Sunday 21 November 2004

New Hearing Aids

This week, I was fitted out with two digital hearing aids courtesy of the NHS. It only took me about 4 months from the date I first requested them.

The hearing aids were manufactured by Oticon and the model supplied by the NHS is the Spirit II BTE Power model which is discontinued by Oticon - at least, I couldn't find it in their product sheets and there isn't any useful information about the hearing aid on Google.

The hearing aid uses three programmes. Programme 1 is the basic amplified setting where all sounds are amplified including background noises. Programme 2 is the setting where background noises are controlled and Programme 3 is for use with Induction Coils. There is more information about these settings on this Technical Specification

I spent over an hour with the Audiologist at the hospital while she programmed the hearing aid for my use.

She also advised me to put it on for a few hours each day until I get used to everyday sounds since there is the danger of sensory overload because it has been a while since I last heard those sounds - I lost most of my hearing when I was sixteen.

I chose to ignore that warning and wore the hearing aid for eight hours straight at work and by the time I took them off at night, I had literally lost the ability to process sounds.

However, as I type this, I notice that the keyboard makes a clickety clack sound. At work, I notice that most doors squeak when you open or close them (I think they need oiling), my desk is nearest to the kitchen; in the past, I was blissfully unaware of the racket coming from that area, now I cannot ignore it - unfortunately, the kitchen is open plan, like the rest of the office. And I am still trying to discern the differences in ringing tones between a mobile phone and a telephone in order to mentally "tune out" the mobile phones. There are other sounds which I am not sure how to classify (there's simply too many sounds which I need to process).

Unfortunately, most of my hearing loss is in the frequency range where the human voice is strongest so I will not be able to get the best out of this hearing aid.