My own P.A.
Well actually it is P.C.A. - personal communication assistance, aka hearing aid in old money. I’ve been wondering if I’m making mountains out of molehills. Just because one can’t hear ’ t’ and ‘s’ and ‘f’ it isn’t the end of the world, but on a good day it’s a blasted nuisance; straining to hear the denouement of a radio play and missing it when the actor drops his voice , and on a bad day it’s like slowly slipping into oblivion. I can’t count the number of times someone has spoken confidentially to me at a gathering and whilst I smile hesitantly I’m not sure if they have told me they have just won the lottery or that their dog had just died.
On Friday we went to see Kate, an audiologist with lots of letters after her name. She immediately inspired me with confidence and we had a thorough chat about my symptoms, after which she examined my ears- noted my little perforation in my right ear and gave me an Audiogram which measures one’s hearing threshold and gives specific information about which part of the ear isn’t working properly and which parts of the hearing spectrum are missing.
I asked Kate what the perforation looked like and with the aid of a special instrument I was able to view it on a screen. It was all very clean and tidy and both she and, the ENT specialist agreed that as it had been there since the fifties – it would be best to leave it alone. In fact the hearing in that ear is the same as the other. I have high frequency loss- difficulty hearing softer high-pitched sounds (‘s’,’t’ and ‘f ’but no difficulty hearing the deeper vowel sounds. In quiet listening situations I can follow a conversation but when it gets noisy, I need amplification in order to hear clearly.
I then went to keep my appointment with the ENT man who was very busy and kept me waiting half an hour but he apologised and looked such a nice young man I forgave him. Kate had warned me we would probably go over the same ground again, which we did and he said he would write to my doctor and then sent me back to Kate.
Now we had to choose the hearing aid best suited to my loss of hearing and life style, and I was very surprised to discover that Kate had been partially deaf from birth and has worn hearing aids since the age of ten. She has worn all kinds of hearing aids and uses her real life experience to get the most out of modern technology. I was impressed when she showed me the PCAs she had in her ears.
The West Country Clinical Hearing Services are fully independent which means they look at all hearing aids from all manufacturers so they offer the best advice that will suit individual needs. We decided on the best one for me and I chose the colour – champagne. Kate asked me if I had any idea of the cost and told me the range of prices. She said my hearing loss was not as great as hers and mine was in the middle price range. I tried one in my ear and it felt quite comfortable.
Next Friday I go to have them fitted and have a 45 day trial. If I change my mind during that time I get my money back minus the consultation fee. Otherwise the cost includes free ongoing support and consultations for the life of the hearing aids. I’m having Delta 8000 which listens and thinks how to deliver the best combo of sound quality, speech understanding and comfort in all situations. It had a built in memory that registers the characteristics of my different sound environments. Kate can then fine tune Delta to match specific needs. There’s more to the science bit but it can wait until I actually have it on my person.