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Hearing management

Updated 14 December 2017

Marissa - the second month

I'm having problems at the moment with pieces of the hearing aid hurting my outer ear. I shall be going to the university on Friday to try and solve this problem.

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I cannot wear the hearing aids at all at present, as both my ears have small wounds caused by them. 

I must admit that I am finding it very frustrating being without my hearing aids, especially as I am currently busy with classes at college again. I feel strange and cut off when unable to hear and it is as if I have more difficulties in concentrating. Maybe it is just my imagination. But I really do want to hear. I hope the problem will be sorted out soon.

So, at the moment I am living in silence again and am unable to report new things I have heard or discovered in the last few days. On Sunday, I did wear the hearing aids for a while when I went to the airport. I realise that the noise of the airport's comings and goings are dampened by these aids. I have noticed that wherever there are many different sounds or loud noises, the sound is dampened. Quite frustrating, as I wouldn't mind hearing everything around me. But I suppose I have to learn to be more patient.

In spite of having difficulties with the hearing aids in the last while, I have been both happy and unhappy during this time. Widex opened up a new world for me – a new world which brought mixed emotions, such as joy, amazement, excitement, but also fear, insecurity and some confusion. Fortunately there are friends and family on whom I can always rely.

Sometimes one is thrown off balance by conflicting emotions, but it also means that one can find strength from within. And things are getting better all the time.

For the next while you will walk this road with me where I discover sound. There will be highlights and low points, but I am determined to make this work and to look on the bright side of things. So, the journey has begun. Thursday I am starting with lessons to improve my English, because I want to go overseas next year. And in the same week I am starting ballroom/Latin American dancing. I have always wanted to do this and now I can. Before I have always had to rely on 'feeling' the sound and now I can hear it.

Last week I went to Pietersburg go and visit friends. On the Saturday we went to have a picnic at the waterfall and I was very excited at the prospect of hearing a waterfall for the first time, but I was a bit disappointed – like the sea it just seemed to be a sort of far off drone. I wasn't sure whether that was what it really sounded like, or whether the hearing aids were distorting the sound somewhat. I really want to hear these things!

I still find it quite astonishing to sit in class during the day and to hear everything that's happening around me – I can hear people sneezing, laughing, I can hear chairs moving, I can hear the lecturer, but I still can't understand what she is saying, unless I read her lips. My classmates are very excited about my new hearing aids and force me to speak while they are switched on. It's amazing how many people want to get involved – sometimes it is a bit overwhelming. I prefer the professional speech therapy, but I appreciate people's interest. Other people's support is essential to me during this time in my life.

I would like to end with this quotation: "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." (Mark Twain)

 

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Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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