I’m deaf. Now what? By Simon Schofield (Leeds)

I’m deaf.  Now what?    By Simon Schofield

“I finally faced up to my problem one summer evening, strolling up the road on the way for a drink with my teenage daughter. She was on my right hand side – and chatting away. I could hardly hear a word she was saying.  In hindsight, all the signs were there – and familiar to those of us who now wear hearing aids. I asked people to repeat things. A lot. I had the TV or radio on louder than everyone else. At parties, or in the pub, I struggled to hear the person talking to me over the hubbub. I’d even returned a pair of headphones, claiming they were faulty because the sound on the right had side was muffled and close to inaudible. I’d ignored all the signs, but I couldn’t carry on doing that. Was I deaf on that side? It was time to find out. It was a big decision – and one I wasn’t too fond of pursuing to its conclusion. I was only fifty two, running my own company in television production and in my free time leading an extremely active life indulging my passion (my wife would say obsession) for road cycling. Whilst it’s never a great idea to be complacent, life was pretty sweet – on the grand scale of things, I didn’t have a lot to worry about. So I really didn’t want to be deaf.  But having made the decision, there was little point in delay. I made a private appointment with an ENT specialist for a hearing test and examination. It didn’t take long. I had quite severe loss on the right hand side and a mild loss on the left. It was “idiopathic” – this is doctor-speak for “We have no idea why you’re deaf.” There was one highly unlikely thing that needed to be ruled out, which is a common cause of single-sided deafness, namely an acoustic neuroma. You don’t want one of those, but an MRI scan, arranged through the NHS, provided reassurance.

I wasn’t dying, I was just deaf. Now what? The immediate priority was a cycling trip to the Alps to climb a few hills, watch a race – and reflect that I was now officially deaf. Over a few beers with my mates, the way forward emerged: The problem wasn’t going to fix itself – I was going to need hearing aids. I wasn’t thrilled, but I just needed to get on with it. I hit Google when I got home – and emerged a couple of days later, thoroughly confused. I work in a highly technical industry, I’m a fully paid up gadget-freak and I’m pretty clued up on electronics and technology but the choice was overwhelming. I needed a human being to help me – and one who knew what they were talking about. I found Rob on the web, and a few days later, he was sitting across from me at the dining room table. I feel a bit sorry for audiologists in this position – they tend to be the focus of your frustration that one of your essential faculties has gone south, never to return and dealing with people who are essentially in a state of shock can’t be easy. 

Rob was very patient – and explained that my dream scenario, a hearing aid that would be invisible, have eternal battery life and would restore my hearing to 20/20, was probably not going to happen. He took me through the options and guided me towards a Behind-The-Ear (BTE) CROS system.  The system would place a tiny box of tricks, nestling just behind the ear, on my bad side. In it – a microphone which would gather sound and send it, via Bluetooth, to a second box of tricks on my good side. All the sound would be channeled into my good ear – with some impressive electronics mixing it and processing it to make it sound as natural as possible and to fool the brain that the bad ear was working. There was an inevitable period of adjustment. No matter how good the electronics, the new sound is different. I now know that it’s called “processed” sound. It sounded artificial and a bit weird. But gradually, I became accustomed to it.

Not overflowing with happiness, but adapted – and three years later, the adaptation process continues.  I think Rob probably finds me one of his more demanding clients. I had him back several times to tweak the sound and the volume in the early months – and his patience and knowledge was always exemplary. He refrained from giving me the hard sell on new products or advances in software and hardware, but, continuing to do my own research, I am now on my third CROS system. The principle remains the same, but the technological advances are substantial. My latest Phonak system is much better than anything I’ve had before – the sound is very natural and the ability of the software to learn from the various sound environments I encounter is incredibly clever. Of course, it’s not been cheap. Rob does price keenly and he has given me good deals. But I have spent thousands of pounds trying to defeat my disability. Three years on, my life has changed. Some of it was going to happen anyway, and some of it was a consequence of being deaf. I am reluctant to do some things that I used to do. But my main interests remain the same, I still greatly enjoy life, I still ride my bike up mountains, and nowadays I just try to see deafness as part of life’s rich tapestry. It could be a lot worse . . . . . and every few weeks I get to have a good moan at Rob. 

