ENRICHEnabling Research in Care Homes
MRC and the EPSRC launch a package of funding worth
Jean Straus, Guess Author for Medical Research Council
Think that hearing aids solve all hearing problems? Think again. As the MRC and the EPSRC launch a package of funding worth
Think that hearing aids solve all hearing problems? Think again. As the MRC and the EPSRC launch a package of funding worth £3.5m to improve hearing aid technology, Jean Straus takes us through the daily challenges of a life led with hearing aids.
Last night I went to my local choir’s first rehearsal of the new season. I wore two high-tech hearing aids, which I have on long-term loan from a private healthcare provider. The left one addresses mild hearing loss, the right; mild to moderate.
I put these hearing aids on each morning before I put in my contact lenses or make coffee. With them I can hear birdsong, the crackling of paper, and conversations with one or two people when they’re facing me in a quiet room. Last night however, in the large vaulted hall where the choir rehearsal was held, I could follow most of the melody lines as the choirmaster, Joe, played them on the piano, but I couldn’t make out his instructions.
At the end of the rehearsal Joe explained that he’d be away in a few weeks. I could now hear him, but the joke he made when he lowered his voice, to which everyone else laughed, was lost on me.
Joe is a singer so he’s a good articulator too, so I’m sure it wasn’t his fault. During the evening I pushed the various settings endlessly on my aids, wondering if the amplification for distance, or altering to a setting for watching television, might help, to no avail.
Is my hearing just too bad, I wondered? My hearing has recently been evaluated, and it hasn’t worsened. Perhaps these state-of-the-art hearing aids are not good enough?
Audiologists always tell me that hearing aids are really only made for detecting speech in conversation, which this wasn’t. So perhaps I should just cut my losses and give up choir? Or make the choir take the slack