Bute Newt

With the days finally lengthening and warming up, it was a wildlife extravaganza on Bute this weekend. The daffodils were out, a green carpet of wild garlic leaves had sprouted in the woods at the back of the house, and white-tailed deer bounced gaily out of the undergrowth on the side of the Suidhe hill, as we climbed our way laboriously to the top.

“Quick, I’ve found a tiny snake!”, I shouted excitedly to the spouse, after a fleeting movement in the grass underfoot caught my eye. A closer inspection of the stripy brown reptile hiding in the greenery revealed that the snake had four legs and was actually a common newt.

“Dunno what made me think it was a snake”, I said, suddenly noticing the hiss in my ears again.

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12 Responses to “Bute Newt”


  1. 1 comacalm March 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    You should try and get some better aids! I’m surprised you haven’t yet.

    • 2 comacalm March 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      (I’m usually Vickie Ramage) I’ve had to sign in and stuff.

      • 3 moiradancer March 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        Ah, it may feel like it’s been 2 years since I got ’em Vickie, but it’s only actually been two weeks 🙂

        I promised to give it my best shot at getting used to them and, fear not, I shall be taking up the offer of a return visit fairly soon!

  2. 4 Rose March 21, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Sometimes it’s worth contacting the manufacturer to discuss your concerns. They can let you know if something is normal or not, and if you keep on and on having trouble they can send their NHS product rep out to the hospital to help with the programming. It’s in their financial interests to keep these valuable NHS contracts going, they don’t want people complaining that their products are awful, if the hospital experiences a lot of returns and complaints they will not pick that company again, so they want to keep the NHS happy. You could get some advice on what could be turned up or down and how before your appointment, let the audiologist get on with it first and if it doesn’t fix it just mention that you have heard it might be better if they adjusted the flange down and the wotnot up and opened the steam valve a little. Or have I got it confused with a steam engine? Ach, well, the noise is the same…

    • 5 moiradancer March 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Wish I’d read your comment, which is very good advice, before I set off for my unexpected cancellation appointment at Clinic O today! I’ve temporarily lost the will to live and am licking my wounds, after addressing a group of uber cool 21 year old art students to the accompaniment of loudly screeching (non-Danalogic) hearing aids, with a very much unwanted 10mm powerdome protruding visibly from the 8mm right ear, and an inability to hear ANYTHING anyone said to me against the wall of background noise. I prayed for both legs to mysteriously snap to create a diversion to preserve my dignity, but they didn’t.

      Once I’ve given myself a stiff talking to, I’m going to realise my currently unattainable dream of hearing the students and the telly a wee bit better than without hearing aids, with no horrible side effects.

      I may be some time…

  3. 6 Rose March 22, 2012 at 9:08 am

    What did they give you this time?

    • 7 moiradancer March 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      I was divested of the Danalogics before I’d got my coat off, and issued with a brand new matching pair of the Siemens Chroma S I’d had before. Unfortunately, there were feedback issues, and the method of solving them was to apply a standard 8mm closed dome to one side and a 10mm powerdome to the other. I went a bit quiet after that. It solved the feedback until I got in front of a bunch of students and started talking, but the downside is that I can no longer understand any speech with them on, in the presence of even gentle background noise.

      All is not yet lost though. Once I’d stopped crying, I phoned up this morning to ask if I could have a second opinion from the head of audiology on whether the programming on my now unusable pair of aids is the best that can currently be achieved through the NHS. To her credit, the lady on the phone sensed my distress and was very helpful and phoned me back immediately. I’ve got an appointment with a senior audiologist next week, so hopefully I’ll be able to ask some questions…

      • 8 comacalm March 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm

        Oh my! *mega hugs* I’ve already decided, if they decide to replace my hearing aids I’m happily taking something new – but they’re not prising my old aids out of my hands until I’ve had a good walk up and down the corridor, then outside and had a conversation with my other half. If the results are good, I’ll hand over the old ones! How they expect to test aids properly in a small echoey room I’ll never know…

        I hope you’re able to sort out the problems with the aids, though. There’s no point having them if you can’t hear anyone talking and they shoudl understand that – if not try the insanity plea: 1. Start moaning loudly. 2. Then start sobbing as loud as you can while rocking backwards and forwards. 3. If this still does not work, start banging your head on the table. 😀

      • 9 Eloise March 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

        Did you ask them to take the danalogics away? And where did they get the Siemens ones from if their contract had ended? The NHS is useless at times!!!!

