August 29, 2014 -- Erin Wright
The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with Brian who is a patient of mine and has been wearing hearing aids for 5 years. I want to share it as it helps to show the process it takes to find the right hearing aid for each individual person.
“Thank you for your patience”, he said.
“You are welcome”. I responded. “I understand. This is an important decision. After all, what else do you use 12 to 15 hours a day, 7 days a week?”
“Exactly. Not even my car and I paid a lot more for that! Plus my hearing aids have a much larger effect on my overall quality of life than my car does. I love that quote you have hanging on your wall by Helen Keller. You know, the one that says Blindness separates us from things, but Deafness separates us from people”.
“I love that quote”, I replied.
“Don’t get me wrong, he said. There are many people who I could care less if I don’t hear. After all, half of what they say is babbling anyway."
I laugh and agree. “OK, so let’s figure out what it is exactly that you need this hearing aid to do. What I heard you say was that the previous hearing aid you tried made music sound tinny and you had trouble on the phone?”
“Yes”, he replied. “I don’t talk on the phone often, but when I do, I need it to work”.
I think for a few minutes of all the options available in the hearing aid marketplace. We identify the need for better music fidelity, phone use, easy to change batteries and discrete sizing. “What about pricing?” I ask. “Do you have a budget for this?”
“Yes. I am wondering if we can keep it lower than $3000 for both of them.”
“No problem" I reply. "We can get a lot of amazing technology for that price point. There are hearing aids at $1000 for both that we can try if you like first, but I am not sure it will meet all of the needs you mentioned above”.
“You are the Audiologist”, he replied. I consider carefully all of the hearing aids from each manufacturer as they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some companies have niche products that work very well for the phone, but I am not sure it will meet this gentleman’s needs for cosmetics. Finally, after scrolling through the specs on different hearing aids I find one that will match all of his requirements.
“Now we just have to pick the color, the fun part”, I smile.
We settle on a very small hearing aid made by Widex called the Passion. It has a special mechanism that improves the sound quality of music above all other aids. As well, it has a feature where when he answers the phone, it directs the call to both hearing aids. I also include a free wireless phone that is made by Widex that directly connects to the aids, it's much more effective than telecoil. As well, the battery is easy to change and it gives him an audible alert where a woman’s voice says “Battery Low” when it is time to change the battery. I tell him about the 3 year warrantee, the loss warrantee as well as the battery supply he gets. He also decides to get an adaptor for his TV to allow the volume of the TV to stream directly into his hearing aids.
“My wife will like this”, he says. “I watch sports center at night while she reads next to me and I can’t tell you how many times she has asked me to turn down the volume. Now I can turn the volume right off and have the audio go direct to my hearing aids”.
“Great”, I reply. He his impressed by our free services for life when I explain that part. He knows from being a previous user of hearing aids that there is a relationship that develops with your Audiologist.
“My Audiologist is as important to me as my doctor”, he mentions. I smile to consider that compliment. “When I can’t hear things, it wreaks havoc on my relationships”.
We book an appointment for him to return so that I can do a proper fitting of his hearing aids and allow him to begin his 90 day trial. “Do you have a later appointment? I want to bring my wife and she works until 5pm”.
“Of course, I reply, I will book you to come in at 5:30 next Tuesday. Does that work for you?”
“Perfect”, he responds. “I will see you then, and Erin; Thanks”.