Sunday, October 7, 2007

The hearing aids

The next step after detection is getting hearing aids.We had got 2 Bera tests done to reconfirm her impairment.We were advised by our ENT doctor to go to the audiologist who had the latest equipment and was well connected.She was practicing for quite a while locally .A family friend who was hearing impaired and ran a hearing services in another city also recommended her name.
We gave her all the reports and looked hopefully at her maybe she would give us some positive feedback about her condition.She told us she would need hearing aids and then need SPEECH THERAPY.We asked a lot of questions which I feel is very essential.We were told she would go to normal school and will lead a normal life.When asked about speech she told us that there are some sounds which she does not hear and so there were some things which would not be clear in speech.Her name I said was dear to us and we were told that it was difficult name with high frequency sound of ‘sh’ and we could wait for a year and then see, if not change her name.I was depressed as this name had a lovely meaning – beloved God’s gift.She is a gift and no way was I changing the name.
She then gave us a list of HEARING AIDS to choose from.We had no idea of what they were all about , how could I decide?We asked for her help and she told us about each aid and its function.It seemed too technical.Luckily my husband being a technical man could get it and could cross question and judge.We surfed the net ,enquired overseas to understand the price structure.They are expensive and we had just invested in a house…..We were actually learning a whole new world and how important it was to understand each thing.One thing bothered me, we are educated and have access to a lot of information through relatives abroad and through internet, what about the poor and the uneducated who have to depend on experts and believe their word as final.We asked and sought answers, would they do that?No ,as they are scared to question the people who hold degrees and have authority.Also the understanding is limited.
The choice of hearing aids are between two basic aids—analogue and digital.Analogue hearing aids amplify all the sounds to a the same level.The soft and the loud sounds are heard at the same level and so it can cause a lot of disturbance too.The clarity is limited.The person has to decide the sounds he hears.In the digital hearing aids one can programme the aid according to hearing loss.We can match the frequency as close as the loss of the ear.We decided on a digital hearing aid from siemens as it has a history of good hearing aids and its reliability.The quality of sound was good and it offered 4 channels.At that moment it was the latest.
Once finalized , we got her ear moulds made and there my lil girl had sound reaching her!!!She was very difficult as far as taking mould measurement was concerned.Things were being stuffed into the ears and the feeling was not good.I still have a memory loss of her 1st reaction when her hearing aids were 1st put on.I was more concerened about her crying and also a mom’s heart was crying along too.The things on her ears bothered me too much.We carried the whole kit home and we were told to use 15 mins initially and slowly increase the time everyday.I wondered why, but I brushed it aside as we trusted our expert.She told us to KEEP TALKING.I have no issues about talking but talk WHAT?At home I used the aids for 1 hour instead and I kept talking to her and singing enjoying the fact that she was finally hearing.But the issue missing was IS SHE UNDERSTANDING ANYTHING.I did not think of it as I was not aware of this.I felt guilty that I was using for more time than the expert advised.I still remember I told her that I used it for 4 hours and my girl did not seem to mind.To this she just smiled and I wondered about it later.
She would try to take them off as it bothered her .It was unnecessary noise in her peaceful life and she had learnt to adjust in that by using her eyes to catch everything.Moreover it pressed into her tender ears while she slept.She was after all only 9 months.The aids looked huge on her tiny,pink ears.I started to look at each person’s ears I came across and would cry out ‘why me?’.I looked at the poor children on the street and envied them too. Suddenly they looked more fortunate than me.They seem so oblivious of the world , happy and carefree while I had the whole world fallen on my head. Who cared for them? They would have survived with or without a disability.I had huge plans for my girl.But all those seem to shatter now.I would feel I did not need hearing ,give away mine or the people who are dying could give it to her . The questions and answering seem to constantly go on in my mind.I then realized the importance of organ donation.
Now came the next task of ‘SPEECH THERAPY’.This I shall post later.

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