Glenn overcomes any concerns about wearing hearing aids at work

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

“I have been known for being quite a loud character and have struggled with not clearly hearing exactly what people say for much of my adult life, but not really thought of doing anything about it. For years I have annoyed my wife and kids by asking my wife to repeat herself at home constantly, just thinking it was me being a stereotypical male and not listening! and am sure have been a real pain to my family at large for having to have the TV at home or radio in the car on far louder than anyone else felt acceptable.

At work, I have often struggled in meetings to catch the exact words colleagues or customers have said and often have had to rely on trying to lipread or concentrate very, very hard on what people were saying to me.

After my wife eventually nagged me enough to go for a hearing test, and after much research online to look for a company I thought I could trust, I found RJD Hearing. I filled out the online form and waited for contact…

From the first contact, I really was bowled over with Rob’s bedside manner. The first interaction was a phone call where he was immediately empathetic to my enquiry, during that call he quickly turned into a very consultative style, advising me on considerations for my choices, and also breaking down some of the taboos I had in my mind about hearing loss at my age.

On the first meeting, after having a hearing test and establishing the level of my loss of hearing, we discussed lifestyle and preferences and he recommended the Phonak Audeo Marvel and I left with them on a free trial. I returned for a second visit and I could appreciate the difference they were making at home to my general hearing and my quality of life, but I wasn’t wearing them out and about or at work. Rob was fabulous in his counselling to me, listening to everything I said about how I was feeling, how they were affecting me, what I was hearing etc. He made some changes to the programming of my hearing aids and sent me away again – with no pressure about buying them or even discussing the price or a payment plan.

On the second visit I had overcome wearing them socially, but still wasn’t wearing them during the working hours. Again Rob, was so calm and I felt, that he was interested about trying to improve my quality of life. He was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject, he wanted to listen to everything about how they were impacting my life and I genuinely felt he wanted to solve the problem for me. So again, he made some changes to the programming of my hearing aids and sent me away!

On the third visit, everything had changed, I was wearing them religiously from morning till night and now wouldn’t consider going anywhere without them (apart from swimming or the shower!)

I have now purchased my hearing aids and haven’t looked back! I am hearing small things, that make such a massive difference, like the birds singing or a clock ticking! I am more engaged with my kids, I have stopped annoying my wife by ignoring her, and the family home is more in harmony because I can hear everything they can.

At work, I am fully aware of everything everyone is saying in meetings. I travel a lot with my work and having my aids connect by Bluetooth to my phone means that if I am on a train, plane or in a hotel room, I can listen to my phone, or watch my iPad etc without needing an extra set of headphones , as I can stream the music or audio into my hearing aids. Not only that, but when driving, I often have two phones with me (my personal and my work phone) so I can use either phone, with my work phone connected to the car bluetooth and my personal phone connected to my hearing aids Bluetooth. This has proved quite life changing for me when travelling during working hours.

The only negative I can find to say about my experience with Rob Donnan is that I wish I had found him 10 years ago!

I cannot recommend his services highly enough.”

Glenn

18.03.19

Oticon Opn 1 worn with a middle-ear implant

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

“Life Is Switched On”

img_4576At 4 years of age, I was seen as a naughty child. I wasn’t listening to teachers at school, I had a delay in my language development and suffered from constant fatigue. After a routine hearing test in school, I was diagnosed with a mild hearing loss. At 13 years old, my hearing became progressively worse (moderate loss), and I received my first pair of NHS hearing aids. I was embarrassed to admit my hearing loss as it was now more obvious. Bullying/teasing at school led me to hide my hearing aids under my hair, or not wear them at all. I relied on coping strategies (lip reading, note takers, subtitles, teacher of the deaf) and struggled through rather than excelled in school.

