Posts Tagged 'colourful hearing aids'

It’s a Wrap

ha stickers silver2

During my most recent stint as a hearing research guinea pig at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, the researcher asked if she could see my hearing aids to take a note of the model details. I did a surreptitious hygiene inspection and obediently passed one to her.

“Hmmm, the name seems to have worn off”, she said, peering at the naked beige underbelly in the hope of finding clues. I needed to step in.

“It’s a Danalogic i-FIT e-Series 71, courtesy of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde”, I said helpfully. “Also known as The Mighty Chipolata on account of its standard issue size and colour.”

Whether it was my unusually precise knowledge of the spec, or the unusual appearance of the aid which surprised her, I wasn’t sure.

“Danalogic? Really? …I’ve never seen one like this before”, she said, examining the two-tone results of my latest time saving decorative strategy. It involves applying self adhesive film only to the parts of the aid which are visible whilst on the ear, apart from the ugliest and most visible bit on top with all the buttons and holes which defies even the most dextrous decorator. The controls are the bit design forgot; they aesthetically scream ‘HEARING AIDS!!! AGHHH!!!’ and a mere glimpse can make people standing behind you in a ticket queue very restless. Even the most conformable self-adhesive material known to man* cannot surround the monstrous volume wheel and battery drawer protrusion without the whole thing looking like a badly wrapped parcel, or worse, a home made explosive device. Less is definitely more, I have decided, when working with sticky backed plastic and the Danalogic i-FIT 71.

If you’re in possession of a Glasgow-style NHS Danalogic yourself and you’d like to have a go at testing my minimalist wrapping strategy, here is a handy minimalist sticker template for the model shown. The Mighty Chipolatas in the picture are wearing lovely 60 micron Oracal film offcuts pinched from under my colleague’s desk while she’s on holiday (sorry Jo!). They’ve got blue metallic embroidery thread on the tubes.

*Oracal High Performance Cast 751, you can flawlessly wrap every part of a racing car with this sleek and cutting edge stuff, but the Danalogic’s control panel has got it beat. Mind you, if you think wrapping a hearing aid is a bit fiddly, spare a thought for these guys (and don’t be tempted to use a blowtorch on your HAs)

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I Have A Dream

Nacht und Traume

One day, in a far-off digital future, all hearing aid users will be able to tune their hearing aids to their own specifications, all by themselves. Instead of just being able to choose between programmes which suit listening to the tv in quiet, conversing in a noisy restaurant, or trying to tune into a non-functioning loop, they will have access to multiple programmes tailored to individual activities in different types of acoustic spaces. They will be able to swap effortlessly between an open or closed fitting, and they will be able to prioritise music over speech if they feel like it.

Cookiebiters and reverse slopers will benefit most from this brave new world. Instead of being forced to endure a badly modified version of an algorithm designed to fit high frequency losses, they will have specially designed algorithms which will allow access to minute adjustments across the entire frequency spectrum, with smooth transitions in amplification which, for me, will mean no more terrifyingly loud keys in the C6 area of the piano keyboard. I will enjoy full harmonic resonance on the mid to lows when playing Schubert, and spend hours playing low notes with the left hand just because it sounds wonderful.

bass bung

Until that historic moment arrives, I am making do with my latest hearing aid hack for digital piano playing. The Kookybite Bass Bung® (pictured) transforms an open dome to sort of semi-closed for home musical purposes. Carved from a 60p eraser from WH Smith, it may be a little eccentric, but it works. By turning down the volume switch on my music programme, and trapping the previously lost low frequencies in my ear with the bung, the troublesome C6 zone is dampened, whilst resonance returns to the previously thin bass notes. My piano no longer sounds like the speakers are stuffed with cotton wool, and I have fallen back in love with it again after a rather prolonged playing hiatus. Naturally, speech is pretty incomprehensible with this arrangement, and your breathing becomes a bit Darth Vader, but this doesn’t matter unless you’re playing your piano in a crowded cocktail bar whilst suffering from a lung infection.