In conclusion – if you find yourself in my position, I’d give the following advice: Don’t think that a hearing aid will restore your hearing to perfection. It might, but it’s unlikely. You have to learn to deal with being a bit deaf and you will work out strategies that help. As in many areas of life, you get what you pay for. The more expensive hearing aids do produce better results. Tell people that you’re a bit deaf. It removes embarrassment and everybody I’ve ever told has reacted positively. 

And be nice to Rob – it’s not his fault you’re deaf!”

PHONAK AUDEO V90 312 and CROS II

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Rebecca’s New Analogue Hearing Aid helps improve hearing (our new happy patient in Lancashire)

RJDhearingcare

A patient’s story:

My name is Rebecca Smith and I was born with a condition that is very rare (affecting 1 in 40,000). It is called Klippel-Feil Syndrome. It affects predominately my neck spine, my mobility and my ears. From birth my neck is much shorter than it should be with webbing at either side of it and my head is held slightly to my right. X-rays showed a massive fusion of all the 7 vertebrae of my neck, except for 1 small area where I have slight movement so I was never able to look over my shoulder or extend my neck at all. Also from birth I have deafness in both ears, profound deafness in the left and moderate loss in the right.       

During all my child and adult life, despite having bad ear infections and a perforated left ear drum I was very happy with my NHS Analogue Hearing Aids. I could hear sounds loudly, clearly and comfortably – it felt just like normal hearing. My hearing aids were like my best friend and helped me to overcome my insecurities about the negative effect of my neck on my life. I panicked whenever I thought I’d lost them around the house! Then the change over to Digital took place and the NHS Digitals I tried were just awful. Sounds were bad quality, distorted and changed constantly in different surroundings. I felt dizzy and disorientated. I continued hearing Analogues until they eventually stopped working. I had 2 of the last batch of NHS Analogues from about 12-14 years ago. They had lasted such long time and that is another advantage of using Analogues – they last ages! 
 
Last summer, with no Analogues that worked properly I found an Audiologist who said he stocked the old Analogue type. But I was very disappointed when he more or less said he would only sell me Digitals at a too expensive price for me: £600-£1000 or over! I felt disillusioned and depressed because I missed my Analogues so much. I was struggling with no aids at all. I didn’t think I’d find any Audiologists who would help. Then I discovered R.J. Donnan Hearing Care, based at Oswaldtwistle Mills. Right away I felt comfortable and at ease, with Rob and May. Rob gave me some very good advice for ear care as well as for hearing aids;   he  explained  that  I  may  be able to have my perforated ear drum mended, which in the past no one else had mentioned. And I have now got an appointment with E.N.T  clinic to learn more about that, thanks to Rob,  the Senior Audiologist. He was very caring, kind, empathetic, understanding, patient and nothing was too much trouble. He tried me on a 7 days trial of Phonak Naida I UP Digitals Aids. He bore in mind that I liked the behind-the-ear types first and although they weren’t suitable or right for me, Rob was very understanding and really listened to every word I said.  Next time I saw him, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Rob had found me on Analogue Hearing Aid! Analogues have been discontinued about 10-14 years ago and as I had researched on the Internet – Hundreds of people still love Analogues but cannot buy them anywhere.  Even  in  America a lot of previous users of Analogues cannot adjust to Digitals and have  suffered  psychologically  and  physically  from  having  no  alternative  to  Digital Hearing Aids.
 
