Hearing aids

Hi,

Wondering what the feeling is about the presence of hearing aids at events.

I have been hearing impaired since birth but as it is getting worse I am just in the last year starting to explore hearing aids. This year I wore one small hearing aid and did not participate in any battles. (It was recommended by my audiologist that I do not wear it engaged in sports. Especially one where there is a real chance of it being struck directly!) Next year I may upgrade to a larger more sophisticated device, or one in each ear. The one I have helps relieve the moderate hearing loss in one ear, it may be possible to wear one that relieves the profound hearing loss on the other side.

I am concerned that it detracts from immersion. I’ve never been to a larp as costume-centred as Empire before, and there is no way electronic hearing aids fit the setting! If I don’t wear it, I can get by most of the time but don’t feel comfortable in situations like LARP battlefields.

I received quite a lot of flak for not participating in battles. Although I explained by disability it was taken as a sign of cowardice. Some people were kind enough to remind me I should do more to overcome my disability, by listening harder. This seems unfair but is in fact fully on brief :

Other than the section on BSL in the languages page, I couldn’t find any other references to deafness, hearing impairment or hearing aids. Is there any relevant policies I’ve missed?

Nobody complains about glasses, so I can’t see why hearing aids would be an issue.

In cases where it conflicts with making the game accessible to everyone immersion can go take a running jump :slight_smile:.

PD’s accessibility policy is here profounddecisions.co.uk/accessibility?1 and although it doesn’t mention hearing impairment directly this part of it is relevant.

*"Profound Decisions aims to make live roleplaying accessible to all and to ensure everyone is able to enjoy our events. We know that certain elements of the hobby can present challenges to players with specific access requirements and are keen to explore options. We will make reasonable adjustment for disabled players. We welcome early initial contact, so please talk to us to discuss your particular needs. We want to improve accessibility at our events and feedback from our players help us to identify the problems that we need to overcome to achieve that.

In live role-playing there is an inevitable trade-off between making the game as immersive as possible and making it as accessible as possible. We strive to do both where we can and balance the two goals where we must."*

As for people giving you hassle for your disability, well my immediate reaction is unprintable, what I recommend is getting in touch with PD directly so they can support you and also make sure your Egregore(s) are aware so they can support you in game.

On further reflection I reckon the people talking down to you could do with a lecture on Courage, specifically the story of what Korl the Paragon did when he reached old age and was no longer able to fight. They could also do with a lesson in Loyalty to their fellow citizens as well. Because they’re twisting that part of the brief, it’s not there so they can be dicks to another player.

I don’t see a problem with hearing aids being worn, after all they allow people to participate who normally wouldn’t be able to.

If you want to disguise them in some way to make them less obtrusive, that is entirely your decision - in the same way nobody is expected to buy antique looking glasses, but some people choose to do so. A head covering of some kind seems like the simplest option, though of course you don’t want to remove the benefit of the device by muffling the incoming sound!

That section of the Wintermark brief is surprising to me; it doesn’t seem to have been written with people with actual ooc disabilities in mind at all. I would personally interpret it to mean that non-battlefield skills are a legitimate alternative? It does seem like a poor situation to be in if you’re being pressured IC to take an action which risks damaging your ooc wellbeing in a direct way.

HertsJ - Really sorry if people gave you flak for having something you OOC can’t help at all - if someone says something to you IC about it that you’re uncomfortable with, I’d suggest going with something along the lines of “OOC: Hey dude, if I could do that IC I would, but I can’t help this so leave off or find an IC reason to be ok with it. Seriously.”

I’m actually a little angry that people did that, even IC. You might be ok with it, but I wonder if they’d do the same to other, more debilitating issues.

If anyone tells you that your hearing aid is damaging their immersion, you are fully welcome to either tell them to fuck off yourself, or fetch a referee and have us tell them to fuck off for you.

There is absolutely no requirement that you need to make OC medical equipment like hearing aids, or wheelchairs, or glasses, etc etc, look IC. Some people voluntarily choose to, which is nice of them - but you aren’t required to spend extra money on more props just to make necessary items look slightly ‘better’.

On a purely practical level, hearing aids are very unobtrusive anyway. I’ve certainly never noticed one, even when talking to someone who I know for certain is wearing one. So really, don’t worry about it.

The brief issue there is another matter. I’d suggest you send an email to empire@pd, and ask for it to be reconsidered and redrafted. We need to fix that if it’s causing stuff like what you reported.

Also…

Hearing aids are probably less noticeable than the egregore/civil servant/ref radio ear pieces. I keep thinking of doing something to hide mine at O, but then decide I have more important things to worry about.

Whilst I’m all for removing as much of the OOC as possible, it should only be done if it doesn’t present OOC detriment (and no, making you put your can in a bin rather than being lazy and leaving it on a table does not count as detriment).

