A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Managing New Hearing Aids

In Hearing aids on August 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm

By Chelle George

Shiny box to protect the new hearing aids.

Shiny box to protect the new hearing aids.

A few weeks ago vocational rehabilitation gave their approval for my new hearing aids and last week they were in. I went in Wednesday to get them programmed and to get hearing aids molds made. We know from the loaner hearing aid I did not like the domes. There’s some feedback problems and they constantly push out of my ear so every 5 minutes I pushing them back in. My ear became sore so I returned the loaner early not wanting to deal with it.

Here are the new hearing aids.  With domes.

Domes.  Blah.

New hearing aids-Cool! Domes-not cool.

And they are a boring color so I will have to decorate them when I have time this week.

As soon as we turned the new hearing aids on the feedback was horrendous.  If I can hear it that loud then I know it’s bad.  It’s not just the high pitched squeal, these babies SCREAM because my hearing loss is moderate/severe so the power is turned up.  Once they were in my ears they were okay until I went to run my fingers through my hair.  I winced and the audiologist said he’d take ear impressions later which will take away the feedback.  I hope.

These Siemens “Carat” hearing aids just came out last week with a new upgrade and I’m one of the first to try it.  There are more options than my old hearing aids had like turning off the annoying beep when batteries are low.  He can change the beeps to more tolerable beeps when I change programs on them and that I like because the beeping has always driven me nuts.  I made sure I had a T-coil so I continue to use the hearing loop and neck loops for my phone. I can change the programs on my hearing aids because he knew I didn’t want to carry around a remote on top of everything else.  Then he pulled out this…

Mr. Bluetooth

Mr. Bluetooth

And I’m not exactly thrilled to see this to tell you the truth.  Bluetooth sounds great but it wears my hearing aid batteries down faster and my phone battery as well.  Yeah, it has great sound but I don’t like all the extra drain.  When I use my T-coil, (neck loop and hearing loop) there is no extra battery drain at all.  I am Ms. T-coil and my audiologist is Mr. Bluetooth and here’s where we clash.  The device came with the hearing aids so of course I’ll take it.

I can’t use it to hook into meetings and I could use it for TV if I buy some adapter but I’m not a big TV fan (until football starts up again) and I’ve used captions since the late 90’s to fill in the missing pieces so ‘listening’ to TV is kind of weird.  I’m unsure if I’ll hear enough even with the bluetooth and will probably end up depending on captions anyway.

The only cool thing about this device is there’s an app for my phone which I downloaded.  It lets me chose the direction I want to hear from; all around me, focus forward or backward and to the sides.  I can control treble and bass which is nice for my music.  Music sounds so tinny through bluetooth and the neckloops.  I think that’s because I don’t hear the higher frequencies anymore and when that’s added in through my hearing aids, it sounds weird.  I hear low tones (bass) and that’s what I’m used to.

The app also shows how much life is left in my hearing aid batteries and that’s kind of cool, it’s much nicer to check in that way instead of all annoying beeping.  So he showed me how to use it all, took ear impressions for new molds and sent me on my way.

I kept the bluetooth device on as I went shopping, listening to my music with the bass turned up.  I can also change programs with that devices.  Maybe sometimes I’ll use it.

Being a good girl I wore them the rest of the of the day even though when I laid back on pillows to watch a movie, they screamed so I sat up.  Sounds come through naturally and I like that.  The domes made my ears itch too so I was constantly pulling them out and jamming my finger in so scratch.  I’d put them back in with a whole lot of screaming before they settled into my ears again.

The next day I went to work with for a full of training.  The feedback made people on the other side of the room cringe.  It’s a good thing I work I at a deaf and hard of hearing center because they all put it up with it in good nature.  I had troubles changing my programs and had to used the bluetooth device to change it so I knew where I was at.  If I walked too far away from phone, I lost the bluetooth connection and had to find it all over again.  The battery on my phone went so low I had to charge it while at work which is something I normally don’t do.

