I Think We Got Something Just Then

It was the moment of truth (again) at Clinic O on Tuesday, as the programming leads were disconnected from the shiny new Oticon Spirit Zests which the very nice senior audiologist had managed to wangle on my behalf. I was a bit disappointed that she wasn’t doing the fitting, but hearing aid chap was doing a thoroughly fine job in her absence, in the hope that it might be the last Clinic O would see of me for a while.

Nothing was too much trouble. “No problem”, he said with saintly forbearance, when I told him that I like the retention tails to be left on the tubes. Unfortunately it was just a fraction of a second after he had cut them off with a scalpel. A couple of fresh tubes with tails were snapped on, and I was soon reporting on the sounds of the soundproof room, as requested. I could now hear a faint circuit noise type sound, but I was told that the air conditioning was on. I decided that phenomenological proof of whether the noise was coming from the hearing aid or the air conditioning could never be established, so I decided to focus instead on reporting the fact that the sound was cutting out every time I moved my jaw or raised my eyebrows. My report was less than articulate and took the form of a high pitched strangled whine and a frustrated exclamation of “Bloody hearing aids, why are they always such a pain in the arse?”

“Ah well, you see, that’s because the tails are getting in the way”, said hearing aid chap in a saintly fashion, despite my tantrum. “I’ll cut them off for just now and give you a spare pair with tails on, and some larger domes that you can try if they still won’t stay put. You can find the combination that works best. It’ll save you having to come back every five minutes.” I thought this was a jolly good idea, and happily abandoned my initial hypothesis that the tubes were too short.

Some more saintly forbearance was required as I practised changing the volume control and programme settings.

“Oh…what…they’re not making clicking noises when I press the volume”, I whimpered, wondering what was going wrong this time. Hearing aid chap patiently reconnected them to the computer and checked the settings.

“Try that,” he responded, positively beatifically, “you should be hearing something now.”

“Nope, still not doing anything”, I said. Hearing aid chap held an aid up to his ear and reported that it was, in fact, making a noise when he pressed the button. Quite a loud one, apparently. I cringed as I remembered Mrs Richards in Fawlty Towers complaining to Basil that the radio didn’t work, and wondered if everyone sitting next to me in meetings was going to wonder what the strange woodpecker noise was whenever I changed the volume.

“Don’t worry”, said hearing aid chap patiently, “I’ll increase the frequency of the beep to one that you can hear better. It’s set to 1kHz at the moment.”

Unfortunately, there was no dog whistle 16 kHz option in the volume beep frequency preferences, so we settled for the max frequency of 2 kHz, which was marginally less near the bottom of the cookie bite, and selected LOUD to make up for it.

“Yes, yes…I think we got something then”, I said, making a mental note to only press the volume button in quiet surroundings, and when no-one else was around.

6 Responses to “I Think We Got Something Just Then”

  1. 1 Eloise June 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Exciting times ahead for you, Moira! Let’s hope the oticons really work out 🙂 I personally think the bleeps hearing aids make are stupidly quiet and at stupid frequencies. Wider frequency ranges need to be an option with LOUDER settings!!

    • 2 moiradancer June 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      The Oticons are looking very good so far Eloise, the sound quality is great and they even look quite swanky too! Only downside so far has been giving my colleague an earful of feedback when I hugged her this morning to wish her a happy holiday, but she soon got over it 🙂 Totally agree about the volume/ frequency of the beeps, I can’t believe that’s as loud as they go…unless they’re trying to protect everyone round about us!

  2. 3 JaniceB June 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    You were lucky that your volume control was activated at your first visit – I had to go back to our Audiology department three times before they did mine!
    I have to say that Oticon’s default computer settings don’t seem to consider that someone might have low frequency hearing loss and not want/need the treble sounds to be overpowering and distorted. I discovered that the highest musical sound on their program is a flute, but it’s playing notes in its lowest octave…why didn’t they use a piccolo?
    Luckily, my audiologist trusted my comments and tweaked the settings on my aids (overriding what the computer told her I ‘needed’), and I can now cope with sounds such as our microwave beeping, lorries reversing and train doors opening, but I did have to suffer with the ‘reverberation’ from those for about a year beforehand.


    • 4 moiradancer June 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      It’s so frustrating when you get home after going to the hearing aid clinic and discover the feature you’re particularly interested in has to be activated in the software, and it hasn’t been! Or when it has and there’s a flute where your piccolo should be 😉

      The attentions of a senior NHS audiologist has a price far above rubies for those of us with atypical audiograms. That’s interesting that your audiologist managed to reduce the entrainment reverberation on beeping things Janice, the otherwise wondrous Oticons are the worst for that out of all the aids I’ve had, and I assumed that must be a hardware thing, so I’ll ask about it next time I’m in. They were set up on Autofit, so there may be room for improvement there…

  3. 5 Vickie Ramage (@ComaCalm) July 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    You\’re really lucky. After being shoved from department to department I finally got my appointment, at the local doctor\’s surgery where they also deal with hearing aid related things. I waited nearly half an hour after my appointment time to find out that I wasn\’t actually on list and the tone of her voice stated quite clearly that she wanted me out as soon as possible.

    Long story short, she didn\’t \’get\’ the problems I was having and didn\’t care either. So now I\’m stuck. I cannot wear the danalogics as I have tried and failed to get used to them, I find I can hear better without them. That background noise! So now I just have to deal with my 50% hearing.

    I\’m 21 in August, maybe a magic fairy will grant my wish and magic me some hearing aids that don\’t sound like I\’m in a cave!

    • 6 moiradancer July 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

      That’s really disappointing if the appointment was rushed and you didn’t manage to get any satisfactory adjustments. Was it the service that’s attached to your local surgery who fitted you with the Danalogics originally? If it is, it’s worth going back, even if you have to wait a while for another appointment, you’ve got nothing to lose. If they were fitted elsewhere, it’s worth self-referring back to your original clinic to see what they say…

      To me, the Danalogics sounded very good apart from the appalling hiss, so for the right candidate I’d say they’re not intrinsically bad. The senior audiologist managed to reduce the hiss a bit, but couldn’t eliminate it because of my good high frequencies. I’m used to putting up with a bit of hiss in quiet, but this was something else. Not sure what shape your audiogram is, but if they haven’t already tried it, there might be some room for manouevre with a bit of Danalogic fiddling in skilled hands. If that doesn’t work, they might be able to let you try something else, although that bit does seem a bit in the lap of the gods depending on where you are…Magic Fairy, are you listening? 😉

      Don’t give up just yet Vickie. This whole business takes a long time and can drive you nuts, but if you can survive the frustrations, it’s worth it in the end…

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