A few months back, I got some funky new hearing aids. Called Phonak Naida, they basically take high frequency noises and turn them into something that those with a high frequency hearing loss can hear. More importantly, they come in a range of colours and I’m now able to abandon the boring old brown hearing aids and go for something a bit more colourful – black and silver. I sometimes now feel I’ve got more bling than Beyonce.
That’s not to say I haven’t had my teething problems. I had to take my first set back as the volume just collapsed within a few days. And then I started hearing strange internal feedback noises on the second set. But things now seem to have settled down and I’ve slowly been getting used to everything sounding different. And I do indeed seem to be picking up a wider band of noises.
However, the word on the street – or rather the NDCS Parent Place forum – is that these new hearing aids have been very volatile and unreliable, and that I’m not a one off. As a deaf, reasonably assertive, adult with a good audiology department, this is a pain but not a huge problem – I can just go back and get it fixed. I was also lucky enough to be allowed to keep my old hearing aid as a back up.
But we’re hearing that some deaf children are not so lucky – that they don’t have a back up and they’re not able to get a quick appointment at their audiology department. Also, younger deaf children may not necessarily realise there’s something wrong. It’s likely to have a major impact on children affected who will still be going to school, etc. So it’s a bit worrying, to say the least, that these technical problems seem to be sporadically popping up and it’s a problem that needs to be fixed asap.
NDCS is taking our concerns to the manufacturers, and calling for better quality control before new hearing aids are rolled out, and remaining vigilant. I guess the moral is that the bling gets you nowhere if you can’t hear Beyonce on the stereo.
In the meantime, have you come across any problems with the Phonak Naida hearing aids? How have they been resolved? Be good to hear from you if so.