What's in this blog? Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

"Mankind is terrified of silence, is uncomfortable in the quiet, is this the reason they need so much going on around them that is noisy? "

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not Perfect But Better Than Nothing, Guess Less

I had one of hearing aids checked out today because of an issue with the speaker wire. While I was waiting my audiologist asked me how I liked my hearing aids.

Wearing my hearing aids

I guess less about what someone is saying to me.

Soft consonants are still very hard for me to understand. No surprise, I expected this based on my hearing tests.  Penny also mentioned this when I was fitted for the hearing aids.

The hearing aids are very light and comfortable. It's not unusual for me to wear them 15 or 16 hours a day and I forget I have them on.

The Bluetooth interface with my Blackberry is very cool and usable. People look at me when I am on the phone because they don't realize I am talking on the phone, no headset! The battery on the Streamer gets low after a couple of hours on the phone. I carry a charger in my car for the Streamer.

I didn't realize how noisy my Subaru Forester is above 50 mph until I try to use my Blackberry. I think I can hear about every other word. Most of the time I stop to talk on the phone. Much safer too.

No hearing aids will replace the hearing I have lost but life is much better with them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bagpipes and Hearing Aids, it's Not Rock and Roll

Several times a year I am privileged to hear bagpipes close up and personal at masonic lodge functions that I attend and participate in. I love the pipes and the traditional tunes. The pipes played indoors in small rooms create some interesting harmonics and present a challenge to my hearing aids, being loud and louders. Doing some research I found out that the British Army has looked into this. See below

Over the years there has been many discussions if playing in a pipe band can lead to hearing damage or loss. With many tests done and surveys conducted one can conclude that members of a band could indeed sustain hearing damage.

Without hearing protection, members face a serious risk of lasting hearing damage as decibel levels are over 90. Outdoors it has been recorded that pipes can reach decibel levels ranging between 108 to 111. 111 decibels is equivalent to how loud a pneumatic drill is.

Indoors, pipes can reach decibel levels up to 116, which is as loud as a chainsaw. Snare drums can hit up to 122 decibels. The noise level is louder than the sound produced by a jet engine at take off.

In 2006, the Ministry of Defence in Britain ordered Army bagpipers to limit playing indoors 15 minutes a day and 24 minutes a day when playing outdoors. If the piper wants to play longer they have to wear ear protection.

So we can stop telling the kids to moderate their IPod volume and limit our appreciation of the pipes to about 15 minutes indoors. I think next time I will turn my hearing aids off.