Language barriers

It isn’t always easy living in a foreign country. Largely people speak good English (we rely on that) or we do excessive sign language (you can achieve a considerable amount that way)

But there are occasions where it all falls down…

I got myself some new tubes for my hearing aids at the end of Jan from a shop where a man spoke excellent English. However, after a while the right-hand aid was uncomfortable and kept falling off. This can happen. I decided that the right tube was shorter than the left one so perhaps it needed to be replaced by a slightly longer tube.

I returned to the shop. This is how the conversation went (Nb the original chap wasn’t there):

Me: Hi, my hearing aid is not fitting on my ear. I think I need a longer tube

Woman: *looks at ear* Ah *takes hearing aid off me and takes it apart*.


Me: what? You’ve just made it shorter! No it needs to be longer!

Woman: *tries fitting aid in ear* Ahhhh okay okay


Next: WHAT!!! You’ve just made it shorter again!!! No. No. It needs to be longer *moves fingers apart* see Looooooonger

Woman’s: I see, I see (they quite like repetition in Thailand) *snip*

Me *giving up the will to live…* NO you’ve cut it AGAIN. No it needs a new tube!!!!

Woman: no can do. This foreign (NHS)

Me… but I got the tube here in January

*muttered conversation with receptionist* -(in Thai obviously)

They produce a phone and I speak to the man who originally served me and explained the problem. He conveys this to the staff.

New tube produced and fitted.

Woman: Good?

Me: Yes thank you. That feels better. But I will try it and if it feels uncomfortable I will come back.

Woman: un-com–fort-able??? What is that?

Kevin *trying to be helpful * Ouch! aw!! Ouch!!!!

Woman * looks completely blank*

Man obtained on phone again & this message is relayed

Woman: okay okay

Exit Toners – exhausted

I just hope to god that these tubes fit fine. I’m not sure I could go through all that palaver again…


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