Thursday, August 25, 2005

Finally got them – Oticon spirit III P

Yesterday I was finally given the hearing aids that they had been telling me I would have for a long time. After all the fanfare they were giving them, I have to say, they don’t match my expectations of being able to hear properly.

Let me wind back a little though, and explain what happened yesterday, cause for some of you it might seem funny, others might be aghast at what happened, and some will probably blame me for what happened.

The aids as they are digital were setup according to my audiogram, the software dictating what is deemed right for my hearing loss. Well I should point out here, that not one manufacturers software has ever match my loss right, so either they haven’t a clue or my ears are just not what the audiograms ever show.

When they were switched on, my immediate reaction was, I can’t wear these, I can’t hear a damn thing with them, no swearing mind, just using the damn as an emphasis. I was not hearing a thing, it was all muffled, echoing, too much bass, and everything that was wrong could be. Well the audiologist didn’t like it at all, he was well pissed at me, he felt I was being a drama queen, going overboard, and he even said, well that is it, I can’t fit you with anything, you will have to make do, that is all we have on the NHS, so you will have to go private.

I can tell you, right then, I was like, so ready to blow up, swear and give what for. I bit my tongue and just said, well if that is all you can give me, then so be it, knowing full well, I would just find a way around him in time, and find another avenue. Been in the system too long to know I can find other ways if I am really pushed to do so, might take a while, but in the interim I would struggle on, heck I am used to it these days.

After about 5 minutes, he decided to change his mind, and sit with me, and try and remove the problems I was finding. Bear in mind I had already explained very clearly what I found to be problems in the sound. Bit by bit he started adjusting them, they are a pain to adjust so I get it, but he managed to get a better sound for me. Still not ideal, but better than the Oticon Spirit II P I had.

Am I satisfied, not a chance, I in my eyes deserve to hear properly, and if hearing aid manufacturers claim their products do such a thing, then I expect it, the least I expect. Why should I, just because I was born profoundly deaf not be able to interact with the world the way 99% of people do. These aids are better than some I have had, will I be able to use them enough, next week will be telling, when I get back to work, will it finally after 3 months allow me to hear people properly, will it allow me to go to lunch with others without flaking out after 30 minutes because I can’t keep up in a bar/pub. I am hoping so, nothing more frustrating than not being able to keep up, it makes me look stupid, and I feel stupid too.

Why do I have to keep changing aids, I have had hearing aids in the past where I could hear better than I can now. Why did I change, because the manufacturers decided in their wisdom that the aid I had was to be updated, and when they update, they screwed with it, making it impossible for me to use the new version. A case in point, some years back, I had a phonak, and it had a lot of grey area in the sound, smooth progression on noise. When they updated it, it was black and white, no middle area, and thus I couldn’t cope with them, and I struggled to hear. I know they want to push their new products, but they are worse than Microsoft, a new version every 6 months, which doesn’t always give benefits, in some cases takes it away.

Back to yesterday, after finally getting me set up correctly with the aids, the audiologist was okay with me. He has called me the biggest pain in his backside for a patient, but and his words “I know exactly what I want” and thus it means they can sort it out in theory. I am supposedly the cleverest, smartest, most annoying, pain in the backside patient, simply because I demand the best, expect the best and lastly I expect to hear properly, no excuses as far as I am concerned. There shouldn’t be a case in this day and age of me having to just make do, I did that when I was young, having to wear a box aid.

This leads me slightly to a post I put up the other day with the extremist animal rights activists. These extremists need to be sorted out, in this country there are a lot of people hanging on hoping that gene therapy will change their lives, I am one such person, if the science is to be believed, then gene therapy might be able to reverse my hearing loss, if so then I would want such experimentation to proceed on animals first so that they can be sure they don’t kill us humans. I am not the only one hoping for gene therapy to work, there are many others, suffering from major diseases – Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.

People deserve to have a chance, and I am betting anything that the extremists are using medicines which at one point were tested on animals, well that makes them hypocrites, it really does. Why not advance science so much so animals aren’t needed, isn’t of holding back science by violence, desecration of graves, etc.


ian said...

how's the loss of bathroom space going btw? wasn't that this week?

Anonymous said...

I was only found to have poor hearing in January and will be getting one of these hearing aids next March. I was told they were the latest kind. Was she just having a laugh?

Speakers Corner said...

Hi JoHo,

For the NHS the Oticon Spirit IIIP are the latest kind, they have 3 channels, which for the NHS hearing aids is outstanding, but private aids are pushing 20 channels, so what does that say.

To be honest, with hearing aids it all depends on your loss, the amount of loss, the type of loss, whether there is anything more than just a loss. I have a profound hearing loss, but also recruiting ears as well, which makes it all the more harder to get the right sort of aids.

It is all made worse by the interfering of the RNID, for the likes of people like myself, they have made matters worse not better, and still this government has yet to put a minimum standard for hearing aids, in terms of time waiting for one, times when the departments are open, the list goes on, it is endless.

