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Computing & Technology > Sounds


One of the odd things I do for work:

-- Find a solution to this problem: We have someone online who is helping us with some server problems. He has to talk on skype with our one computer guy, who takes a laptop to the big server center and calls him for instructions what to do with the server. The server room, in a large data center, is so horribly noisy -- like a jet engine -- he can't hear or be understood with regular headphones, when he calls the expert.

Our other computer-fluent guy suggested a pilot's headset. I'd been looking at gamers' headsets and construction workers' ear protection/noise-reducing/noise-cancelling/isolating etc. and don't know what I'm doing, since I don't know electronics. So this seems genius. Pilots' headsets are made to help the pilot hear voices, specifically, above other noise, which is precisely what we need too. However pilots plug their headsets into aircraft; and even an idiot like me realizes that a personal computer isn't an airplane. So after finding the least-expensive headgear for pilots (they go up to $1,000 or more), I have to research. Research is the answer to all, usually.

Stuff people say about what they buy is really vital, and sharing it online is a favor to everyone else. (I should remember this the next time Amazon nags me to review some purchase. Reviews:good.)

But I have to often read for hours to find what I need. First, the item itself; then I have to go to all kinds of pilot shops to see who, if anyone, is using them with their computers. And how they do it. ....Much later, I discover there is a simple little adapter. The manufacturers have solved this particular problem of connecting the two. Without the adapter or with an incorrect one, there is an electronic mismatch and you can fry your computer's sound card, and knock out half of the headset. I buy the adapter.

Computer guy reports that it works well, and they can understand each other clearly. Amazing.

Along the way I also find this interesting page to test your hearing to see if you can hear high-pitched sounds: Dont-you-hear-that

Just scroll down past the 2 photos and 2 drawings, to "8000Hz" and so on. I couldn't hear much at all. At 12,000 I could just hear it if I turned the sound all the way up.

Also I found that voices are kind of different from other sounds; I'd always wondered why I could pass hearing tests but couldn't hear people talk in a bar or restaurant.

posted on July 1, 2014 9:17 AM ()


same as drmaus----I always type in google-- HOW TO for whatever I'm looking for , even u tube has info--
comment by kevinshere on July 1, 2014 9:46 PM ()
Am really impressed with your problem-solving skills. I have excellent hearing but am vulnerable to "masking" deafness such as white noise, or water running. In a quiet room I can hear a car entering our driveway. Years ago, my late husband used me to audit high pitched sounds on his electronics equipment.
comment by tealstar on July 1, 2014 6:12 PM ()
I admire your problem solving ability. As a former speech Pathologist, I
can confirm that speech is much harder to discriminate in an auditory
test than sound alone. I am finding speech discrimination much harder as
I am losing some of my hearing. British movies make me long for better
speech discrimination. I often have to spell things for Ted as his hearing
is shot and even with two hearing aids, he has trouble.
comment by elderjane on July 1, 2014 2:51 PM ()
Deafness is so frustrating for both parties. I had a boyfriend with hearing aids in both ears and it was difficult. Much easier with my late dog Buddy! When his hearing started to go, a friend told me to clap my hands instead of calling his name. It always worked, but then he was never far from me when he was old.
reply by drmaus on July 1, 2014 3:27 PM ()
The best thing about being confronted with a problem is what we learn on the way to the solution. The second best thing is finding a solution we like. Or maybe the numbering should be switched.

Taking the computer into the server room reminds me of the time I was thinking of bringing my laptop to my furnace here at the house so I could use its camera to show the plumber what I was talking about while I had him on the phone.
comment by troutbend on July 1, 2014 1:26 PM ()
Your plumber should make sure he has skype or some way of seeing your videocam. I don't even know what most people use on smartphones now, other than iphones, I guess.
reply by drmaus on July 1, 2014 3:31 PM ()
Oh, yeah: I could hear the 12,000Hz ONLY with a stereo headset that allows you to turn up the sound farther than my computer can do.
comment by drmaus on July 1, 2014 9:25 AM ()

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