Nobody is whistling it is just my ear. A tell tale sign that it is time to upgrade my hearing aid. Normally every couple of years, I have to either upgrade my hearing aid mold, or replace the entire hearing aid itself. Every now and then, people are puzzled as they wonder where the HECK is that whistling noise is coming from. All I can say is that it is my hearing aid. Sure, it is embarrassing when everyone is looking at you weirdly because your ear is whistling. Literally. In the upcoming weeks, I will have to go back in and get a checkup and get a new one. But what I am about to tell you is the long arduous process that it takes to get one and a pricey one at that. Hearing troubles come as the norm for me, it is nothing new- all the trials and tribulations and the details that I endure to get the inner workings of the hearing aid equipment functioning correctly.
Ever since I was a child I have had to endure long doctor appointments to determine just how Deaf I am. I am no stranger to hospitals, to sound checks and audiologist. Usually, I go in the room and they check my ear, with that long weirdly shaped magnifying glass. It’s cold; my ear is pulled and prodded to check for any signs of trouble. “Hmm, all good” they tell me. Next, I speak to the audiologist about my progress and mention any problems with my hearing aid. “All good” they tell me again. Sure, it is routine to me now. But as a child it can be confusing and frustrating. Especially when they put me in a sound proof room, have me sit down in a chair. “Cherie, take out your hearing aid, and put this headphone on”, “What? How can they expect me to hear anything without my hearing aid?” Basically what they do is measure how well you’re hearing and by doing so they are able to determine what type of hearing aid device I need. All I have to do is listen intently to the headphone, and push the buzzer if I hear any sound, even if I think I hear something I have to press the button. Often it is a beeping sound, ranging from low volume to high pitch volumes. It can be tricky, I constantly think to myself, “Was that a sound? Should I push the buzzer? What if I am wrong?” Well, there is no wrong answer. I feel as though I am on jeopardy, only isolated in a room with weird noises emitting from the headphone. Occasionally, they have the audiologist sound out a word in the other room, sometimes laughter, dogs barking and so on. Ah, I’m free! The door opens and I head out into a brightly lit room for some more testing. Not quite so free yet.
Almost in the home stretch now, now they tested my “hearing” which is at 60 percent WITH the hearing aid. Without it, I hear 0 percent. They can now fit me for a hearing aid. They fill up a tube of cold goopy stuff, and inject it in my ear. After 20 minutes, the goopy stuff is hardened and voila a hearing aid mold is created. It’s weird, but I always looked forward to it because I knew the appointment was nearing to an end and that I would see daylight again. All that ordeal just to wait couple of weeks for a new pricey hearing aid, but sometimes I go through all of that just to get a new hearing aid mold. Quite an ordeal but, that is the life I have always known. I always grew up thinking that this was normal, in a way it is normal but for the Deaf population.
Another thing- the hearing aid itself can be a couple thousand dollars depending on the model. The hearing aid mold itself can range from 60 to 80 dollars. Not to mention the doctor, and audiologist appointments. The grand total can be a pricey one, but the frustrating thing is that some insurance companies do not cover hearing aid costs. Hopefully that changes soon.
Am I looking forward to my next audiologist appointment? My answer is a simple “not really”. But, it needs to be done, and I do need a new hearing aid soon. Now, Speech therapy is a different story. Keep an eye out for a post on my frustrating experience in speech therapy.