All I can say with regards to your hearing loss and the aids you will get, you will have to wait and see if they suit you, because for some people they suit, but for me, they are god damn awful and each day I have them, the more risk I can lose my job, because I don't hear properly at work and getting an appointment to get them changed is a bloody nightmare.

Paul B said...

A few thoughts for you:

I wear glasses and hearing aids. I have glasses because my sight is not perfect. But do my glasses make my sight perfect again: no it doesn't. It makes it "generally adequate and usable", but not perfect. I don't imagine that ANY glasses, or ANY contact lenses, or ANY laser treatment can do THAT.

I have HAs (NHS HA's... originally a pair of Danavox, but recently Oticon Spirit 3's with "thin tubes"). I have them because I have a "moderate hearing loss". Do I really expect them to "make my hearing normal"? Well, no... they certainly IMPROVE my hearing, but I know that I'll NEVER have the full "dynamics" afforded by "normal hearing". An I guess that I'm luckier than many, who (like you) have more than a moderate hearing loss.

I don't expect that ANY hearing aid will ever make your hearing "normal", but I hope that they do make it "better than without".

Realistically, can you expect more than that?

Take a car, with a damaged engine: it doesn't matter if you add electronic ignition, high-tech oil etc, the engine is damaged, you may improve it, but you'd never expect it to run as "normal".

On a different thread: I got the Oticons when I went in because one of my Danavox units had a fault: I was asking whether any of the newer generation of aids (such as you might get at Specsavers) would be likely to be any better than the danavox units, and she asked if I'd like to try the Oticon's. Of course, I said "yes".

She also offered me the "thin tubes", which I must say are SOOOO comfortable. Whilst the "traditional" HA blocks your ear, and provides ALL the sound needed, the thin tubes let normal sound through, and "supplement" the sound. Because of the way it works, it's far more susceptible to whistle, so only suitable for moderate hearing losses. But the end result is a very "natural" sound.

From what I've read on various forums, I get the feeling that, if you have a severe hearing loss, then different HA's can take some time to get used to. Also, it seems that different aids work better (or worse) for different people. So I guess you need to (a) give yourself time to get used to different aids; (b) keep working with your aidiologist to get your HA's working as best you can!

Speakers Corner said...

I no longer have the Oticon Spirit IIIPs as there were not sufficient to work with my loss, despite the NHS audiologist saying that they would be. As sadly per usual they think they know better than me, and whilst I am not bringing into question their experience, they don't use them, so can't say that they will be right for me.

I have now switch to Phonak Savia's, a long story, which is posted elsewhere on the site, and is still an ongoing process.

I do expect my hearing to be made 'normal', mainly because all my life I have been profoundly deaf and have worn aids all the time. Some with more success than others. And it is with the successes I hear 'properly' and don't struggle each and every day. To my mind that is the least I can expect. I shouldn't be in a situation where I have to work so hard that I am tired by the end of the day.

In the past I didn't and I don't expect to again. I had hearing aids that were well suited to me, even though the audiologist couldn't fathom as to why they would be, but I heard better than they expected with them and I felt comfortable with them. The only reason for the change was they were no longer made, and thus I lost an aid that I was very happy with. This isn't the first time and it won't be the last time either I am fully aware. So called progress makes it impossible to keep something that works fine for me.

I have found for myself, if the aid isn't right from the outset, then it will never be so. It is that simple, and whilst some audiologist will claim otherwise, my ears behave in a way that means it is that way, no matter what.

I would say to anyone who is offered these aids, try them, they might work for you, but for me, they never did and with a profound hearing loss I am surprised I was offered them, but each to their own

Charlie Cory said...
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Silver Streak said...
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alexrice said...

Y'know you can 'loose' hearing aids for £50 each ;)
I have a pair of ye olde BE19 analog hearing aids which I have manually tweaked over a period of several months to suit my needs. I'm due for a new set of Spirit IIIs but they can pry my old ones out of my cold, dead ears.

I'm 25 and have mild-moderate hearing loss with which I am able to cope without help in many situations albeit with some difficulty. I didn't wear my NHS aids because they simply weren't adjusted right from the age of 12 until about a year ago when, amongst other things, my hearing loss contributed to the breakdown of a relationship. Then I got my old aids out of the drawer where they'd been sitting, got a tiny screwdriver and started re-adjusting them. I found that very small changes in the settings produced extremely significant changes in general usefulness.

I am extremely disillusioned with audiology in general. My background is in science and engineering and the limitations of 6 band threshold audiograms and they way they are carried out is glaringly obvious to me. Taking the (flawed) audiogram and dumping it into a hearing aid with no possibility of the user directly adjusting their own hearing instrument is bloody stupid. I'm seriously considering reverse-engineering the oticon communication protocol and software so that I can fix my own.