Shhhhh….. I’m digital!

18 02 2007

My new digital hearing aids seem to have finally been sorted out to my satisfaction (see previous post). The hospital tested my hearing again and it transpired that the original hearing test hadn’t been accurate. Ho hum. No wonder everything had been too quiet. On this hospital visit, I hadn’t even heard the receptionist call out my name.

My hearing aids were re-set and we had a fine-tuning session. The aids were plugged directly into the computer and the audiologist tried four different programs, making speech sound softer, sharper, clearer, lower, to see which combination I preferred. He raised his voice, saying ‘If I raise my voice like this’ so I could evaluate the speech I was hearing. Smudge took great offence at someone shouting at me and got terribly upset, jumping up at me, pawing me, checking to see if I was alright.

– sshhhh Smudge, it’s ok, it’s alright, I’m fine! (me)

– I’m gonna kill that dog! (audiologist)

– Well you’ll have to go through me first!

So. When we got back on speaking terms, I settled for the ‘Active’ program, where speech sounds clearer with some sharpness to it, which I’ll get used to. I may go back in a few months for a further adjustment, to give me more sharpness, but it was felt that I had been given enough to get used to for the time being. I had the noise reduction programme taken off as I hadn’t noticed much difference when using this, and a new programme was put on, which increased the amplification over and above the normal level set. This would be useful around the home and possibly in a meeting, if there was no background noise. The loop programme was maximised so I could get more enjoyment out of my iPod, without the microphone option so I would not be able to hear any external sound.

– Can I have the hearing aids in a different colour?

– No. You’re such a difficult customer!

(smile)

– You can smile that million dollar smile at me, you’re still not getting them!

Once my aids were adjusted, the first thing I noticed was the noise of people talking outside in the corridor. As I left the hospital, the traffic noise was a lot sharper and noisier, but not too painful. In the office, I could hear my colleagues’ voices without straining, and things sound like I think they should. Thanks be to God!

During the week I have noticed more sounds, I am picking up more sounds on the iPod and the music is nice ‘n loud. I took Smudge to the vet and sitting in the quiet waiting room, I could hear him licking his lips (Smudge, not the vet). In the park, the birds were screaming overhead, I’ve never heard them so loud! It was just awful. I heard a baby cry near me and it just grated. Now I understand why a baby crying is one of the hardest noises to ignore. Kids were skateboarding in the park and almost knocked me sideways with the noise when they careered past. At home today, I was having a chat with some hearing friends in the lounge, the door to the kitchen was shut and I could hear the dryer in the kitchen very clearly and could tell when it had stopped, my friends however said it was very faint to them. I’m pleased with the progress so far, and it’s only been 4 days. Speech could be slightly better, I’m not understanding some words, but I’m willing to persevere.

It seems a lot of people have very high expectations of digital aids, and expect them to restore hearing to normal levels and enable them to hear perfectly in every listening situation. Each hearing aid has to be customised for each individual which is not an easy thing to do, it takes time, realistic expectations and patience. Four or five adjustments is not unusual. It’s important to go back to your audiologist if you’re not happy with them. The NHS do not supply the top range of hearing aids nor the widest range, primarily as they buy in bulk and with these, they have to cater to the majority needs of the deaf population. One digital signal processor is standard issue. There are new hearing aids available in the private sector with 3 digital signal processors, costing around £5,500. The quality of sound must be amazing. If I ever win the lottery …..

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One response

14 06 2007
Fintan

When I was told that I will hear mobile phones ringing car alarms going off and the fridge humming all day I sat thinking maybe I don’t want to hear these things.

But I got fitted with them now I have to change my life style ie I removed bunch of keys off car key that keeps jangling when driving.
Removed the clock that keeps ticking from living room the list goes on.
Sound like I am moaning about it but I have got used to it to a certain degree but when telling the Audoligist that you want certain sounds to be a bit lower they reply you are meant to hear this.
I get the What would I know I am Deaf they are the experts shouldnt question them look!!
unlike the old style hearing aids I used to turn the sound up if in conversation with friends not the digital I was told the volume dial replaced with the “softer or sharper sound dial”

I should have blogged this !! lol

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