One day, when I find someone who knows anything about fitting cookie bite hearing loss, I shall get them to set up my hearing aids to do this properly, so that I can enjoy playing Schubert without the unfortunate downside of being deafened by passing cars…

 

Update: After finding little bits of coloured rubber everywhere, the spouse recently asked me to consider the possibility that I was going a bit mad. I am vindicated, however, by this article which very clearly and succinctly explains the shortcomings of hearing aids in relation to listening to music, and notes how important those low frequencies are. The bit in the article about the high proportion of keys on the piano sitting below the 1kHz threshold  also illustrates why the reverse sloper/ cookiebiter may be on a hiding to nothing with their piano and a default Autofit NHS hearing aid fitting…

Tubetastic Turquoise

NHS Oticon Spirit Zests with a difference

NHS Oticon Spirit Zests with a difference

The spouse found himself in a spot of hearing aid hot water when he decided to phone the hearing aid spares company on my behalf, to find out what had happened to my eagerly awaited delivery of pimping supplies. It was now two weeks late.

The conversation was going swimmingly until the person on the other end of the line decided to ask what had been ordered. The spouse, who was pretending to be me, for convoluted reasons to do with names on joint account bank cards, was somewhat thrown by this sudden demand on his hearing aid technical knowledge. Fortunately, he managed to dig deep into memories of three years of fraught tirades from his beloved.

“Er…tubes and domes…and a few other bits and bobs”, he spluttered, wondering if his cover as a hearing impaired impostor was about to be blown in a very embarrassing fashion.

“Bits and bobs?”, said the person on the other end of the line as they accessed the order details. The spouse began sweating, since it seemed his deception was about to be uncovered. He had reached the limits of his hearing aid know-how. Fortunately, help was at hand from his inquisitor, who filled in the missing details for him with a breezy “Ah yes, seems we’ve got an expander tool and some antiseptic wipes on here as well.”

“Expander tool?”, repeated the spouse with trepidation, wondering what was going to be expanded and wishing he’d never picked up the phone. Fortunately his torment was over.

“The Super Seals expander tool has been out of stock until this week,” said the person on the other end apologetically, “but your order will be despatched tomorrow.”

True to their word, it was indeed despatched the next day and, after some excited thread wrapping, I now have several interchangeable sets of coloured tubes to match my necklaces. Even better, the tubes still have their retention tails on them, and there has been a marked increase in volume as a result, since the domes now sit further inside my ears.

Despite the successful outcome of his phone interventions, the spouse has now handed in his resignation as my PA.

Tubetastic: Coloured tubes for your NHS aids

coloured hearing aid tubes

My continuing quest to find ways of turning beige NHS hearing aids into colourful objects of delight, which can be speedily converted back to boring beige for attending audiology appointments, has resulted in this perky pair of pink tubes.

They’re customised by simply winding sewing thread tightly round the tubes. Fiddly, yes. Totally unhygienic, yes. Costly when you accidentally snip the tube with your scissors because you didn’t put your glasses on, yes. But, hey, they look a bit nicer than a yellowing piece of pvc, and if you like to ring the changes you can have different colours any time you like.

Do be careful with the scissors, though, those tubes are much softer than they appear…

coloured hearing aid tubes2

Pocket Rockets

Last week’s field trip to a remote lochside youth hostel with the students came with an invitation to a Space themed party in the evening. As I considered my wilderness fancy dress options, I realised that packing a suitable costume into my already overstuffed rucksack was going to be tricky. Disappointingly, it looked like the scene-stealing silver spandex all-in-one body stocking was off.

After much deliberation, I settled for something slightly more compact and befitting of my age and status: a pair of silver spandex hearing aid rocket costumes. Not only could they be carried in my pocket, they came with the added bonus of knowing that no one else at the party could possibly come in an identical outfit.

Admiring comments on the night ranged from “Hey – I think your hair’s on fire!” to “Why have you got flames coming out of your ears?” In contrast, the weary hikers who had the misfortune of sharing the youth hostel with us that night, were simply speechless…


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