An MRI scan at 22 years old lead to my surgeon diagnosing me with a severe bilateral conductive hearing loss and otosclerosis. In 2014 after 10 operations and endless ear infections, I was lucky enough to become one of the first recipients of a Middle Ear Implant. My appointment at ‘The Switch On’ was a life changing day. Unfortunately I was unable to receive another implant for my other ear, as during surgery there was too much infection to attach the implant. This meant I had to wear my NHS hearing aid on my right ear. The unnatural sound, mould causing reoccurring infections and bulky size on my small ears, just wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted the same feeling I got previously at ‘The Switch On’.

I can state confidently, I got it! Since I purchased The Oticon Opn, I have heard sounds I don’t ever remember being able to hear. Examples being the biting point/revs in my car and certain frequencies of bass whilst listening to music. Whilst wearing the Oticon Opn, I have had no ear infections (now I don’t have a mould in my ear), and I’m now able to use the telephone independently. The ability to stream telephone calls and music right into my ear is fantastic. I am now able to enjoy music like never before as I don’t rely so much on the vibrations, I can hear the different frequencies. My friends have commented, noting my concentration fatigue has been reduced as I don’t have to rely so much on lip reading and worrying about feeling isolated in conversations.

All this, I have Rob at RJD Hearing Care to thank for! He allowed me to trial different hearing aids to find the right device to suit my needs. Throughout the fitting process, he was knowledgeable and was only interested in what works for my lifestyle. He listened, valued my opinion and I was never pressurised to buy at any stage of the trial period.

Having a deaf identity is important to me. I’m proud to wear my Hearing Aid and Middle Ear Implant. Rob, for giving me back my independence and increasing my confidence, I can’t thank and appreciate it enough!

Nuala Donnellan, 26
Mirfield

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Opn changed my life!

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

“I’ve worn hearing aids for more than 40 years (since I was a toddler) so I thought I knew what I wanted: better hearing, no fuss. I got that, but I also got a lot more. Here’s how.

My hearing loss is more complicated than most, because it comes with a progressive loss of vision. With less than 5% of my sight remaining, I need to make the most of what I hear. Especially since I’m juggling three primary-age children, a guide dog, freelance writing/editing work and volunteer activities. I need to know when I drop something!

My old hearing aids were falling apart. I needed new ones. The latest technology is only available privately, but it’s pricey and I didn’t want to make an expensive mistake. So, I stalled, until one day I came across RJD Hearing Care’s advertisement offering free trials. They also gave the option of home visits, which are much more manageable for me, and that tipped the balance. I decided to give them a try.

I’ve met a lot of audiologists, so I felt sure I’d spot a scam. As soon as I met Rob, my doubts receded. He knew his stuff and his straightforward manner meant we could have a direct conversation with no hard-sell. Quite the opposite: I was let loose to try out a pair of Oticon iPhone-compatible hearing aids with no financial commitment. This is ground-breaking and makes such a difference: trying hearing aids in a soundproof office (or, in my case, my own kitchen) isn’t a guide to how they’ll perform out and about.

I loved the new aids. But disaster struck a couple of weeks later. Rob returned to fine-tune the settings and a software crash combined with manufacturer issues meant one aid was unusable for several weeks. But Rob came through for me: he replaced those aids with the latest top-of-the-range Oticon model at exactly the same price. And no bill yet: I could try them out first. I even took them abroad on holiday.

The sound was excellent: clearer, smoother, and more distinct than ever before. No feedback, either. Best of all, though, is the new iPhone-compatible technology. My phone streams via Bluetooth directly to my hearing aids. No one else need hear it (unless I choose to change the settings and let them). It makes a huge difference to the clarity of the sound. Phone calls are much easier. Audiobooks, podcasts and music are all suddenly accessible, which they never have been before. As a voracious reader, losing the ability to read print was very hard for me, but now through technology I can still read on the backlit high-contrast screen of my iPhone X, and listen through Bluetooth streaming. It’s a great joy.

