Yesterday was another trip to the audiologist. For the last three months, certain sounds made me cringe, clench my teeth and rip out my hearing aids. Those worst of those sounds were in the kitchen; chopping vegetables on the cutting board, moving pots and pots around and someone setting something hard down on a counter/table. Those noises struck a nerve deep in my brain on the verge of pain. To top it off, rooms with bad acoustics made for such terrible hearing, I couldn’t understand any better than with them out.
At first I tried to bear with it, thinking my brain would get used to the harsh noise. Hearing people cope with noises all the time, right? However, it didn’t take long before I stopped wearing my hearing aids unless in public and even then, I could hardly wait to take them out. It took me about three months to get back to the audiologist, mainly because my favorite audi lived in another state about 11 hours away. I did not want to go through another round of finding someone I liked while living in Arizona.
When I moved back to Salt Lake, it still took me 6 weeks to see my audiologist. My time was spent settling in, getting things situated, pursing a business, skiing, kids…excuses, excuses. Mostly I only wore my aids when I absolutely had to but sometimes I tried to commit to the ten hours a day like last Monday morning. I put them in and tried in spite of the pain factor . I was fine by myself but later that night while cooking my boyfriend came home and the noise increased. I took them out, tucking them away into their box and thought, “That’s is it. It just isn’t working for me. ”
Tuesday afternoon while running errands, I drove to the audiologist office to make the appointment in person (I avoid the phone where I can). They had time for me the next afternoon and I thanked the office lady with all my heart. The next day, I barely made my appointment thanks to wasting time on FaceBook and a broody hen (we have three chickens).
I checked in and grabbed a cookie off the plate near the counter and sat down. Less than five minutes my favorite audiologist welcomed me into his high tech office. He hung the programming ‘necklace’ on me and we caught up until the programs came up on the computer. He asked how my hearing was and I told him.
He then took off my right hearing aid (I think) and slipped a very small wire not far into my ear and put my hearing aid back in. He told me this would measure the sounds how I heard it. He recited a nice little rainbow poem and watched the monitor. He fiddled around for a few minutes on the computer watching the upper right screen mainly.
Then he put on noise that simulated a busy restaurant. “How does that sound,” he asked.
I think the left side of my lip curled up. “Annoying,” I told him.
He played with the program a little more, turned on the restaurant noise again. “How is this? Tolerable?”
“It’s not my most favorite sound in the world but, “I think so.”
“Would you wear your hearing aids in this environment?”
I was totally using lip reading at this point to hear him but I always use lip reading in those kind of situations. Was the noise intolerable? No. Would I wear my hearing aids this way? Yes, I could tolerate it.
“I’m comfortable here. I wouldn’t take them out.”
We chatted a few more minutes as he took off all the gadgets and I noticed a big difference.
“There were a few sounds spiking that would drive anyone crazy. This isn’t a typical situation but we got it fixed now.
“Ah! Then I’ll commit to ten hours a day again,” I told him.
He laughed. “I’ll walk up front with you to make an appointment for four months from now but if anything bothers you, come in sooner.
“You bet now that I’m back. Thanks!”
Upfront we made the appointment and I grabbed another cookie on the way out. How can you not love an audiologist who has a plate of fresh cookies out?
Driving didn’t bother me and I could hear the songs playing on the radio. I cooked dinner later without wanting to rip out my hearing aids. I woke up this morning and put them back in wearing them over ten hours. It’s amazing how much tweaking a program makes in hearing aids.