I had tried Audiologists around my area and every single one of them didn’t want to know about Analogues. Rob is the only Audiologist I’ve met who cares about people! Not just the newest Digital Hearing Aids. And he will work as hard as it takes to find the best hearing aids to suit you. He will always invest his time into making you as happy and as suited to your new hearing aids and you don’t  pay a  penny until  you  are entirely  satisfied.   No  stress, pressure selling or hassle! Rob’s Analogue Hearing Aid which I now own is a FEIE 209. It has only cost me £295 – that’s including a beautiful hearing aid mould of the highest quality, which actually moulds itself snugly inside the ear. It is the most comfortable ear mould I have ever worn and I am confident that there is no feedback sounds as the mould is such on excellent fitting. Comparing that cost to £600 –£1000 over from other Audiologists! Nothing compares to Rob at R.J. Donnan Hearing Care.  Rob has a passion for wonderful customer service and amazing prices, he really doesn’t sell hearing aids  just because they are the most expensive or the latest technology. He offers you great support and the best hearing care for you. And for other Analogue lovers, Robert Donnan Hearing Care at Oswaldtwistle Mills is definitely your home. I am now receiving excellent free after care and appointments are always  available anytime.
I’m so glad that I have found Rob and I’ve finally found the support I so badly needed. 
 
 
5 STARS
Rebecca Smith, Lancashire 31.01.16
hearing aid, hearing aids, phonak hearing aids, analogue hearing aids, hearing aids leeds, bradford, halifax, huddersfield, dewsbury, blackburn, bury

Surprising Results with PHONAK CROS II

RJDhearingcare

Approximately 25 years ago I began with bad attacks of menieres syndrome (dizziness, loss of balance and sickness). Over the years the menieres has improved but left me with 85% deafness in my right ear and awful tinnitus. I have tried an NHS hearing aid but to no avail. Recently through recommendation, my husband contacted Rob Donnan and was fitted with his hearing aids which have transformed his life!  On one of Rob’s visits to our home, I explained my situation and he offered to fit me with a ‘crossover’ system with no obligation. At first I was apprehensive and sceptical as nothing had worked previously, but decided to give the 2 week trial a go. I am over the moon with the results and can not believe the difference it has made to my life, not only can I hear so much better it has stabilized my tinnitus (in my right ear). 

5 STARS

S.Peel, Bewerley, Pateley Bridge

Ongoing Care from RJD Hearing Care

I bought my hearing aids from Robert 5 years ago. They have really helped me in my ministry as an assistant priest where hearing what people say is really important. Robert comes to see me at home which is very helpful and the after sales service has always been excellent.

Ailsa

5 STARS

Latest review for HEARING AID PARTS, West Yorkshire

Linda Lynch,

Florida,
USA
12th Dec 2015
Saved hundreds, if not thousands of dollars….
“I’ve saved hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars because of hearingaidparts.  Audiologists were telling me my four year old scratchy-sounding aids were probably nearing end of life.  I consulted with Robert, who confirmed the correct replacement parts and answered all my questions quickly and correctly.  Why purchase new, expensive hearing aids when you can possibly replace failing parts yourself…at a fraction of the cost.  It’s so easy!”
5 STARS

Invisible Hearing Aids trial

Geoff Berry,

Huddersfield

9th December 2015

Invisible Hearing Aids trial

5 STARS

I already owned a pair of PHONAK Q70 IICs (the tiny invisible type that are about the size of a pea) bought from Robert Donnan about 18 months ago. After several fine-tuning appointments, and a couple of shell adjustments, these have proven to be very effective in all environments. Nobody sees them and they are very comfortable. Robert said from the start that this type of very small aid could need some occasional maintenance, and when this happens, I’m without the aid/s for about a week. So I decided to try the PHONAK VIRTO V90 IIC, making my current aids a spare set. Initially they came (as standard) with a button on the battery drawer. I was finding that I pressed that accidentally sometimes, so Robert modified them. After that, I found that the new aids were significantly better in noisy places (bearing in mind that I already thought the previous set were life-changing!). The new ones seem to change themselves very fast, reacting quickly as I move into a new environment. This was very confusing at first, but now I love them. I am so happy to have found Robert. He is a genuine man and definitely cares. I can’t recommend him enough. And I got these for £2990 for the pair. I know from extensive research this to be the best price possible too.   Perfect!

