I currently wear a Widex Senso on my left ear. It’s a power aid that hasn’t had any advancement in eight years. Yes, eight years. Neither has any other power aid on the market (at least that I’m aware of). So basically from the dawn of the digital hearing aids (after they switched from analog), power aids have NOT changed one bit. I gradually accepted it because when it came time to upgrade five years ago, I got yet another Widex Senso: The exact same brand, model, everything, just an little newer!
I blame cochlear implants. When every doctor or audiologist is pushing people to switch to cochlear implants, there isn’t much of a market for power aids. This is frustrating for me. I’m sure it’s even more so for those who can’t get a cochlear implant or choose not to for whatever reason.
So you can imagine my excitement when my audiologist tells me there’s a new power aid on the market with NEW technology! (I’ll get back to this) Not only that but it’s BLUETOOTH. It is a Phonak Naida.
I have been thinking about getting a Smartlink with my cochlear implant, which is approximately a cool 2k. It’s both bluetooth and FM compatible. For a little extra, I can get a boot for my hearing aid and be all hooked up bilaterally. However if I get the Naida, I don’t have to pay extra (and I’m overdue for a new aid anyway)
As far as the technological aspect goes, the Naida allows you to hear “S” and “SH”. With power aids, that has to be turned off. Often with severe-to-profound hearing the high frequency receptors in the ear are so severely damaged that they often cause distortion when stimulated. The distortion is enough to screw up what you can hear. With the Naida, sound is actually condensed onto the lower frequencies which means you can hear those sounds now, they would just stimulate different receptors.
Options, to me, open doors. My father used this analogy once: the more options you have, the more doors available (i.e. opportunities) but you kind of have to make sure you have access options through preparation. Well he didn’t say that exactly, but that’s what I took from it.
The Inauguration was like that for me in a couple of ways. We were planning to watch it at work and I spent a couple of days trying to find it captioned. The tricky part was to find it live streamed since we don’t have TV. I was really happy that I was able to find this opportunity. I e-mailed the link to my IT guy and we were ready to go. Then the night before I noted another link that was being passed around for the Inauguration in ASL. I already had a plan so I didn’t think much of it. Come Inauguration morning, I noticed that we were having issues with the Internet. We couldn’t get on the Web site that had the captions due to the enormous amount of traffic! We tried and tried, but without success. So I told my IT guy to find it live streamed on another Web site and I would try the link with ASL. Success! I was able to watch Obama’s speech live in ASL. I was so thankful that I knew ASL, or this opportunity would not have been available to me and I would have missed it.
After the speech, I went back to my office. I had a lot to work on! I took off my hearing aid but left my Cochlear Implant on. I do this sometimes to give my ears some rest. It’s hard work trying to hear all of the time! After awhile, I realized I was hearing, with just my cochlear implant, the end of the National Anthem from three office doors down the hallway! That is amazing, I don’t think I could recognize that with my hearing aid.
I think it’s amazing what you can do with a little awareness, a skill or a tool. Something to think about and expand on.
It took me a few days to find this, but I finally did when the National Association of the Deaf put out their blog with this info. So Enjoy!
It’s a video and not captioned but still it is neat to see that this made it to the “front page”! And there is signing!
“Different Sign of the Season”
“You shall not insult the deaf” is in the third book of the Torah and third book of the Old Testament – otherwise known as Leviticus.
Just don’t do it… it’s not permissible by God. I don’t want to hear any more about some guy banging a deaf person on the head because the deaf person didn’t hear him. I don’t want to hear any more about the deaf person who gets denied a job even though he’s the most qualified individual for it, simply because he’s deaf. Please and thank you.
This article brought up one of many perspectives on Cochlear Implants – how some deaf people feel like there is nothing that is “broken” and thus no reason for something to be fixed. It also argues the other side – i.e. why it would be permissible. Keep in mind that it’s in accordance with Jewish learnings.
Today I decided to call a friend up on my cell phone. I’ve been having a difficult time with the cell phone – worse than I thought it should be, and have generally been avoiding it. I decide I would do something radical and try hearing with my implant. That didn’t work so well. I heard the first two sentences, but not well since it wasn’t louder than the background noise. I turn it to T-switch which makes it worse. I finally just switch it over to my hearing aid. I’m playing around with the implant while I’m doing this. I decide I would just turn it on with the setting that reduces background noise. So I have my cell phone pressed up against my left ear, my hearing aid side, and my implant on my right ear. Lo and behold, I’m understanding her a lot better. Not only that but she reveals to me that she’s no longer having to yell into the phone for me to hear her. I am some how able to improve my understanding of her by using my implant that’s on the opposite side of my head! How that works, I don’t quite get… but it works.
Wow… just wow. I am so glad.
I think over all, it is difficult to tell if having a cochlear implant is better than not having one (in as far as hearing goes). However there are some interesting things I’ve noticed:
- My car sounds like it’s falling apart. Seriously, I hear all the parts rattling around. I had no idea cars made that much noise. Being in New Orleans does not help because there are so many potholes.
- The TV is so loud. My husband has a hearing loss. When he watches it, he turns the volume up to the 50s area. When I wear my implant that is ridiculously loud. I turn it all the way down to the 20s or even teens. Holy cow. I tease him by asking “are you deaf or something?”
- My radio is significantly quieter too. I love listening to talk radio and could understand most of it with just my hearing aid. However, I had the volume on max. Now I turn the volume down to quiiiiieett. I’m sure the people outside of my car appreciate that. I can’t quite understand the words though, but I’m getting there.