A world of sound has opened up. Because there’s no extra equipment; just my hearing aids and my phone, both of which I have on me nearly all the time, I listen to audiobooks or podcasts in every spare moment: emptying the washing machine, walking home, waiting in a queue. There’s no dead time any more. I even watched 58 children each perform the same poem at a drama festival with a beatific smile on my face while actually listening to War and Peace, and no one around me knew (until now …) Sometimes, my husband breaks off conversation, gives me a suspicious look, and asks if I’m listening to something else. (No, darling, of course not, tell me more about your day. Ahem.)

Many blind or partially-sighted people use specially-designed satnav apps to help them find their way about. These have never been an option for me as I couldn’t hear the instructions clearly. Now I can. My guide dog and I trekked off to an unfamiliar location with me listening to the new voice in my head (it’s real, honestly). Yes, the journey took an hour and a half when it should have taken twenty minutes, but we got there, which wouldn’t have been possible before. I didn’t celebrate (I was too busy apologising for being late) but the app obviously thought I should because it helpfully pointed out there was a pub 50 yards to the left. Since it was only ten a.m., it’s just as well that no one else could hear.

That’s only the beginning. I’ve bought a Bluetooth connector that lets the TV stream directly into my hearing aids, with separate volume controls to the sound going into the main room. So my husband can finally turn the TV down to a level that doesn’t blast his ears, and I get an amazing cinema-sound experience that means I don’t need to be glued to the subtitles. Next on my list is a Bluetooth doorbell that streams via my iPhone to murmur discreetly into my ear, Jeeves-style, that Someone Is At The Door, Milady. (Possibly it won’t actually say Milady, but I’m sure that’s the general tenor.)

Since childhood, I’ve thought that hearing aids lacked imagination. People with hearing loss want a lot more than a glorified ear-trumpet. Now, at last, the superpowers are arriving. ”

Penny,

Harrogate

11.05.2018

Our patient for 9 years: Iain’s Free Trial

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

“I’ve been wearing in the ear type hearing aids for several years but have just decided to switch to behind the ear. I really wasn’t sure if it would be the right decision; my main concern was how they look, with my short (balding) hair there’s no hiding place!

Anyway after a trial period I’m pleased to say the behind the ear aids are a great improvement. I work in an office and hearing my colleagues both face to face and via telephone is very important. The sound quality is clear and natural. Another important element is being able to communicate in social situations, such as in a group at a restaurant. I noticed with my previous hearing aids, I did struggle with the background noise and could only feel confident to speak to the person immediately opposite or adjacent. The new hearing aids are allowing me to pick up on conversations across a large table and they seem to filter the interfering noise.

My Oticon OPN hearing aids also have additional features including Bluetooth connectivity to my mobile phone so I’m able to take calls and listen to music without having to use headphones – a real bonus!

I think the stereotypical image of hearing aids is changing. My pair of hearing aids are high end technology, they look advanced but also I think the prevalence of Bluetooth headphones and other similar technology means wearing such a device, even as a ‘younger’ person, is ‘normal’.

I trust Rob because I’ve always felt I’ve received appropriate and considered advice. This is the third pair of hearing aids I’ve bought from Rob. On each occasion we’ve focused on finding the best solution – through discussing the merits of various manufacturers, types of hearing aid and matching this with the condition of my hearing loss.

When buying the most recent pair, Rob and I met on several occasions, looking at the results of the trial, tweaking the set-up of the hearing aids and making sure I was comfortable with the hearing aids prior to purchasing.

Over the years I’ve received regular check in calls from Rob and team. I haven’t used Rob’s after sales care service as much as I probably should have done (Rob told me off recently!) but I know he’s only a phone call away and would be available immediately if I needed support.

My sister also has hearing aids supplied by Rob and we both agree we’re lucky to have found him and have really benefitted from the service he has provided.”