I found myself frustrated with all the technology and I’ve never felt that way with new hearing aids before.  It’s like when I get a new phone, I’m excited about all the new options but frustrated with the learning process.

When I got home, I put the new hearing aids back in their shiny box and they have not come back out since.  I’m not wearing them again until the feedback problem is fixed (this coming Thursday afternoon).  I took out my old comfy hearing aids the next day to finish day two of training at work without feedback.

I’m on the fence with these new hearing aids.  There’s some cool features but I’m worried the ear molds won’t be able to control the SCREAMING feedback.  If they don’t, I’ll return them and try another kind.  Maybe my hearing loss is too severe these days for hearing aids???  That thought floats around in my mind too.  In which case, I’ll have to consider a cochlear implant or go the deaf route with more sign language.  However I feel like I cope pretty well without hearing aids with lip reading and a few rules (like face me when talking to me).

I’m facing another threshold I think.  If my hearing drops even a little more it will shift my entire world once again.

threshold

Finding Your Hard of Hearing Tribe

In SWC convention on August 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm

By Chelle George

  The SayWhatClub convention was held last month in Madison, WI.  A number of us came together for about 4 days finding our place, in our tribe.  We love the convention idea, the workshops, the location and the hotel but mainly we come together because we enjoy hanging out with others who are hard of hearing.  We understand our communication needs and help each other along and no matter what, it’s like being with long, lost friends/family.

I think of looking forward to getting there and I completely wear myself out while there trying to soak up as much as the tribal high as I can.  I have a great time.  This blog post is dedicated to the people who went and made the convention what it was.  I miss everyone so much.

Marty and I at the registration table.  I get to work with some of the best people.

Marty and I at the registration table. I get to work with some of the best people.

A scene from the welcome party with Vicky, Maurice, Henderson, Nancy with Marti, Joyce and Joanne at the table behind.

A scene from the welcome party with Vicky, Maurice, Henderson, Nancy with Marti, Joyce and Joanne at the table behind.

Then later a few us gathered (tradionally) at the hotel bar to visit.  You see Jim, Tom, Marti and Jazzy.

Then later a few us gathered (traditionally) at the hotel bar to visit. You see Jim, Tom, Marti and Jazzy.

The city bus tour crowd on Thursday.  Lots of them toured the city and even our local chair, Donna, said she learned things about Madison.

The city bus tour crowd on Thursday. Lots of them toured the city and even Donna, who lives near Madison, said she learned things about the city.

I didn't do the city tour but as I came back to the hotel, I found them all getting off the bus.  Here is Leslie, me and Stephen.

I didn’t do the city tour but as I came back to the hotel, I found them all getting off the bus. Here is Leslie, me and Stephen.

The cochlear informal chat gathering with Michele, Wendy and Robin.

The cochlear informal chat gathering with Michele, Wendy and Robin.

Here is Pat, who helped arrange the tour, Vicky, Shelley and our local chair, Donna.

Here is Pat, who helped arrange the tour, Vicky, Shelley and our local chair, Donna.

Even the hotel guy got in the fun when I returned some equipment we didn't need.  The hotel was a fantastic choice.

Even the hotel guy got in the fun when I returned some equipment we didn’t need. The hotel was a fantastic choice.

The Friday Night fish fry crowd.  We gathered outside the Old Fashioned while waiting for them put tables together for us.  It was good company and probably the best fish and chips I've ever had.

The Friday Night fish fry crowd. We gathered outside the Old Fashioned while waiting for them put tables together for us. It was good company and probably the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.

Socializing wasn't all that difficult between the tribe in spite of the acoustics.  Pictured are Lorne, Donna, Shari, Mike and Joanne.

Socializing wasn’t all that difficult between the tribe in spite of the acoustics. Pictured are Lorne, Donna, Shari, Mike and Joanne (who I seemed to have caught half way to a smile).

Another great group of people. Vicky, Nancy, Marty and Stephen.

Another great group of people. Vicky, Nancy, Marty and Stephen.

Good food, good people.  What more do we need? Here is Henderson, Pat, Jim and Mary Lou.

