(2nd installment of blog entry titled Saving What is Left of ME - read part one)
“It could slow down the progress.” this sentence resounding to me like a talking tinnitus even after we left the doctor’s office.
After we had our lunch, that same day, July 5, Stuart and I decided to visit two of the hearing aids centers for fit testing. Albeit I just had my audiometry test done in the morning, the female doctor in the first center that we visited performed another pure tone and speech test audiometry. I did not know why a second test should be done. Would there be a possibility that they would get a different result this time?
While inside the dark audiometric testing room, believe it or not, I could feel and hear my heartbeat so loud. I was anxious of what’s happening and maybe in some ways hoping that in this second test, I would be able to perform better. That they will rule out what the ENT specialist said earlier. That I do not need to wear hearing aids. Their test results and the first one conducted, according to the doctor, yielded the same outcome. I now need hearing aids.
She programmed the hearing aids based on the results that she got and had it fitted in my ears. All of a sudden, everything seemed to be so loud. I was surprised to hear a magnified sound of my stamping foot. I could no longer hear the tinnitus. Rather it was masked by a more disturbing background sounds. Stuart’s voice sounded different. His voice was like of a robot. Even mine sounded different. I tried another pair of hearing device, this time the one with 22 channels (the first one I tried have 5 channels; channels is comparable to a camera’s megapixels, the higher the channels, the better the quality of sounds). The differences were noticeable but still, the sounds I could hear were no longer natural. At the back of my mind, I was asking myself, “Is this the best that a hearing aid could offer me?”
Stuart asked how much it would cost us and we were surprised that it was almost twice the price range that the ENT specialist told us. The female doctor said the limitations of the hearing device. That it would not be able to produce sounds as natural as non-hearing aid user hears and that it would not make the words clearer. It could only amplify the sounds. I told the female doctor my concern on that disturbing background noise and she said, “Which would you want compared to tinnitus?”
I was almost tempted to answerback and let her know that I’d rather keep my tinnitus than be exposed to that annoying sound. For me it was too much of a noise. I also told her about what the ENT doctor (the one I visited in 2009) said about my ears; that they would not deteriorate even if I do not use hearing aids. She said, “It could also be true that you may not develop further hearing loss but your speech discrimination would be the one affected. Meaning you might still be able to hear but you may not understand anymore the words you are hearing”. Stuart told the doctor that we would first discuss things between ourselves and would come back as soon as we made a decision.
We went to the next hearing aid center. Here, they just relied on the audiometry test result that I presented to them. Just like the first, they programmed the hearing aids and fitted on me. I liked it better than the first. The tinnitus was still there yet the disturbing background sounds were very minimal. Aesthetically, one would hardly notice that I was wearing it. It was a bit pricey than the first hearing device that I tried considering that it only has 15 channels. The unit has a wireless assistive listening device that I can use with my mobile phone and at the same time would act as a remote control of the hearing aids. It was priced separately and was far more expensive than the mobile phone I am using now.
The hearing aid consultant repeated some of the things that were mentioned to me by the senior ENT specialist who referred me to them. Moreover, he said that these letters (S, F, T, H) that I am having difficulty in recognizing now could eventually be forgotten by my brain because I was no longer hearing them, thus the need for me to wear hearing aids.
We ended up buying nothing that day, first because we still have to check our funds and second, I was not yet fully convinced on the information that I received from the ENT specialist, the female doctor and the hearing aid consultant. A number of questions were playing in my mind. Questions that I need to find answers.
If I would choose not to wear hearing aids, would I eventually call my husband as UAR soon?
(to be continued)