IAIN MCTRUSTY

LEEDS


19 03 17

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Sammy King

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

Recent visit to R. J Donnan Hearing Care:

“Right from the start Rob made my wife and I feel very relaxed and confident of a very professional service. After my hearing was found to be ‘in need of improvement’ Rob went through several options with me and placed his recommended hearing aids in place. We chatted for some time until I was confident enough to leave, wearing the hearing aids on trial. No payment was requested at this time. Rob made a follow up appointment for me for the following week. On my return, and only when I was totally happy with every detail, was payment required.
Will be going back next week for the first of future follow up appointments. As I work in the music business it is essential that my hearing has to be as good as it can be and I am pleased to say that I am more than satisfied. ”


Sammy King

Wrote ‘Penny Arcade’ as sung by Roy Orbison


22.05.2018

Phonak Trial – interesting result

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

I went to see RJD hearing in November. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I thought if I’m going to do this, I’d only be willing to wear something that was totally invisible. Rob talked me through the various options and I agreed to try the Phonak B90. After a few fine-tuning visits, I found that they did help in some environments, but they were a lot of money and were a little more visible that I’d wanted (well, that’s how I thought at the time).
I returned for my next appointment, and having listened to my views and knowing that I was about to go on a 2 week holiday, Rob suggested I take a different model (I think the V50) and the B90s, with a little fine-tuning done. So I got to take 2 pairs of hearing aids on holiday with nothing paid or signed! I can’t see any other place doing this.

I returned after my holiday – it’s now well into January! – still not convinced that the outlay to fix my mild high frequency hearing loss was something I should have to deal with. Feeling pretty determined to put this whole thing aside for a while, I went to see Rob. He was almost cheerful to hear my conclusion, and just suggested that I go out again and try the phonak V30 10. I thought ‘why not’, and to my relief I actually think that these are better than the dearer models. The sound seems less artificial, perhaps the hearing aids are not processing the sounds so much?
So, I went to see Rob this Saturday and paid him. The V30 does the job, no-one has seen them and I saved a fortune, both on what I might have spent and on what I would have been charged elsewhere for the V30s. Thanks, RJD hearing.

Roger Shepley,
Gomersal
Practice: Rob
Star rating: 5

Phonak Q90 – going strong

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

“The hearing aids are excellent and I love being able to listen to my podcasts on my phone when out walking with no tell tale wires in my ears but most of all I love the customer service that I continue to receive from Rob.

I would never go anywhere else for hearing aids and recommend Robert Donnan unreservedly.”

Tony Rothwell,

Leeds


1 3 17

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Home visit – trial of OTICON OPN 1

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

after-xc2
Oticon OPN 1
Falling off horses has been a regular part of my life for the last 5o+ years and I have had plenty of visits to A&E as a result. Broken bones heal with time as do bruises and sprains, but I have been most adversely affected by hearing loss. When my hearing was first tested, after I realised I wasn’t hearing the sounds that others around me were picking up, the unusual pattern of the audiograph was commented on, but no explanation for it offered.
I was sold a hearing aid, a top of the range BTE model, which was set up for me and that was that. No follow up calls or appointments and I was left with these gadgets which made me feel that I was listening to the world through a cheap transistor radio. Looking back, I can’t believe I tolerated this situation for nearly 3 years. Finally, I consulted an NHS audiologist who told me in no uncertain terms that the aids had been wrongly set up for me and advised me to get in touch with the company that had sold them to me.
They were unable to provide an accessible appointment or a home visit and suggested I contact a third party – Rob Donnan.
Rob was puzzled to receive my call, having had no professional dealings with the company, but agreed to visit me at home. He confirmed the aids had been wrongly set up, supplied with unsuitable earbuds and no sport lock and said he suspected my hearing loss was due to auditory nerve damage from my repeated concussions.He made adjustments to my hearing aids which made an impressive improvement and followed this up with phone calls and visits to fine tune them.
Since that time I have tried various other models supplied by Rob, each one proving to be an improvement on the last and am currently using Oticon and looking forward to upgrading my mobile to a model which will enable me to use an app provided by Oticon which promises all sorts of additional functions.
I have the utmost trust in Rob, his professional abilities, his intuitive grasp of my hearing issues, his integrity, good advice and sense of humour. His prices are fair and the aftercare he provides could not be bettered.

