Saturday, 30 August 2008

First day with my new ears

I put my hearing aids in at 8.30 and walked to work. The sensation when you put in your hearing aids is not unlike the moment when one of your ears that has been stopped up suddenly pops open. There's a sensation of sound rushing in. Of course, the sound conducted by my hearing aids is not a natural sound, so it is accompanied by a rushing background noise such as you expect to get from speakers. It's distracting until you start listening beyond it for actual sound, then you don't notice it so much. This could be because I have NHS hearing aids, which are not as high tech as some. Or it could just be the nature of hearing aids themselves. Don't know yet.

I got to work and a few of my colleagues admired my new 'magic ears'. (This is what we've been calling them at work. They have been right there with me through this long, long wait for hearing aids--I started this journey on the NHS in 2005). They commented on how invisible they are and made jokes about how they couldn't talk bad about me anymore.

I noticed that I could hear what they were saying a bit better from a distance, but the workroom has a big piece of equipment in it that makes a constant airy hum, and this sound may prove intolerable to me in hearing aids. I may have to take them out when in the work room.

On the enquiry desk, I found that I had to ask people to repeat things less frequently than without the aids, but I still misheard things and had to ask for things to be repeated occasionally. So there's no miracle here. I'm still hard of hearing, but I knew very well that hearing aids do not correct the hearing in the same way that eyeglasses correct vision. They can give a small boost to the hearing you still have, but they certainly don't restore normal hearing.

About 10.30, I switched to the directional setting so that my hearing aid focussed more on sounds coming from directly in front of me. This did seem to help me hear customers, so I might use that more.

The phone proved to be a problem. Holding the phone to my ear pushed my ear buds in and hurt. Holding the phone away from my head, I couldn't hear the caller. I will have to figure out what to do about that. I will probably develop a knack of not pusing down on the sound tube by holding the phone toward the back of my ear, or perhaps resting it on my cheekbone just above the ear.

At 11.30, I was feeling fatigued and took the aids out. It was a relief to get them out of my ear, not so much from a listening point of view, but from a comfort standpoint. It's hard to describe what it feels like to have these things in your ear. Imagine that you are walking around all day with a Q-tip (cotton bud) stuck in each ear, and on the end of each Q-tip there is a tiny speaker playing sounds down your earhole. That's pretty much what it feels like. Eventually you just want to pull it out! I noticed last night and today what a shock it is to pull them out. The sound just goes. It's like a wall shuts down over your ear, it's really weird. You don't realise how deaf you are until the first 30 seconds after taking out your hearing aids.

I put them back in after a rest period, around 2.00. I wasn't on the frontline much in the afternoon, so I didn't get much more practice with them. I did notice on the walk home, I could hear the people speaking around me much easier than I normally can. Street and wind noise normally cause me to shout and have to ask people to say things over and over. I can see how the hearing aids will be useful in that situation.

When I got home at 4.30, I took them out again, did a workout and at 6.00 put them back in again. I will wear them until I can't take it anymore and put them away for the night.

And that's day one!


Derek said...

I guess we will just have to see how it goes for you. Keep trying the aids in different situations and at the different settings. I'm glad that we've got this far, anyhoo. In the hopsital on Friday evening, I was worried that they would fob you off with some more excuses and put you back on a waiting list!

hugs and all the best wishes!

Morandia said...

Glad they seem to be working for you. I wish adjusting to my tri-focal glasses was easier. Right now, I'm just not wearing them at all....yea. I'm a wuss. You are a better woman than I am!

I'm just glad they figured out what was going on and that you are seeing/hearing a distinct difference.

Carla said...

WEll, they still don't know what's going on. The hearing aids just help me hear, they don't do anything to address the cause of my hearing loss. We are looking into finding a specialist and going private.

Morandia said...

ah.. ok... well, I guess treating the symptoms is better than nothing. At lease you can hear better!