Friday, 21 May 2010

Say It Loud

I am fully recovered from my visit to planet Noro I am pleased to say. Thank you for all the messages of sympathy and I'm sorry if you have suffered similarly.

Yesterday Nina, the speech and communication specialist, came for another visit. During our conversation last week I had mentioned that I often have difficulty making myself heard in noisy environments because I am unable to project my voice loudly enough. Nina was excited because she had a solution to this problem and this week she had brought with her a plastic case containing a voice amplifier. The device was about the size of an old fashioned Sony Walkman and came with a transdermal (throat) microphone. The EchoVoice has a built in speaker, an on/off switch and a volume control and that's pretty much it. The idea is that you can speak at a low volume and the device amplifies the voice through the speaker. Simple.

Unfortunately not only is the device the size of a Sony Walkman it also looks like it was designed by Amstrad and built in the 1980s being made primarily of beige plastic and with a speaker that wouldn't have been out of place in a transistor radio. As soon as I turned the volume up to a useful level my voice distorted as if it were being fed through a guitar fuzz box. It would be perfect if I wanted to announce the 2.37 from Paddington and not want anyone to understand but not so good for a chat in the school playground. Nina, who had tested the EchoVoice in her office, was disappointed by the reality in the field. I sounded like a rather breathy Dalek. Unfortunately not a very loud one.

Nina left to see if she would have more luck finding something to speed up my typing. I'll let you know how we get on.

Until next time...