How do I remove the wax from my hearing aid?

Asked by Colin from Leicester

Hi Colin, Before we start, can I ask if you have false teeth at all?

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, just because I have a hearing aid, I must have dentures as well! Bloody cheek!”

Well stop. I assure you, I’m not thinking that. The reason I ask is that you will need some denture cleaning tablets for the procedure I’m sharing with you, that’s all.

Anyway, if you don’t have any tablets, go out and buy some (they are usually quite affordable, in fact, I think I saw some in the Pound Shop once).

Once you have the tablets, read this next bit (see, here I’m assuming that you DON’T have any false teeth, happy now?).

OK, first of all, you need to detach the earpiece and the tube from any electronic components.

Once you’ve done that, make a small ‘bath’ big enough to fit your hearing aid earpiece into. It is imperative to use a clean glass, in order to avoid infections (“Oh, I see, now my cups are dirty!?” he says. Maybe). Add the denture-cleaning tablet to the glass and let it effervesce (which is a lovely word that I don’t get to use nearly enough, so thank you for that).

Next, soak the earpiece and the tube in the water. DO NOT add any electrical components to the water – I’m sure you won’t, but I have to make sure that other people – stupid people, if I’m honest – don’t ruin their hearing aids and them blame me for it.

Finally, take the earpiece and/or tube and allow them to dry on a clean surface. It is best not to try and manually dry the earpiece because you’re likely to miss a bit (“Oh, I see! I can’t dry off a little bit of plastic now, is that it!?” – I imagine you saying). I say this because a wet hearing aid can damage your device and also cause ear infections.

Finally, when all is dry, simply put your hearing aid back together and start living your wax-free life.

I hope that helped (and that you didn’t mind my good-natured ribbing!)

What is the Best Bluetooth Headset for Jogging?

Asked by Hiromi in Osaka

Hi Hiromi, How’s life in Japan? I’d love to visit one day, but until then, here’s your answer…

It all depends on how much you sweat. Yes, I know that’s a little bit indelicate of me, but unfortunately it happens to be true. I’ve read many, many customer reviews of otherwise fine and good headsets that claim to be designed for joggers, but that conk out the first time they get significantly wet…

Headsets designed for jogging are often created so that they won’t fall out of your ears as you run, with almost no concern placed on how much you may sweat during the run. Some people sweat a lot and some sweat very little. In either instance, your sweat level needs to be a factor in your purchasing decision (and there’s no nicer way to say it than that!)

Then, another factor to consider is how much the headset will isolate you from your surroundings as you run. Noise cancellation headsets might do a superlative job if you’re running past a noisy construction site, but they aren’t going to be much help in the wake of oncoming traffic. Again, it comes down to individual choice. Some runners subscribe to the Linford Christie ‘bullet from a gun’ mentality, whilst others simply enjoy a bit of exercise, but also like to stay aware of what’s going on around them.

It is also misleading to assume that a branded headset from a sportswear manufacturer is in any way superior to one designed by a trusted electronics firm. In many/most instances, the opposite is actually true.

Sadly, even so called ‘sweat resistant’ headsets are often anything but and there isn’t a lot you can actually do to get your money back. Your best bet, if you ask me, is to buy a mid-range headset, use it specifically for jogging/going to the gym and don’t expect it to last for very long. If it performs badly, chalk it up to experience and buy a different headset, if it lasts for a decent period of time, then replace it with a similar model, or else the same one again.

I’ll be honest; every so often I get one of these questions that I find hard to answer, as no amount of research will really help. Type in the name of any ‘Bluetooth Headset for Jogging’ into Amazon (or whatever the Japanese equivalent of Amazon may be) and you’ll read just as many complaints in the reviews as praises.

