Extraordinary Stories

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The "The Invention of the Year" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just left Miracle Ear after visiting with Patrick, my audiologist, for about half an hour.  My visit today was to see how my new hearing aides were working out and to see if they needed any adjustments.  Patrick plugged them into his computer and saw that I was actually using them about 11 hours per day.  I had them in my ears 1,654 hours since my last visit to him.  This was quite a turn around from the first pair of hearing aides I had purchased from him a few years ago.  Story goes like this ……. a few years ago I saw an ad in the Lancaster Newspaper asking for volunteers to try out a new type of hearing aide.  Well, I finally decided that it was time for my wife to stop having to repeat everything at least two or three times when she was talking to me.  I made an appointment, told Carol about it, and the two of us visited Patrick.  He tested my hearing while I sat in a huge machine in his office, then fitted me for above the ear aides with a piece that ran from the hearing aide into my ear.  If I liked them after a certain amount of time, he would give me a discount to purchase them.  
The in-the-ear hearing aide.  The small plastic piece
that is on the upper right is all that can be seen when
you are standing in front of me.  The bulb on the end
of the wire is to extract the hearing aide from my ear.
Well, I did eventually purchase them, but after about a half of year, stopped wearing them.  I found that every time I wore my stocking hat and took it off I would pull the hearing aides from my ears.  Every time I would remove my glasses at the gallery where I work part-time I pulled my hearing aides off my ears.  I was picking them up off the floor about half a dozen times a day.  Got so sick and tired of it I stopped putting them in my ears in the morning.  I was just plain naughty!  Patrick didn't like that I did that, but he wasn't the one who was wearing them.  Then, about three years later I saw another ad in the newspaper showing hearing aides that were completely in your ear and they were virtually impossible to see when you were wearing them.  I made the call again.  Carol was sure I wouldn't be happy with them, but was willing to go along one more time.  Went through another set of tests and he told me he could finally help me with the new technology.   "And, why couldn't you do that before?" I asked him. he responded with, "Because the technology didn't exist at the time.  Now I have in-the-ear technology hearing aides that will allow you to hear all the ranges and tones that you currently can't hear and which the other aides could only do by having them above your ear.  Well, he was right.  The hearing aid carries a small battery and fits into each of my ears and are barely visible unless you really look for them.  The tell-tale sign is a small white bead about 1/32" in diameter that is connected to the the hearing aide and is located right above my earlobe.  Why is that needed?  It is connected to a very thin nearly-invisible plastic wire that is attached to my hearing aide and is the only way I can remove the hearing aide.  Very simple to place in my ear and very easy to remove.  And they don't come out while removing my glasses or hat.  I'm finally satisfied with the results and hope they last for years.  The batteries last about a week or longer and beep when they are about to die.  I have a battery caddy on my car key chain that holds two hearing aide batteries.  I have become pretty good at removing the small spring that is in the internal end of the aide that at times can close because of dirt or ear wax.  Other than that, the aides are great.  I was going to write my story right after I got the new hearing aides, but thought I better wait this time until I know they will work.  My trip today to visit Patrick was to have him set them so I don't get all the background noise when I am eating in a restaurant setting.  Unbelievable all the adjustments that can be made by plugging them into his computer in his office.  Next appointment is in six months, but I can stop anytime I care and he will help me with any settings or cleaning that I may need.  So far I am finding that the volume level that Carol likes for the TV is slightly louder than I need, but I am fine with it since she was fine with the REALLY LOUD level that I needed for years.  If you are having trouble with your hearing, don't wait.  The technology is now to the point that you can be fitted with just about any type or style of hearing aide that you want or need.  Leave me a comment with your email address if you want me to contact you and tell you more about my aides.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

2 comments:

  1. After my wife has been coercing me for years to "do something" about my hearing, I finally relented. I'm your age. Being a military Vet, I was tested and fitted and ordered and go back to Lebanon VA after New Years to pick up. Sever
    al models ave available. Being a Vet, there is no cost to me.

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  2. Good luck Chip. Don't give up on them, since it will take quite a bit of time to get adjusted to them, but after you get acquainted with your hearing aides, you'll realize how much you have been missing. My loss was from coaching rifle in high school for years without ear protection which wasn't thought to be important in the late 60s-early 70s.

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