Saturday, 12 September 2015

Hearing aids, sounds and computer files

I’ve been a member of a writing group for quite a while now and regularly look at the FB page. I’ve thought quietly to myself – ‘Hmm, not much information about writing here’. And just last week I discovered from a friend that the FB page is not the blog page…

She gave me the steps to delve into the right cyberspace folder to open the pages I needed.

I’m from the generation that doesn’t automatically compartmentalize cyberspace into emails, websites and folders. I have to learn each step and assimilate into my current limited knowledge.

Just as I didn’t know how to search for meaningful things on the computer, wearing hearing aids can be like this. Things sound different, and I found myself searching through the ‘sound files’ of my mind, looking for a familiar sound memory to attach it to. Sometimes I’d think, ‘Ah, yes, that must be the fridge motor.’ But other times (and still occasionally now, many years later), I have to ask someone, ‘What is that noise?’

Any new experience can feel strange and awkward, and hearing aids are no different. Specific information about specific listening situations needs to be given to help process the changes in the person’s hearing. Questions need to be specific so that the wearer is given a framework for thinking about and understanding the new listening experience. Rather than a general ‘How are they going?’ questions like ‘Do they sound tinny? Do they echo? Are there sounds that hurt your ears?’ are much more helpful. Also asking about specific activities can help you to think it through. ‘What are they like in meetings? When watching television? When talking in a small group?’

Talking to others who have gone before you and are old hands at getting the best out of their hearing aids can really help. Let’s start talking about hearing loss and supporting each other in this. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

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