Back in May 2017 I mentioned (Blog End of the Line) that I got new hearing aids. WA thought some snazzy new Phonaks with all the bells and whistles would be very helpful to me, so I got them and all the cool accessories. And thus started my decline.
Please note I am not in any way knocking Phonaks. I’ve benefited from them in my early years of hearing loss and many people I know are doing wonderfully with them. The problem is, I just don’t have enough hearing to make use of their terrific technology. It’s brilliant, I have no doubt, but unfortunately, due to many different circumstances, including months of trying to adjust them, we just couldn’t make them work for me. Phonak was great about it and did their best, but they just weren’t right for me.
At times, I thought they sounded pretty good. But then I realized those times were in a quiet room, one on one. In any other situation, I was becoming helpless. And at that point, I was starting to feel it was about to become hopeless. I thought I finally did reach the end of the line and I felt so desperate, I started practicing ASL again – right up until I broke my wrist and could no longer move my right hand. But getting back to the point – I was unable to communicate with anyone in normal life situations. I couldn’t communicate with friends across a table in a restaurant. I couldn’t even understand DHH when he tried to help me. I couldn’t understand the cashier telling me how much my groceries were. I couldn’t understand anyone. I wasn’t getting enough sound to make sense of what I was trying to comprehend in lip (speech) reading.
I figured I had nothing to lose so back to WA I went. I hoped she’d come up with a miracle and somehow make the Phonaks work for me. Unfortunately, she could not, but she still came up with a miracle. “We’re going to try other brands until we find one that works,” she said. “We’re not done yet!”
And then she ordered a brand I hadn’t really heard much about in all my years of hearing loss. I don’t know why I never heard much about them so I was a little leery about it. But she ordered Oticon Hearing Aids and the minute she put them in my ears, my life snapped back to how it was before. Voices were coming out of people’s mouths again, not sounding like they were coming from a tunnel far away. I was able to put the sounds together with the lips and start reading again. They work very differently from the Phonaks, and lo and behold, they work for me! Don’t get me wrong – I still can’t hear and I don’t mean to give the impression that I can. But they bring enough sound into my ears for me to function and cope the way I did before I tried the Phonaks. And again, I’m not knocking Phonak. They’re great. They just didn’t work well for me.
I’m sharing this so you’ll all know that even when it starts to feel hopeless, don’t give up hope. There are always people working to help us, to give us products that can enrich our lives, to find more ways to give us a sense of comfort and normalcy. In this case, Oticon is working for me. And may we have many successful years together. Thank you from my heart Oticon!