HINTS for talking to a person with HEARING IMPAIRMENT

– ONE-TO-ONE is much easier than groups

– AVOID BACKGROUND NOISE. It helps if we turn off the music and I have my back to the noisiest part of the room.

– GOOD LIGHTING ON YOUR FACE. Don’t sit with your back to the light. And don’t cover your face in any way. I needs visual cues and clues.

– GET MY ATTENTION BEFORE SPEAKING. If I miss the beginning it’s extra hard to catch up.

– SPEAK MORE SLOWLY. Then my poor brain has a chance!

– SPEAK CLEARLY – DON’T SHOUT OR WHISPER. Both lead to distorted sounds.

KIDS BE LOUD AND BOLD! Young people are hard to hear because their voices are lighter and higher pitched.

– BEST IF WE AREN’T EATING. I can’t hear you if I’m chewing and I can’t hear you if you’re chewing! We should be able to get in a few words between mouthfuls.

– CHECK THAT I’M KEEPING UP. Jokes are hard because the teller’s voice changes, the conversation speeds up and everyone laughs. I love it when someone checks if I got it.

– REPEAT OR REPHRASE IF NECESSARY. Names are especially difficult because there’s no context so I can’t guess. Spelling them out can help.

– USE MIME AND HAND GESTURES. Go on, it can be fun!

– ONE CONVERSATION AT A TIME. In group situations or meetings I’m lost if people start to talk over the top of each other.



– it’s tiring! I have to concentrate much harder. I work overtime to filter out the background and to make sense of sounds that are distorted or barely audible. A lot of it is guesswork and that depends on context. But conversations may jump all over the place.

– it’s like being in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, you work hard and depend on all sorts of non-verbal cues

– hearing aids make conversation possible but they don’t restore the original clarity. The quality of sound is not as good. They whistle and are tinny. And the background noise is amplified, which can be overwhelming.

– my deafness is the sort that means the loss of higher frequencies. That makes many consonants hard to hear, which can mean that I’ve got the shape of the word but have to guess which version I need – pair? bear? mare? wear? dare?

– accents unlike my own are difficult. I know it can look like intolerance. But the intonation and stresses and vowel sounds are all different. The above hints help.

– it’s hard to jump in when I’m not completely sure what the conversation is about or what’s already been said. Will I sound stupid and/or inappropriate? I keep quiet more often than I used to, or withdraw, especially from noisy situations like parties.

As with every challenge, cheerful allies make all the difference. So THANK YOU!

Book here

The sea! The sea!: Words on Water while you Dine

This Fringe, Semaphore by the sea is the place to be for the finest in literary and culinary experiences. Enjoy a delicious three-course meal brought to you by Adelaide favourite Stuart Gifford at Sarah’s Sister’s Sustainable Café while five of Adelaide’s favourite poets and novelists dish up a banquet of words dedicated to the sea.

Alison Flett, Rachael Mead, Mag Merrilees, Heather Taylor Johnson and Ray Tyndale have different takes on the theme – some might find the sea enigmatic or moody while others might approach it with humour. But desire is almost always there, making food and wine the perfect companion.

This is a one-night-only event and last year’s was a sell-out so get in early!

Presented by:
Sarah’s Sister’s Sustainable Café

Remember how Adelaide Days became Fables Queer & Familiar and then became a radio serial (read by me) on Radio Adelaide??
The Community Radio Network is now making the serial available to all member stations as a 55 part sound file. So you can ask your local station to play it!
For details see podcasts

If you’d like to hear a different story of mine (along with some other great Wakefield Press readings), try The Storycast


When: Saturday 6 June, 4.30 pm
Where: Tea House Books, 6 Hollings Rd, Denmark.

RSVP: teahousebooks@bigpond.com


When: Wednesday 17 June, 6.30 pm
Where: Crow Books, 900 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park.

RSVP: books@crowbooks.com.au




Double act! Chia will be drawing and Mag will be reading:

When: Monday, 27 April, 6.30 pm
Where: Carrington Hotel Library, 5-47 Katoomba St, Katoomba NSW 2780


Mag reading at the Wheeler Centre as part of  ‘The Next Big Thing’

When: Monday, 11 May 6.15-7.15 pm
Where: The Moat, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne



Grannies on the Loose !

Fables invitation Sydney final

We’ll be wandering round at Fair Day giving out Fables samplers. Come and say hello. Or come to the launch on February 26th at 6.30pm at Berkelouw Paddington. All welcome. Books cards and tea towels for sale.