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Hearing management

Updated 14 December 2017

Marissa's third month

Marissa's problems with her hearing aid are something of the past. Read about how things are going.

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The problems with the earpieces are now something of the past and I am grateful for this. The new earpieces are thinner, more comfortable and I seem to be able to hear even better with them.

Their sound is nice and clear, even in places like shopping centres. Sometimes it happens that that the sound is very loud and rather disturbing – then I have to tune things down a bit. But I am sure that I will get used to even louder sounds fairly soon.

A new experience I've had, was to get goose bumps from a sound. I've always got goose bumps when someone blows air onto my neck or kisses me on the neck, but I didn't know that one could get goose bumps from sounds as well. I was in the college cafeteria drinking tea and eating pies with friends, when one of them scraped a plate with his knife. I suddenly got goose bumps and realised what a horrible sound it was.

Small irritations
Something else that bothers me is when people drag their feet when they walk – it's as if they're too lazy to pick them up. I realised that I also sometimes do it. I now realise why my mother always told me not to do that. I went camping with friends a fortnight ago and became a real Moaning Minny when they dragged their feet. They threatened to confiscate my hearing aid if I didn't stop moaning about the things they did! I now realise that deaf people often are unaware of things they could do that could affect or irritate hearing people and I know I was guilty of that too. I now watch carefully what I do, and also listen out for those little irritating habits.

The other day I was giving a facial to an elderly lady at the college, when she suddenly started making the strangest gargling sounds. I thought there was something seriously wrong with her and I called the lecturer, who was terribly amused – the old lady had fallen asleep and was snoring to her heart's content.

It's going very well with my speech therapy. Marjan is great and she really helps me so much in learning how to form sounds. There are some sounds I struggle with and we often end up laughing. I would like to hear what she thinks of my progress. I try to speak in full sentences, but sometimes it gets a bit much. But I have to persevere, because by the end of the year I want to be able to speak both well and correctly.

Sneaky move
A great advantage of being able to hear, is that I can hear the approaching footsteps of the lecturer. We're doing a lot of practical work at the moment, and every now and then, when the lecturer is not there, we take a bit of a break. The others used to have to warn me when she was coming, but now I can warn them.

One thing that I find difficult now that I can hear, is that the people around me assume that I must be able to hear and understand everything. One of my lecturers no longer wants to tape lectures for me, but it is still a problem when she mixes her languages or turns her back on me while she is speaking. I missed an important instruction regarding an assignment we had to hand in. I had to explain to her that my brain has to learn to process language much like a small baby does. Even though I can hear words, it doesn't always mean that I understand them.

I try during breaks to sit outside, close my eyes and to try and understand what people are saying around me. I still miss quite a lot. People cannot expect me to learn everything overnight, but they sometimes do get impatient with me. I am trying my best and sometimes their impatience hurts me. I sometimes wish hearing people could change places with me, just to feel what it's like, but I know that's not possible. So I try to live as normal a life in the hearing world as I can. Widex and the hearing aids have helped me a great deal with this. Who knows, there might come a day when I will become completely acceptable to the hearing world.

But I have decided to take on the challenge of living in the hearing world – enthusiastically, if sometimes a bit off key!

 

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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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