Posts Tagged 'NHS hearing aids'

Things You’re Unlikely To See #5

Who says hearing aids can’t be exciting? Go on Channel 4, prove me wrong, I reckon you’re missing a trick here…

The Hearing Aid Clinic Episode 1: Just Another Monday Morning

New docusoap about an NHS hearing aid clinic, from the makers of 24 Hours in A&E. The episode opens with Jenny, the relentlessly cheery receptionist, having a long drawn out phone conversation with a profoundly deaf caller who is frustrated at not being able to make an appointment by email. Things take a more dramatic turn when a highly strung patient collapses suddenly during an Uncomfortable Loudness test, and security staff are called to the audiometry booth to restrain a 46 year old woman who has just been told that she can’t have her long-awaited hearing aid fitting until she’s had her ears syringed by her GP. Strangely compelling viewing.

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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.

Digital Obsolescence

It was decision time at Clinic O, as I finally handed back the hissing Danalogics and said I’d stick with the faithful, if slightly quirky, Chromas. We’d been through a lot together, me and the Chromas, and I realised I’d come to love their classic beige NHS orthotic styling and big comfy domes. I was now looking forward to a few final adjustments to sort out my slobbery dental fricatives, before waving goodbye to Clinic O and wandering off into the audiological sunset.

The very nice senior audiologist totally understood the reasons for my decision, but wasn’t as elated as I thought she might be at the prospect of not seeing my name in the appointment book every five minutes.

“Those Chromas are getting pretty obsolete now, you know…it’s not really ideal”, she said pensively, whilst beheading the Danalogics and handing me back the worryingly large stash of ReSound leatherette pouches and unused wax picking accoutrements that I’d amassed from my frequent visits over the last few months.

“I had a word with my boss before you came in”, she continued, “there are still a couple of options left if you want to try them?”

“Tell me more…” I said, leaning forward with interest.


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