A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Continuing Adventures with New Hearing Aids

In Hearing aids on September 23, 2014 at 5:04 pm

by Chelle George

(Continued from these posts: New Hearing Aid Molds & Managing New Hearing Aids)

Out of all the years I’ve worn hearing aids, this is the first time I wasn’t over joyed with new hearing aids.  The ear domes didn’t work, the new molds didn’t fit and kept working their way out of my ear so I kept shoving them back in which made my left ear sore.  If I held my molds in place, I heard a lot better.  As soon as I let go, things started to sound tinny again.

I went to present to a senior center for work and their meeting was held in the worst possible acoustics ever, high ceilings, shiny floor, windows for walls and hard wood furniture all over.  Noise bounced all over so that even the other speakers weren’t using the microphone because of it.  I couldn’t understand the speakers and I wondered how the seniors in the audience were handling it.

I phased out and brought out my phone to see if my hearing aid app could help with the reverberation.  I focused my hearing aids forward (zoom in) which helped a little.  I was thrilled with that option.  Then about 20-30 minutes later, the app figured I had been in the zoom long enough and went back to the master program.  Ugh!  Shouldn’t I be the one to decide when to change it?  I put it back on zoom hoping it might be a temporary glitch but half way through my presentation the app changed me back to the master program again making it very hard to answer questions from the audience.  So no, that wasn’t a glitch.

A few days later, my boyfriend and I tried to hook up a transmitter and there were no instructions.  We had no idea how to hook it up to the TV!  After half an hour of frustration, we gave up.  Between that, the app glitch and the hearing aid molds not fitting I finally had a meltdown.  I took the hearing aids out and put them away.  I had no desire to wear them.  For the first time in 23 years of wearing hearing aids, I could understand why some people hate their hearing aids and lock them away in a drawer.

I’m not the typical hearing aid wearer though.  After I had a good cry my resolve returned.  I didn’t put my hearing in again, however, until  my next audiologist appt.  I let him know how unhappy I was and why.  All the gadgets and high tech’ness of the hearing aids felt like a tease.  He was on the phone right away, ordering me different, new hearing aid molds.  He suggested painting the current ear molds with fingernail polish in layers to thicken them up so they would stay in better. Right away I envisioned red ear molds. Here’s were I learned when molds don’t fit right, we lose bass in sound he said.   Yeah, that’s it!

I also had problems with harsh sounds but I knew this was a matter of programming and my audi is a great programmer.  Anything in the kitchen hurt and I wound up clenching my teeth then taking my hearing aids out so I could relax.  Another issue was walking to the store with my boyfriend, I could not understand him with the traffic noise.

My audiologist listened and then spent about half an hour reprogramming my hearing aids.  He ran a test called ‘live speech mapping’ (a similar program is called ‘real ear measure.’)  He put something around my ear and slid something through the hole in my mold into my ear.  My audiogram was up on his computer screen and he introduced a squibble of noise and lines bounced up and down on my chart.  He said those noises represent the sounds of speech.  When it was done, he made a few adjustments and ran the program again.  I think he did this three times in all.

Sounds were easier on my teeth and tolerable.  We stood outside his office with the traffic and tested the new program and I could understand him.  Whew, I started feeling a little better.  Before leaving his office, he advised me to leave the other technology alone until I could get a proper hold on my new hearing aids.  Unfortunately, I didn’t wear them all that much the following week either because I still had to push them back in often.  Maybe I should have painted them with 6 layers?

The next week I went back for my new hearing aid molds which have a kickstand kind of thing on them to help keep them in place.  Another major relief.  The only adjustments to my program this time was add a new program that zoomed my mics forward since my app won’t let me have it longer than 25 minutes.  At home I painted my ear molds red again because I like the color and they could still be a little tighter.

Then I added nail decals to jazz them up a little until I have time to paint them.

Then I added nail decals to jazz them up a little until I have time to paint them.

I’m careful to paint only the outside edges staying away from where the receivers go in and the hole inside the ear.  (Good thing I used to be a hairdresser!)  I don’t want plain hearing aids, I want something I can show off.

The hearing aids are more suited to me.  I use the bluetooth feature to listen to music often and I find myself picking up more words with the lyrics.  I tried using the phone with it but it was a major struggle.

Easy Tek

Easy Tek

My boyfriend and I broke out the transmitter again the other day  trying to hook it up, his way, and I had the devil of a time pairing my Easy Tek to  it.  I tried until the battery died and when I plugged it in to be charged I took the hearing aids out too.  (Maybe my audi has something there.)  The next day I finally paired it but still no sound so next time I’ll try hooking it up with an audio splitter.

Every time there’s apps to be updated on my phone I say a little prayer the Easy Tek app will be updated too.  No such luck yet.  Today on my way home from teaching a hearing loss class I was listening to music again and all of a sudden my Easy Tek turned off.  No clue why.  My hands were on the steering wheel and the device hanging over the top of the seat belt.  Let’s hope that’s a one time glitch because if it happens often I won’t have any use for it and it will go into a drawer.

I also wish it would remember my bass position each time I turned it on.  I up the bass because for all these years that’s how I heard music with my high frequency loss.  I’m used to bass and although the tighter molds help, I still want a little more when my music is on.

