“My voice sounds like an alien.” 10 things I think to myself when I get new hearing aids

Posted on February 17, 2014

Last week, after having less-than-deal experiences with my local audiology service (read here and here for my blogs on it) I got new hearing aids, and was thrown into an uncertain audiological world.

Here are 10 things I found myself thinking as I tried to make sense of the brand new gadgets perched on my ears…

1. “Why is there a pneumatic drill in our fridge?”

Who knew our fridge, rated A++ for it’s environmental characteristics, rated E– for noise pollution?

So that’s why the saleswoman sold it to a deaf couple.

The other question of course, is why my new hearing aids are making such a big deal of what was previously an unnoticed sound…

2. “Do I look like I’m borrowing my granddad’s hearing aids?”

Silver – the colour of my previous pair – shone.

Grey, meanwhile, looks like it’s trying to blend in with an old person’s hair.

Maybe these hearing aids will suit me in 20 years time, but I’m not sure I can wait that long…

3. “THIS causes feedback?”

I knew my old hearing aids inside out, and I knew which of my movements would set off feedback (or whistling) sounds.

A weird smirk. A raucous laugh, for example.

And I knew how to avoid these sounds with extreme subtlety.

A mild bend of the lip. A moderation to my chin-swing, mid-guffaw.

This pair?

They’re whistling if I even wave at someone.

Heck, they’re whistling if I even think about waving at someone.

4. “It takes HOW MANY presses to get to the ‘t’ function?”

To use a loop system, which pipes sound from a telephone or TV straight into your hearing aids, I previously only had to press the button on the back of my hearing aids just the once.

Now it’s three times.

So, yeah… don’t call me. I’ll call you.

5. “There’s no off switch.”

With this pair, you have to pull the battery compartment out at the bottom of the hearing aids just to turn them off.

Even if you’re on the tube, and you want to use your hearing aids to BLOCK out the noise.

No, seriously, fellow commuter, those dangly silver things aren’t earrings.

However shiny they look.

6. “I sound like a dalek.”

I sounded like me before.

Now I sound like an alien.

Every sound I make sounds like it’s being run through a dodgy Auto-Tune system that makes me sound like I’m ET.

Croaky. Like I’ve smoked forty a day for the last twenty years.

7. “Speak the **** up!”

When did the world get so loud, and my family and friends so quiet?

8. “Do I really need to hear a cheerful jangly sound when the battery is about to run out?”

Hearing an upbeat noise that indicates I’m going to have to do something inconvenient, is annoying enough.

But then there’s the fact that the upbeat tune renders any remaining battery life utterly useless by obscuring anything else I can hear before all power is gone for good…

9. “What’s that rustling sound? An aeroplane?”

No, it’ll be my daughter putting her jacket on.

Talk about sound sensitive.

10. In conclusion: “I need new hearing aids.”

That aren’t worse than my old ones.

Check out Charlie’s list of annoying habits of hearing people (!) here: http://limpingchicken.com/2013/05/20/charlie-swinbourne-the-10-incredibly-annoying-habits-of-hearing-people/

Charlie Swinbourne is the editor of Limping Chicken, as well as being a journalist and award-winning scriptwriter. He writes for the Guardian and BBC Online, and as a scriptwriter, penned the films My SongComing Out and Four Deaf Yorkshiremen.

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