I finally got the outer processor for my BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) implant this week. I am not really sure how I feel about it yet.
I am hearing better, which is great. However, it sounds a lot different from a typical hearing aid. I struggle to understand what people are saying, but I guess that will get better as I get used to the device.
The outer processor has a magnet, which attaches to the magnet under my skin, and sends the sound vibrations to the titanium screw in my skull, which then vibrates to send the sound directly to my inner ear. The two parts are working great together and putting on the outer piece is really simple. I just hold it up to my head, so the magnets can pull toward each other, and it pops into place.
The downside of the magnet system is the outer processor can be knocked off my head. It’s a delicate and expensive device, so dropping it is not recommended.
The audiologist did give me a clip with a plastic wire that can attach to the outer processor and then it can be clipped to my shirt. I am not a fan of this device. I feel like a preschooler, whose parents clipped stuff to their shirt to prevent them from losing it.
In about a week or so, I am going to write another blog post about the implant. By then I will be used to it, so some of these problems should be solved.
I had to take my laptop to Mac Resource Store, because I accidentally got droplets of glue from a spray can on the keyboard. When I picked up my laptop, I was still wearing my bandages from the surgery.
The employee that helped me checkout is named Eric and he asked about the bandages. That’s how we got to talking about ear surgeries. Turns out, Eric also has hearing loss and he got a BAHA implant a few years ago. We talked a little bit about the surgery and other surgeries. We both had mastoidectomies done and we have even seen some of the same doctors.
I had a great time talking with Eric, because I don’t know anyone who has undergone similar surgeries as me. When I get the outer processor for the BAHA, I am going to visit Eric again, so we can compare thoughts on the device.
It may sound funny, but I am kind of glad I messed up my keyboard. I got to meet a great person that I can relate to in a way I have never done before.
I’m at Huntsville Hospital waiting for my BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) implant surgery. I am a bit excited, because this should significantly improve my hearing and my ability to understand what people are saying.
I often repeat things or rephrase what I just said and say it again. If I have something important to say, the likelihood of repeating the statement goes up drastically.
Why is that?
It’s a subconscious behavior. I am not really thinking about it at the time. It comes from a lifetime of misunderstandings due to my own hearing disability.
I automatically assume the person may have trouble hearing me or understanding my statements, so I feel the need to clarify.
There are some disabilities which are invisible, meaning you can’t tell the person has the disability just by looking at them.
Hearing impairment is an invisible disability and that can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings.
- If someone greets you and you don’t respond, they usually assume you are rude. They may never consider you are hearing impaired.
- Failure at school or difficulties following directions may be viewed as an intellectual problem, if the hearing disability is not addressed properly.
Family and friends will shrug off my failure to respond, my problems with understanding, and even answers that make no sense. They know about my hearing disability and they understand how it causes problems in my daily life.
Strangers or even people that don’t know me very well, may assume I am rude or stupid. They may allow their assumptions to stop them from getting to know me, which I think is sad.
I was born with inner-ear deformities that resulted in hearing loss and I have worn hearing aids since I was 12 years old.
Here is a copy of my latest hearing test.
Hearing aids are really expensive. I am talking about thousands of dollars, per aid. Most people wear hearing aids in both ears, so that could easily cost over five thousand dollars.
When buying hearing aids, there are several things to take into consideration.
- Cost – I understand it can be difficult spending five to ten thousand dollars every couple of years for a pair of hearing aids. In America, most insurance companies will not cover hearing aids. Cost then becomes a critical factor.
- Customer Service – Hearing aids have to be maintained in order to function properly and prolong the life of the aids. They should be professionally cleaned every three months. Also, hearing aids are small and tend to be a bit delicate. They will need to be repaired occasionally. It is vital to purchase your hearing aids from a place that will provide the required cleaning and repairs.
- Quality – Hearing aid brands are not all the same. When looking at quality, you should consider the sound quality and the structural quality of the hearing aids.
I have worn hearing aids for over thirty years and I have no idea how many audiologist and hearing aid dealers I have seen during that time. I also have no idea how many hearing aids I have worn over the years. I have tried numerous brands and types of hearing aids and my favorite has been Beltone.
Beltone is not the cheapest brand I have ever purchased, but the quality has always been good. I must admit, I am not nice to my hearing aids. They end up being submerged in water, covered in dirt or mud, dropped from various heights, chewed on by dogs, and even smashed a few times. However, they usually keep working. When they do eventually die, I can usually get them fixed within a few days.
The customer service at Beltone has to be what keeps me coming back to purchase hearing aids. Zach always greets me by name, asks questions about the family or dogs, and even teases me for the crazy things that happen to my hearing aids. It’s a fun place to get the hearing aids cleaned and purchase new ones when needed.
When it comes to purchasing hearing aids, I think quality and customer service are the most important things to take into consideration. What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever needed to research the cost of hearing aids or purchase a hearing aid?
The documentary Sound and Fury discusses the pros and cons of cochlear implants in young children and infants.
Most hearing people believe children born deaf should receive cochlear implants as soon as possible and then raised as hearing children. That allows them to function in a hearing world.
It’s not so clear in the Deaf community, because they have their own language and unique culture. Cochlear implants are keeping children born deaf from learning that language, the history of the Deaf community, and the cultural beliefs that go along with it.
I understand both sides of the debate and I feel torn by the issue. I was born with inner-ear deformities that required numerous surgeries throughout my childhood and most of my adult life. I now have a moderate hearing loss and function well with hearing aids.
As an adult, I studied American Sign Language, Deaf history, and Deaf culture. I was fascinated by how the Deaf community interacts with each other and the importance they place on their language and culture.
Since I grew up in the hearing world, I will never truly be a part of the Deaf community. I wish I had a chance to be a part of that community. I long for the closeness and understanding felt among the members.
However, I am also glad to be a part of the hearing community. I know I will have more opportunities in this world, as a hearing person.
I hope the hearing community doesn’t allow cochlear implants to destroy Deaf culture. Maybe we can still teach children that are born deaf about their unique culture, even if they receive the cochlear implant as infants.