Due to this, I’m reluctant to name specific models, because they may not actually work for you. I’d hate to say, “Oh, this headset works really well”, only to have you write back “Does it b*llocks!”. I have personally reviewed several pairs of headphones online (which you can view by clicking HERE), but not any Bluetooth headsets (to the best of my recollection), so I’m afraid that’s all the advice I can give you on this one!

Why Kevlar Works?

You mean besides reinforcing the tyres on the Batmobile? (True Bat-Fact – look it up).

For those not in the know, Kevlar (or Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, to give the material its scientific name) is a very tough and durable man-made fibre. It was first developed in 1965 by Polish-American scientist Stephanie Kwolek and has been commercially used around the world since the early 1970’s. Today, Kevlar is available in several grades, which are used for different tasks and exhibit greater, or lesser, tensile strength as well as flexibility and tenacity.

Since its introduction in 1971, Kevlar has been used for body armour (i.e. bullet proof vests), army helmets/protective gear, car and bicycle tyres (I once had a set, actually), protective clothing, paraglider suspension lines, shoe tread, headphones, musical instruments (strings and drumskins), fire resistant clothing, kitchenware (for its non-stick properties), cables and ropes, brake pads in cars, smartphone casing and even wind-turbines.

According to DuPont, Kevlar’s parent company,

“It’s about resilience, strength, saving the day, and helping keep people safe from harm —DuPont™ Kevlar®. DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid fiber is used to make a variety of clothing, accessories, and equipment safe and cut resistant. It’s lightweight and extraordinarily strong, with five times the strength of steel on an equal-weight basis. Best known for its use in ballistic and stab-resistant body armor, Kevlar® brand aramid fiber has shown its own heroism in helping to save the lives of thousands of people around the world. And since its invention over 40 years ago, things have only gotten better. DuPont™ Kevlar® continues to take on new challenges, with our scientists continuously innovating and working on a range of new opportunities through collaborations with communities, industrial manufacturers, and governments. Together we’re bringing the strength and durability of Kevlar® to so much more. The result? Kevlar® aramid fiber is now successfully used in everything from vehicles and industrial clothing to fiber optics and city roads. And we’re only getting started”.

The discovery of this wonderful material is actually quite an interesting story. Back in 1964, Kwolek’s group was searching for a way to make tyres stronger, but also a little bit lighter. Apparently, the by-products of their solutions were usually thrown away, but Kwolek saw potential in one of them, as it had formed a type of liquid crystal, something that had never been seen in their polymers before. She tested the strength of the new material and discovered that it was extremely strong. The rest, as they say, is Wikipedia.

Oh, Happy New Year, by the way! 🙂

How did people communicate with each other 100 years ago?

Asked by Barbara from Basingstoke

 

Hi Barbara from Basingstoke (I like that, it has a nice ring to it), 

I presume you mean to ask me how people communicated over long distances, because otherwise the answer would simply be ‘they talked to each other, just as they do today’. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but please be more specific in future! (Kidding!)

OK, so 100 years ago, in 1914, the telephone was still in its infancy, relatively speaking. 99 years ago, Thomas Watson made the first coast-to-coast phone call in America, so that should give you some idea of where the telephone was, development wise.

However, the invention had been patented since 1876 and 1877 had seen the first long-distance phone call placed. But by and large, telephones were not an overly common part of people’s lives the way they are now.

More common was the telegraph, which had been knocking around for a while by then. People in official positions tended to use that, but it wouldn’t have been a fixture of regular people’s houses.

Far more common than telephone or telegraph was the postal service. In 1914, if you wanted to contact a friend, relative, or loved one, you wrote to them. The working classes were better educated than at any other time in history (up to that point) and literacy was improving (although it certainly wasn’t at the near-ubiquitous level of today). Letters took a long time to arrive by today’s standards, so they tended to be longer and more absorbing than, say, a Facebook chat is today. In fact, intellectuals, authors and politicians would often engage themselves in long-winded and exhaustive intellectual contests via thorough, essay-length correspondences.

