Shhh…. switching over

29 01 2007

I’m *trying* to switch over from one digital brand of hearing aids to another. You would not believe the difficulties I’m having. I thought what I heard through my old ones was ‘normal’ i.e. I can understand speech and make sense of what I’m hearing around me. These new ones are a whole different can of worms.

So, what’s the difference? And why are they different? Hearing aids are so advanced now, that my new pair compared to my old pair is the equivalent of a new laptop compared to a ZX Spectrum (remember those?). My old pair ‘flattened’ out speech frequencies – well they pretty much flattened out everything! so I could gain volume over clarity. Everything was loud. I would not wear my hearing aids crossing London on my way to work, as the scream of the tube at that time of the morning was just unbearable. One day, I let myself into my office, sorted myself out with coffee and prepping for the day, then I ‘switched on’. I realised all the phones were ringing, including my mobile. What on earth….?? It transpired that I had forgotten to switch off the alarm, hadn’t heard it ringing, and all hell was let loose…… oops.

The new pair give me clarity over volume. Everything is so darn QUIET. Yes, I am now realising, it IS a quiet world out there. The trouble is, speech is quiet too, so I’ve got a series of appointments set up for adjustments to the aids, to squeeze every last bit of technological advancement out of them, to customise them a little more for me. I find speech is too sharp, the beginnings of sentences hurt my ears, loud people hurt my ears, crockery hurts, ….arrgh! The audiologist said this fluctuating ‘sharpness’ is normal sound, we just need to tone it down ever so slightly for me. It normally takes 12 weeks for the brain to adjust to new sounds, so I have to be patient and keep wearing them. I’m not looking forward to 12 weeks of asking everyone to repeat themselves…

With my new pair, I’m now hearing the following sounds, that I didn’t hear before

  • the kitchen strip light buzzing (it doesn’t switch on at the moment – drat!)
  • Smudge’s claws on the wood floor
  • my mobile vibrating from another room
  • sounds from a TV on the loop setting
  • doors and stairs creaking
  • spoken consonants and breathing in a quiet room (only in one ear though – the other ear isn’t able to pick this up)

To be continued…

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One response

3 02 2007
Anne Morgan

Stick at it, when I first got my new digis, I was forever trying to turn them up to hear speech, but they don’t have a volume control. It took me about four weeks to realise I could hear with them at the volume they were set at

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