I just recently got a second hearing aid, after having one left hearing aid since 2006 and wearing it haphazardly. My hearing loss is less severe – mostly in my left ear, but some in my right. Ryan’s is second least severe, with his having more loss in each ear than I. He has refused to wear his hearing aids since first grade, and his school through audiological evaluation at our local deafness school said that his trying to wear hearing aids at that point was more detrimental, as he was tantrumming and not able to focus on his work because he was so uncomfortably stimulated, than just going to school without them. He has also actually been passing his school hearing screenings which is surprising.
Christopher is most severely affected, with his being almost totally deaf, and he will wear his hearing aids. He has had one broken now for over a year and we have been struggling with finding a competent hearing aid provider; we found one that we thought was good and then found out that they had twice made his hearing aid mold wrong, making it too uncomfortable for him to wear. We are now taking him to another provider next week and hope we have better luck. Of all three of us, Chris will most benefit from his hearing aids. He also seems to really enjoy wearing them! I think because his hearing loss is so severe, he is so delighted about hearing anything that he doesn’t really get bothered by the sensory annoyances of them. Although he has thrown them out of his ears after 5-6 hours before and we have to then find them in whatever room he was in! So he has to be closely watched while wearing them…
When wearing my left hearing aid off and on for six years, I did experience some better hearing. However there are drawbacks. Every background sound is also louder. I thought perhaps when I got the right ear hearing aid (which I did a few weeks ago) that I would start to hear things better like music playing in a crowded courthouse, for example. However, as I sat with Rog at Jefferson Co. PA courthouse the other day, every sound in the courthouse was louder even as the music was louder so I could still not hear it any better. Roger could still distinguish the songs before I could. Positively, though, I could hear Roger talking better! And that is important! And hearing high-pitched birds in the morning, and crickets at night, is also a plus!
About wearing the hearing aids themselves, and thinking of how Ryan is so sensorily over-stimulated with them, after I put them in I feel, for quite a while, like I am all plugged up. I eventually forgot about that feeling but occasionally it comes back, especially when I’m trying to eat with them in. I have the full sensation more in the left ear, which has the inside the ear only type of hearing aid, than the right, which has the type of hearing aid that is around the ear with just a tiny tube leading to inside the ear. I have actually found this right ear hearing aid to be more comfortable and less obvious to see in my ear when I look in the mirror. The left inside the ear aid also seems to often feel more blocked than the right, but that could be because of the wax buildup my audiologist told me I am experiencing. Once I visit the ENT and get that cleaned I’ll have to see if I then feel any difference between the ears. I also quite frequently have a sense of itching after wearing them for several hours. This has not happened in my right ear yet but I have only had that hearing aid a few weeks.
If we could find a way to write a social story for Ryan to be able to overcome these feelings I’m sure he has as he wears his hearing aids, maybe we can help him to learn to wear them again. The benefits of his wearing hearing aids would greatly help him! In school he mostly has one-on-one help, but that may not continue for his whole life If he can experience group learning in a more complete way by being able to hear better that would be wonderful.
Chris of course will greatly benefit after he gets his correctly fitted hearing aids! from what I remember the hearing aids help him to hear some, but not great. I believe they said they get him to almost a 20 dB level, which they explained should be someone speaking to him in a rather louder voice. I am hopeful as Chris wears his heading aids longer at school that he will pick up more words again (he talked when he was a toddler and young child) and remember how to pronounce them. He could also enjoy music again that he used to listen to. He also used to play the organ beautifully – it would be great if he could create music again!