Sounding off! Tiger Mother goes out on a Sunday morning mission

Posted on March 15, 2013

Every month Tiger Mother – mum to moderately deaf Hayley, 14, and her two brothers Lee and Harry – brings you a frank insight into the ups and downs of life with a deaf child who has autistic spectrum disorder. Read her updates on the NDCS website, and post your views and comments.

This month, Tiger Mother and 14-year-old daughter Hayley, who’s moderately deaf and has autistic spectrum disorder, make an exciting discovery.

At our local railway station, Hayley is asking the man behind the glass screen about a return ticket into town. She listens and thanks him.

As we leave she smiles at me. “I can definitely hear better with it,” she says, pressing the button on her hearing aid from T position back to normal.

Hooray! We’re on a mission experimenting with the T position programme that was added to Hayley’s hearing aids at the last visit to the audiologist.

We’d somehow managed to bumble along without discovering it. We’ve not been big on equipment before now. Hayley’s Teacher of the Deaf said her hearing loss wasn’t severe enough for her to benefit from a radio aid in school, so somehow we’ve always assumed her hearing aids are all the technology she needs. Other devices, such as vibrating and flashing alarm clocks and doorbells, have never been necessary as Hayley can hear the everyday ones okay.

Then during her recent appointment, the audiologist mentioned there were systems that could be used to help her better hear her iPod and other equipment, and described how they work with the T programme.

She explained that it could be installed on one or both aids, and that it would cut out all background sounds. Hayley chose to have it on just one aid so she could still listen to what was going on around her, and ever since she’s been on a mission to try it out in different situations.

As luck would have it, we had tickets soon afterwards for a pantomime in a theatre with a loop system. Hayley switched her hearing aids to the T position, but after ten minutes changed them back. During the interval she said she wasn’t keen, preferred to hear the show as she always had. I expect it takes some getting used to.

But the new setting is great in many situations and she’s now looking forward to finding out exactly what she can do with it. It’s also cleared up a mystery for us. Last year on a rare excursion into technology, I borrowed a television loop system from the NDCS Technology Test Drive to see if it improved things for Hayley. Usually she relies on her aids, subtitles (when they work properly), and also has the volume very loud, which can lead to rows and battles with her brothers over the remote control.

But despite the best efforts of Hayley’s dad, scratching his head as he puzzled over the instructions for the tenth time, we couldn’t get it to work.

It was only later that the penny dropped – you needed the T programme activated on her hearing aids for the system to work. I feel very silly and Hayley has assured me I’m a complete numpty.

I can’t argue with that. But anyway, we’re applying to borrow another one and hopefully this time we’ll get to the bottom of it and discover a whole new harmonious telly watching experience…

Head to the technology pages on the NDCS website to find out if, like Hayley, your child might benefit from technology to help them enjoy TV.  

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