This is the first of the users that I have asked to share their experiences and their ideas or aspirations for the future provision of hearing instruments. It is interesting that Stein would like the ability to tweak and fine tune his aids, but also wants a hearing care professional involved in the process. He wants that involvement but on his terms. Stein is Norwegian and is a committed advocate, Stein’s first language is of course Norwegian so please forgive him any oddities in structure.
Stein Thomassen sometimes call himself hearing impaired tinnitus preacher. He works in Norway as knowledge mediator towards the uneducated public. Since 2006 he has conducted lots of courses on tinnitus and reduced sound tolerance. Lately he has moved into hearing loss and hearing instruments as well.
He runs horetrobbel.no which is an information blog on hearing loss, and tinnitustips.no which is a TRT and CBT friendly web site on tinnitus and sound tolerance. Also, he has written Selvhjelp ved tinnitus, a book on managing bothersome tinnitus, and is the editor of Høreluren, a members’ magazine of the Oslo chapter of the Norwegian association of hearing impaired.
Stein has a cookie-bite hearing loss now progressed to a ski jump.
Contact info: http://horetrobbel.no/kontakt/
What does the fitter say?
Do do do do do youuuu hear ok?
Since Easter I have been programming my hearing aids myself. Gone are 13 years in the hands of (in my case) amateurish professional fitters. Only one of the 13 I have encountered did verify the fitting (but knew little of the options in the fitting software). The 13th fitter made me boil over. I wanted maximum speech understanding coupled with the absense of unpleasant tonal balance. So I decided not to waste my time anymore. I landed on self programming, very much to my satisfaction – and to the hearing care professionals’ dissatisfaction.
Now I can refit my aids anytime I like. No need to wait a month or two for the next correction. No making a fool of myself at work during the waiting period whenever the last fitting was a misfit. If I need to, I can reprogram a dozen times during a single day, and verify the usability after each reprogramming. And I have almost entirely overcome the communication barrier between the hearing professional and myself 😉
During 13 years I have had 13 different professionals programming my aids. Why so many? No one impressed me and made me feel the aids were correctly adjusted. So I went for a new one each time. That’s my way of doing it. By education I am an electronic engineer trained in both analog and digital electronics. Too often I felt the hearing professionals had inadequate knowledge of malfunctioning hearing, the workings of modern aids (which are advanced devices), and the options of today’s complex fitting software. And always (except once) there was no verifying of the fitting. Just the plain D O – Y O U – H E A R – M E – A L L – R I G H T – N O W ? in a slow and clear voice in a deadly silent office. And I thought to myself; what a wonderful world. Hey – no, I did NOT think that. My thougts were more like; does he/she really understand what it is all about?
Guess what is on my wish list for X-mas? A truly professional service by a knowledable audiologist. Verification of speech understanding and listening comfort in various environments. And time for fine tuning. Before I leave for home. Additionally I wish for an easy to use fine tuning option for the interested wearers to use.
For this to happen smoothly I believe the majority of users have to be educated in identifying listening problems and in communicating the problems. That is why my wish list also contains an easyly understood multimedia publication for the users to study before they enter the fitting room.