Monday, March 22, 2010

About Confidence, and Hearing Aid Programs

At one of my first appointments just after getting my new hearing aids, I mentioned to my audiologist that I was having difficulty hearing at work. At work I spent 50-60% of my time in a huge, cavernous windowed room sitting at a desk assisting patrons. Any time I was out there, I was having difficulty. Surrounding sounds just seemed to take precedence over one lone voice talking to me over the counter. Conversations all around me, the hum of the computer lab just behind the desk, music playing from the cafe area and other distractions all combined to make it very difficult for me to hear what I actually needed to.

The audiologist set up a second program on my hearing aid that diminished sound to my right, left, and behind me. He made a few other adjustments and sent me on my way. I was excited... but also very nervous to give it a try. I imagined that if it did not work I would feel frustrated, and the patrons wouldn't get the help they needed. Not only that, but I had just gotten the aids, and felt nervous about how to actually set them into a different program.

So that program languished unused until Saturday night. I was not at work, but my husband and I decided to go to PF Chang's to celebrate his new job. They were very busy, and we were seated at a table for two right in the middle of all the noise. I was having a lot of difficulty hearing him and even just dealing with all the noise... it was really starting to hurt and I was unhappy.

Then I got the idea to try my new program. After all, the person I needed to hear was directly in front of me, and I didn't have any reason to pay attention to the chattering going on to my sides or behind me. So I figured out how to set the program, which was a little tricky. It was amazing the difference that it made, though! The sounds around me were not silenced, but just much more quiet. I imagine it sounded the way a person with typical hearing would hear in a restaurant. To be able to "mute" my surroundings and still hear Scotty was awesome.

I can't say I'm still not nervous about using the program at work, but it's given me enough confidence to give it a try. Since I can still hear my surroundings, if I need to hear someone coming up behind me or calling me I should still be able to, just with a bit more difficulty. I think I will try setting the program just before getting out to the desk area.

Sometimes all you need is to try something in a comfortable situation before getting the confidence to try it elsewhere.


  1. The directional microphone feature on most aids is awesome!! Glad it's working so well for you. :-)

  2. Hi Megan,
    I actually wear my hearing aid on that setting most of the time. I just don't like background noise. When it's my turn at the information desk, I have to do the opposite and turn my program to the main one to boost the sound. I will be very interested to hear your experience.

  3. When I got my new hearing aids I did a lot of experimenting using the remote control switching between programs to see what worked best and to help me understand what each program was doing. I actually asked someone to sit across from me and read from a book while I switched back and forth - it was quite revealing and helpful to know when to use "speech in noise" and when not to.


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