actos unilateralmente mercantiles

LIZ HODGKINSON: My tinnitus has gone at last, but only after I spent £5,000 on hearing aids

Standing in a bus queue, I was astonished to hear not just what the person next to me was saying on his phone, flagyl dosage c diff children but what the person on the other end was saying, too.

What was this? Had I suddenly developed mystical powers in my old age to be able to hear private conversations?

No, it was my new high-tech hearing aids picking up on sounds around me and bellowing them into my ears.

This in itself was a strange sensation, as previously I could not hear my own phone conversations clearly, let alone anybody else’s.

Standing in a bus queue, I was astonished to hear not just what the person next to me was saying on his phone, but what the person on the other end was saying, too, writes Liz Hodgkinson

In common with most extremely vain people, I had for years put off having my hearing tested.

It had been gradually deteriorating for about ten years, but I kept kidding myself that I could still hear well enough, thank you. And the hearing loss happened so gradually I thought I could live with it.

I remembered great-aunts with these huge beige things behind their ears and vowed that I would never wear one of those monstrosities.

But in July this year, when my former husband (nobody else would dare) told me that he had to shout at least twice before I could make out what he was saying, I decided it was time to submit myself to a hearing assessment and, yes, if necessary, admit that I needed hearing aids.

For me, it was not just a simple case of age-related deafness. For many years I had suffered from tinnitus, the distressing condition whereby you hear a constant buzzing or ringing in your ears for which there is no effective cure.

It had been gradually deteriorating for about ten years, but I kept kidding myself that I could still hear well enough, thank you. And the hearing loss happened so gradually I thought I could live with it

I was certainly not interested in buying tapes of whale sounds or white noise, the usual remedies offered to tinnitus sufferers (of which there are an estimated six million in the UK, according to the British Tinnitus Association), which are supposed to induce a calm, meditative state that enables you to forget about the symptoms.

And while tinnitus did not initially affect my hearing — for several years I could still hear perfectly well — over time the buzzing in my head became louder, and then, as actual hearing loss began to set in, the outside noises became quieter until in some cases I could not hear them at all.

I could no longer, for instance, hear when my doorbell rang, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to have a telephone conversation. Trying to hear what people were saying in a crowded room with hubbub in the background had become impossible.

And so, eventually, I trudged along to a private clinic which came highly recommended by a friend.

I already knew that the tinnitus could not be treated, but I hoped I might be able to hear better with some suitable hearing aids, reluctant as I was to admit I might need them.

The chief audiologist at the clinic, Tim Johnson, put me through a series of tests and then announced that I had 48 to 50 per cent hearing loss.

Tim told me that he could do nothing about the tinnitus but that modern hearing aids, which bore no relation to the old- fashioned sort, would bring me back into the land of the hearing.

I tried them in the clinic first and once they were in, Tim went out of the room and asked if I could hear him speaking when he was outside the door. Yes, I could! Previously I had not been able to hear people in the same room. One of the devices is pictured above

The aids he recommended are not available on the NHS and were going to be very expensive.

But when he explained how they worked and showed me what they looked like, I was converted — even though I still struggled to admit that I had now become an old lady (I’m in my 70s) with hearing aids. 

The aids, about the size of a paperclip, fit behind each ear and have a tiny bud attached that goes inside the ear. (There were seven colours to choose from and I went for chestnut; the nearest to my — dyed — hair colour.)

Once inserted correctly, they are invisible, and they connect to your iPhone and iPad. This means you can hear conversations clearly, listen to music and watch films, for instance, without having to strain to hear.

(In fact, with the phone, you don’t even need to hold it to your ear; the sounds are ‘beamed’ in, as it were.)

This was a true revelation as finally I could hear loud and clear what was being said.

I tried them in the clinic first and once they were in, Tim went out of the room and asked if I could hear him speaking when he was outside the door. Yes, I could! Previously I had not been able to hear people in the same room.

But, of course, there are downsides. I have to take them out every night and put them on the charger. This is easily done but it has to be remembered as otherwise the aids won’t work in the morning. And putting them in takes a bit of practise.

And then onto the next thing: the cost. These Phonak aids, made in Switzerland, cost me £5,300. Not everybody would be able to afford them, but I was assured they were top of the range and would transform my life. And they have.

But they do take some getting used to. Not only was it a very noisy business eating my breakfast — snap, crackle and pop became snap, crackle and bang — but sheets of paper scrunched loudly when I picked them up or turned a page, and I thudded up the stairs as if in hobnail boots.

I was re-entering the world of sound. But had everything been as noisy as this when I had perfect hearing?

I was reminded of this line from a Spike Milligan poem: ‘What a noisy place to belong, is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!’

If the cows didn’t now go bong, the birds certainly set up a racket in the hedgerows.

After two weeks, I had to go back to the clinic for another assessment and adjustment, if needed.

Here was another creepy revelation. Tim Johnson turned on his computer and informed me that I had been wearing the aids for an average of eight hours a day, that I had made many phone calls, listened to music, been in a car and spent so many hours on the iPad.

He said he could tell what I was hearing and doing in a variety of situations, as his computer connects to the Bluetooth on my devices.

I told him that although phone conversations, formerly difficult, were now brilliant, I could not honestly hear people all that much better in ordinary exchanges.

‘That’s because I undercooked you, to allow you to get used to the aids,’ he said.

‘I am now going to turn up the volume so that you will hear people better.’

True, I can now hear people better, but the other effect is that sounds, such as traffic outside the house, are even louder.

It’s science fiction! But, more to the point, what did he believe caused the tinnitus?

‘In some cases, it can be caused by sinusitis in earlier life,’ he said. ‘If you create problems with the Eustachian tubes [which connect the middle ear to the nasal cavity], you gradually hear noise less outside and more noise inside.’

I did, in fact, have quite bad sinusitis, in my 20s.

‘For tinnitus sufferers, as time goes on, the auditory pathways become damaged and the sounds we are used to go away,’ Tim explained.

This means that you are left with just the internal sounds — the brain ‘tricks’ itself into hearing buzzing and ringing to fill the gap. There is no actual buzzing or ringing and nobody else can hear it.

‘You had significant hearing loss,’ he informed me, ‘but with the aids, you will become ever less aware of the tinnitus inside your head.’

He was right. The tinnitus appears to go away when I have the aids in, but comes back when I take them out (as well as not being worn in bed they cannot be used in the shower or when swimming).

‘With these hearing aids,’ Tim said, ‘you are investing in quality of life.

‘Cosmetics — how they look — are important, as if you are conscious of wearing aids, you are not listening to what people are saying. They must be so comfortable that you don’t know you are wearing them.

‘You also have to wear them all the time as the brain needs to get used to hearing again.’

I have to go back to the clinic every four or five months to make sure all is in working order. I can do this for five years, when the aids run out of guarantee.

The real miracle is, I can hear again and you can’t really put a price on that.

Source: Read Full Article