Monday, April 25, 2005

Audiologists – A lesson they need to learn

I have in my position had to deal with these people regularly, and I have to say my feeling towards them is getting worse and worse as time goes on.

I have been profoundly deaf since I was born and thus been wearing hearing aids for 99% of that time, I was wearing an aid at the first opportunity I could. This makes me quite the expert in knowing what sounds right, comfortable for me, and what doesn’t.

In my years I have had to suffer numerous Audiologists who think they know it all, and that they know better than I do when something sounds right or wrong. So when I tell them that the sound isn’t loud enough, or the sound is echoing, or the sound isn’t clear, lacks clarity, I expect them to listen because I am the one wearing the damn bloody aids. Do they, not a bloody chance, they obviously think I am stupid, that I am not willing to make an effort.

Lets change the scenario a little, imagine you go to an optician and get glasses to see, if you were to tell the optician that you couldn’t see clearly with the glasses, or that they seem to lack focus, something would be done, very quickly and with a great deal of attention to what you say. Audiologists, well I don’t know, maybe they have a different agenda, and that someone like me, who wants to be able to hear, rather than just take what is given, means they actually have to do their job. I am very picky with my hearing, and I expect to be able to hear, it has always been a comment that I drive them nuts, because I expect to have it all, well, in my mind, isn’t that what a hearing aid is meant to do, make it possible for me to hear, not make it so that I can’t hear what is going on, kind of defeats the purpose of them.

I refer to this, because last Thursday I was given new aids, and at the time I made it clear I felt I wasn’t hearing all I should, that they lacked clarity, and seemed just wrong. The response I get back was typical, you will get used to it, you are a power junkie, you always want more, well no actually, I just want to be able to hear when I am talking to people, I don’t expect it to cut-out on me, and I do expect that my life is worth sufficiently enough that you do your job so that I can communicate with the rest of the world. Well, lo and behold, in an interview on Friday, I struggled to hear the interviewer, and that was in a room with just me and them, no background crap to deal with, on Saturday I suffered again in a selection process for the Samaritans, and I also have two interviews this week, though I still don’t know the details for one on Wednesday, which is a little concerning and I have asked. But the point I am making is that as a deaf person trying to find a job, I need to be on top of my game and not missing anything and no amount of expecting them to be understanding or giving, is going to help me get the role, they will dismiss me, as has happened in the past before. It isn’t right, but that is life, so the less reasons I can give them the better, not hearing what they say, is a big reason for them to think I am either arrogant or stupid, and it isn’t a good idea to be that way in an interview. I can’t really say, oh do you mind talking louder to me, because my hearing aids are screwed up, no.

So, I am sure this won’t be seen by Audiologists, but on the off chance, here are some pointers to you.

1) Listen to the patient, they know what they are hearing, dismissing them as being picky, power junkies and whatever other terminology you want to use, doesn’t make you a good Audiologist, it makes you arrogant and dismissive
2) On your training course, you are taught to listen to the patient, and whilst you know the technology, or are supposed to, listen to the patient, they are the ones wearing the damn things, not you. You will never have to wear them, most likely so listen
3) Imagine yourself in the shoes of the patient, being told them aren’t making the effort, or are being problematic, just because you think you are right. When it comes to ears you aren’t, the person wearing the aids is the one whose life is turned upside down, not yours
4) Lastly, turning around to patients and saying you will not adjust them, is plain wrong and that they have to persevere with the awful settings you have given them, not right.

On a slightly related issue with regards to hearing aids, Audiologists, etc. Can someone please tell the RNID to stop experimenting with the deaf? The RNID have control over which digital aids each hospital has, and thus each hospital is different, and instead of catering to the needs of the deaf person, you try and squeeze them into categories for the aids which don’t fit all. I am such a case, telling me that you only have four options of digital aid, none of which I can hear with, is no option at all. The government should never have handed you the reins for this, the audiologists should be allowed to find the best aid for the person. It works in Denmark and many other European countries, so why not here?

And the last issue on entry. I have an issue with the Deaf Wannabes, yep, there are such people out there whom actually want to be Deaf, ACTUALLY WANT TO BE DEAF!!!
Wow, I am not someone with has prejudices, usually, but please go back into your little hole and leave the world alone. If you were doing this and not affecting others, I wouldn’t mind, but your actions are affecting others. By faking hearing tests, pushing for aids, you are taking resources away from those who need it. In this country there is a two year wait for digital aids, yes, two damn years, many people can be dead before they get their aids, and you are making that much worse, much worse. The time spent doing your tests, fitting you for aids, which you don’t need, just to fill your sickness. You need to see a psych, not an audiologist, you need help. To purposely make yourself deaf, you have no idea the life of a deaf person, not a smart move ever. If you want to be deaf, then do so, but don’t ask for hearing aids, tests, moulds, etc, which are meant for those who really need them, not some faker, who thinks it would be a good idea to fake. It is sick, and there is no other way to describe it.


Silver Streak said...

Advice for people who think wearing a hearing aid makes them look disabled is get over it and improve your hearing. You can see how aid hearing devices have changed over the centuries; you will see they have changed for the better and not the worse. You can do research to see how many people are affected by hearing loss or some type of hearing problems each year.
More hearing aid information

Speakers Corner said...

Silver Streak, I think your comment that people should get over the fact that a hearing aid makes them look disabled is rude.

I don't know your position, but mine is that I was born profoundly deaf, and as a child suffered a lot of taunting because I wore an aid.

I still wear an aid today, and because of my loss it obvious to anyone who cares to look. The idea that hearing aids are devices that are invisible to others is false. Anyone who requires an aid, especially in the UK and uses the NHS is very likely to have a BTE, which makes it visible. Even those aids that aren't BTE are visible.

People are prejuidice, simple as, and a lot of people make others feel disabled by picking on them. If you are picked on, each and every day about a part of your being, you will become very aware of it, be it a hearing aid, or your size, or your nose, etc, etc. It is human nature.

Hearing aids are better than they used to be, to some extent. I have had hearing aids for 30+ years, and I can tell you that the aids I wear today don't help me hear any better than the ones I wore when I was 15. All the fancy software doesn't make for a better aid. All it does it makes the hearing aid manufacturers think they are doing better, but they aren't.

For a profoundly deaf person in the UK, things are little different than they nearly 20 years ago, and that is simply because very little has changed. There hasn't been any major advances in hearing aid tech, despite the marketing you hear.

I would suggest that before making remarks as you have done, check how it is in the UK, and see the differences between 1988 and 2006 in the UK, and you will see little has changed.