I have had this blog for a while, but today I decided to wipe the slate clean and start over with a focus on Audiology. New year – new blog. Despite working toward a new career in Web Development and/or User Experience Design, I’ve decided to use my blog here to discuss the whole gamut of issues I deal with. The issues include healthcare, religion (Don’t worry – I’ve learned to limit the frequency with which I discuss this topic.), philosophy, psychology, sociology, education, technology, politics (The caveat for religion applies here too.), horror, movies, books, television, animation, video, audio, and so on. I’ll keep my posts categorized, so you – whoever you are – don’t have to wade through long posts about topics you’d rather not read about here.
The topic of Audiology isn’t going to be the focus of this site as a whole. It just happens to be the topic I’m dealing with the most today.
Costco Hearing Aids
I’ve had hearing aids from Costco, Phonak, Starkey, and now ReSound. I’ve used telecoil-based… uh, call center headset “things” that hooked over my ears so that they (tried) to sit against my hearing aids. I don’t remember what make or model they were, but they were horrible – they were the first piece of technology that I tried to use while still trying to succeed in a call center job. That was back around 2000, when I first realized I needed hearing aids despite being only 30 years old at the time.
Phonak Hearing Aids
After that, I got a pair of Phonak hearing aids from Mayo Clinic – who was also my employer at that time in about 2004. They were far better than the Costco hearing aids I’d gotten in 2000. But, they still didn’t help with call center work very much. I eventually got promoted to a Medical Secretary position and didn’t have to worry so much about being able to hear people over the phone any more. But, I still experienced great difficulty and eventually quit my job at Mayo because of all the strife and misunderstandings surrounding me and my hearing loss.
Starkey Hearing Aids
About ten years later – so, those Phonaks were amazingly long-lasting (but partially due to my extreme level of attention to maintaining my hearing aids) – in 2014, my wife happened to be working for an employer that, to our amazement, paid for hearing aids at 100%!! This, I’d found, was unheard of (no pun intended). So, I upgraded again to Starkey Halo hearing aids.
The Halos were my first hearing aids with Made For iPhone (MFi) capability. I had been a die-hard Android fanboy until then, but got my first iPhone in order to use the bluetooth-based streaming capabilities of the Halos. That dramatically increased my quality of life because I was finally able to hear music in its full richness again. The Halos’ connection to my iPhone also made it possible again for me to understand what people were saying to each other in movies – especially dramatic movies, in which characters often whisper their lines to each other to, I guess, “sound dramatic”.
Unfortunately, I also learned that Halos were the exact opposite of the Phonak HAs when it came to build quality. The Halos broke several times while I had them. I had to do without hearing aids for weeks at a time while Starkey sent new ones to me to replace the broken ones. Understandably, that was quite annoying. And, despite getting new ones repeatedly, they all continued to break after only a short period. I even opted pay an additional $200 or so in order to buy a new one year warranty in order to continue replacing the Halos which would continue to break. I think I went through about five pairs.
ReSound Hearing Aids and Accessories
Now, thanks to AZ DES Voc Rehab, I have two brand new ReSound ENZO 3D hearing aids. I also have a Multi-Mic, a PhoneClip+, and TV Streamer 2. My favorite ReSound accessory is the TV Streamer 2. I have mine plugged into the optical out port on my TV. It streams sound from the TV into my ENZO 3Ds. (ReSound provides several methods to connect the Streamer to your TV; not just fiber optic.) There is a huge difference between sound coming from the TV speakers and sound coming from TV Streamer 2! TV sound via the Streamer is far better.
One quirk I’ve discovered is that the TV’s volume needs to be set to at least “1” (out of 100) in order for any sound at all to be sent from the Streamer to my HAs. So, while the sound coming out of the TV’s speakers is at “1”, I can make the sound within my hearing aids any volume I’d like. Additionally, it’s good that sound can come out of the TV’s speakers at whatever level the other (hearing) people in the room want it at; while I can simultaneously set the volume in my hearing aids for what I need. Further, it’s also good that I get TV sound while also getting sound from the surrounding area via the mics in my hearing aids.
Getting Educated for a New Career
I’ve realized that call center work probably doesn’t hold as much promise for me because of my Audiology issues. So, I’ve gone back to college at Polytechnic School at ASU to get a BAS in Internet and Web Development. ASU’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) has provided me with CART for the on-site classes I’ve taken there. That technology was really amazing to me. The DRC loaned me a microphone that plugged into my laptop. I used Skype on my laptop to dial into an offsite (often in another state!) CART transcriptionist who listened to my professors speaking. The transcriptionist typed what was being said for me to read.
Cochlear Implant Hybrids
I’m really excited (and a little nervous) to see how much better things get – Audiology-wise – with the Cochlear Americas Cochlear Implant Hybrid we’re looking at to work with my Hearing Aids.
Living Well with Hearing Loss
I plan to attend Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA’s) upcoming “Living Well with Hearing Loss” support group, starting on January 16, 2019. Despite all of the great technology that’s available, there are still issues that occur due to my Audiology issues. My hearing loss affects many things. So, I’m excited to learn what I don’t yet know!
Onward to Prosperity!
My healthcare, hearing, and career paths have been quite the undertaking, especially since 2000. I’ve learned a lot since I finished high school many years ago. Most of all, I’ve learned that not being “sure” about things – especially existential, philosophical, religious, and spiritual things – is fine. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be positive about the “right” or “wrong” way to do things. Having learned this, I’m much more confident about my future. And, I’m so very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. I’m looking forward to learning more!