I have multiple disabilities including progressive hearing impairment. I have been wearing hearing aids since 2005 when the genetic condition was triggered to surface by an infection. Until recently I was only able to work part time, one shift per week, as the work was too taxing for my health. I could not use the telephone at work to call as I could not hear, and I had to delegate the task to others.
Since the hearing deterioration I became more withdrawn and lost confidence as a result of encountering negative attitudes from plain ignorance to outright bullies. Recently I was transferred to a desk role, with seeing people face to face but a large part of this role also involves over the phone assessments. I was simply dreading this and even considered leaving my job, which I truly love, altogether.
But it was my audiologist and her continued highest standards and the genuine care I have been receiving, trying to squeeze my appointments around my ridiculous o’clock working times. And supporting me with the tweaks of equipment, extra advice and dealing with my “panic attacks” when something was not working as it should.
My audiologist also understood my insistence on cleaning the equipment in front of me, I have previously contracted a Healthcare acquired ear infection at another facility after which my hearing deteriorated further, so my audiologist cleans everything and washes her hands in front of me, even if she just did so after her previous patient just to give me peace of mind. My audiologist also answers the most simple and perhaps obvious and even ridiculous questions either at appointments or via countless emails clearly and friendly, without being condescending, despite being extremely busy.
When she took over my care, I was apprehensive, many patients would sympathise, as I was worried whether I would be understood, and would I be able to communicate, would I hear the new voice and so on… But my audiologist dispelled my worries in the first minute of our first appointment, approachable, friendly, speaking clearly, and above all caring, knowledgeable and professional.
My audiologist has also been instrumental with keeping my new full time job which, as mentioned, now involves over the phone assessments, a very stressful thing for a hard of hearing person. Not only did she lend me the phone box and office kit to try but made herself available to answer my endless panicky questions when I tried to secure funding for the equipment. It did end up with me paying for it after all, but what matters is that my audiologist went beyond her call of duty to help me, and made me believe I can do well in my new role.
I am sure you find that it is not just restored or improved hearing and functionality that makes the difference to the patients’ lives, but the restored confidence and belief that they can actually function in “the normal world” on a par with the “normal” people like my audiologist continues to deliver to me. Many, many thanks for all she does and for helping me stay in my job I really love.