As somebody with mild/medium hearing loss, I guess wearing hearing aids are more of a choice than a necessity for me. I mean, I functioned without them for nearly 40 years. Today I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world, of course, and I really prefer wearing them for anything resembling human interaction. But I can get by without. (An audiologist I had a chat with one day told me I’d be surprised at how people with much more hearing loss than me “get by just fine” without aids. Anyway.)
So, when do I wear them, when do I remove them? As a general rule, I wear them when I leave the house. (My cats aren’t all that talkative.) I remove them when I get home. Since I got my V90 aids though, I often forget to remove them when I get home.
I don’t wear my hearing aids to watch TV.
Continue reading “When Do You Wear or Remove Your Hearing Aids?”
I’ve wanted a Hearing Dog so much for so long — but I thought it might never happen. When life throws you curveball after curveball, it’s easy to become a pessimist. But on a sunny day in January 2015, I found myself on my way to the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’s Beatrice Wright Centre (named after Lady Beatrice Wright, co-founder of the UK charity) in the rural location of Bierley in East Yorkshire.
Hearing Dogs are trained to alert deaf people to specific household sounds and danger signals in the home and when out and about. Since dramatically losing most of my hearing, I became convinced that a Hearing Dog would help give me confidence and independence I had lost, and so I embarked on the application process.
Continue reading “Not all Hearing Dogs are Labradors”
For much of the past 37 years in which I’ve been, let’s say, “engaged in hearing loss,” I’ve played the good soldier. I reject labels like “suffering from,” and try to limit my whining unless it’s absolutely necessary.
I get my hearing aids, have the appropriate adjustments made, employ compensatory techniques and body positioning strategies, and bluff my way through thousands of interactions. By necessity I curtailed listening to and making music and attending concerts, shows and events, stayed home a lot, endured the requisite stress, embarrassment and isolation, and came to look upon my hearing loss as a kind of badge of courage.
And in all that time, I have done my part to be a good listener, too, because, well, that’s what we do, isn’t it? It’s up to those of us engaged in hearing loss to try and fit into the hearing world, right?
Then, a while ago, it hit me.
Continue reading “Talk To Me: Getting Along”
Ever since I’ve returned home from my trip to Haiti with our Hear the World Foundation, seemingly everyone I’ve come into contact with has asked me the inevitable question, “How was Haiti?” My answer to this question has always been some variation of “I can’t possibly put it into words,” yet here I am again trying to put my entire Haitian experience into words.
If I get nothing else across about my Haitian excursion, I want everyone to understand that it was a profound experience in so many ways and has changed my life. I’d like to think that I’m self-aware enough to realize exactly all the ways in which this experience enriched me, but I’d be giving myself entirely too much credit if I thought that I had realized everything there is to realize.
Continue reading “The Road to Fulfillment Leads Through Haiti”
It has been said that cheating is wrong, dishonorable, and hurtful towards others as well as yourself. The measurements for final scores become skewed, making the results incorrect for everyone, including you. I learned not to cheat on 99.9% of tests when I was fourteen, after I was nearly expelled from middle school for cheating on a science exam. Since that grievous mistake, I have taken honor codes very seriously and resolved to never cheat on an academic exam, even when I feared being kicked out of my major or not making graduation.
There is one test, however, which I always cheat.
Continue reading “Cheating the Test”
When we first launched our Venture platform in October I chose to wear the aids myself for a little over a month. I wanted to experience the overall sound quality, function of the new AutoSense OS as well as evaluate the new music program.
My first exposure to Venture was my boss (Tom) sharing his reactions when he was first fit. Tom was raving about the overall sound quality and “natural sound”. The most telling part regarding his Venture experience is the number of hours his aids are being worn every day. His last hearing aids would have had a very low number (I had seen 1-2 hours in the past) in the “hours per day” column of data-logging in the fitting software. He is now averaging 10 hours a day. You can imagine how happy that makes his family as well as his work family! He reports that this is specifically due to the natural sound quality and quiet chip in these products. He can put them in and forget he is wearing them.
I had a tendency of wearing new hearing aids in the past when I was working as a clinical audiologist. I liked to experience them myself for a while in order to be able to counsel effectively (and remember those little details – once you hear the low battery beep you have like 20 minutes to get a new battery in there). I function with a mild high frequency hearing loss in each ear named after the musicians who helped me acquire the pesky little notches. I find aids programmed to a flat 30dB threshold are most comfortable so that is where I set the Venture aids. The longest I wore different hearing aids before these was Spice+ for over a month. Other products (Quest, Core) and other manufacturers I tried out in my previous setting I would generally aim for a week or so for their try out.
Continue reading “My Venture Experience”
Yesterday Pascal sent me a link to a form that allows people to sign up to participate in the user research studies Phonak is going to be organising in London and NYC, asking me if I could pass it around amongst people I know.
Yes, behind-the-scenes scoop: this is often how you find people to participate in such studies! It’s one thing to put a form online, and another to get it to the right people. To participate in the studies you need to be a hearing aid wearer, but it doesn’t have to be Phonak. So, if you live in NYC or London (or are ready to head there), do sign up to participate.
This kind of research is essential to get real live feedback from the people who actually use hearing technology and shape the future of these products. One of the criticisms I’ve often heard about hearing aids (and that I’ve made myself) is that they don’t always seem to fulfil our actual needs as people with hearing loss. This is a chance to change this!
Pascal is particularly interested (but not only of course) in hearing from people who connect their hearing aids to their smartphone, or would like to, or tried but gave up because it wasn’t practical or useful…