For 30 years I wore analogue hearing aids. Then finally the last pair stopped working which caused big problems. They could no longer be repaired because parts were no longer available and so I found myself forced to look at digital hearing aids. I had tried them out at different times in the past without success. The digital tone was always dissatisfactory compared to the analogue one and I just couldn’t get used to it. I was confident that the design of the digital devices might now have been further improved so that I could get used to them. Unfortunately, although all the lovely audiologists assured me that I should be able to hear better, all the different hearing aids and adjustments that they tried out on me were a total disaster.
I kept trying for nearly a year but everything sounded as though it was coming out of a train loudspeaker. I couldn’t understand my husband or friends properly. They always had to repeat everything. TV became a low drone until I switched the sound off and just relied on subtitles. I lived in a world of enforced isolation and was probably on the way to becoming a recluse. My husband, who was furious about these supposedly kind audiologists whose job it was to make sure that I could hear things again, started to phone round in Switzerland and ask specific questions.
In the end, we found an audiologist who gave us the right answer. So, we traveled to A where Mr. B made an audiogram and asked me a few important questions. My husband, dog and I went for a walk and when we returned less than an hour later, Mr. B. invited me to try out the new hearing aid that he had adjusted to suit my hearing damage. They were perfect. Since then, I have never taken them out except when going to bed. Before I lost most of my hearing capacity, I was a professional singer in the early 1960s for more than 20 years. In fact, if you google me, you’ll still find entries about my recordings and performances.
Mr. B, who had been a sound engineer for a rock band in his younger days, explained that musicians and singers have a different perception of sound and he had made the right adjustments. I would like to nominate Mr. B. for the annual award because he is obviously very interested in the actual world of hearing and sees beyond the web of technical, digital adjustments. He made it possible for me to return to normal life and I am enormously grateful to him for that.
It was a special interest group called Hearsig in Mensa that drew my attention to your award. I have been a member of Mensa for many years. It is an international organisation founded in England which you can only join if you pass a special intelligence test. I wrote a short article on my experiences looking for suitable hearing aids for Hearsig’s newsletter, which I would be happy to send you. Please consider Mr. B. for your Audiologist of the Year competition.