I had an interesting conversation with my audiologist the other day. I wear Oticon OPN hearing aids and went in for my six-month checkup. My audiologist and I discussed the performance of my aids in general, how I was getting along in the hearing world, how I was doing in noisy environments, and if the connectivity of my aids with my Apple devices was satisfactory. I told him I was happy with my aids and in general found them to be a great improvement over my previous ReSound aids, particularly when I was interacting with a group of people or in restaurants. However, I lamented about connectivity, explaining that my ReSound aids worked better with Apple products.

We talked further about my lifestyle and how I was coping with my profound hearing loss. Though I said, I felt I could hear well enough, we both knew that I wasn’t hearing everything, a typical result for those of us suffering from a profound loss.

I asked my audiologist if I had the best aids for my type of hearing loss and his answer was, “If you feel you can hear well enough to function then we have a good fit. My audiologist believes strongly in testing his patients, in understanding their lifestyle needs, and in assessing how much a person socializes with friends and family. He asks about the use of technology: smart phones, computers and pads, and makes suggestions of technological solutions for better hearing. He also discusses expectations and one’s ability to cope with the hearing world

One of the things that I really like about my audiologist is that he never pushes a hearing solution on you if he doesn’t think it will work for you. I remember going to see him when I was still wearing my ReSound Lynx aids and telling him that I was considering a Cochlear Implant. I asked him if there were aids that were as good as Cochlear Implants. “Well” he said, “hearing aids and implants work in two different ways so you have to understand the pros and cons of each hearing solution.” He went on to explain how he thought the Oticon OPNs might be a good solution for me that is if I wanted to stick with hearing aids. However, he pointed out that my ReSound Lynx was perfectly compatible with the Cochlear Implant I was considering and that it would be easy to set up a hearing system integrating the aid and implant. “You wouldn’t want to consider the OPN with an implant,” he told me. “You would do better staying with ReSound.”

In the end I decided to try the OPNs and was pleased with the result. I believe there are hearing solutions that can work for anyone with hearing loss. It takes time and partnering with a good audiologist who will help you seek the best instruments and hearing solutions for you.

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Linda Bilodeau

I’ve grappled with hearing loss since 1978. Through it all, I’ve faced periods of denial, acceptance, curiosity, trust and hope. But more often than not, I’ve felt annoyed, angry and frightened. I’ve encountered despair, loneliness and envy. I’ve experienced panic attacks. I’ve met understanding people, kind souls who helped me a great deal and others who thought I had nothing short of an invisible plague. As a way of coming to terms with my hearing loss, I’ve decided to put my feelings about my disability down on paper. My hope is to better understand myself and perhaps you’ll find a little something in my meanderings that will help you, too.

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