While I lived in Salt Lake, I wound up shopping around for an audiologist I respected. It took four tries but I found one who knows his programming. About two days before I left for Arizona, I went in and he completely reprogrammed my hearing aids. There was noise again! He did a few adjustments then before I left, he asked me to wear my hearing aids 10 hours a day. He knew I sometimes get headaches from too much noise so told me to take out one hearing aid at a time, trading them off. I needed to get used to sound again. I said I would…
But I didn’t really. I live in a cabin by myself, out in the middle of nowhere. Why do I need to hear nothing? I did wear them every time I went for a walk or I put them in when trying to identify a sound, such as a bird. I wore them the whole time I visited with my parents or came into town or went out of town. But that’s it.
When I went back to Salt Lake City for the SayWhatClub convention, I scheduled an appointment with him for adjustments. Things like engine noises and walking on gravel were just too loud making me cringe. He put the neck loop around me which connected to his computer. I told him I wore my hearing aids more often these days which was true, more than I had been before he programmed them.
“You have been turning it down a lot,” he noted. I agreed.
“But you have not been wearing them 10 hours a day,” he said.
Oh no! My hearing aids tattle on me! I heard about this from another SWC member on my list. So I explained about being in a cabin by myself while he made adjustments.
“I have been wearing them more than I used to,” I said and it felt like a weak excuse.
“You’ve only worn them 90 hours in three weeks. That’s not ten hours a day. You only wear your hearing aids in noisy situations,” he said looking at me, “Like when around people, going to meetings and such, right?”
I only nodded feeling completely busted.
“You need to start wearing them in quiet places, just like your cabin. You need to get used to sound when it’s not bombarding you. You’re not even close to normal hearing yet.”
That perked me up. “I’m not?”
“No, so please start trying to wear them 10 hours a day.”
Not close to normal hearing, that phrase repeated over and over in my head over the next few weeks. My hearing aids are now bearable to me but I’m not close to normal hearing? Some things seems so loud… and it’s not normal yet?
So I’ve worn my hearing aids daily ever since. Some days I hit 10 hours, some days less and some days over ten hours. I wear them a lot more. (They are going to tattle on me if I don’t.) If I want a cochlear implant someday, I need to be dedicated to sound so I might as well start now.
Wearing my hearing aids more has changed my hearing ability. I heard the clanging of a train crossing the other day. I had forgotten completely train crossings made noise other than train itself. Since he reprogrammed them, I am hearing speech better again. When I take my hearing aids out at the end of the day, I’m well aware of how quiet my world is and it’s spooky! When I get back up to Salt Lake in October, I go in for another adjustment. He wants to keep bumping me up little by little to get me back to normal. If I still lived there, he would do it monthly for me.
I’m retraining myself to hearing aids. It’s hard to remember to put them in first thing in the morning when I’m not working. All these years I mainly used hearing aids while at work, to make sure I heard my clients (I’m a hairdresser). There were blow dryers, hair dryers, phones ringing and people talking over all the noise. At the end of an eight hour day, my mind buzzed with noise and I desperately needed to take them out for a break. How strange it is to have them on in quiet places. It’s much more pleasant.