Finally saw my Audiologist……

With the street becoming busier, the world becoming noisier and my experiences entering back into the world around me, it was so important that I saw my audiologist, especially after the experience of the last few blogs this week…..

Becky kindly allows me to contact her via email to avoid having to use the phone or someone else having to ring for me. I was due to see her the week before, but she was poorly on the day but she rebooked me straight away for the following Monday. 

It was lovely sunny day and my appointment was at 1.30pm, so I decided I would make the 6 mile journey on foot with my camera (although I hadn’t twigged it was 6 mile 🙄) as the buses didn’t fit in with the time.

So off I wobbled, the pond my first stop and Terence and Teresa were both basking in the midday sunshine 

And the ducklings were giving their parents the runaround 

Along the road now and a blue tit sat perched on the road sign, with a comical quiff being blown into place by the breeze

I was hoping to see the town cows, now released onto the Westwood for the summer, but no sign of them; they must have been on the racecourse side….

Passed the gatehouse, whose garden is filled with all manner of musical instruments

And the blossom on the cherry trees now coming into its own..

Through town and out the other side, I eventually got to the hospital with 15 minutes to spare

Becky then came to get me and there began a wonderful 90 minutes of informative discussion – she’s such a great listener and adapts the outcome to suit the person.

I did confess to not having worn my hearing aids during lockdown. The hyperacusis absent in the silent bubble I was in, so I felt there was no need. However, when you do start to wear them, obviously the world will be much louder, as the amplification to accommodate my hearing loss will make everything seem loud. The brain doesn’t like change from one to the other so I know it’s important to wear them all the time, but it just takes some getting used to when they’ve been absent. It’s like when your ears have been blocked and you have them syringed, the world suddenly seems so loud. I totally understand why some people don’t want to wear their hearing aids as the silent world is sometimes more comforting than the real one….

So I wanted her to turn down the sound while still blocking out the sounds that physically hurt my ears; the sirens, the noisy traffic, metal on metal etc, just while I got used to the world again.

She tried various adjustments, but because we were in a quiet office, I couldn’t tell the difference, so eventually we walked outside and she said she could immediately see the distress in my eyes as lorries rumbled by. I couldn’t process anything . We went back inside and she made her last adjustment.

TIP for audiologists – take your patient outside to see the effect of a true situation….

She then gave me some tips to try…..

Sometimes for hyperacusis it works better for some people not to wear hearing aids at all but for me, the amplification being turned down, should work better. Maybe when the world gets too chaotic, in a room full of chatter where no single conversation can be deciphered anyway, it might be best to remove them, simply to turn the volume down on the chaos.

I could try wearing one hearing aid, depending which side of the road I was and which ear was facing the traffic…..but the loveliest suggestion, was the simplest – spray something on a handkerchief that reminds you of home, for me it would be my perfume; then when the noise becomes overwhelming, breathe in the perfume deeply and it would immediately relax you. She liked the fact I use my camera as a calming method, but this sounded good too. 

She told me how someone with autism, loves horses, so rubs the handkerchief on the horse and when the world gets too noise, they smell the horse and instantly becomes calm. She has horses herself and says that if you approach a horse sideways on, then take a deep breathe, the horse will know you’re not a danger. She said it works with other animals too…..all makes perfect sense..

Finally, having a relaxed posture and muscle tone also convinces the brain that the loud noises aren’t such a big threat.

We had such a lovely chat, Becky explaining everything as she went along and wrote things down for me to take away….I felt very fortunate as I left that this healthcare professional listens and doesn’t expect me to slot into her world, but adapts her knowledge to fit my experiences……

I emailed her afterwards for advice re playmates who have perfect hearing, but have been diagnosed with hyperacusis…..her response was:

Generally when someone has normal hearing and complains of hyperacusis then they have had a bad trigger and then started to avoid noise, often wearing ear plugs in an attempt to protect their ears.  This reinforces the brains concern around the hearing system and so the volume appears increased, making the hyperacusis worse.  So its all about continuing to experience the noise but with gradual exposure and keeping the ear stable. Also its important for the ears to receive noise information so that the negative association isn’t reinforced.  Obviously having a relaxed posture and muscle tone also convinces the brain that the loud noises aren’t such a big threat.

So the handkerchief tip may work at relaxing the body, but everyone has to find their own coping method..

I felt I understand hyperacusis better now than when I walked in, simply because she explained, she drew diagrams, she listened and took her time explaining and re-explaining. Time is knowledge for people with dementia and a very underrated commodity.

All done and hearing aids in situ, I was hoping to catch a bus back into town, but wasn’t sure where the bus stops were and just missed one without realising it as it sailed by. I walked along further but stopped at the next bus stop as I saw another bus hoping it would get me into town for the village bus. As we turned into the bus station, the village bus was just pulling out 🙈 so I had no choice but to walk back home again 🤐…..

Camera round my neck, the sun beating down, it was a very warm tiring trundle but lovely at the same time. Back through the Westwood and even the golfers were finishing for the day

It took me 2 hours altogether. My legs were protesting and when I looked at my Fitbit I couldn’t believe my eyes

Think I might stay in the village tomorrow ……😂

P.S….a week after writing this I lost one of my hearing aids 🙈…the dreaded masks we have to wear flips them off easily and I didn’t realise. Turns out its happened to lots of others too 🙄…..

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

13 thoughts on “Finally saw my Audiologist……

  1. What a lovely relationship with your excellent and imaginative hearing specialist!!!! And what interesting information, particularly the familiar smell on a handkerchief idea for calming! My husband’s hearing aids have a volume control – do you not have that, or want it? And of course “off” is sometimes the right solution, when the filtering doesn’t meet the need of the situation. I SO admire your walking! I cannot imagine taking a 6-mile walk once, never mind twice in one day!! Thank you so much for all your posts, Wendy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderfully informative message, Wendy, so useful for people like me who have no idea of how difficult this condition can be for people like you. Reading your blogs is an education. I shall try to mention your situation when it seems someone needs to know.

    I hope you’re not too shattered now though! Thirty thousand steps!?! three days worth?!? Well done, you, you must be so fit, exercise is so good for us all, and walking is a great overall exercise. You put me to shame…………

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HI Wendy, perhaps you might attach your hearing aids to the piece of string that some people use to keep their spectacles around their neck. Might be worth a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing that, Wendy – so informative. I was thinking how quickly those little ducks are growing – it seems just a few days since you announced their arrival. Sorry you had to lose your one hearing aid , so others can learn from your experience. Good to know! You are just so nice to visit with.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, impressive hike! Love the picture of the pup in the horn. I’d like to see that instrument garden on one of my walks .Hope you can get your lost hearing aid replaced quickly. Fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I have had ever achieved that many steps Wendy. No wonder your legs were protesting!
    Sorry after all that you have now lost one of your hearing aids arghhhh.

    Liked by 1 person

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