Those in ‘the know’ will already know what this post is about. But for those who aren’t, don’t fret it will soon become clear……
And oh my, how much clearer it is!
Friday was my ‘follow-up’ with audiology. I am now wearing my aids full time, with the exception of when I can’t wear them (in bed, the bath, swimming etc). I was advised to ‘build up’ my wearing, to acclimatise to hearing sounds.
It hasn’t been an easy transisition. There have been times where I have just wanted to remove a particular sound. Like the batteries from my kitchen clock, or the hollow bones that my dogs love so very much.
Simply because the sound was TOO MUCH…. I had been advised that my brain had to re-learn the sound to then ignore it, just as it did when I could hear.
There were times when this was too much, there were times when I just found myself taking out my aids and enjoying the quiet. But there was also part of me that hoped, against all hope, that THIS wasn’t all.
I have been fundraising for some pretty amazing digital aids, and with 20% of the total raised, I have been feeling impatient and anxious of what else I could get from my current aids.
All of this meant that anxiety kicked in and I found myself fearing my appointment. What if this was it? What if all I could add was control over the volume? What if….. Well, you can imagine where I was going with this.
I felt panicked, worried, anxious and nervous. I actually felt more aprehanesive about this appointment that my first visit.
If I were to liken it to anything it would be similar to the way I felt when I started training with Guide Dog Fizz. You see, when I started training with Vicky, the nerves and anxieties were different. After all I had never had a guide dog before, so had nothing to measure it on.
That might not make sense to some, but that’s ok, that’s not the point of this. This is about discovering or rather; being reminded of something the audiologist had discussed with me before.
My hearing aids are digital. And as such, would be run one of two ways. As automatic, where I had no control over anything, even volume. Or as programmed, where I can have control over the volume and I could pick three, yes THREE additional settings (or programmes) to change the way my hearing aids work for me.
I had remembered the conversation about trialling my aids automatically, just for ease of getting used to them. I had remembered that I could have the set so that I could be given control of the volume, which could be individual to each ear.
I had not however remembered the part of the conversation where I had been told about programming (it was a highly stressful initial appointment with lots of information!)
But I hadn’t really understood how this would work. After all, I had on numerous occasions pressed the (rocker) switches on my aids; with nothing happening.
There was a reason for that……. As automatic, this feature was disabled.
However, a quick click of some buttons on the audiologist computer and I could use them.
First she added volumn control, individual to each ear and with a mid-point series of beeps to let me know when I was at the middle.
Then programmes……. WOW
Firstly, one struggle has been using my mobile. I have found myself putting calls on speaker, which isn’t always possible. A simple check box for this and a tweek to how I hold my phone and sorted (still leaving me 3 programmes available)
Secondly, conversations in noisy places. By holding the rocker switch on the back of my aids I could wait for 2 beeps telling me that I now had my hearing aids set to ‘consentrated conversation’ meaning they would pick up sound infront of me and to a 45 degree angle, while blocking out a large part of the noises behind me.
Hold my button down for 3 beeps and I could switch to ‘music’ mode, this would be like noise cancelling headphones, while cutting down on and levelling out the bass of a tune. After all at a recent gig I had found it TOO LOUD and just took them out, which resulted I me hearing as much.
So finally, 4 beeps and I could link into an T-Loop systems, like in a theatre or bank or even with a hand held microphone that I could get the person I was talking to to hold & stream their conversation directly into my ears.
This final option also means that with the addition of a loop system (a small box on a lanyard) around my neck I could use my hearing aids as I would headphones and hear conversation, music and even instruction from my climbing belayer directly into my ears.
The world is definitely opening up to me. The thought of being able to hear my belayer while I am up a wall looked promising.
…. I say “looked promising” as I later went on to discover that this only works at a range of 10m, between the microphone (that would he worn by my belay) to my hearing aids. Which with the average wall being 14m high, the help would cut out before the top!
Thats ok though, that is one feature I hadn’t ever expected to have, so isn’t a real loss as such. I am looking forward to attending a group meeting soon where the speakers are linked to a T-Loop and be able to hear them regardless of others clapping or talking beside me, so watch this space !!