. I always try to sit in the middle so the sound goes across me. If you sit at one end, you hear the people around you, but the voices from the other end have often faded to quiet by the time they reach you. If I know one person is holding the floor, I will sit near to them, so I hear most of their presentation. We now have a loop in the conference room and if the speaker uses a microphone, I use t-switch to tune in.
I’ve written more about supporting those with a hearing loss in my booklet – Rather a Small Chicken. There are tips specifically for meetings – they may give you some stepping stones to work from.

I’d love to hear what you do, when you have a hearing impairment to maximize your ability to hear.


  1. I always feel really stupid when I sit at writers' conferences and workshops. I simply can't participate because I only hear part of what is said. As yet, I don't have a hearing aid but the time has come to take that step. Combined with my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia, group situations really take their toll.

  2. Hi Missmin - I bet!
    It is really hard work listening - people who can hear well just don't realise how hard we with a hearing loss work - simply to hear everyday speech.
    And with CFS and fibro - no wonder you are getting tired!
    Try to find a place that sells hearing aids where they don't get a commission -an independent audiologist is good. Otherwise, obviously, they will be trying to sell you the most expensive aid. Go for a middle of the range one esp if your hearing loss is mild to moderate.
    Some places only seem to trial ones with an amplifier in the ear - these are good for many people. I personally don't find them good in a noisy situation ( and many others say the same). I prefer other styles which are better in noise.
    There is so much to say - I could write all day! Most of it is in my booklet coming out very soon - next month in fact - and there is much more in there.
    You may need to pay for the aid and use for up to 30 days as a trial - this is pretty standard. Take out insurance for this time.If you don't like it, don't be afraid to take it back. It takes 4-6 weeks of wearing aids to get used to them.
    And you will need to go back 3,4 or 7 times to get it tweaked so it works for you. You pay for this, so keep going back until it is right.
    I'll write some more later (got to go to work..)