I wear hearing aids, and I always leave them in for larp because I want to hear the damage calls and Tasty Plot :slight_smile:. Usually in my left ear, which is why it’s not visible in that photo of me on the left. As a matter of fact, larp is the biggest motivator for me getting around to repairing them if one has a problem. I can get by day to day on one easily, but I want the best hearing possible for larps.** You are not breaking immersion by wearing a medical necessity.**

Your audiologist is being conservative, BTW. I have worn hearing aids since a small child, and they have weathered everything a daft kid in the Scouts and then the last few years of playing silly buggers at larp can throw at them. I only drew the line at wearing them on the judo mats when I did that. If they are NHS aids, those are pretty rugged and they are reasonable about replacement parts.

I play high-combat PCs and the only time hearing aids have failed me was when the rain was so torrential my ears literally filled up. I’ve had an earmould break from an unpulled blow once, but it was already slightly damaged form an unrelated thing. Usually the worst I get is a slight cut or bruise if hit on the earpiece, as then it means a solid lump of plastic hits my ear, not a padded stick. If you get struck in the ear or it comes loose, call a MAN DOWN. It’s no different to glasses, and the quicker you call it, the better chance of recovering a lost aid. If you are really worried, wear an arming cap for battles, but tie it a bit loose to avoid feedback whistling.

Reading the Wintermark brief that says to me that you should do what allows you to accomplish the greatest heroism. Not fling yourself at stuff that you’re disadvantaged at unless that’s what you want to do for the challenge of it. Not “Listen harder” but “Speak up, I can’t hear you, I’ve got stuff to do here and you mumbling isn’t helping.” There was a funny occurrence at ODC where someone asked me to eavesdrop for them before realising that was an awful plan. However I made myself useful in other ways and the group was fine as soon as they were aware of it.

Other people have expressed my opinion on the matter quite eloquently already (notably Tea). Plus I’ve roleplayed pretty often with Jim for several years now and can’t say as I’ve ever found his hearing aid a problem- most of the time no-one even notices it exists.

As a question which I have no experience to answer, would wearing a helmet help to protect the aid? The potential problem I forsee is that helms can make it harder to hear, so maybe this is just a terrible idea- without experimenting I just don’t know.

People use everything from electric wheelchairs to blood glucose tests and insulin injections IC. I have to take handfuls of pills and drink bright orange fizzy stuff (rehydration mix) every few hours. Seriously, if people cannot manage sufficient imagination and suspension of disbelief to politely ignore a very small and barely visible bit of flesh-coloured plastic, they have chosen the wrong hobby.

I read that bit of the Wintermark brief and cringed. ‘Try harder to overcome your disability’ is a hated cliche. Try the ‘learning new skills’ thing instead (and if anyone from PD is listening, please change that bit). For Wintermark you could try Grimnir who are explicitly not allowed to do fighting. I don’t know if you’d need a new character for this, or if it might be worth dropping PD an email asking if you can swap some of your fighty points for something else you can use? But you don’t have to be a non-fighty character just because you don’t happen to go through the Anvil gate, see here for recent discussion, you can do all the fighty stuff you like in downtime and have an IC reason for sitting out this particular battle.

If you’ve got a specific comment on the WIntermark brief reference to disability, please e-mail it to Matt at the usual PeeDee address - we spent ages arguing over that specific bit and if there’s any way you think we can improve it then let us know directly.

It’s not so much that I was receiving hassle for my disability - there was only one person I had to walk away from that was being totally unreasonable. He did bother me, but I couldn’t find anyone to complain to at the time so I tried to let it go. Anyway I posted in a moment of anger before work and didn’t have time to edit it.

It’s more that the expectation that every citizen should fight is much stronger than I expected it to be. I was more getting frustrated at having to explain why I wasn’t on the battlefield to so many people. I’ve deliberately not taken combat skills: although I have taken Religious or Surgical skills which I imagine are very useful to have on the battlefield. Plus since everyone starts with basic combat skills (sword, buckler, armour) it’s harder to justify an “I’m not really a fighter”.

I wanted this thread to be about the practicalities of hearing aids at LARP in general and Empire in particular.

Just as an aside, I have no idea how to contact an Egregore. Even looking at the page I’m not 100% sure I’d recognise them on sight! Is there a trick to it? I don’t have an active character so none of them are more relevant to me at the moment. The priest I was playing didn’t quite work and I’m not sure what to do instead. It’s a long time until the next event!

[quote=“Jim”]I wear hearing aids, and I always leave them in for larp because I want to hear the damage calls and Tasty Plot :slight_smile:. Usually in my left ear, which is why it’s not visible in that photo of me on the left. As a matter of fact, larp is the biggest motivator for me getting around to repairing them if one has a problem. I can get by day to day on one easily, but I want the best hearing possible for larps. You are not breaking immersion by wearing a medical necessity.