Another option would have been to speak via mutual acquaintances. Literature of the period frequently involves friends using a mutual friend in order to carry on a long-distance discussion and it is my understanding that this was quite a common practice. Interestingly, this may very well have shaped the development of certain customs in society (such as ‘good manners’ vs. ‘bad manners’ regarding correspondence etiquette). With our communication methods of today being so vastly different, it remains to be seen how our society will come to reflect this. 

Storage Spaces, 2 way Radios used in Warehouse Operations

Most of us don’t really think about it, but warehouses play an important part in our lives. When we shop at a supermarket, visit an electronics store, or order online from a major retailer, we are buying items that, at one time or another, have to be stored somewhere.

Its not just completed products, either. Once an item has been manufactured, it must then be stored before transit, meaning that most factories incorporate a considerable amount of space to the storage of completed products, ready for shipping.

The modern warehouse is a vital component in the supply chain process. As a result, a good, well-run warehouse facility is becoming increasingly important to long-term business performance. Warehouse operations have a direct impact on the availability and quality of the product itself and, as a result, one of the first steps on the road to customer satisfaction is a strong, well-organized warehouse staff.

How do the managers keep the staff so collaborative? Via the use of two-way radio communications, of course.

Warehouses employ thousands of people nationwide and it is of absolute importance to the managers of these facilities that those people are contactable, safe and kept up-to-speed with any relevant information. This is entirely possible only with modern two-way radio systems.

It is not uncommon for a warehouse employee to walk the equivalent of seven to fifteen miles a day and, as a result, the job can be strenuous and stressful. Quick, reliable communication is essential to keep employee supervisors apprised of any medical problems that may arise as a result of a tough working day.

Regular, reliable communications in all areas of the warehouse are of paramount importance to the overall running of the facility (as well as to the profits of the parent company). Management, staff, production, stores and sales need to be informed about any problems as they occur; the company also needs a regular, speedy and accurate stock inventory provided to them at regular intervals.

A successful company is like a well-oiled machine and good, clear communications are key when it comes to ensuring that all of those proverbial cogs are greased up and working in the proper manner. Two-way radios are portable, durable and feature crystal clear audio, allowing for fast, accurate messages to be sent over large distances with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss.

We don’t often stop to consider how important warehouses and their dedicated staff actually are, but we really ought to. Warehouses are just another complex, yet vitally important operation made simple by two-way radios. 

Privileged Communication Examples?

‘Privileged communication’ is a legal term, applied in many Western countries (including both mine and yours, unless I’m very much mistaken), that applies to any interaction that is required, by law, to remain confidential.

Critically, the law cannot force disclosure in these cases and the party that initially started the communication has the legal right to stop the second party from revealing any information pertaining to the discussion, even in a court of law.

According to ‘Investopedia.com’,

“Typically, privileged communications refer to communications between attorney and client, accountant and client, doctor or therapist and patient, priest and parishioner or husband and wife (and, in some states, reporters and their sources). The recipient of the information must keep the communication private, unless the privilege is waived by the discloser of the information.

There are conditions that must be met in order to preserve the confidential status of these communications. First, the communication must be between people in a legally recognized protected relationship. Next, the communication must take place in a private setting, where the communicators have a reasonable expectation of confidentiality (like a private office). Lastly, the privileged status of the communication is lost if or when the communication is shared with a third party that is not part of the protected relationship (however, agents of the recipient of the information – such as an accountant’s secretary or a doctor’s nurse – would generally not be considered a third party that defeats the privileged status of the communication)”.

I must point out at this time that the ‘Hey, Chris’ column is NOT an example of privileged communication. In fact, in my entire life, I severely doubt that anyone who has ever had a conversation with me has ever felt ‘privileged’ about it in any way. SOB!

What’s all this with the walkie talkie tower

I am delighted you asked. 20 Fenchurch Street, warmly called as the ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ and less affectionately called as the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ (yeah, that’s a reputation that’s never catching on), is a commercial skyscraper in central London. It’s presently under development and is not expected to be finished until next year. When all is said and done, it’ll have cost some £200 Million to build.

