What? What?

Jun. 4th, 2009 11:42 am
outsidetheparty: (Default)
[personal profile] outsidetheparty
I'm getting a hearing aid!

They gave me this book to read, more than half of which is devoted to handholding patients who really don't want a hearing aid: chapters titled "The Emotions of Losing Hearing" and "A Bridge To Healing" and "Why Some Consumer Reject Hearing Aids But How You Could Love Them!" and etc.

This was unnecessary. The minute they confirmed that yes, I actually do have measurable hearing loss and it's not that I'm just not paying enough attention or something I was all HELL YEAH HOOK ME UP and [livejournal.com profile] squirrelhaven was all SEE I DO NOT MUMBLE I AM VINDICATED. The doctor wanted to send me home to think about it first and seemed a little amused by how quickly I said no that's ok I can has hearing aid nao plz?

I have, apparently, a problem with the hair cells in my inner ear: I can hear very high pitches and very low pitches just fine, but the midrange, where human speech is conveniently located, drops off quite a bit. This matches the results of a (much less in-depth) hearing test I had done about five years ago, though it seems to have gotten somewhat worse over time. It's not a result of exposure to loud noises (which would damage the high pitches first) so I don't have to stop drumming or anything, which is good -- it's just a manufacturing defect of some kind. I can live with that.

It really is amazing what a relief it is to have this confirmed. I've been watching movies with the subtitles turned on for a while now, and completely faking it in group conversations -- by the way, if any of you happen to have told me anything important when there were more than three of you in the room, you might want to email me about it or something because odds are I have no idea what you were saying and just nodded and smiled because that usually seems to work -- and even during the test where they play the little beeps at you through a headset and you're supposed to raise your hand when you hear something there was that nagging uncertainty: am I just imagining this? Am I just not paying enough attention?

But then they did a different kind of test where I just had to sit there while this device pressurized my ear and, like, listened for echoes or something (I'm a little fuzzy on the details here, obviously) and drew a little line graph of the results, which just zigzagged all over the place instead of the neat tidy line a normal ear would produce.

Objective evidence is totally awesome.

So in two weeks I go back for a fitting, and I'll pick out a color (they come in colors! What do you think, should I get the leopard print?) and sometime after that I'll look like one of those dorks who wear their bluetooth headsets all the time. And, with any luck, I'll be able to understand you when you talk to me. That will be nice.

(Hey, [livejournal.com profile] bayleaf, any suggestions re brands or styles to look for / avoid?)

Date: 2009-06-04 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] entrochan.livejournal.com
Huh. Fascinating. I've wondered about this one for myself for a long time.

Date: 2009-06-04 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsidetheparty.livejournal.com
Yeah, I'd been meaning to see an audiologist "one of these days" for a few years now; it wasn't until I had to schedule a hearing screening for Stellan that I finally got around to scheduling one for myself too.

Date: 2009-06-04 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterborne.livejournal.com
The pressurization test sounds wild. You are suddenly Medical Science Man.

Date: 2009-06-04 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsidetheparty.livejournal.com
I have a dentist appointment coming up; I'll have to see if they have any fancy toys to play with :)

Date: 2009-06-04 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ltlbird.livejournal.com
I remember feeling similarly about my first pair of glasses. I got them in the Christmas season and spent the entire ride home (it was after nightfall) oohing and ahing over the newly clear lights and signs. I think many people have a lot more baggage about hearing loss, though - probably because it is generally, though incorrectly, considered a sign of imminent decrepitude.

Date: 2009-06-04 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsidetheparty.livejournal.com
Yeah: I got my first glasses when I was just teeny tiny -- dad's an optometrist -- but I still remember my shock at discovering that trees weren't just undifferentiated green blobs. That first day I sat for ages just staring at the leaves fluttering on a tree outside my window...

Date: 2009-06-04 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bayleaf.livejournal.com
Whoo! hearing aid! Rock on!