I think I hear too much outside noise too when on bluetooth.  My audi said he shut down all the outside noise but I know through my old Phonak hearing aids, that isn’t always possible to shut it off the outside world completely.  That’s another thing on my wish list for hearing aid manufacturers, to be able to shut the outside world entirely when all I want is my music or especially when I’m trying concentrate on the phone as well.  I want no outside interference because I need/want every shred of noise I can get at that point.

I also have more feedback than I’d like still.  When I hug on someone, the hearing aids sound off.  If I put my hands to my ear, they sing.  Sigh.

As my audi reminded me, no hearing aid is perfect and that’s true.  They all have their glitches and they are better than nothing.  Even after 23 years of hearing aid use I guess I still get my hopes up.  Hearing aids aren’t called hearing miracles for a reason.

That’s where my adventure stands right now.   I’m done bitching so maybe the more positive stuff will start coming out now.  Understanding more lyrics is a good thing.  Being able to hear the neighborhood kids run up and down the street screaming is a good thing.  Maybe.

2014 SayWhatClub Convention Survey Results

In SWC convention on September 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Thanks to all those in our email groups for taking time to answer all our questions.  The survey is now closed and here are the results.

survey image

Survey Report for SWC Conventions

61 people took the survey

Question 1 (59 people answered 2 skipped)

What’s most important to you, location, cost or workshops?

57% said location

35% said cost

6% said workshops

Question 2 (55 people answered 6 skipped)

We usually have our convention in either May, July or August to avoid conflicts with the other hearing loss conventions. How important is this to you?

12 people said it was very important because they attend other hearing loss conventions.

15 people said they would come no matter what.

28 people said it doesn’t matter to them at all because they only attend SWC conventions.

Question 3 (54 people answered 4 skipped)

We are looking at transportation issues. Please rank the following.

Direct flights are easiest and best said 34 people.

Change of flights is okay but no driving said 2 people.

I would go no matter what because I get to see new places said 18 people.

Question 4 (50 people answered 11 skipped)

Would you like to see the conventions grow?

22 people said they’d like it to stay as it is (60-80 people).

Ten people said they’d like to see it grow.

Fourteen people made comments such they were okay no matter what, have a convention every other year instead and flings between.

Question 5 (44 people answered 17 skipped)

If you have been to our conventions before, do you have any suggestions on how we can improve them?

We were thrilled with how many people stopped and offered suggestions. We are looking at them all. The main ideas seemed to be to find a way to keep track of all the different activities as in have a memo board attendees can look at and see who’s doing what and where after workshops so no one feels left out. Other suggestions were to keep the topics more hearing loss related, have more vendors, make sure the loop is working properly, more PR and much more. Thank you for your feedback, the convention committee appreciates it.

Question 6 (44 people answered 17 people skipped)

What workshops would you like to see at future conventions?

Again, we had some really great suggestions. Here’s some of what people said:

Lots of people want to learn more about technology, updates on what’s out, phone apps available. Other ideas in regard to hearing loss were; job training, college scholarships, CART services, advocating for ourselves, coping skills, the newest hearing aids, how to communicate in groups, speech reading, hearing dogs, traveling with a hearing loss, relationships and getting the police to come so we can find a way to better communicate with them. There were a few compliments for the Madison, WI workshops as well.

Question 7 (15 people answered 46 skipped)

Would you be willing to be a local chair?

Yes! We have people willing to be a local chair and we are thrilled. Thank you for leaving your names and contact information. We will get in touch soon.

Question 8 (17 people answered 44 skipped)

Would you be willing to be on the convention committee?

And yes again, we had some really wonderful people leave their name. While we can’t get everyone on the committee we so happy you submitted your names. We will be in contact with you soon. Thanks again!

Question 9 (21 people answered 40 skipped)

If you have any other comments, suggestions or constructive criticism, feel free to do just that below.

Again, many of you left your thoughts and ideas. Someone suggested creating spreadsheets with people’s names, text numbers, emails, and daily activities to coordinate. Keep the locations north, south, east and west. Add more days to the con. Have a cruise. People suggested places to hold a con and much, much more.

My Grandma’s Hands

In Deafness, Hearing Loss, Life, Partially Deaf, Relationships on September 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm

By Michele Linder

hands

I watch her from where I am. I see her smile while she is watching others, watching and waiting for someone to take the time to come and talk to her on her terms — one-on-one.

I see the light in her eyes when she speaks and listens to what they have to say, and in a little while they are gone.

She’s still smiling. I go to her and tease her. I tickle her neck, I whisper in her deaf ears knowing she can’t hear me, but also knowing she loves my taunts and teasing. She loves me like no other.

I speak to her. If she can’t ‘get’ what I’m saying, I finger-spell (she taught me) the sentence until she understands. I am patient and attentive… until I see a cousin or sister run by, and then I have to go. Child’s play is so alluring.

I’m still watching her. When no one takes the time, I see her focus on her hands. She turns them over, examining every crease, every line, every scar, and she feels the softness and roughness with her fingers.

I always wondered why she was so interested in her own hands? What made them so mesmerizing? What about them demanded such attention? Her smile is gone, she has more of a contemplative look on her lips. I can see her thinking.

What is she thinking? I used to wonder, but now I know. When no one takes the time, you begin to feel the world shrink away, you need a diversion to keep the sadness at bay and to steer your mind away from how truly isolated you feel.

Now that I’m deaf, I find myself mesmerized by my own hands.

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