Good food, good people. What more do we need? Here is Henderson, Pat, Jim and Mary Lou.

Here is Brenda and her husband Tom who accompanied her to the convention this year.  He learned things and had fun too.

Here is Brenda and her husband Tom who accompanied her to the convention this year. He learned things and had fun too.

The bar is a popular spot after the workshops, after the touring and when things are winding down. It’s not about the drinking so much as it is just being together.  Leslie, below, had us laughing so hard that night our stomachs hurt.

Leslie taking a selfie for her matching outfit and drink (in person the drink was blue!).

Leslie taking a selfie for her matching outfit and drink-in person the drink was blue!

These are my people and they are my tribe.  They are where I feel the most comfortable.  I think we should open a hard of hearing intentional community.  Once a year is not nearly enough time to be with these people.

There are more fun pictures floating around which other people took.  I’ll go through them, get permission to use them and show them off in another post in the not too distant future.

How to Ask

In Accommodations for Deaf, advocating, Assistive Listening Devices, Closed Captioning, Hearing aids, Hearing Loss on August 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm

By: Sara Lundquist

caution hearing loss

When to ask, how to ask, and who to ask.  These are all question that flood through my mind when I realize I am not getting what I need at an event or in a situation.  I will be an advocate for my children, and for a cause until the end of time but how do you become an advocate for yourself?  I had made a New Years Resolution that I was going to stand up for myself and make sure I can get what I need.  This post is my public display that I am not holding up my end of the bargain.

I will tell people I am hard of hearing.  People may ask how much loss do you have, I will tell them I have a moderate severe loss and what that means.  I am open with that information but I don’t say what would make this conversation easier on me.  I have discovered that is incredibly hard in my book.  People hear the words hard of hearing they see hearing aids and they assume all is fixed and you can hear just fine.  WRONG so wrong, I need you to face me, I can’t have a noisy fan or other noise around.  I am not proficient in speech reading or in sign so I have to rely on the residual hearing I have.

I have had a few instances that have come up recently that I should have spoken up to enjoy the experience to it’s fullest.  I didn’t speak up and ask anything and for that the fault all lies on me and my pride, or fear, or whatever is festering with this issue.

Last night my daughter and I attended a movie at a little country church that is used for an outreach ministry in our area.  I attend a Bible Study at this church and it is a place of incredible peace for myself.  My daughter and I got to the church and got our popcorn and drink and settled in to watch the movie, Heaven is for Real.  Watching a movie in a candlelit century old church was magical.  It was a beautiful thing watching the movie on a sheet being held by clothespins strung across the front of the church.  What would have made the night better is if I could have heard the dialog.  I maybe heard 10% of the movie.  When I watch tv at home I either use closed captions or I stream the movie through an assistive listening device that goes right to my hearing aids, I love this option, I usually use both.

surflink media

Did I ask for captions…NO.  Did I come early and ask to hook up the assistive listening device to the movie which would have taken two minutes…NO.  Why, I guess I just don’t want to draw attention to this issue.  I did bring my portable streamer unit.  I tried it but it mainly picked up the fans and I just got an amplified Charlie Brown teachers voice effect for the dialog of the movie.  I had a great time last night seeing friends and neighbors but I just had this kick in the butt feeling why didn’t you say something or stand up for yourself.

I need help in this area.  I need a shot of confidence that I deserve to understand what is going on the same as everyone else in the vicinity of me.  I came home last night and my husband said to me, “Bet you couldn’t hear the movie tonight.”  No I couldn’t, he keeps telling me nobody cares if you ask, there may be three other people there that missed this line or that and maybe wouldn’t have minded captions.

I need to learn how to do this at events like this or even a movie theatre.  It is just easier to watch a movie at home and not have to ask.  This is a huge learning curve I have found.  I don’t like to ask for something normally so this is just way out there for me.  I need to shove back my shoulders, hold my head high and get the idea drilled in my head that I deserve it.

This I guess would be my New Years Resolution part 2 of just ask, stand up for yourself, you are worth it.

stand up darling

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