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Monday, July 14, 2008

A Whole New World

October 9, 2006

After a few weeks wait, my hearing aids have arrived. At the audiologist's office I am fitted with two behind the ear (BTE) type hearing aids. Surprisingly, they are easy to put in and feel very comfortable. There are small buttons that switch the hearing aid settings between three options: Program 1 (Front microphone only - my most powerful setting) Program 2 (front and back microphones are turned on - used for noisy settings like a restaurant. It seems counterintuitive but turning on more microphones actually dampens the extra noise.) Program 3 (T switch- used for talking on the telephone or when an assistive listening device is available like in a theatre).

As soon as I have my hearing aids in I am amazed at how much louder speech is. Both my voice and the audiologist's are easier to hear. As I walk down the office hallway to see the otolaryngologist next I am surprised at how loud my flip flop sandals sound. Can everyone else hear how loud my shoes are?

The doctor is pleased that I have been fitted with the hearing aids and that my throat infections are clearing up from the antibiotics he prescribed.

When I leave the office I am startled by how loud the outside world is. As I drive home, I discover that cars make a swooshing noise as they pass your car. Have they always done this? When I arrive home I take a walk in my neighborhood and enjoy the awakening of my senses. I remember when I was a child and received my first pair of eyeglasses. Suddenly I found out that it was possible to see individual leaves on trees where there had only been a blur. My walk that day felt much like that experience.


Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Liz and I'm HOH since around Autumn 2002. I've been wearing hearing aids ever since. I've just stumbled over your blog tonight and will carry on viewing it. Looks good.

I have 2 blogs myself that I'm new at. One's associated with my deafness and the other belongs to my cat Lady. Hope you'll like mine, as much as I like yours!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Liz,
Welcome to my blog. I just checked out your deaf blog. It's great.
Thank God for the internet so we can connect even though we're an ocean apart.
Cheers! Sarah

Chad said...

Hi speakup librarian,

Just found your blog too... I'm not HOH, but work with technology for people with disabilities and have dabbled with using speech recognition for captioning / transcription.

Your line about getting glasses and seeing the leaves on the tree is so true -- I have the exact same memory! I remember my first pair of glasses at ten, and being overwhelmed at the detail and beauty of everything. I stared out my front window for hours that day.

And of course, I have a blog too. The Liberated Learning is the project I'm involved in re: speech recognition as transcription.

And finally, Ken and Tina will win and live happily ever after. :-)

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Chad,
Welcome to my blog!!!
I visited your blog this morning and the website for the Neil Squire Society. One of my professional interests is in making distance education accessible to people with disabilities. Your work with Wimba and speech recognition is very interesting to me. I have been thinking about accessibility in terms of podcasting. You are working on the live teaching part. I attended a webinar on Using Wimba to Provide Equal Access of Information to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students in On-line Courses that you might be interested in. Do you have an email address where I could contact you? You can reach me at
P.S. I still think Nick and Starr will win it all.

Karen Putz said...

Cool experience with those new hearing aids!

JoeyRes said...

Really great post. I remember the day my daughter got her hearing aids at age 3. She must have had a similar experience but no language to describe it. It's neat for me to think of her having those same "wow" moments when she heard the world for the first time.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi JoeyRes,
Welcome to my blog. Thanks for sharing your comment. It really touched my heart. Blessings on you and your daughter.
All the best, Sarah

Yumi said...


I became a single-sided deaf person recently. I'm very glad I found your blog. My deafness came suddenly and it's been difficult trying to realign my life. Your website is perfect for me.

I would like to get an over-the-ear hearing aid, but I'm not sure that they make any for the severly deaf. It would be nice to get a red one.

Hope that I can contribute some meaningful words in the future.

Thanks for your your words!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Yumi,
Welcome to my blog. You're not alone in the late deafened world. There are quite a few of us out there. I would suggest trying to find a local support group perhaps through HLAA or ALDA. There's also an online organization called Say What Club. It really helps to talk with others who understand what you're experiencing. If I can be of any help, you can email me at
All the best,

ethereal_fire said...

I have a sister who is hard of hearing. She has been for a long time, but first got hearing aids a year or 2 ago. She's 28, and has in the in the ear kind. Just after she got them she had a similar experience of hearing new sounds, and trying to figure out what they were. For a while she kept hearing a sound of "water running" and it took us a while to relize it was my mom's coat rustling as she walked. Its amasing the sounds that you don't even notice anymore when you are used to hearing them. I'm sure it would be overwhelming to hear all those things for the first time and have to get used to them.

My sister's hearing loss is the low end of the register so high pitch noises she can hear fine, but even with her hearing aids things like thunder and other rumblings she doesn't hear.

I'll have to send her a link to your blog. I'm sure she'd be interested.

Chereese said...

I've been hearing impaired since I was three and it's comforting to know that others are feeling what I feel. I love this blog and I will keep reading it. also could you please check out my blog? I'm just barely starting and it would mean a lot to me!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have found this blog! I am a HOH library professional as well. :-)

I've been HOH since early childhood, though (the doctors believe not since birth, however). When I got my first hearing aids the toilet scared me so much that I cried!

However (after years of getting by without because of teasing in school and then lack of insurance later), when I got my new ones out of necessity from not being able to hear things at work, I went to a series of appointments so that the audiologist could increase them in increments, saving me from the startle of having them on full blast from the get go. I was thankful for that, because even at that first low setting hearing things like gravel under my feet and the noise from fans drove me nuts! I am more adjusted now with them up as high as they'll go, but I do still turn them off when a noise is annoying. ;-)

Thanks for making this blog! I look forward to reading more.


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks, Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,
I just found your blog. I have bilateral loss since birth. I went to main stream schools and learned lip reading. I do not know sign language. I can imagine how hard it must be for you. I admire your positive attitude. I read the LA times article. It's like I wrote it. Thanks for brighten my day!

Jon Morley said...

Hi Sarah,
I have just read your blog for the first time and I can relate to so much on here.I have mild to moderate hearing loss and I have been wearing hearing aids for 6 months after 3 years of denial. They make a huge difference and like you I couldn't believe how much noise my shoes made!!
Thanks for the blog and I now look forward to reading more of it.