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the story of an invisible girl
Sensory Overload
I have sensitive ears. This does not mean I have good hearing, in fact I think my hearing is not very good. I can generally only understand people's words when they are facing me, for example. Despite this, my ears are sensitive. I don't like loud noises or voices, and noises too close to my ears hurt them.

We have magnetic swipe cards at my office to unlock the doors. You wave them at a sensor, it beeps, and the door unlocks. I used to carry my card in my pocket, but I kept forgetting it in my pants. I recently switched to wearing it on a lanyard around my neck -- less attractive, but also easier to notice at the end of the day.

Unfortunately with it around my neck, it means my head is closer to be beeping sensor. That thing is loud when my head is right there! It hurts my ears. Strange that it never bothered me at arm's length, but neck length is just too close.

I've been experimenting with ways to resolve this. For awhile I would swipe the card and then jump back, hoping to being clear before the beep. It didn't work. Then I tried taking it off my neck as I approached, but that was annoying. The lanyard tended to get tangled up in my ears or hair.

I could plug my ears, but it's difficult to do that while swiping a card with one hand. Also it would probably look silly.

Today I hit on the perfect solution though. I pull the card toward the sensor with my right hand (or just lean forward and let it sense the card hanging from my neck), and turn my head to the right. My left ear is right there, but I discretely cover that ear with my left hand. My right ear is protected by being turned away.

Perfect! The nasty beeping is diminished enough that it doesn't bother my ears at all. It's convenient, it'll keep me from forgetting my card, and I don't look all that silly. Everybody wins -- or at least I do.

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aiela From: aiela Date: March 20th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Before I got to your solution, I was going to suggest the clippies with the retracting cord, so it could still be attached to you, but you could swipe it at arm's length.

But it looks like you found a great solution, so yay!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 20th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I had one of those but I still forgot to remove it from my clothing more often that I'd really prefer.

It's always embarrasing to realize you don't have your card, so you have to beg the receptionist to let you in all day....
joline From: joline Date: March 21st, 2007 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)
i was trying to pipe in with that too! we all got lanyards at work but they make me made when they don't match my outfit! so i got this, except mine is purple with paw prints on it.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 24th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Very cute! (:
mbumby From: mbumby Date: March 20th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ditto -- I have my keys & stuff for work on a retracting lanyard so I don't have to put my face up against the door and risk damage whenever I need to open it.
dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: March 20th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a thingamie for my swipe card that works -- it is a spring-driven self-retracting cord-holder, with my card on one end, and me on the other. I can pull the card out, to swipe a door, and then just let go, and it snaps right back to the device. Really quite handy.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 20th, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I had one of those but it broke. I have another actually -- but I found I also forgot that clipped to my clothing more often that I'd really prefer.
fachless From: fachless Date: March 20th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mine is just on my key ring. I tend not to leave without my keys in hand, or at least that's the goal. Pushing my car all the way home isn't so fun.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 20th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're going to leave without your keys, you might as well leave without your car. (;

But our office is just one suite in a building, and I have to leave the suite to go to the bathroom. There is also a suite downstairs I sometimes go to... so I frequently leave the locked area without my keys/purse/jacket/etc.
From: writerwench Date: March 20th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I spent nearly a minute considering the description of how you swipe the card, covering one ear and turning head away... man, that'd drive me NUTS. I loathe beeps and whistles and stupid noises like that. The retracting line for the swipe card would be my tool of preference, clipped to the lanyard.

I'm SO grateful I don't work in offices anymore... my poor battered tinnitus-racked ears love the relative quiet of home.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: March 21st, 2007 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Luckily I pretty much go into work and stay in the building all day. We're technically supposed to wear the ID at all times, and most people do, but in reality nobody gives a damn. I talk with the security guys all the time, the president of the company from time to time, etc, and nobody's ever mentioned it.
So after a lot of forgetting it and having to tailgate in or walk all the way around and go in the front door (where the security guard waves me through anyway) I duct taped my card to the inside of my bike bag. I never show up at work without it, I just push the bag against the reader and the door opens. If anybody ever wants to see it I'll have to peel it off, but that's unlikely.
If I do leave to go get a sub or something for lunch or go shopping, I need to take the bag with me to carry stuff in anyway.
(no subject) - davehogg - Expand
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: March 21st, 2007 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
i third that notion. i have a hard time with noises, too, and can't hear well when there are multiple conversations happening around me.
ellison From: ellison Date: March 22nd, 2007 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I am the same way! I have a hard time tuning some conversations out. And some days, when there is too much noise around me all day, I have to just go home and browse the net or some other quiet activity in TOTAL silence! Sometimes fans are okay. But yeah. Weird! I didn't know other people had these issues. Other weird fact - I feel especially irritated/bothered by/sensitive to noise during PMS!
bwittig From: bwittig Date: March 21st, 2007 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Reminds me of a cube neighbor who had one of those singing-on-the-hour clocks which was way too loud for my ears.

