Posts Tagged 'Oticon Spirit Zest mute setting'



I positively skipped through the sunshine in the park on the way home from Clinic O. The mute setting was now working like a dream and I toggled enthusiastically on the ear gear to put it through its paces. A three second press of the button and it was goodbye traffic noise, hello tweety birds. Another three seconds on the button to unmute, and it was hello passing baby with an intense screech like a plank of wood going through a bandsaw. I reached joyously to the ears to mute it again, but owing to the intensely high pitch of the noise given out by the purple faced infant, the illusory bandsaw was still very much there. I took some consolation, however, from the observation that the shouts of “haw big yin, get yer tits out” from the drunken jakeys on a nearby bench, had vanished into the cookie bite zone.

I burst into the house, and shouted to the spouse that it was safe to come out, all had gone well with the Oticons. He was very relieved. Then I headed to my study and settled down at the computer, lasting all of five seconds tending to my email inbox before getting distracted.

“Gosh it’s turned windy ouside all of a sudden” I said to myself, as the sound of the leaves rustling in the tree behind me caught my attention. I turned round for a look and was puzzled to see that the leaves were perfectly still. Strange. I hit mute, and the rustling leaves disappeared instantly. I hit unmute and they were back. Were they real?

After checking the house for other possible sources of rustling leaves sound, I cycled through all the programmes. Beep beep, programme 2 speech in noise, the rustling was gone. Beep beep beep, programme 3 music, no rustling. Beep beep beep beep, programme 4 loop, no rustling, just a bit of crackling. Beep, programme 1 automatic, and the rustling was back. The realisation dawned; I had hear this sound before and it wasn’t the beautiful sound of leaves rustling, it was my old enemy: circuit noise.

“Noooooooooooooooooo” I wailed, “they’re knackered! Why did I ask them to change anything…I’m going to have to phone Clinic O again!”

“Noooooooooooooooooo!” groaned the spouse, bracing himself as I headed for my favourite diagnostic tool for hearing malfunctions, the piano.

It seemed to me from some detailed musical experiments, and the fact that my voice sounded louder than usual on programme 1, that programmes 1 and 2 had somehow shuffled. I phoned Clinic O and asked if they could check my notes to confirm that the programmes were still assigned to the same slots as before. It turned out that they were, but they offered to get saintly hearing aid chap to check the setup in detail when he next emerged from the soundproof booth, to make sure there wasn’t some other simple explanation. He phoned me back very promptly and it turned out there wasn’t a simple explanation, so he offered me an appointment at the end of the day to see what was going on with the aids connected to the computer.

To cut a long story short, there was nothing going on that could be identified, so the tried and trusted troubleshooting method of reverting to the previously saved settings was employed, and the problem disappeared. I was very tempted to quit while ahead and exit Clinic O muteless and loopless once more, but saintly hearing aid chap patiently re-added the mute setting and the loop, and this time success was achieved. The gremlins were gone as quickly as they had arrived.

I breathed a nicely audible sigh of relief, offered my profuse thanks and skipped back along the slightly shadier corridor.


sunny corridor

After my visit to the dentist on Wednesday, I am pleased to report that dental drills are much quieter than they were when I was last on the sharp end of one 15 years ago. Funny, that. Fortunately, no further x-rays were necessary, so the Oticons remained unscathed, apart from a light showering with water infused with powdered tooth, when the drill coolant suddenly started spraying out at a peculiar angle.

First thing the following morning, me and my hearing aids presented punctually, and in full working order, for a routine service at clinic O.

“What can I do for you today?” enquired the very nice hearing aid lady.

“Just a routine service…and can you leave the retention tails on the tubes, they won’t stay in my ears otherwise…and can you activate the ‘Mute’ setting, it’s been activated twice but it doesn’t seem to work…and can I give you these Chroma S aids back, I keep forgetting to take them out of my handbag every time I come in…don’t want anyone to think I’ve stolen them…oh, and here’s the remote for them as well, it’s brand new, might be useful for an old person…”

I paused to draw a breath and glanced surreptitiously in my handbag for a second, before adding, “oh, and can I get some batteries as well? Mustn’t forget the batteries, I’m nearly out…”

Hearing aid lady cheerfully set about complying with my machine-gun fire list of requests, and I congratulated myself on having written them all down before I came in, so that I wouldn’t forget as usual. After replacing the tubes, she enlisted the help of saintly hearing aid chap to activate the Mute setting in the software and, as a heartwarming cross appeared in the onscreen dialog box, I felt a glow at the thought of turning off screaming toddlers and people with grating voices on the train with one touch of a button. Ah, yes, things were looking up. The sun was shining, my toothache was gone, my tubes still had their tails on and, unbeknownst to me, there were yet more riches to come.

“You’ve got room on there for one more programme”, said hearing aid chap enthusiastically, “do you want me to activate the loop for you? It can be really useful…”

I wondered if I had died and gone to heaven.