 

The building gets its nickname because it’s thought to resemble a walkie talkie (although, being truthful, I can’t see it myself). It is too referred to as the pint, a thing that is far more appropriate. Continue reading »

Does Wearing Headphones Increase the Amount of Bacteria in your Ears?

So, the short answer to your question is that anything you put in your ear will increase the bacteria levels present, simply by sheer dint of the introduction of a foreign object to your ear. You can consider this to also be true for cotton buds, earplugs and, of course, your index finger. Microorganisms tend to reproduce well in hot and humid environments and the ear, like the mouth and nose, certainly have all the right conditions for a germ-orgy of sorts (sorry for the image). Continue reading »

Say I’m in a high-speed car chase, what’s the best way to escape the police?

(Asked by Nick from Kent)

In my experience, the weapons cheat usually works a treat. I find that a roadblock is considerably less of an issue if you’re armed with a rocket launcher and twin uzis…

As for the real world, one wonders just why you’re asking me, Nick? (I really don’t want this article popping up as evidence at your trial while I go down for aiding an abetting you). Still, I must answer the questions my editor selects for me, so I’ll give this one a go (but don’t come crying to me if you end up serving several consecutive life sentences, OK?) Continue reading »

How does a virtual reality headset work?

Virtual reality, which I’m going to define as ‘the creation of a computerized 3D environment that can be interacted with and manipulated in much the same was as the real world can’, is a pretty multi-faceted concept. There are quite a few ways to allow interaction with a virtual environment (VE), but the headset is perhaps the best known.

So, the key thing that a VR headset needs to be able to do is track the movements of the user’s head (and, where possible, their eyes) in order to allow for better interaction with the VE. After all, if I tilt my head from where I’m sitting and look at the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage action figure that stands on my desk, the positioning of my eye line will change my perspective of the figure. So VR, in order to be convincing, needs to work on the same principle. Continue reading »

Why Do FBI Agents Still Wear Those Curly Earphones?

You would believe that the U . s . secret service (being the American secret service and all) would have access to an earpiece a little cooler that just the common ‘curly cable’ job, wouldn’t you?

If pushed, I have to state that I tend to imagine a little old fella, like Desmond Llewelyn in the Bond films, (or maybe a younger model like Ben Whishaw from ‘Skyfall’) making many of the devices himself and then explaining them to the agents before they go out and protector the President’s life. Continue reading »

Can you get it wrong deciding on the bluetooth headset for a mobile

2013 can be described as year that may see more people than ever using Bluetooth headphones and we’re fully commited to ensuring that those folks are using the best existing models. A Bluetooth headset may be a virtual requirement if you need to conduct business in today’s fast-paced modern world.

First, the fundamentals:

You can use Bluetooth technology for a lot of specific jobs, most notably the wireless shift of information from 1 device to a different. However, because Bluetooth only works over moderately short areas, it is actually significantly better for connecting headsets to cell phones. Continue reading »

Will the typical earphones harm my ears eventually?

In fact the answer is yes, headphones might be very harmful for your ears. 

A group from the University of Leicester lately proved that sound louder than 110 intensity cause damage to some singular type nerve cell outside layer, which in return can cause tinnitus (basically a active or humming in the ears – and here’s my opinion that it just made things sound ‘a tad tinny’) and also provisional deafness in some cases. 

According to medical medical news today.com, that reported on the University’s findings, the myelin sheath may be a type of outside layer that protects the nerve cells that connect the ears with the brain. Any sound over a hundred decibels begins to wear away this coating, meaning that the indicators will finally stop getting to the brain. Given time, the myelin sheath will usually (but not always) cure itself and reform, resulting in the damage only being temporary. Still, it’s a thing to think about.  Continue reading »