Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Latest Technology

Seven years ago I started to wear a hearing aid.  Even then, it was likely over due. But the darn things don't last as long as you would think, given the price, and though I got a couple more years than expected, the old one finally died just before Christmas.  Oh yes, I have been driving people mad by asking them to repeat things ever since.  As I said, they are not cheap and there were other places to spend the money but since I could no longer stand not to know what the people around me were talking about, I finally went and got a new one this week.

I was told that the technology had changed a lot since I got my last one. In fact I was even warned that the new technology might be too much for me.  So, while I was very excited to be going to get the new assistive device, I was also a bit worried about what they meant by that statement.

My old unit was a good one. It had a wee button on it that let me adjust the sound to get rid of background noise, and it was also supposed to be adjustable so that it would work with the phone. Well, I never did get it to work with the phone, though I had it adjusted a couple of times because of that. I ended up listening on the phone with my right ear, so I had to hold it there with my left hand if I had to write anything down. Awkward, but at least I could still hear on the phone. 

Yes, in case you are wondering, I am supposed to wear two hearing aids, but I guess it's a good thing I only accepted one, or I never would have been able to use the phone at all. 

The old unit also came with a little remote control, so I could adjust the volume.  I only ever used it if I was at a play, or in a restaurant. Then I would get rid of the background noise and boost the volume.  That worked very well for me.  The other setting on that remote put the whole unit into automatic mode. That means it would adjust itself, as needed, as I went from one environment to another.   I found that to be very annoying as it had a slight delay and usually changed as I was leaving the new environment and passing on to another one that it was no longer set up for.  I gave up on that option shortly after I got the first hearing aid.

This new aid has that little button and a remote too, but it has a few interesting differences.  I don't need to set it up to use it on the phone. It changes settings on it's own, both when you start to use the phone and when you stop. It senses that all by itself.  Other than that, there is still a little button on the unit that gets rid of background noises, and has another setting for wind!  That surprised me, as when I got the first hearing aid, I was told these little computers don't like wind.  This new one has a wind shield and with this new setting, I might actually hear people I walk with on windy days. I'll get to test that out this week.  My fingers are crossed for that to work!

The main difference with this unit is that it sends me signals as to what it's doing.  It will play me a little tune when it first turns on, so I know it's up and running. It will tell me in words, what mode I'm in as I change from on to another. Yes, it talks to me!  It will even tell me when the battery is about to die.  If I mess around with the volume control on the remote control to much, and loose track of what setting I have it on, I can reset it by hitting the Home button, but if I still don't think that it's rest to the original mode or volume, then I can open and close the battery door three times and it will reset everything, or, if it can't, it will actually tell me, "Make an Appointment!" 

I've beein wearing it since Friday morning when I got it.  It doesn't have too much technology for me, and I'm still not sure what they meant by that.  I'm doing fine, and so happy to be back in the world of the living.  I was almost in tears one night last week as I sat in the home of some friends while they had a good visit with my hubby. I couldn't hear my friend, who was sitting right beside me on the left. I couldn't hear my hubby who was sitting on the opposite side of the room. I could only hear the person on my right, and he didn't do much of the talking.  Not being able to hear is not fun!  Last night we were at a little dinner party with two other couples, and even though it was outside on the patio, I had  no trouble hearing at all.  I'll be needing a slight fit adjustment, but otherwise I'm quite happy with this new unit.

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