“That would be great,” I said, “I’d been wondering if the loop setting might be useful when we move to our shiny new building in November.” I pictured myself lounging at the back of the spanking new state of the art lecture theatre with my eyes closed, just like everyone else for a change. People could whisper distractingly in my ear, tap on their bleeping mobile devices and pointlessly rustle paper right beside me all they liked…I would be able to hear the speaker and not them. Bliss.

A few mouseclicks later, and my souped-up Oticons were ready to change my life. I bade the very helpful staff a good day, and set off along the sun-filled corridor with a newly acquired spring in my step and my fingers on the Mute button, just for the hell of it.

Little did I know, I was going to be seeing the sun-filled corridor again before the day was out…

To Hear, or Not To Hear

Today was the day for my dreaded date with the dentist’s drill, after my main chewing gnasher developed a suspicious and rather painful crack recently. My leaving the house routine was even more prolonged than usual, what with all the physical and mental preparation necessary to get a confirmed dental phobic to the surgery. The meticulous tooth brushing came first, then the leaden dragging of feet, whilst letting out small moans of distress whenever within the spouse’s earshot. Then there was the constant having to remind oneself to breathe in order to avoid passing out, a laborious task which makes one fully appreciate the normally unconscious workings of the central nervous system. Once the breathing was sorted, the feeling of faintness and tingling in the extremities subsided long enough for me to reach the bedroom to find the hearing aids. As I popped one into each ear, the traffic noise outside switched on suddenly, just as it always does, and I suddenly felt faint again.

Dentist. Horrible noises. To make matters worse, horrible noises via bone conduction as well as through the lugholes. High frequency horrible noises. I felt my hands go slightly clammy and had to remind myself to start breathing again. If this wasn’t a case for putting the Oticons back in their box, I didn’t know what was. Not to mention the harmful effects of dental x-rays on hearing aids. On reflection, I chose to ignore that one, since my own experiments with NHS hearing aids and ionising radiation have not demonstrated a link thus far, and I’ve got an appointment at the hearing aid clinic tomorrow should anything go wrong.

My thoughts were interrupted by the spouse mumbling unintelligibly from his study.

I hesitated. Maybe going hearing aid-less to the dentist wasn’t such a good idea after all, since there was speech involved. I weighed up the cons. There were quite a few. First up, the waiting room and the extra vigilance required for the name calling; that bit had gone wrong before. Then there was the chairside chat; lipreading is slightly more difficult when your eyes are screwed tightly shut in terror. Did he just say “bite down” or “don’t bite down”? Saying the usual “EH” to everything to ensure proper confirmation is difficult when your paralysed mouth is wedged wide open, plus the proximity of a dental drill makes the usual 50/50 guess strategy response that bit more dangerous. Hmmm, yes, things were definitely coming down on the side of wearing the aids in the chair.

My exacting weighing up of the pros and cons was interrupted by the spouse reminding me that I was going to miss my train if I didn’t get a move on. He even spoke to me from the same room to ensure I got the message.

I realised I needed to make a decision, and a timely flashback to an ancient joke finally helped me make my mind up. It’s the one about the guy who takes a car door with him to the desert so that he can wind the window down if he gets too hot.

Eureka! I could wear the aids to the dentist, listen to the first bout of high intensity drilling, then turn the volume right down so that I could appreciate that the noise could be much worse. The large number of clicks on the volume buttons required to do this would also enable me to appreciate getting the one click ‘Mute’ setting activated at Clinic O tomorrow after two previously unsuccessful attempts. Once the drilling sound was turned down, I could then turn my attention back to breathing, and marvel at the beauty of the human autonomic nervous system, whilst reclining for over an hour in a very comfy leather chair with its own pink drink dispenser…and all of this when I should be at work. Life-affirming positivity conjured from extreme negativity! Result.

I headed for the front door with a slightly less leaden step than before, and made a quieter moan of distress whilst passing the spouse.

Out Of The Frying Pan

Ever since my first incredulous realisation that hearing aids do not have OFF switches, I have longed for a method of discreet, instant relief from life’s little amplified auditory trials. Like the bunch of shrieking teenagers happy-slapping each other on the station platform yesterday morning. It was with great excitement, then, that I seized the opportunity to test the revolutionary (to me) MUTE stand-by setting on the wondrous new Oticons.

I gripped both aids firmly, as if about to lift my head off my shoulders by the ears, pressed the buttons for the 3 seconds advised in the instruction manual, and waited. And waited. 20 seconds later, the amplified teenagers were still screeching, and the devastating realisation dawned that the mute option must not have been activated in the software when the Oticons were set up.

Never mind, I said to myself, I’ll just sit in a different carriage when the train arrives and all will be well. I kept a close eye on the teenagers’ erratic herd movements as the train approached, and headed swiftly in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, I was so focussed on the teenagers’ movements, that I failed to notice the occupants of the next carriage along until it was too late.

The train doors snapped shut behind me and, for once, I didn’t hear the sound of them bleeping. In a horror scenario, the beeps were being drowned out by the unbelievable noise of a full carriage of hyped-up 7 year-olds on their way to the seaside with their battle weary teachers.

To everyone who works with large groups of little people in a confined space on a daily basis:


The NHS Oticon Spirit Zest instruction manual can be found here


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