Ready to solve your hearing loss issues, you seek the help and advice of an ENT physician and an audiologist. After examining you and administering a hearing test, they recommend several hearing aid options. Though you find their suggestions expensive, you want to hear better and order a pair of aids. At your fitting session, you realize you have access to a world of sound you never thought possible. You are happy. You can hear. Your money was well spent. Then your audiologist starts talking about accessories: mini mics, t-coils, telephone adaptors, and television adaptors. You are dizzy by the choices. Your hearing specialist explains how each device might assist you. You start asking about cost and are astounded by the prices. You wonder why your hearing aids can’t help you in every situation. Did the audiologist make a mistake in recommending those expensive aids?
I was not a believer in hearing aid accessories until I began using them. Though my mini mic and television adaptor were pricey; in my case, four hundred and fifty dollars each, I found them worth it. I won’t go anywhere without my mini mic. This device has helped me hear in situations I never thought possible. I had stopped going to lectures or any gathering where you had to sit and listen to someone speak. Now, I attend events and ask the speaker to clip on the mic. The mic is paired with my hearing aids through Bluetooth. A person’s voice is wirelessly transmitted directly to my ears, thus allowing me to hear comfortably at noisy parties, in restaurants, and anywhere people gather. I even use it at home, especially when women friends visit or if we have a crowd of people over.
I was sitting around a table at a restaurant the other night with ten other people. I only knew four of the guests. So when I pulled out my mini mic and the usual what’s that questions were asked, I was happy to show everyone my IPhone app and explain how the device worked. I further pointed out that my mic helps drown out background noise, making conversation more discernable. Everyone’s eyes lit up. Where did you get that? How can I get one? The questions and comments went on about my wonder gadget.
The other item I wouldn’t live without is my television adaptor. Because I have a profound hearing loss, dialogue between actors had deteriorated to senseless words. I became reliant on captions. When I hooked up my adaptor, by connecting it to my television’s video system, I found I heard almost every word said. I can control volume through my IPhone app. The first time I watched a movie using the device, I had tears in my eyes, grateful for being able to hear. I still use captioning, but the mic has made viewing a movie or my favorite Netflix program even more enjoyable.
There are benefits to hearing conversation on television. The more we engage our brains to hear, the more we become accustomed to voices. Having access to good clear sound frees our brains to perform other cognitive functions.
There are many assistive devices available. Visit the websites of hearing aid companies, and you will see the choices. Your audiologist can help you pick out the device that’s best for you. Be open to their thoughts and suggestions. Your wallet may suffer a little, but in the end, you will hear more than you thought possible.
I hope you are enjoying, Meandering Through A Hearing World. I certainly enjoy writing the column. I’ll be away for the next two weeks and the column will return on Monday August 14.