By Kathi Mestayer
This year, I'm getting new hearing aids! My existing aids are five years old, and have Bluetooth-compatibility, telecoils, adaptive directionality, and programs to fit my most idiosyncratic needs, including a birdwatching/music program with omnidirectional microphones.
But a lot can happen in five years, and I've been hearing from my audiologist, Sandy Burkes-Campbell, M.S., CCC-A, of Maico Audiological Services in Newport News, Va., that some of her patients are getting big improvements in speech comprehension, including in noise, with newer aids, so I'm pumped.
When I set up my appointment, she informed me that I would be getting a questionnaire to fill out for our consultation.
Pop quiz! The pressure is on… and the questions include but are not limited to:
1. How important are the following:
a. having high-tech aids?
b. "cosmetic" issues (e.g. size, color, visibility)?
c. price constraints?
2. Do you experience frustration in family interactions?
3. Do you feel "left out" when with a group?
4. Is your social life limited by your hearing loss?
5. Do you have any ringing in your ears?
6. Is listening to music a priority for you?
7. Do your current aids present any of the following problems/challenges:
a. Tinny/metallic sounds?
b. Feedback or whistling?
c. Wind noise?
d. Trouble using a landline or other phone?
e. Difficulty changing batteries?
f. Don't like how your own voice sounds?
And then, I got the open-ended essay question:
If there was anything you could change about your current hearing aids, what would it be?
I'm working hard filling in the blanks and writing (and revising) my essay… I need to get an A. More importantly, I think the result will be a thoughtful, complete discussion of my needs and issues. Thanks, Sandy!
Also from our latest issue of Hearing Health magazine, you can get nuts-and-bolts answers to real-life hearing aid questions. Earlier, we featured the ultimate guide to hearing aid styles.
Also in the new Spring issue, you can learn about finding the right hearing health professional for you.