I used to live in Blackpool where my family ran a hotel for some 10 years. Sometimes – mainly under duress from Rachel my then girlfriend – I returned for a short break to revisit the old place. One haunt I found myself being drawn towards is a place nicknamed “Tacky city” a group of small shops near to Blackpool Tower. There you will find all kinds of tat, rubber goods and things for the weekend as they used to say.
Anyway trudging through one of these establishments I spotted this £1 gadget which had on it impressed in silver paint, “Whisper 2000”. This made in China wonder promised “Bionic” hearing ability. Basically it was a cheap amplifier paired with some cheap in ear headphones. £1 what can go wrong?
Back in the hotel I stuck some batteries in and popped the headphones on. Quite a lot of hiss but could not really hear anything interesting until I heard some other guests coming up the stairs outside of our room. I quickly put the whisper next to the gap at the bottom of the door and turned the volume up. I could hear everything. Pretty cool this I thought.
Then I heard an odd noise like someone with a bunged up nose, breathing inwards repeatedly. Then there was an almighty WOOF as a dog barked. I catapulted myself backwards. The mutt nearly blew out my eardrums. It bloody hurt and Rachel who was reclining on the bed gave me little sympathy.
I swore I would never use the damn thing again. However some hours later sitting quietly alone, Rachel had popped out of the room to get some food, I heard raised voices from a couple in the next door room. I couldn’t resist it, I turn on the whisper on went the headphones. Walking around to get the best reception, I ended up in the bathroom and then the shower. The bathroom door closed behind me leaving me in darkness. The Whisper was basically crap I could hardly make out anything so I increased the volume. Then I brought the amplifier unit a bit too close to the headphones and it fed back producing a piecing loud squeal down my lughole.
Then as I was about to give up, the bathroom door burst open, light snapped on. It was Rachel. Startled I shot her a glance. “What on earth are you doing?” Rachel said. It was then I made the biggest mistake related to my hearing in my entire life. Not being able to make out what the rather animated Rachel was saving, waving her arms around I made THE MISTAKE of quickly bringing both my hands to my head to take the earphones off. I was then hit with the loudest high pitched squealing in the history of audio. My face must have looked like I was under a severe electrical shock, eyes popping and tongue hanging out. I honestly don’t remember what happened next, apart from the loud repetitive EEEEEEEEEEE I let out. A week later in the doctors my ears were still shot, ringing. Apparently if it was not for the copious amount of wax (that was later syringed out) I could have completely blown out my eardrums.
Not wanting to insult the intelligence of the reader I will skip the moral of the story part here, it’s like so bloody obvious yeah?