Chronicles of Deafness / Hearing aids

A meeting and lots of emotions!

Dear reader friends! I’m in such a state of ecstasy that I want to share my happiness with you. I’ll explain. Siemens is a partner of Crônicas. I was having a lot of trouble adapting to the devices I was testing, the Pure 700. Ironically, a super speech therapist from the Siemens team ( Michele Vargas Garcia) is from Santa Maria, where I live. She offered to come and see me directly from São Paulo.

We spent last Friday together. As soon as I met Michele in her office, I was reassured by her cheerful countenance. She asked me to be 100% honest, and I was. The most extraordinary thing about our meeting was that Michele explained absolutely EVERYTHING to me about my deafness, something no doctor has ever been able to do. To begin with, she said that there are five degrees (or levels) of deafness.

I’m on the fourth one and, as it’s progressive, I don’t know how long it will take me to get to the last one. This is something that has plagued me ever since I received my diagnosis. If it wasn’t progressive, I wouldn’t worry, but if it was, I’ve lost countless nights of sleep thinking about it. When Michele explained to me that I could (and possibly should) have a cochlear implant in the future, I burst into tears.

I don’t know what came over me at the time, but it felt like 500kg had been lifted off my back. Some time ago I asked a doctor about this, and the answer was“no, cochlear implants are for children, and there’s a 50% chance that they won’t work“. I took it as truth and began to imagine that my future would one day be absolute silence. For someone who was born hearing, heard well, and lost hearing over the years, absolute silence is terrifying, to say the least.

We spend hours adjusting the sound in our hearing aids. It’s a bit funny, by the way, because you have to explain to the audiologist what you’re hearing.“Muffled sound“.“I feel like I’m in a lecture in the back row“.“Now I feel like I’m in the front row and the speaker’s microphone is faulty“. “The sound is far away“. “Your voice sounds like an explosion“… I don’t know how the phonies put up with us at these times, and I rack my brains trying to choose words and metaphors to explain why the hell I don ‘t like the sound.

Then we went to test the phone. I confess that I have a terrible psychological block with telephones. I can’t remember the last time I used this thing to talk – I only use it to send torpedoes. Michele went to another room, called me, and I answered via Tek Connect. I didn’t understand everything she said, but I understood a lot! Wow, what a strange feeling to be talking on the phone after so long. She even showed me how people in São Paulo use the Tek: as if it were a cell phone. I thought it was hilarious and adopted the trick!

Finally, she gave me a task: I need to start ear training. As I’ve only been wearing hearing aids all day for about three years, my brain doesn’t understand much of what I hear through sound amplification. It’s the famous ‘I hear, but I don’t understand’.

I made new molds because I’m getting the Motion 700 instead of the Pure 700. I wear glasses and have extremely sensitive skin. Because of this, I haven’t adapted as I should with Pure – the little plastic wire and the part that goes behind my ear give me hives. And wearing glasses + hearing aids at the same time isn’t very pleasant either, especially if the two are competing for space in your ears. As Motion is intracanal – I’ve been using intracanal for a few years now and I don’t have a problem with skin sensitivity with them – we decided that’s what I’m going to stick with.

On Saturday, we went out for coffee. Very excited, I told Michele about the many hours I spent watching TV listening to the sound directly on the sets. For the first time, I heard the voice of Ugly Betty‘s nephew! It was awesome! But I confess that the biggest thrill was connecting the Tek (the latest generation bluetooth remote control from
) with my iPod and listening to all my favorite songs directly on the Pure’s. And the best thing: the perfect sound! With my other devices, I always hated listening to music, because the sound was like an orchestra of robots! Metallic, horrible. I won’t miss out on any of these wonders with the Motion 700, because it connects to the Tek in the same way.

Oh, and Michele told me a great trick for not having to buy a conventional Bluetooth phone (I searched all the Brazilian online stores and couldn’t find one, and in the US it costs an average of $200): just take my Tek Transmiter (which connects the TV to the hearing aid) and connect it to a phone with an audio output.

I’m very, very happy! I don’t even have the words to describe all the new and old emotions I’ve experienced and relived this weekend.

About Author

Paula Pfeifer é uma surda que ouve com dois implantes cocleares. Ela é autora dos livros Crônicas da Surdez, Novas Crônicas da Surdez e Saia do Armário da Surdez e lidera a maior comunidade digital do Brasil de pessoas com perda auditiva que são usuárias de próteses auditivas.

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