Posts Tagged 'Siemens Chroma S'

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.

Siemens v Danalogic: The Pros and Cons

“Oh no…not again!” I exclaimed after going to investigate a high pitched squealing noise and a faint cry of “Help!” coming from the chest of drawers in the bedroom. When I got there, BatteryBot was holding a Danalogic i-FIT 71 with a half open battery door in one hand, and a battery in the other. The only problem was, his hands were no longer attached to his arms. They’d snapped off under the extreme force necessary to open the battery door, and BatteryBot wasn’t happy.

“I’ve broken another finger, I don’t know how they expect old people to get these open”, he said ruefully, as I screwed his hands back on and got him to run his self-testing circuitry protocol to check that everything was working again.

“Pleeeeeeeease can we keep the Chromas instead of these, when you have to give one pair back”, he said, tugging on my heartstrings with his bandaged finger. “The battery doors are much easier to get open.”

“It’s not quite as simple as that,” I said, gently. “I haven’t made my mind up yet, but the Danalogics sound better and they don’t make funny noises or go haywire in response to anything that beeps. They’re great for the piano too. They look marginally nicer and, Iet’s face it, I need all the help I can get in the looks department these days.”

I was still feeling slightly raw after seeing what looked like a shrunken head being interviewed in a student video last week. It had turned out to be me.

“But what about the hissing noise the Danalogics make,” cut in BatteryBot, “you said it was really annoying…and what about the fact they make the back of your ears sore because they grip on really tightly…and, and…”, he was trying to pull out all the stops now, “…and what about the ea-”

“Look.” I said firmly, “Don’t keep going on about the Easter Bunny. We can reshape his head to fit the Danalogics if I have to give the Chromas back to Clinic O. He won’t know any better, he’s only made of Plasticine…oh, sorry, I didn’t mean that the way it sounds”.

It was too late, the damage had been done.

“Well I’m only made out of a kitchen cupboard door latch and some bits the plumber left behind, I hope you don’t talk about me like that”, sobbed BatteryBot.

“Shhhhhhhh! You’re about to short circuit”, I said, noting once more the strange Sean Connery sound of my dental fricatives of late. I leant forward and whispered clandestinely into BatteryBot’s auditory sensors:

“Don’t mention the cupboard door latch on here again. People think you’re a real robot; If this gets out, we’re finished.”

Siemens v Danalogic : The Playoff

Last week, the very nice and very helpful senior audiologist at clinic O gave me two sets of hearing aids to compare, to see which works best for my dubious activities outwith the soundproofed room. Hearing aid No. 1 is my original Siemens Chroma S, and hearing aid No. 2 is the newer Danalogic i-FIT 71. The Danalogic had originally been given the heave-ho after its first fitting, because of the intolerably loud circuit noise which was being picked up by the hiss-sensitive cookie bite ears. It has since been slightly de-hissed, and is being given a second chance to see whether the benefits of slightly better overall sound quality outweigh the downside of listening to digital tinnitus all day long.

At the weekend, I decided to blow the dust off the piano, in order to subject both aids to a rigorous and highly scientific test of their music handling capabilities. Using every ounce of my musical talent, I wrote a technically challenging composition, designed to put silence to the test every bit as much as sound. The opening sequence invites the pianist to channel the spirit of John Cage while the Delayed Startup beeps of the i-FIT 71 count down to Power On. The climax of the piece, in bars 6-8, involves a technically demanding sequence of three triad chords in a row, situated right in the middle of the cookie bite zone, a notorious spot for over-amplification in the past.

All that was missing was a functional MRI scan to find out what was going down in the Cookie Bite Auditory Cortex while all this was going on, but who needs a £100,000 scanner when you’ve got a nice sharp HB pencil to to draw what you’re hearing instead.

The results show that, on music, the Danalogic is the clear winner. It hissed its way consistently through the test from start to finish,  but there was no great distortion of sound, just louder hissing when notes are sounded. The Siemens, on the other hand, was nice and quiet on silence, but couldn’t resist creating a musical accompaniment all of its own to the piano. This consists of a gentle rattling noise on notes lower than C3, and random chirps and beeps everywhere else. The keys between G5 and B5 remain scarily loud and have to be approached with extreme caution.

Winner of the Piano Playoff Test: The Danalogic i-FIT 71.

Coming up next: The Mumbling Student Test. Will the Chroma S fight back?

Easter Bunny Loses Ears In Tragic Accident

The Easter Bunny lost his ears on Friday night, after they apparently became entangled in a chocolate egg wrapping machine during a last minute rush to meet this Sunday’s confectionery deadline. Paramedics were called to the scene, but frantic attempts to re-attach the ears failed when they were found to be contaminated with Walnut Whip. The batch of eggs he was working on at the time has now been destroyed.

There were fears that Easter would have to be called off, but surgeons treating the Easter Bunny in a Glasgow hospital say he is recovering well after being given a pair of NHS hearing aids. A hospital spokesperson said that, unusually, the decision to take a binaural fitting approach had been made purely for cosmetic reasons in this particular case.

Report courtesy of Reuters

Can an NHS hearing aid ever be cute?

Yes…but  only if it’s inside this incredibly cute mouse hearing aid case, made by yours truly to protect the Siemens chroma S when it gets accidentally swiped off the top of the piano while the headphones are on. The insertion method does feel rather like giving a mouse a suppository, but we’ll gloss over that bit.

