My hearing is bad. Quite bad. I use a high powered hearing aid in my right ear and have a cochlear implant in my left ear. Without my hearing aids, the silence is so loud that it’s deafening.
I work as an Audiometrist for Blamey Saunders hears. My job involves testing clients’ hearing and fitting them with hearing aids.
Recently I decided to further expand my role; I have begun spending time in our teleaudiology center. This involves helping to empower clients and servicing people from around the country who require support regarding their hearing and/or adjusting their settings remotely.
These are often clients looking to manage their own health. It always amazes me how easily a query or problem can be worked out once we spend a little time talking it through. It all starts with just a phone call or email and we do the rest.
But the room I work in can get up to half a dozen voices simultaneously communicating over the phone or via video conference to people with hearing loss.
It can be a very noisy environment to work in!
Let me remind you again:
- I am very very deaf.
- This was a role I chose to do.
At this stage you’re likely thinking I’m either insane or a glutton for punishment.
Why would someone with significant hearing loss choose to work in such a noisy environment?
Let me assure you, I’m no crazier than the next guy and I generally am not a huge fan of noisy environments. The reason I chose to do this role was because I knew that I had the right equipment at my disposal.
About a year ago, I was approved for funding via JobAccess who set me up with the tools and devices I needed to be able to hear and understand not only on the telephone but also in meetings and other difficult situations at work.
One device plugs into the telephone and diverts the voice of the other party to my Roger Pen. I have Roger receivers for my hearing aid and cochlear implant so I receive the sound from the phone call into both ears. This equipment allows me to hear extremely well on the telephone and my colleagues are gobsmacked how I can do it in an environment which is so noisy.
This all comes back to a point I often make to people. Hearing aids are fantastic and I think of mine as being as much a part of me as my ears themselves. They have taken me out of a void of silence into a world where I am still amazed by the things I can hear daily. But as life changing as my hearing aids are, sometimes they are not enough alone and I need to supplement them with one of my other assistive devices.
I refer to my Roger Pen as the ‘Swiss Army knife for hearing aids users’ because it helps me on the telephone, in meetings, understanding the television and conversations in challenging environments. It is but one of many assistive devices out there so if you’re finding certain situations difficult, speak to your hearing specialist about whether there is assistive technology which can help.
If a deaf guy can enjoy working in a noisy support centre environment, anything is possible.
There is life after deaf, I promise you!