Your audiologist is being conservative, BTW. I have worn hearing aids since a small child, and they have weathered everything a daft kid in the Scouts and then the last few years of playing silly buggers at larp can throw at them. I only drew the line at wearing them on the judo mats when I did that. If they are NHS aids, those are pretty rugged and they are reasonable about replacement parts.[/quote]

I thought he was being overcautious but I haven’t really tested it. I have to take it out to put headphones in at the gym anyway. I probably would have tried wearing it at LARP combat after a while. More than breaking it, I’m concerned about a blow knocking it clean off my head to be lost forever in the woods. Admittedly that’s not very likely unless someone swung upwards at my ear directly when just behind my right shoulder!

I’ve been in plenty of heavy combats without any aids over the years. Scouting never goes well (as you say with eavesdropping), but I’ve rarely had problems with even CP’s array of combat magic. I am however totally deaf to plot; I’ve never been able to get access to much of it.

[quote=“TimB”]
As a question which I have no experience to answer, would wearing a helmet help to protect the aid? The potential problem I forsee is that helms can make it harder to hear, so maybe this is just a terrible idea- without experimenting I just don’t know.[/quote]

I thought I knew what would happen, but I hadn’t actually tried it until just now. Putting on a padded arming cap then steel sallet. It is a visored sallet so it’s very enclosing and feels secure. Unfortunately this creates unpleasant feedback.

To avoid the hearing aid getting knocked out, would a hat with ear flaps work? Something like this?
Or maybe that would just muffle the hearing aid too much?

I don’t know who the Egregores in Wintermark are at the moment (for there are now three of them) but if you go along to the “new players meet-up” which is usually on the Friday between 4-8pm the new players team should definitely be able to introduce you to them. They’ll announce the location for it here on the forum before the event and you’ll also be able to ask in GOD where it is too.

Also if you drop an email to PD they should also be able to make arrangements to introduce you as well. I’m reasonably sure the Egregore page on the wiki will be updated over winter as well.

Wintermark’s the biggest nation which is the reason why they’ve given the Egregore three bodies as of last event, hopefully that should help them reach more of the Wintermark player base in the future.

I too know the pain of being hassled to fight and although I don’t have a relevant disability, I do have a very good reason at Empire in the shape of my toddler. Frankly I have always found the following shuts people up IC: “I’m not trained to fight so if I go on the battlefield I will likely die. I am more than happy to do so, but my children and the Synod can make more prosperous use of me alive, for now.”
Feel free to edit for your favourite Virtue. :wink:

Hi HertsJ. I am so sorry that you have had stick for being a non-combatant. It is something that I have directly experienced myself for similar reasons. I have a health issue which means I would not be able to stand up to combat of that nature for that amount of time and I would become a danger to probably myself and others. The fact that you received even one piece of stick for having a disability is not right it brings us all down. People may be “IC” but they should be tempering their responses with a little tact, even if their character is supposed to be tactless.

If you are worried about loosing your hearing aides then you could wear a coif (the cotton/linen skull cap rather than the chain sort :slight_smile:) the flappy bits would cover the ears keeping any wayward equipment dropping out, without to much dampening of sound or be too bulky?

if you want some fun in the non-combatant game can i suggest the Hospital:):):slight_smile:

The Equality and Diversity policy quite definitely trumps the nation brief, no matter how one chooses to read that brief. I’ll spare you a re-quote of the entire thing, but just go with:

[quote]"It is not acceptable to insult another participant on the basis of an out-of-character attribute.

This means that participants are not allowed to discriminate on grounds of real-world …] disability"[/quote]

As Tea says, the refs can and will back you up on this, or escalate it further up the chain if it turns out to be more than a case of someone needing a reminder of what the rules are, how they interact, and what behaviour is acceptable.

I have no polite words for people unable to suspend their disbelief enough to ignore a necessary medical aid, but if you did want to conceal it for your own sake, you could also consider a wig, in addition to some of the other excellent suggestions.

Egregores, rather ironically, can be identified by the fact they have radios and covert earpieces, although most established members of your nation will likely to be able to point you at them - and if it comes to it, you’re welcome to ask a passing referee to locate them for you, by radio.

Oh, and in case you feel lonely, I’ll just say that as a referee, I’ve encountered enough people with hearing difficulties, and enough people with reading difficulties, that where possible I’ll default to delivering information like the result of rituals both verbally, and in written form, to let people digest it however they prefer.

A subject of quite a lot of interest to me too. I’m mostly deaf in one ear and do sometimes find LARP a bit of a struggle to hear conversations etc. I also had been warned that hearing aids shouldn’t be used with sport and especially full contact activities so I have for years just been getting on with it and trying to muddle through. Would be very interested to hear recommendations from fellow larpers as who what hearing aid design could be reasonably expected to survive a good fight and clash of latex.

(My hearing is about 50% high range gone in the left ear) its okay in the right.)

My brother’s used these before when he was in Cadets, for outdoor hearing aid protection. I’ve never seen a need.
hearing-aid-accessories.co.u … p-108.html
I suppose there may be a point to getting the bright coloured ones if you can still get them in the UK, if you are worried about them coming off and wanting them to be visible.

If you use behind the ear ones, you should be fine. I am notoriously accident-prone and have dealt with 3 years of weekly and fest larp and 2 years of roller derby without any major damage.