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My dad was in the pub when I was born. The news of my disabilities was delivered to him through misty vision and Tetley breath and it never fully registered until a few days later. The many confused specialists (and a counsellor they later consulted) advised my parents to keep this information from me, to not allow this to affect my life for, in every other respect I was a normal baby boy.
It seemed that the pub was a safe haven for my Dad, for it was there, on my eighteenth birthday, that the truth finally became apparent to me. The conversation had deteriorated over the evening and surreal Fatherly advice (the best way to skin a badger, how to have successful sex on a gravestone and crying, the manly way) had been replaced with melancholy and the subsequent bombshell droppage.
‘Son’, he slurred ‘I have something to tell you and I don’t want you to get upset’ I gulped hard and felt my pulse rise as my father took a lengthy swig (finishing off another pint) to calm his nerves. He belched hard and almost as an afterthought he said ‘You have a disproportionately large head and ear holes’. I laughed at first, in disbelief. Then decided to join my Dad in getting so thoroughly wrecked that I believed my Vic Reeves impressions were funny.
My life carried on as normal in all ways but one. Headphones. Bloody headphones. Either I bought the ones that go over your head and had to wear them uncomfortably around the back of my neck (due to my disproportionately large melon), flooding passers by with noise pollution, or I bought those in-ear thingies which consistently dropped out of my ears. Even with those spongy covers the headphones just wouldn’t remain fixed in my lugholes unless I kept them in place using my fingers (consequently looking like I was receiving radio transmissions or had highly contagious itchy ears) or walked around like a zombie attempting to keep my head completely motionless whilst listening to catchy head-bobbing beats.
My unfortunate deformity totally wrecked my love for music on the move and it was only after discovering the SBC-HS700 (from Phillips) that my joy for music while meandering returned to me.
I purchased these bad boys from Dixon’s for £12.99 and was thrown a one-year guarantee into the bargain making me happier than my Dad at an ‘all you can drink’ beer festival. The set comes with a cord, which can be wound up handily to keep you from tripping over it (making you look less cool and more like Lee Evans) and the connecting plug fits almost all portable stereo connections.
The real beauty behind these little saviours is the earpiece themselves. Looking like makeshift hearing aids, the rubbery contraptions fit snugly around the back of the ear and the headphones point downwards and fit extremely well. The earpieces are fully adjustable, both lengthways and by rotating them in the ear to find the perfect fit.
The bass comes thick and fast and as they fit so snugly, there is very little leakage, serving two purposes. Firstly, it means that fellow patrons of public transport are unlikely to tut loudly or hurl Coke cans at you and secondly it means that you are unlikely to notice the moronic pre-teens demonstrating the five hundred different ring tones on their new mobile phones (you have to love the parents that bought those little neuron-destroying conversation-killers for them, haven’t you?).
The only downside of the SBC-HS700’s is their appearance. People either point and laugh at the ‘funny man with the fluorescent blue hearing aids’ or attempt to sign warnings of oncoming vehicles that you can no longer hear coming. Putting them on can also prove a little awkward, as the process normally takes longer than it would to walk to your chosen destination, which is the whole reason for putting them on. Surprisingly, though the headphones do not make your ears stick out in the fashion of a garden gnome and thankfully I do not look like a taxi driving down the road with the doors open (that’s an analogy for big ears, by the way).
Comfortable and secure, Phillips have produced a real gem with these musical aids to hearing, even if they refuse to think of a decent name for them (just lazy in my opinion) but then again, what could you call them? ‘Headphones that look a bit like hearing aids’? Bit of a mouthful, that one, but once again I digress.
Now confident in bouncing my way down the street, my incredibly large head no longer an issue, my giant ear holes stuffed tight with blissful baselines, I can go about my pedestrianism without looking like a man balancing on a tightrope and can go about my daily walk to work happy.
They are available in two colours, both garish (bright yellow and aqua-marine) and designed to draw attention to yourself, but then again they are designed for snowboarders, skateboarders or other pursuers of dangerous sports (who wish to add a little something to the experience by not being able to hear a bloody thing) so I can’t really complain.
To conclude, these headphones are cheap, comfortable and durable. They are a great accompaniment to any music system you may own and make music on the move a whole new experience. People do point and laugh as you walk by, but I am used to that anyway, what with having large ear holes and a giant swede.
The only difference now is I can’t hear them. Bliss.