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Deaf and hearing on an aeroplane


It's tough not being able to hear properly - especially if you are used to hearing well. For almost two months my husband and I have been travelling around the USA and Canada and this means lot of aeroplane travel. My Cochlear implants give me near normal hearing under most conditions but air travel tests them to the limit. Using my Everyday setting, the microphones cannot tune out the excessive noise of the jet engines, so to give them some help I re-set one of my programs as an aeroplane program. Basically this is my normal program but with the microphone sensitivity set to 2 or 3 (from about 12) and volume set to 3 or 4. (from 10). Using these levels I can still hear my husband speaking if he's seated next to me as well as the flight attendant. Interestingly, I can also usually hear the public announcements quite well.

So on one particular flight I was set up in aeroplane mode and discovered that this particular aircraft also had an audio jack compatible with my processor audio cord. I plugged in, filed through the menu and found a movie to watch to while away the time on the long haul from Canada to London, UK. (Sub titles didnít work despite being listed as available for a number of movies!)

I found the sound was very poor and the dialogue almost impossible to understand. In addition every time there was a gap in the dialogue or music the jet engine noise cut in which meant that when the dialogue started again I missed the first part. I just about gave up in frustration. However, there's nothing much better to do when crammed into an airline seat so I continued.
Aside. **I am typing this on the flight and my tablet just got switched off by the movements of the person in the seat in front of me. The off button is at the top of my tablet screen and it got pushed by the bottom of video screen on the back of the seat as my fellow passenger wriggled around! There really is not much space!!!**

After putting up with the movie and following it with a little dialogue but mostly from the antics on the screen I started thinking about how I could hear it better. First of all I needed more volume and secondly, I needed to cut out even more of the jet engine noise. So I got out my remote, reprogrammed my airline setting to cut out the microphone completely and then raised the volume back to almost normal. Suddenly all the dialogue became quite clear. I still could hear some of the engine noise but it didn't cut in and out with the movie audio track. I could also hear my husband next to me. As soon as I unplugged my processor audio cords I had no sound so I had to reprogram. (I have four programs so I fixed one up as my aeroplane listening and one as aeroplane travel so I was ready for the last couple of flights on our journey.)

It only took me 58 minutes into the movie to figure out what I needed! I hadn't thought through my needs well enough before this. So if you're travelling, think about what can help you to hear better. Fiddle around until you get something which is comfortable and works for you. (Only another 3 hours, 35 minutes & 45 seconds still to go - plenty of time to watch another movie which, this time, I will hear all the way through.)
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Content copyright © 2014 by Felicity Bleckly. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Felicity Bleckly. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Felicity Bleckly for details.

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