Ni Gallant: Pimping my hearing aids

Posted on April 13, 2012

This Tuesday I had my first real experience of adult audiology when I visited Selly Oak HARC (Hearing Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre) in Birmingham.

I have to say that I was incredibly nervous in the days before, as I knew I’d be swapping my broken old model hearing aids for something new and shiny – but I hadn’t been told exactly what.

I knew that the obvious choice was a Naida, so the night before I went Googling and decided that I very definitely wanted one like this…

Because stripes are definitely in this year… and lets face it – you could wear it with ANYTHING!

So Mum and I rocked up at audiology – which by the way is in a sort of grand porti-cabin thing which looks so much bigger on the inside than the outside!

I almost died of nervousness in the waiting room, with millions of thoughts running through my head… I knew that kids audiology is a lot different to adult audiology – you have a lot more responsibility to look after yourself, and the appointments are with different people. Although responsibility is a good thing! And I’m always berating people who don’t treat me like an adult…

Of course, everything was fine – the lady was lovely and made me feel totally relaxed! Although there were some teething problems… The lack of colourful hearing aids for a start.

I’m still totally amazed that HARC will not give you coloured hearing aids! Not even if you start with beige ones to “try them out” and then swap them when you’re certain that they’re good for you!

Apparently, in order to have colourful hearing aids you have to have a learning difficulty or a mental health condition… and my pleas that having horrible, old person beige hearing aids would get me bullied for sure and therefore ruin my mental health were totally ignored. A sad moment in my life…

I still think it was a valid point to raise – I’ve had comments from people before about having beige hearing aids (my stand in ones were beige) and it totally ruins your confidence to do anything – like wearing your hair up…

Another point that was made by a friend afterwards is as a sort of role-model to deaf kids through NDCS, WDCS, Deaf Direct, general life… surely it would be better for those kids to see that being a deaf adult with hearing aids means you can still be cool… After all having coloured aids does make them a lot more bearable, and you’re always the envy of your friends!

The hearing aids Ive actually ended up with look like this…

At least I still have colourful molds, right?

And thanks to the NDCS Facebook mums and their AMAZING ideas, I’ve actually pimped them a little bit so they look a hell of a lot cooler than anything audiology could have given me!

I decorated them with nail stickers from Sainsburys – enough to do both hearing aids at least twice over!

I’ve managed to make something that looks funky and cool, a little grown up but still childish enough that I don’t feel too much like an adult! They’ve even been complimented by a random person on the train…

The best bit though is I went out with my hair up twice this week and didn’t even think twice about it – for me having something that looks colourful and creative is so important because it gives me confidence and totally matches my personality.

So all in all, adult audiology is really not as bad as it’s cracked up to be in my head… The people are friendly and they still don’t bite, they listen to your concerns and I’m perfectly happy to be going back in 6 weeks time for a review appointment…

After that the next step is just going – ALONE!

I’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it!

Ni is a deaf teen in mainstream school. This year she was on the NDCS Youth Advisory Board and as well as this she runs a Youth Group for Worcestershire deaf teens called “Deafinity.” She started writing a blog ( a couple of months ago about life from a deaf teenagers perspective and says that “somehow what I said resonates with other young people – so I carried on!” deaf news uk


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