        I am glad you’ve got another appointment coming up… it’s horrible when this sort of thing happens.

        You may have to be prepared for them to recommend custom ear molds. if they do, take the offer. If you REALLY don’t want thick tubes with moulds, I am sure they can do special acrylic tips. These are molded to your ear so for in snugly but can have the thin tubes attached to them still, and are just as invisible as the domes.

        Otherwise, get custom domes if no solution can be found. Good luck and keep us updated!!

  4. 10 moiradancer March 23, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Thanks Vickie, the strategy of asking to go out and about before relinquishing your old aids, if they give you new ones, is a good one. I’ve ended up aidless and am going to have a fun day today attempting to decipher distant student mumblings, in order to facilitate group discussions. Thank goodness I’m not at work next week!

  5. 11 Rose March 23, 2012 at 9:41 am

    It’s probably worth attempting to persuade them to let you keep several pairs for the time being. At least if your new pair end up being a disaster you can fall back on something else. When I got my Phonaks they let me keep the Siemens, which are happily sleeping in a drawer because they are so obviously inferior, but I’m glad I have an emergency pair available. They will get the old ones back before they have to file budgets so why not let you have 2 pairs for 4-6 weeks? They will have your fitting for the Danalogics on file so they can quickly put them back how they were and let you take them as an emergency fallback position. They may have a snake living in them, but at least you can put them on and hear things if you have to.

    Definitely lay all your cards on the table and ask about moulds. If you have feedback with the standard dome and head down a well with the powerdome then a canal, canal lock or skeleton mould is definitely worth a try. These people have the usual confusion between open fit and tube size, but you get to see what I mean http://www.iedcanada.com/products.php?c=37&m=6
    If they do Starkey moulds then you can ask for a pair with Varivents in them and you can take away an array of different sized vent plugs and tinker with the feedback vs understanding thing at home – sell it to them as “saving them time and effort”. It’s not necessary to change to a large tube with a mould, though most people seem to think it is, I have thin tubes and custom moulds on mine. My NHS ones are most like the “Half Shell” and the private ones I bought are most like the one at the top, but unvented so I can get more welly out of them.

    I agree with the insanity thing, if they are driving you nuts then stop holding it in and being calm and sensible and grown up, if you’re climbing the walls, let them see you climb! Particularly if the head of audiology is a man, a crying woman is a phenomenon most men are prepared to do pretty well anything to remove from their presence.

    • 12 moiradancer March 24, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Eloise and Rose

      I went in hoping that they might try some sort of fiddling with the Danalogics to see if the circuit noise could be reduced to a tolerable level, but they just came straight out with the Siemens and that was that. Apart from the circuit noise on the Danalogics, the sound was great, and hearing aids are like computers in that you’re perfectly happy with your trusty 5 year old one until you get an upgrade, but once you’ve experienced the improved performance of the newer technology, it’s difficult to go back to what you had before. 😦 I was so relieved to be rid of the hiss, though, that I thought I’d just have to take the tradeoff and count my blessings. They suggested that maybe I was sensitive to the circuit noise because I now had two aids after only having one, but when they put two Siemens ones in, I couldn’t hear any hissing at all and told them so, so that doesn’t really stack up as a troubleshooting hypothesis.

      To tell you the truth, I’ve not even dared mention moulds because I’m terrified of what I might end up with if they started going off piste from ill-fitting domes. They set out to do an open fitting the other day, but couldn’t achieve it, despite the fact that I’ve had a successful open fitting for the last 2 years. Nothing has changed since then, apart from the acknowledgement of the existence of a second ear. They’re working from the same audiogram that was used 2 years ago and they’ve got the same model of hearing aid, so I can’t understand why I’ve ended up with a flippin giant powerdome when I’ve only got a mild loss. The only thing I can think of is that they’re experimenting with a radical new technique to widen my ear canals to let more sound in. If they hadn’t made such a sudden jump from 3mm domes to 10mm in one day, it might just have worked.

      I didn’t fully realise what had been done until I was nearly deafened by the first passing car in the street after leaving the hospital. I pulled the things out of my ears (noting a little more resistance than usual) and saw what looked like a rubber wine stopper. Fabulous. All that does is block out the all-important natural high frequencies and replace them with a massively amplified wall of background noise. Utterly hopeless, especially in my particular work environment.

      Ah, that’s better, now I’ve got all that off my chest 😉

      Really appreciate everyone’s comments and helpful info.


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