Sue Cliff, Wharfedale.

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GETTING AN EARFUL

5 out of 5 stars
5/5

37. The old hat P1030384-2“I am, according to my family, officially a Grumpy Old Woman. Less of the ‘old’, please – I am only 62 and often feel a good deal less! However, I do admit to being something of a pedant, and shriek in annoyance at the poor enunciation by television newscasters, the mumbling of actors, and the fluctuating sound levels on modern television. As if that were not enough, where we live, admittedly out in the back of beyond, telecommunications do not receive high priority – our land-line sounds as though it is tied together with bits of string, and whole sections of conversation seem to drop out into the ether. Oh for the good old days, when the sun always shone, Robert Dougal read the news, and, even with their Scottish accents, Dr Finlay’s Casebook was the highlight of the week.

However, I began to wonder. Aside from lousy modern television (thank goodness for sub-titles!), and decrepit telephone lines, I was noticing that talking in social gatherings could be tiring, conversations in pubs and other loud environments a real challenge, and some tinnitus, with which I have lived for decades, and largely ignored, was becoming more noticeable.

But, my hearing is nothing like as bad as that of my aged mother, who has NHS hearing aids but resolutely refuses to wear them, so everyone has to shout themselves hoarse. The stubbornness of the elderly can be quite amusing, as they deny there’s anything wrong with their hearing – like my late father-in-law, who used to complain that my telephone voice was ‘too light and soft’ (not a comment I’ve ever heard from his son, or our children!), and reckoned his hearing was well-nigh perfect. No, I’m nothing like that – but one of our sons speaks so quietly on the telephone, I have to keep telling him to speak up, and I did stop short this Spring when my husband was amazed I could only hear the lower notes of a cuckoo’s call; it was clear as a clock to him! Hmm, possibly time to think about hearing aids, but I did keep that dark thought to myself for quite some time.

My parents’ experience of bog-standard National Health Service hearing aids didn’t inspire confidence; neither could get on with them, nor did they find changing batteries easy; they found it simpler to guess at conversation by attempting to lip-read – or retreating into their own little worlds and switch off altogether. However, I found the idea I might be missing something – anything at all! – really annoying, as I’m definitely not one to accept any restriction of activity by some physical failing, so some internet research was clearly required – even if unobserved, and ‘on the quiet’.

That’s when things became confusing: there’s a plethora of alternative aids and treatments out there, each and every one (apparently), the best high-tec. solution available! What was evident was the need for a proper, professional hearing test, but to whom to turn – the high-street, where hearing tests often appear to be an adjunct to the main livelihood of eyesight correction? Or an independent audiologist – whose advice and products might well prove more expensive?

After much pondering, and personal psyching-up time, I decided upon a visit to an independent hearing centre, but, dissatisfied with what was on offer locally, I had to take to the internet and look further afield. I set about trying to find a reputable audiologist, within reasonable striking distance – but, above all, one in which I could have confidence, and trust. Enter RJ Donnan Hearing Care, with what seemed like a very long list of very satisfied customers.

An immediately impressive attribute is that they offer a free trial of hearing aids – you go, have a test, and, if after full evaluation, it seems you need hearing aids, you can walk out, that very day, with a set to try (gratis), a second appointment date, and encouragement to contact the branch if you have any problems at all during the interim. Upon returning to the branch, if you are unhappy with those aids, there will be no awkwardness, you can simply be re-evaluated, and fitted with another pair to try.

Looking at the map of their multiple branch locations, they were spread in a broad belt right across the north of England, and all in places with good transport links. I reckoned I could manage to get to Skipton, and rang to make an appointment, but then the delightful May telephoned me from Oswaldtwistle to say she had been on to a route-finding website and thought it would be easier, and quicker, for me to drive to Oswaldtwistle – there was also ample free parking outside, and they could offer me an appointment that Saturday (two days’ time!). I was most encouraged – the ball was rolling!

