Monday, October 25, 2010

On Hearing and Phonak

On Saturday I finally managed to visit my audiologist after 3 long months and many cancelled appointments. I have recently shifted to using a Phonak hearing aid (Exelia art) since April this year. It was a major shift for me as I have been using Siemens for the last 12 years. Perhaps a disillusionment in my hearing quality, perhaps faith in my Pune audiologist and the fact that he was willing to give me a trial of an expensive hearing aid so that I could understand its nuances made me go in for the Phonak eventually..

Saturday was a new experience for me. I began using the Click n Talk wireless transmitter which turns my hearing aid into a wireless headset when I need to use the phone. My hearing aid uses the Phonak HiBAN (Hearing Instrument Body area network) and the click talk mechanism streams in telephone calls into both my hearing instruments simultaneously. The quality is digital and crystal clear. It does shut off outside sounds while I talk, so sometimes that can be a disadvantage. (When am on the phone, I may not hear my door bell).But the joys of having clear phone conversations is something I am beginning to cherish and delight in.

The click talk transmitter is part of my hearing aid and comes in as a valuable accessory. However it is not compatible with a Nokia hand set. It has to be used with only with Sony Ericsson mobiles.

So that meant in order to use it, I had to purchase a Sony Ericsson mobile.Amit and I soon realized that there were very few Sony Ericsson mobile outlets in Pune and sourced two of them. One outlet in Viman Nagar was hell bent on selling me the upper end mobile phones of touch screen. It put me off totally. I am such a non tech person that it takes convincing to tell the man, all I need a mobile is for talking, messaging and also a good organizer. For me it’s a necessity not a designer accessory. Anyway that outlet was not an option for me. Customer service and good quality at that works for me brilliantly. Not otherwise.

So Tilak road it was. After 2 hours at the audiologist, we headed for the outlet and finally managed to find the small little store.

We spelt out our needs. While the proprietor-a well heeled, intelligent person was really clued on to the type of mobiles, he had never handled a click talk and pairing it to the new phone and the processes involved. Initially he was perplexed by me and asked me where my hearing aids were. I told him I am wearing them and that the audiologist had already paired my hearing aid with the Phonak click talk. He looked at me in wonder and genuine curiosity waiting for me to speak more. He was keen to know how the devices had been paired and where. His questions were many but it delighted me when he told me that this was the first time he had handled a hearing impaired customer and figured out the click talk transmitter pairing...

I sensed his curiosity about my challenge .To many who meet me for the first time the challenge seems invisible because I am carrying on conversations like a normal person does. There are times I forget myself that am impaired. I was reminded of my challenge yet again at the audiologist where in the course of conversation the topic of television came up and he asked me how I was hearing the TV.Immedietly I blurted out that I watched the programmers with subtitles and not otherwise. He ofcourse sent me away with a warning that I did not want to make the effort to hear and how would I handle it 10 years hence when the hearing got worse. I ofcourse had to tell him, how much worse can it get when it’s already beyond 100 decibels. He is an encouraging audiologist while am the stubborn customer who tries to have an answer to anything he has to say….

The truth of his words still ring with me. I am at times just too lazy to make the effort to hear. I would rather understand the subtle humour of “Whose Line is it anyway’? through sub titles than having to struggle to hear what those brilliant actors are saying...