Queen Elizabeth Hospital hearing aids, part 1
By Michael Reid, Lead Tutor
I’m going to tell you about hearing aids. I was referred by my GP to the Queen Elizabeth (QE) hospital audiology department. It is an impressive new building with plenty of clear signage and shop units inside, in fact it was more like a shopping centre than a hospital.
I had clear directions and I arrived at a reception area which was not staffed, as there was a self-check-in station. I scanned the barcode on my letter, the screen showed my name and I pressed a button to confirm. I could see my name on a screen, showing a minute count-down to my appointment.
When it was time for my appointment I was approached by a member of staff, which was perfect as they had eye contact and said my name. I then followed into a soundproof room. Before I went in, I was expecting as a new patient to have to complete a full hearing test. The woman said “I know the hospital well, we will contact them and transfer over your full audiology records from childhood as that will enable us to compare with your results now.” That was good; Specsavers were just not bothered about my history and wanted to concentrate on the present and moving forward. So the service here (QE) was much more professional.
I then took the hearing test, and the audiologist tapped my shoulder to indicate that my left ear would be tested first. You might remember that at Specsavers, they started the test without warning and I didn’t know what was happening. Afterwards, I saw the results onscreen. Then she looked at my ear mould. She couldn’t believe that I had the same one for ten years. I told her that Specsavers refused to give me a new one; they said it was alright, but it is quite itchy. So she prepared the mould putty and injected it into my ear. It was a wonderfully cool sensation, all tingly! After about a minute it had hardened and was removed.
Then the woman asked me if I had thought about having a cochlear implant. It was part of their procedure to ask. I told her that I was happy with my Phonak hearing aid as I could hear well with it. She noticed that mine is quite an old model; I have had it for around ten years. I was told that they could provide me with a new model at the same time that the ear mould would be ready. I asked her why she had mentioned a cochlear implant. She said “it’s just our procedure. I can see from your audiogram that you still have hearing, so that’s fine.” I explained that I really love music, the TV, and hearing my family around me. If one day I lose my hearing to the extent that hearing aids can no longer help, then I might consider having a cochlear. It was good to know they can provide this, and I told her that I will keep it in mind. Hopefully I won’t ever need one.
Maybe I’ll report back to you after I pick up my new Phonak aid; will I have chosen a blue one for a change, or the normal colour? Watch this space!