Posts Tagged 'NHS hearing aid 3 year upgrade'

The Upgrade part 2: Maybe they might be taking them after all…

hearing aids with wings

The very nice new audiologist must have noted my intensely misplaced interest in the Deafblind poster in the waiting room, because she warned me to watch my step on the raised threshold of the audiometry room as I entered. I was very impressed by her charming and attentive manner which made me feel slightly less apprehensive about potentially having to wave goodbye to the Oticon Spirit Zests. I had become rather attached to them, and it occurred to me that they had been listening in on every conversation I’ve had for the last 3 years. Ah, if hearing aids could talk, what tales they could tell, I mused poetically, wondering if if I could patent the idea for espionage purposes. Fortunately the Oticons had their battery drawers open during my previous visit to clinic O last month, and couldn’t hear their digital death sentence being issued by the hearing aid re-tubing lady. I cast my mind back to that fateful morning:

“We’re discontinuing services and spares on these Oticons”, she had announced gravely, as she rummaged through the tubes box, ” I’ll change them for you just now while we’ve still got some left in stock, but this will be the last time…you’re actually due for an upgrade anyway…you’ll get something nice and new instead, isn’t that good!”

“But…but…” I spluttered, “I got these ones ordered specially because of my type of loss, the standard issue ones didn’t work for me, I could hear the circuit noise…what will I get instead?”

Please don’t say Danalogic i-FIT 71, pleeeease’,  I beseeched my inner deity, despite it having let me down on quite a few beseechings lately.

“It’ll be one of these”, she said, reaching for the silicone ear model and plucking a brown chipolata-sized hearing aid from its rubber earhole. I should have been distressed at its size and general appearance, which was that of a partially inflated water balloon, but I’ve come a long way since nearly fainting at my first sight of a tiny NHS beige prawn back in 2010. Besides, the chipolata didn’t look like the previous i-fit I’d had, so there was still hope. Hey, maybe it was actually a top-notch Phonak or something…tssk, typical of me to have assumed the worst, I sighed. I tried desperately to align the elusive close vision sweet spot of my bifocals with the name on the casing to see if it started with ‘P’, but the re-tubing lady got in there first.

“It’s the new, improved Danalogic i-FIT es 71″ she announced cheerily, before turning her attention back to the disembowelled Oticons and doing a bit more noisy rummaging in drawers.

“But…but…” I spluttered, before the rummaging suddenly stopped and I was hit by the next devastating blow. Having to get my ears syringed again in preparation for the new fitting was bad enough, but there was worse to come; it seemed there was only one longer No. 2 tube left, so I’d have to have a shorter No. 1 on the right aid. I had a flashback to my last experience with a No.1 tube and panicked.

“That won’t work” I blurted unintentionally forcefully, giving the re-tubing lady a bit of a fright. She hadn’t realised what kind of peculiar exterior and interior head anatomy she was dealing with when innocently making her suggestion. I felt bad for being so ungracious, but it was just that the thought of having to gurn my way through the day to keep a too-short tube in place was very unappealing, especially in conjunction with the bizarre cranial contortions necessary to see anything through my new bifocal contact lenses. If all this kept up, I’d have to start wearing a clown suit to work in order to lend some gravitas to my academic image. No, this wouldn’t do at all.

“Just fish the old tube out the bin, and stick a new dome on it” I said, very pragmatically.

The Upgrade part 1: They’ll never take my hearing aids

“Don’t let them take your old hearing aids off you Hun”, pleaded the spouse as I set off for my visit to Clinic O this morning, to be lavished with a full hearing aid upgrade. I reassured him that, until such time as the upgrade had been given a full trial, the Oticons would be going nowhere without me, unless I was chloroformed in the hospital lift by the rogues who illegally sell NHS hearing aids to unsuspecting bidders on eBay. Fifteen minutes later, in the lift up to Clinic O, I made sure that I didn’t turn my back on anyone, just in case. At the second floor, I got out alone and with hearing aids intact and set off on the walk along the empty corridor. There was not a soul in sight, and when I emerged into the eerily empty waiting room, the ENT reception desk was unattended and all the doors to the rooms in the Hearing Aid Clinic were locked.

“Maybe they saw my name in the book and everyone’s hiding”, I thought, before realising there were still another five minutes to go until my rousingly early 8am appointment. I took my pick of the seats in the best vantage point for name call, and since it was so early that the telly wasn’t even on yet, I kept myself busy by putting my latest trial pair of multifocal contact lenses through their paces. I had been ready to throw in the towel after the first pair, but the optician is clearly an optimist and/ or likes a challenge. I focused randomly on the distant noticeboard, but all was a blur apart from the familiar sign made from four A4 printouts taped together saying HEARING AID CLINIC in one foot high capitals. Hmmm. It seemed I’d have to adopt my new multifocal distance vision pose to force the lenses into the correct alignment with my eyeballs to see any thing else on the board. I took a deep breath, turned my head as far as it would go to the left, then swivelled my eyes as far as they would go to the right, whilst keeping my chin firmly over the left shoulder. The noticeboard swam briefly into focus, but as I wondered whether this ludicrous posture was really sustainable as a multifocal vision solution whilst running for trains, etc, the first poster I read turned out to be very apposite.

Having trouble hearing? Having trouble seeing?” enquired the headline  in a cheery fashion, before everything drifted annoyingly out of focus again.

“Hell, yes!” I said to myself, reassured that I had come to the right place. I read on excitedly, but it turned out that I had not ended up in Specsavers Hearcare by accident, after all. The poster was actually an invitation to sign up for a meeting of Deafblind Scotland and, despite the clear resonance of its headline, I’m not quite eligible for that particular club. Just as I was puzzling over how the intended target audience would access the poster, my name was called, and I was invited to step into the audiometry booth.


Blog Stats

  • 183,942 hits