Sunday, 8 April 2012

Adult Audiology...

This Tuesday I had my first real experience of adult audiology at Selly oak HARC in Birmingham.

I have to say that I was incredibly nervous in the days before as I knew I'd be swapping in my broken old model hearing aids for something new and shiny but I hadn't been told exactly what. I knew I'd have a phonak and that the obvious choice was a Naida so the night before I went googling and decided that I very deinfinetely wanted one like this...

Because stripes are definetely in this year... And lets face it - you could wear it with ANYTHING!

So Mum and I rocked up at audiology - which by the way is in a sort of grand porti-cabin thing which looks so much bigger on the inside than the outside!
I almost died of nervousness in the waiting room, with millions of thoughts running through my head... I knew that kids audiology is a lot different to adult audiology - you have a lot more responsibility to look after yourself, and the appointments are with different people. Although, responsibility is a good thing! And im always berating people who dont treat me like an adult...

Of course everything was fine - the lady was lovely and made me feel totally relaxed! Although there were some teething problems... The lack of colourful hearing aids for a start.

Im still totally amazed after being told that HARC will not giev you coloured hearing aids! Not even if you start with beige ones to "try them out" and then swap them when you're certain that theyre good for you! Apparently, in order to have colourful hearing aids you have to have a learing difficulty or a mental health problem... and my pleas that having horrible, old person beige hearing aids would get me bullied for sure and therefore ruin my mental health were totally ignored... A sad moment in my life...

But potentially serious!! I still think it was a valid point to raise - Ive had comments from people before about having beige hearing aids (my stand in ones were beige) and it totally ruins your confidence to do anything like wearing your hair up...
Another point that was made by a friend afterwards is as a sort of role-model to deaf kids through NDCS, WDCS, Deaf Direct, general life... surely it would be better for those kids to see that being a deaf adult with hearing aids means you can still be cool... After all having coloured aids does make them alot more bearable, and youre always the envy of your friends!

The hearing aids Ive actually ended up with look like this...

At least I still have colourful molds right!

And thanks to the NDCS Facebook mums and their AMAZING ideas Ive actually pimped them a little bit so they look a hell of a lot cooler than anything audiology could have given me!

With nail stickers from Sainsburys - enough to do both hearing aids at least twice over! Ive managed to make something that looks funky and cool, a little grown up but still childish enough that I dont feel too much like an adult! Theyve even been complimented by a random person on the train...

The best bit though is I went out with my hair up twice this week and didnt even think twice about it - for me having something that looks colourful and creative is some important because it gives me confidence and totally matches my personality.

So all in all Adult Audiology is really not as bad as it's cracked up to be in my head... The people are friendly and they still dont bite, they listen to your concerns and Im perfectly happy to be going back in 6 weeks time for a review appointement...

After that the next step is just going - ALONE - Ill cross that bridge when it comes to it!


  1. Ni, there's something quite important you said here, that bears followup:

    "…and my pleas that having horrible, old person beige hearing aids would get me bullied for sure and therefore ruin my mental health were totally ignored…

    I still think it was a valid point to raise – I’ve had comments from people before about having beige hearing aids (my stand in ones were beige) and it totally ruins your confidence to do anything – like wearing your hair up…"

    Bullying of hearing impaired kids and teens is a Really Big Problem on both sides of the Atlantic, and I'm quite glad you wrote this article, and also "pimped out" your hearing aids -- You're showing confidence in yourself, that your "magic ears" are a part of you and not just some butt-ugly prosthetic device. In fact, I counsel this to my own patients -- Most of them are senior citizens, in fact -- that they should treat their hearing aids like jewelry or a fashion accessory, and not try to hide them, as the more you try to hide them, the more conspicuous they become.

    To that end, my friend Hayleigh has a line of hearing aid jewelry you should check out at Hayleigh's Cherished Charms… And Yes, she ships worldwide.

    Also, check out Tube Riders, which are fun.

    Dan Schwartz,
    Editor, The Hearing Blog

    Follow The Hearing Blog on Facebook

    1. Hi Dan,

      thanks for your comment - youre right that bullying of deaf kids is a big and tricky problem. Some kids get bullied for wearing glasses - but at least even as an "adult" you get to pick your own style, frames, color etc. With hearing aids you quite often dont get that choice.

      And most importantly your hearing aids are a part of you (however much mine drive me nuts), youre dependent on them. you should have the right to express some origniality and creativity.

      thank you for the sites - ill take a peek :)


  2. Thyank you for writing about this. I certainly agree with what you write here, and I will be today mentioning your post on my deaf blog.

    I hope to have new better hearing aids soon, and if I do, then it will be Phonak Nathos with sound enhancment. I don't feel umcomfortable about beige heraing aids now, as I got over that myself a few years ago. But I do like showing off my hearing aids or expressing myself.

    I wear Ear Gear on mine and have a few colours to change my mood. So I found these great to cover my hearing aids. I like what you have done with yours and so will be making a note of that too what you use. They look really nice.

    My hearing aids I have now at the moment are silver. Much nicer than beige. So I have been enjoying just showing them off as they are. But I do know that when I have those Phonak hearing aids, they are going to be beige. And this is where I am thinking *sigh* ... beige. That I feel I am going backwards when it comes to having silver back to beige. If you know what I mean. So colour or design of some sort is what I will always do with mine if I get them.

    I am going to follow you. So if you ever change your design of your hearing aids, I would love to know what you choose next if you blog about it. :)

    1. I have phonak naidas at the minute and theyre great :)

      I have redecorated! I have orange and red ear gear but also blue nail stickers with silver stars which was my new design for my summer ball!
      cant upload a photo in this comment but im sure you get the idea :) if youre interested we have a facebook group now!

      thanks for your comment!

    2. Sounds nice the blue nail stickers with stars. Just perfect for that.

      Unfortunately though I don't do FB. I gave up on that some years ago.