One of the things that hearing people don’t realise is the amount of ‘kit’ that comes with any type of hearing loss. Hearing aids, batteries, boxes, moulds … that’s just for starters. If you still have the ability to listen to music, then the list just expands exponentially and you need a special suitcase just for your hearing gear.
For example, a hearing person can just get onto a plane, plug in the headset and go. I wish! Headsets are no use when the microphones in your hearing aids are at the TOP of your head, while headsets are designed to go over the CENTRE of your ears, so unless you want to have your headset perched on the top of your head like a parrot then that’s not going to work! So I end up taking a whole bag full of paraphernalia depending on the circumstances.
I have a hearing loop which I can wear round my neck. Brilliant, sorted? Er, nope! Because nobody in the electronics industry has ever thought about what it’s like to be deaf and nobody has ever thought about making life easier for us by standardising the size of jacks on the end of electronic widget cables. So, my hearing loop doesn’t plug into the hole in the aircraft arm because the plug is too small. So I need a bigger jack size – I learned by trial and error to bring it with me and it took a bit of tracking down but I eventually found one. I plug it into the plane arm-rest and rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! All I can hear on the loop is feedback/interference from the plane’s engines. So that’s not an option 🙁
So I decide to listen to some music on my iPod but the plug on the end of my hearing loop is too big! So I need yet another jack, a smaller one, which takes even more tracking down. So now I have a phone, a loop, two jacks, hearing aids and batteries. Then I need a charger for my loop and a charger for my iPod. Add to that my streamer so I can connect by Bluetooth to electronic devices (just not on planes), the additional chargers for the streamer, my Kindle and my iPhone and I might as well just give up and pay the excess baggage charge now!
PLUS I need to take all this kit on the plane with me – the guys at Passport Control are all peering at this spaghetti junction of electronic wiring and gadgets with great suspicion. Nothing like trying to explain about hearing loop technology to an irate security guard on high terrorism alert in the middle of the Christmas rush at Heathrow airport. Honestly officer, it’s just so I can watch the new Hobbit film on the plane! And don’t even get me started about the incomprehensibly garbled announcements about plane departure times ….. sigh!