Okay, my fave companies are Phonak & Widex, tied for #1, and Oticon in 3rd. Companies to avoid like the plague: Siemens & Starkey. There are some fairly well-accepted companies that I think of as B-list, including Unitron. Don't waste your time with those, go for the A-list.

If you have hearing loss in both ears, definitely get 2 aids. There are now a lot of really awesome bluetooth-enabled aids, so you can use hearing aids as a hands-free device for your cell phone or have the tv send audio signal wirelessly to the aids. (Oticon has a better package for that than Phonak, Widex doesn't offer it at all.)

My patients tended to report better hearing in background noise & better fidelity for music w/ widex. Common complaints for Widex: loudness intolerance problems.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you want a second opinion on their suggestions.

Oh, also -

the pressure test is likely otoacoustic emissions. It's an objective test of outer hair cell function, which provides a yes-or-no measure of cochlear hearing loss. (Meaning: it tells if there is or is not a hearing loss but doesn't measure the severity of the loss.)

Also, also - I love your enthusiasm! Our generation seems to be waaaaaaaaaay more likely to get hearing aids when needed than older generations. I think it's just the 'I'm way too young to miss out on life' thing. Woo!
Edited Date: 2009-06-04 09:35 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-06-04 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsidetheparty.livejournal.com
Thanks, that helps. I see that the book they gave me is "a special abridged edition courtesy of Oticon" so that gives a hint of what they're likely to have on offer at that office... yeah, now I've looked at their website, I'm pretty sure I recognize the ones she showed me as samples. (I'm sure one was the Epoq; another might've been the Delta or the Dual, not certain.)

Our generation seems to be waaaaaaaaaay more likely to get hearing aids when needed than older generations.

Yeah, for whatever reason this isn't ringing the "you're getting old" bell for me -- it's more like "shiny new gadget yay." It helps that they don't make them in that icky band-aid color anymore.

Date: 2009-06-05 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cybersattva.livejournal.com
this isn't ringing the "you're getting old" bell for me

How would you tell? X-D

Ok, now I totally feel like I need to get my hearing checked... What? WHAT?!

Also, I HATE that hearing test where you're like..."I think I heard a beep...maybe...maybe I'll raise my hand a little? :-/" I spend the whole test with my :-/ face on

Date: 2009-06-05 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sanj.livejournal.com
GO YOU.

Yeah, I think we're just more open to medical and scientific solutions all around. Like, it's busted, so fix it -- right?

Good on you, and also, I am impressed by the fact that they can give you a hearing aid that also acts like a Bluetooth. For serious?

Date: 2009-06-06 12:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bayleaf.livejournal.com
Oh, seriously, those are some way cool gadgets PLUS they are really *cute* looking now, right? I was kind of jealous of some of those cute hearing aids.

Also, I thought more about your HL and would say maybe not Widex. I haven't had as good luck fitting "cookie-bite" hearing losses w/ Widex aids. (Cookie-bite being a description of the graph where the HL is in the middle and hearing recovers at the outer edges.)

Date: 2009-06-06 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsidetheparty.livejournal.com
Heh -- they used the term "cookie-bite" too; I thought it was just this particular doctor being folksy, hadn't realized it was an official term of art :)

I'm getting more and more excited about this -- last night we were watching TV and I kept reaching for the remote to turn it up and was thinking "Soon I will have my OWN volume knob! Mwa ha ha ha ha!!"

Date: 2009-06-04 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shgb.livejournal.com
It could also be that we're more comfortable with technology. Sophisticated audio processing computers that can fit in your ear? Way cool.

Date: 2009-06-05 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kouredios.livejournal.com
This may explain Zim's occasionally not being able to follow the party's plan. Then again, it may just have been Zim. :D

Being able to hear is definitely a good thing. And shiny new tech is yay!

Date: 2009-06-05 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsidetheparty.livejournal.com
A little of both. Zim's personality wasn't chosen by accident :)

I am so. totally. busted...

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