Saturday saw me at Oswaldtwistle, where I found that audiologist Mr Donnan (Rob), does indeed inspire confidence. He never seems rushed, and has the ability to latch on, very quickly, to what sort of person you are, and how a hearing loss affects you, personally. And then he sets about the process of putting you in control of your environment once more.

The actual hearing test was conducted very thoroughly, and although the results showed some hearing loss, it was not major – but for a perfectionist like me even this was unacceptable, so I decided hearing aids would be necessary, and Rob proceeded to advise me.

The upshot of that first visit was that I left with a pair of Phonak hearing aids, and was very pleased with the ease of wearing them. However, I did find that, for me (and it is important to note that everyone is different), some sounds came through a little strangely. I kept notes of this, so that on my second visit to Rob I was able to give him a list of my perceived pros and cons of these particular hearing aids. After deliberating over my findings, Rob whipped out a pair of brand-new model, Oticon hearing aids, which he said a few customers had been trialling and the results were most encouraging. He said he’d be interested to hear how I found them.

Off I went again. I made one phone call to Rob, to check up on some feedback noise I was experiencing, and then settled down to wearing the new aids with absolutely no problems at all. Amazing, high-tec devices which sit snugly behind my ears, they were marvellous. I delighted in wearing them to noisy pubs and other social gatherings, being able to join in fully, without any stress, even with multiple conversations going on around me – and that, surely, must be the greatest test. Equally, outdoors, in windy conditions, they did their job perfectly, without me even noticing, and there was no conflict with wearing hats or earphones. Perfect.

Friends and, especially, family, were delighted to be told I had taken this step of acquiring hearing aids, but, initially, it was amusing that no-one was aware I was wearing hearing aids – they are darned near invisible, with one friend having to touch them to be convinced of their presence. After this experience, though, I have become very aware of contemporaries who are having to adjust to their own slight hearing loss. There are more of them than I had realised – and they are probably unaware of it themselves!

At this point it is worth mentioning that whilst I was trialling my hearing aids they were ‘linked’ to a website, so that Rob could tell, remotely, for how long I had been wearing them, or whether I had turned the volume up or down, etc. – basically, how I had been using them. Sounds a bit creepy, but it doesn’t assess you, personally, just how much work the hearing aids have been doing – which is something you might not be aware of yourself, if the aids (as in this case), are doing their job well.

During my third visit to Rob he made some minor adjustment to the hearing aids and then he just made sure I was totally happy with them, and totally committed to using them. Apparently there is a period of adaption to the aids, by the brain, which would take about three to nine months – it is nothing like wearing spectacles, and one does need to wear them most of the time (and that doesn’t mean just putting them in as you go out of the door on your way to a party, as one television advert would have you believe!), therefore, during this period there would be several follow-up appointments when Rob would check and ‘tweak’ the aids to suit me and my personal circumstances.

Then it was time to pay. These wonderful hearing aids are not cheap, but it always amazes me how people will reasonably happily accept having to wear spectacles (even if only for reading), and pay for them, but when it comes to hearing aids, oh no! I suppose the decline of hearing is often more insidious than of sight – perhaps you don’t notice not picking up small sounds any more, but when you do realise, it seems it is something to be kept quiet; something to be ashamed of; something which declares you are old and decrepit. But is it? Why accept a natural loss of an important sense? As with sight, our hearing is going to decline over the years, but why slide further and further into an aurally grey world, and, in effect, withdraw from social occasions, or cease enjoying the sounds of nature? Especially when you don’t need to. I have found the experience of wearing these neat, unobtrusive, devices, quite liberating – they are so user-friendly, and mean one can tackle any environment with total confidence.

I’m glad I made the step towards better hearing. Rob’s prices are very competitive, the back-up customer service is excellent, and you always know there is someone there on the end of the phone to help if you have any problems at all. And that was what I wanted – good hearing, with no compromise to my life-style, and, above all, trustworthy support.”

© Words and photographs Rona M. Bromley 2016

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