In the unlikely event that you should want to make your own, you can find the pattern it was adapted from here via Meg Benhase and Mostlyphotos. The head is stuffed with kapok and the body cavity is stiffened with funky foam.


After losing the race to the last seat on the packed train yesterday morning, I reluctantly stood just inside the doors and braced myself for the ‘door closing’ warning beeps.

Beeeeeeeep went the doors as we prepared to depart.


At the next station, a well built and rather grumpy looking man got on and positioned himself directly opposite me.

Beeeeeeeep went the doors. Several times.



As I cursed the lack of an ‘OFF’ switch on the Chroma S, I noticed that the doors were not fully shut and that the grumpy man was leaning against them. Dare I tell him that he was stopping the train from moving with his outsize elbow? One look at his expression told me that this might not be such a good idea, so I hatched a plan to surreptitiously squeeze the doors shut with my hands instead.

“Excuse me, have you ever tried squeezing a set of train doors shut with your bare hands?” interjected my helpful Inner Voice. “If a hydraulic door closing system can’t shift that grumpy git’s elbow, I very much doubt that you can. You’ll look like a right eejit…” The Inner Voice was abruptly silenced before it could go on to elaborate further on my inadequacies, by the sight of the train driver knocking on the window to shout at the grumpy man. I was glad that I had decided not to fiddle with the doors just at that point, as I might now be being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed by the British Transport Police.

The driver returned to his cab in a bad temper and opened and closed the doors one last time to make sure that everything was working. The grumpy man, having learned his lesson, carefully leant away from them as they opened… before leaning on them again with his elbow just as they shut. There was another prolonged round of beeping as the driver repeatedly attempted to close the doors, causing hearing aid meltdown to begin in my left ear. I was starting to dislike the grumpy man and his big elbow intensely. Everything now sounded like it was reverberating through a gigantic cardboard tube, and I prayed that no one had a set of bagpipes on them, or videos of my exploding head would be gracing YouTube in no time.

Just as I was contemplating ending my torment by ripping the doors open instead of trying to shut them, the grumpy man suddenly released his big elbow to turn the page of his newspaper, and the doors snapped firmly shut.

Silence. Phew.

Ear Candy

Inspired by Clara’s crusade to banish the beige, I spent a nice Saturday making these lacquered paper and foil slip-on hearing aid covers. Although they were spared from the latest leak from the upstairs neighbours’ shower yesterday, it alerted me to the fact that plastic might be slightly more practical in a wet climate. Another design flaw emerged when I tried them on. They may look quite pretty in a photo, but they’re completely invisible behind my giant left lug, which seems to be rapidly assuming old man proportions.

Worse still, I’ve got a bit of explaining to do when the spouse discovers that his beautiful and expensive hand printed Japanese paper collection is full of tiny hearing aid shaped holes…

Kookybite Innovation #4

When John the helpful audiologist laid my Siemens Reflex L to rest and tried out a Chroma S instead, I was delighted when a silver blob emerged from the box instead of a beige one. Having ascertained that the Chroma S was going to be the answer to all my problems, he then disappeared off to the mysterious NHS hearing aid cupboard, saying “Now that we know it works, I’ll get you a beige one”. My silent “Noooooooooo!” echoed down the corridor, and I deduced that the dispensing guidelines must be silver for the boys and beige for the girls.

Clara (see comments) is working tirelessly on behalf of the gals to transform her beige ear gear into a riot of colour, but just in case something goes wrong with her pioneering techniques, these stickers with attitude could come in handy.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Diamonds: almost as expensive as hearing aids…

At my visit to clinic O last week, I was successfully redomed and retubed, and given enough batteries to keep me at bay for at least a year.

On my return home, now that audiologist eyes were safely out of the way for a while, I decided it was time to add a bit of glamour to the Chroma S with some diamanté bling from the art shop. Mindful of being sued by the NHS for wilful damage to their property, I identified suitably safe spots for my self-adhesive jewels to go. I fancied an eyecatching row of diamanté along the top, but once I had taken into account the programming socket, battery flap, programme button and microphone which all needed to be kept clear, I was left with a 3mm square area on the side to decorate. Never mind, I thought, that’s perfect for a single sparkly diamond. Tastefully restrained against the beige, too.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the NHS is one step ahead of self-adhesive saboteurs like me, because it’s a right pain getting anything to adhere to the mysterious non-stick coating. I managed it in the end, though.

Woof woof

Over breakfast this morning, the spouse was having a rant about how we’ve still got no front stairs to the building two months after their dramatic collapse, when he suddenly broke off  mid-sentence.

“There’s that bloody dog next door barking again.” he said.

“I didn’t know they had a dog…”

I stood motionless and did my special listening intently display of swivelling my eyes sharply from side to side.There’s no point swivelling the ears these days, but swivelling the eyes instead makes it look like one is at least trying. “Has it stopped?” I asked , knowing I had a 50% chance of being right.

“Have you got the machine in?” barked the spouse, frustrated that I was unable to fully share in his aural irritation. In a final attempt to show willing, I cranked the Siemens on to the mind-blowing ‘Music & tv’ setting to get the full bionic ear effect, and lo and behold, there was that strange chirping noise I’d been hearing recently. It didn’t sound much like a dog. I assumed it had been coming from the hearing aid.

“Did you hear that,” said the spouse hopefully, “it’s doing my nut in.”

The strange thing is, now that I know that the noise is coming from a dog and not a hearing aid, it’s doing my nut in as well.


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