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What I Hear

Posted Sep 22 2009 1:11pm

I'm new here to Wellsphere.  This was posted on my regular blog at www.faceme.wordpress.com

Whenever I have gotten new hearing aids in the past, I’ve been in shock of what I was missing.   The Naida’s are especially powerful, and with the frequency transposition technology, I’m hearing sounds that I haven’t heard in fifteen years.

I first noticed it while outside painting my deck during the Naida trial period.  This awful, inexplicable, horrid sound suddenly invaded my quiet space.  I asked my husband, “What in God’s name is that racket?!”  It was so loud.  Turned out to be geese.  But we had no geese in our yard.  I couldn’t see any geese anywhere.  They were flying overhead, he said.  I didn’t know they made noise while flying.  Can’t they fly quietly like other birds?

On the other hand, I’m hearing speech so well, I find I can multi-task better.  For example I can talk to someone and continue working without looking up.  That’s not to say I never have to lip read anymore.  It’s just that I don’t have to ask for three and four repeats.  Often I get it the first time.  I’ve been joining in on back room conversations, and I’m not feeling so left out as before.

Also– this is a biggie– I can hear on the phone!  I’m really more hard-of-hearing than deaf with these new aids, because I’m getting so much benefit from them.  They are better than any I can remember in a long time.

OK– so here’s the downside.  It has been so long since I’ve had the ability to ‘butt in’ on conversations I’m not always sure that it’s welcome.  I am also not sure exactly how to do this politely or if there is a polite way to do it at all.  I don’t want to become unpopular, but at the same time I’m so excited that I can hear what other people around me are saying, it’s all I can do not to chime in.

The other problem is it’s difficult to concentrate on my work when two or more people around me are having a conversation.  I can’t help eavesdropping.  I am not doing it on purpose.  It’s just that for the past fifteen years I have never been able to understand any chatter without looking at the mouths.  Now I’m hearing entire conversations and it’s difficult to shut it out.

Not that I’m complaining or anything.

Still, there are some issues that I’m learning to live with.  I get a sort of duel sound when I talk too loudly.  Not sure how to describe that.  It’s as if two of me are speaking.  This may be a good thing because I am not talking too loud anymore.  But sometimes a person has to shout, and the dual sound is annoying.  Second, since I’m hearing so well it would be nice to be able to have directional microphone.  I really miss that feature which I had on my old aids.  Yesterday a couple people were having a loud conversation behind me, and I couldn’t understand the person in front of me because the people behind were talking louder than the one speaking to me.

My third complaint has to do with operation of the aid itself.  I get four programs.  Currently I have my aid programmed on telecoil (for phone), telecoil plus mic (for those instances when I’m using a loop), music (for a full sound), and I’m not sure what you call this last one but it focuses on speech.  I use this last a lot when I’m on the information desk at work.  OK– so I’ve got programs 1,2,3, and 4, and 5 — which is the normal default program.  What I hate is I have to scroll through every program to get to the program I want.   I can’t just click a button for the telecoil phone setting, which is a no-brainer, really.  A person should be to click for telecoil because we need to answer the phone quickly.  I feel the same about the “speech enhancement” program.  You don’t plan ahead for people to be talking loudly behind you.  It would be nice to be able to click to number four, and have it be instantaneous rather than having to scroll through three programs while the person in front of you is yapping away.

Phonak’s solution is the remote control, which is very nice.  But expensive!!  It’s an extra $750.00!  Currently what I’m doing is leaving my program on the default while working in the back room where I’m more likely to answer a phone.  When on the desk, I use program four.  This works in a pinch, but is less convenient than it should be.

But those are my only complaints.  I’m just real happy with these super aids.  I have nothing against cochlear implants, but I am pleased that I was disqualified by 3% by the  HNT sentence score for my left side, and also that my insurance refused to pay for the hybrid.  I was so close to getting an implant, and I’m so happy with these aids.

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