Brilliant, trustworthy and excellent service.

James Bland

11 June 2015

Brilliant, trustworthy and excellent service.

5 STARS

I was rather uncertain after wearing NHS hearing aids for 10 years but the benefit of a free trial helped to win me over.  Rob was very professional, approachable and helpful, nothing was too much  trouble  even making  two  home  visits to  “fine  tune”  the  units. The  Phonak  V30 10 made an immediate difference to my hearing, is unobtrusive and almost invisible  when  wearing.  What  really impressed  me  and  I found  refreshing  was following the free trial period when I asked to upgrade to a more expensive Phonak  V50  RIC,  Rob  suggested that for my type of hearing loss  the technical improvement over the  V30  would  not  be   cost  beneficial. The  service  and  care  is  exemplary.  I  carried  out  a  significant  degree  of  internet   research and found that  his  prices  are  extremely  competitive  so  with a  free  trial  and  60  day  money  back  guarantee  I  can  highly recommend R J Donnan.

Phonak Audeo V90 10

RJDhearingcare

Markus Rasche

21 July 2015

5 STARS

Don’t go anywhere else for hearing aids! I contacted Robert after two unconvincing visits to high street hearing aid retailers. Robert came to my  home on a  Saturday  morning  and  spent two hours explaining the different hearing aid options. He then offered me two different makes to trial over the following weeks.  Being  an  Apple user I was tempted by the Resound aids and followed Roberts advice to  trial  them  against  the  Phonak  Q90.  We  spend several  weeks/ months trialing, tweaking and swapping aids until I  opted  for  the  then  brand  new  Phonak  V90s. During  this  prolonged  process  Robert  was  always available and always cheerful without ever prompting  for  a  decision.  As  I  am  facing  a  multitude of different work and social environments the extensive trial period gave me confidence when finally making a decision. There will still be adjustments to the aids until they perform to  the best of their abilities but I am confident Robert will be with me on this journey of discovery.If you’re ever in the market for hearing aids I cannot recommend Robert highly enough. He and  his  team  go  the  extra  mile  to  ensure  the  best service and will never oversell if they feel a standard model will be sufficient for your needs. You can buy from Robert with confidence for the best value and top class service.

The best anywhere!

John Ruding

01 September 2015

The best anywhere!

5 STARS

From the  moment  I  walked  into  the  shop  in  Cleckheaton  to when  I  purchased  a  hearing  aid…I received nothing but first class service and advice. The team were so friendly and easy  to talk to… I got simple straight forward help to select an aid suited to my needs  and bought  it  following  a  trial period to ensure it was exactly what I needed…I was  delighted  with  the  process  and  the  way  my quality of life has improved with my new hearing aiding aid.  If you want the best service and advice… a full range of products at an excellent price… then I recommend that  you  look  no  further than  R  J Donnan hearing care!

Mr John Ruding

Excellent Service and Competitive Prices

Anne Taylor

01 October 2015

Excellent Service and Competitive Prices

5 STARS

I can confidently recommend RJD Hearing Care at Cleckheaton for  anyone considering  hearing aids for the first time or for  someone, like  me,  who  has  worn  them  for  years  but  had  become  very dissatisfied with the service and prices at my existing private hearing specialist. From  my  first   appointment  I  found   the   staff   friendly   and   helpful  and  R  J  Donnan’s  caring, knowledgeable and honest approach was both refreshing and a confidence boost. Nothing  was  too much effort in finding the best solution  to  my  complex  hearing  loss. I am very happy with my new hearing aids and confident of excellent after care from this Company.