telephones revisited

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Last week I ranted about telephones and how they affect my life.  Today I can report some success with telephone mastery.

My audiologist  gave me a pep talk and new map to help with the phones. Some of the higher frequencies are lowered and the sound otherwise adjusted to deal with the generally bad acoustics of a telephone.

I had been using the phone at work a little but success depended on the co-operation of the person on the other end of the line.  At work this is usually OK as everyone knows me, they are prepared to slow down and /or repeat themselves, and the callers are invariably women.  I’d also been using speaker phone which isn’t great for confidentiality and background noise.  Some changes in our work practices mean that I need to make calls where the background noise is more intrusive and where the callers don’t know me plus they are often men with those low voices.

The MedEl has a gadget called a fine tuner which acts as a remote control. With it I can select a map, change the volume, adjust the distance  ‘caught’ by the microphone. It also has three settings M, microphone, MT microphone and telecoil, and T for telecoil alone. When I was using the speakerphone I used the M setting which is the one for normal usage.  The T switch just feeds the sound from the phone to my speech processor cutting out all background noise.

The telecoil is a basically a way of generating a magnetic signal using an induction loop which allows the hearing device to pick up the signal and convert that to sound. It excludes all sound not generated by the magnetic signal. Phones that are hearing aid compatible have this facility.

I used to have T switches on my hearing aids but never had much success with them as the signal seemed too weak. Also, in the UK many cinemas, theatres, shops have a loop system installed which in theory means that you can switch your aid to the T switch and hear better. It rarely worked for me though as no-one ever seemed to have the systems set up properly.  I haven’t yet seen a loop system in Canada so I guess they aren’t used here.

Because of these previous experiences with T switches I wasn’t eager to use it but I tried and what a difference it makes. The sounds are more electronic again- back to the days when everyone sounds like Mickey Mouse on helium. But it works. The T switch alone is rather startling as I can hardly hear my own voice so end up shouting down the phone. I’m now using the TM switch so I do get background noise too but I can hear what I am saying.  I’ve made several phone calls with varying degrees of success but mostly a positive experience. I even made a phone call for someone else- isn’t that amazing. It’s years since that has happened.

I’m going to call Jonathan and Ann to practice my social skills too, things are looking up.

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