Friday, 6 December 2019

Deaf Girly and the things that go beep

Things that go beep fascinate me.

Mainly because I’ve never heard beeps. Not even when I was younger and less deaf.

When I found out I was deaf at 10, beeps and birds singing were two sounds I discovered existed but couldn’t hear. Even with hearing aids - not that I ever wore them back then. After all, 1990s hearing aids were definitely not on my list of favourite things.

Anyway so yes, things go beep. Who knew? Which is why I ask often ask the marvellous hearing and indeed hard of hearing or D/deaf peeps Twitter what goes beep so I can add to my list of things I didn’t know about.

 I’ve discovered hair straighteners go beep when they reach optimum temperature, tube barrier card touch points beep when you place your Oyster card on them, dishwashers and washing machines beep when they finish the wash, cars beep if you get out of them and leave your headlights on, and fire alarms beep when they have a low battery.

Yesterday, my ma came to stay. As I was in the kitchen making tea, she came in to tell me that something was beeping in my flat. And she thought it was a fire alarm sounding that it had low batteries.

I, of course, could not hear it, and my mum, who is also quite deaf, was having a hard time working out which of the three alarms - one smoke, two carbon monoxide - in the flat was the repeat-beep offender.

She stood in the hall and listened as hard as she could before giving up and going to find our lovely neighbour who hearing. Together we all stood in the hall, staring in turn at the three different boxes, with me keeping the other two company as I really had no clue there even was a beep, while every 60 seconds, they struggled to work out where it was coming from.

Eventually they both decided it was the smoke alarm. So off to Sainsbury’s my mum went to buy a new battery, and then we changed it. Hurrah we thought, that’s the end of that until my mum gave a a frustrated scream. The beep was still there.

We searched high and low. I searched the biscuit cupboard and it was basically dinner time by then and I was hungry. We were all stumped.

Until I suddenly remembered that in a box on the shelf by the door was a Nest Smoke Alarm that I’d bought for our old flat and hoped would be a great help to the girl who didn’t hear beeps should the building catch fire. It talks to you instead and also sends you text messages to let you know the building is on fire.

Except if never really worked brilliantly and in the new flat, I’d shoved it in a box and forgotten about it. And there it was, beeping forlornly (allegedly), letting me know it needed new batteries.

Highly embarrassed, my ma and I  thanked my lovely neighbour and she headed back to her flat. And we then pulled all 8(!) of the AA batteries out of the Nest alarm. It stopped beeping. Hurrah!

But it got me thinking about all the things that go beep that I cannot hear and wondering whether companies couldn’t just create a range of beep frequencies to choose from so that there was at least a small chance of trying to hear it.

If I could change the frequency of things that go beep in my flat, I would give them all a low beep, like a sad clown car. Or if I could make them say ‘beep beep’ like FJM does when he’s home and something like the microwave goes off when I’m cooking. Wouldn’t that be aces?

It also got me wondering, if my ma hadn’t been staying, how long the beeping would have gone on for. And when I lived alone for three years, how many things went beep in my flat without me knowing about them.

In the meantime I’m refreshing my usual question of ‘what goes beep?’ as I really am fascinated to know. Head to Twitter and @ me your answers please.

Have a lovely weekend peeps DG x

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