One day when he was out I fashioned a foam and cardboard speaker baffle for it. Worked pretty well, you could only barely hear the clock once you were outside of his cube.

I wonder if you could find the speaker opening for the badge reader and stuff a little soft foam into the hole. Even a piece of tape over the hole would quiet it noticeably!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 24th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Did you tell him? Well I suppose you must have, that doesn't sound very unnoticible. I had a coworker once who used to listen to his radio a little too loudly for my tastes. (Really I'd rather not hear his music at all.) I talked to him sometimes, and he'd turn it down, but it'd drift back up over time. I got in the habit of just walking into his cubicle and turning it down myself whenever he was at lunch. I never admitted that I was doing it though.
bwittig From: bwittig Date: March 24th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, I did not admit to the modification. He noticed it, I looked at it an laughed, but did not admit to the deed. I was probably the prime suspect, but there was no proof!

I consider turning down a radio behind the back of a co-worker perfectly justifiable. Extraneous sounds in the workplace belong in headphones.

(Then there was the person who had bird chirps for ALL of his windows sound effects--open window, close window, minimize...His speaker got disconnected one evening.)

From: writerwench Date: March 21st, 2007 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
One office I worked in for a while had the required fire doors that had to be kept closed at all times - and they SQUEALED. Squeaky hinges. It drove me nuts, was exactly on the right frequency to cause me maximum distraction and irritation. I asked if perhaps we could oil the hinges, but bosslady said no, being upstairs as she was, she liked the doors squeaky so she could hear when they opened.

Go figure... she'd also lay her dictating microphone down on the desk and move about, dictating in her soft voice, while hauling files out of cabinets and plonking them on the desk, sometimes covering the microphone completely... I bought her a cute little mobile phone stand to put her microphone in, so that it would at least be vertical and have a chance of recording something audible. She wouldn't use it. I swear my tinnitus started at that office, as I had to have the transcription machine up so LOUD to catch any of her words at all.

So on my last day I brought in a small can of WD-40 penetrating oil, and got every damn door in the place moving silently and smoothly.
retepsnave From: retepsnave Date: March 21st, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
everyone seems to like the retractable badge holder thing that clips to clothing... perhaps you can clip it to your lanyard and have the best of both worlds!

also I wonder if while swiping the card you can cover the card reader with other hand to block the speaker?
but then that assumes you don't have stuff you're carrying...
sllywhtboy From: sllywhtboy Date: March 22nd, 2007 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
how does sensitive hearing bode for having one of the loudest boyfriends around?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 24th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
HA! An excellent question. Usually it's not a problem, but sometimes it can be frustrating. I'll often move away from him if he's talking loudly to somebody far away, or ask him to please speak more softly if it's just the two of us. Sometimes it annoys him -- but what can I do? I don't want to hurt my ears, but wearing earplugs whenever we interract would just be silly. (-;
thelifeofbrian From: thelifeofbrian Date: March 23rd, 2007 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
somewhere around here, I've got a card holder that clips to the belt by a retractable cord, which we use for our card sensors. I never used the holder. My pass card's in my wallet, and I just bump against the sensor to open the door -- actually, that's not the best visual, sorry.

Anyways, next time I see you (SMEGS, maybe) I'll try to remember to bring it for you, if you think it'll help.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 24th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)
No need, I have one. I just like the lanyard approach better right now because it's easier to remember. Using both might work, but I prefer a more minimalist approach to business accessories. I often tuck the lanyard under my sweater, and then it's not very noticible.
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