When I first got my Resound LiNX Quattro Hearing Aids, I had the privilege of getting a Multi Mic too which I’m so happy and excited about because it really has made my hearing experience at school so much better!
I’m in year 11 now so it’s my final year where I have got lots of exams coming up so I really need to hear everything the teachers and students are saying at all times.
I’ve now been using this mic for a few months and all I can say is WOW!! It has really changed my life at school! I can hear the teachers so much more and better than I could before using my old hearing aids and a Roger pen and the sound is just unreal.
One of the things I really love about the Multi Mic is how I can turn up and down the sound, which is especially good because all teachers voices are different so I can turn the mic up if I can’t hear them or down because I find their voices are loud. What is also amazing about the mic is that I can turn the surrounding noises up or down on it to!
In different classes the general atmosphere is louder or quieter and previously I would just have to listen to all that and the teacher which I struggled to hear, whereas now I can turn the teachers voice up or the atmospheres voices down which has helped me so much because now I can hear everything I want to. Another thing I find amazing about the Multi Mic is when I’m doing group or partner work at school, and I can place the mic on the table and listen to all of the people around me when I talk, which is really amazing because then I can hear and concentrate on what they’re saying while others are talking around me! This has really helped me because it’s made me feel a real part of group work now. I don’t have to keep asking them to repeat what they’re saying anymore because I can hear them talking straight away.
I feel I've grown in confidence a lot more to talk to other people and actually hear them better during group work or partnership work. So thanks to my Multi Mic has made me come out of my shell a lot more and helped me communicate with a lot more students at school. So thank you to The Molly Watt Trust, GN Hearing and Sarah at Correct Hearing for showing me how it works it really is helping me progress at school.
Hello everyone! Hope you are all doing well. Wow it feels a little weird writing a blog again, I haven’t wrote one in ages! However, it feels sooo good to be back and I can’t wait to tell you all about my new hearing aids! The reason why I haven’t wrote a blog in a while is really because I haven’t had anything to write about, which probably seems weird because it’s been 5 months since my last one, so it would probably seem like I’ve got loads to tell you over the last few months but really I haven’t. Due to this whole lockdown there have been a few struggles due to appointments being cancelled and my mental health hasn’t been great, but I know I’m not the only one! So I’m definitely not alone, however, we have FINALLY come back to some normality which is amazing and I’m so glad to be able to live a normal life but with a few exceptions again. Now things have gone back to normal, I had my first appointment for my AMAZING new hearing aids which I can’t wait to tell you all about! So, get comfy, grab a little snack and let me tell you all about my journey of getting my new hearing aids...
Let’s go back to the beginning. I was born with moderate to severe hearing and I wear hearing aids in both ears to help me hear. I used to wear all sorts of different hearing aids but my first ones that I got when I was a baby were tiny! Seeing the size difference from my last hearings aids before these ones was eye opening! I didn’t know how much your ears grow haha! My last ones before my new amazing hearing aids were called Sky V from Phonax and to me, getting fitted with these hearings aids was back then unreal because I could hear more new sounds such as hearing ‘s’ more, so when people said words like spider for example, I would really be able to hear the s and I would get my mum to say words with s in over and over again because it was so unreal to hear that one new sound. So I did feel very lucky that I was able to hear unlike some people who can’t, so even though I am deaf, I can live my life like others can. One of my amazing talents that I learnt ever since I was little was lip reading which is basically to read people’s lips. Which helps me to pick up words from your lips and for them to go into my brain and then to my ears which is really amazing because it really helps me understand and hear what you are saying. But since I’ve been diagnose with Usher Syndrome, which I’m sure many of you know about, but if not please read my first blog called My Life With Usher Syndrome where I tell you all about my story of being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome. I’m not going to lie to you I have been really worried ever since I’ve been diagnose with my Usher Syndrome that even though I have good hearing aids, when my eye site does go I won’t be able to lip read which is scary because I really rely on that to help me communicate with people. So that has really got me sometimes when I have been thinking about the future. However, the most surreal opportunity came my way and honestly it has changed my life! So let’s get onto my new hearing experience!
So, where shall I start haha?! Basically the most amazing Molly Watts Trust contacted my mum and asked me if I would like to try these new hearing aids called Resound Linx Quattro and OMG I felt the most luckiest girl in the world when my mum told me. I knew these hearing aids were really good because I followed Molly from the Molly Watts Trust and some other people’s journeys getting these hearing aids and all I heard was amazing things about them and how they have changed their lives! So, I couldn’t wait for the experience of getting them. I was going to get them at the beginning of this year but due to COVID appointments got put back a number of times and I was really starting to loose hope of me ever getting these hearing aids which made me very upset because I just really wanted them soooo badly! But after a few months and lockdown died down the date finally happened the 17th of September was the most emotional, but in many good ways day of my life! I finally got them! One of my dreams came true and honestly I felt a million dollars!! I went all the way to Nottingham with my mum and dad and we met Molly and her mum Jane from the Molly Watts Trust and went to Correct Hearing where I met a lovely audiologist called Sarah and I was a little nervous meeting a new audiologist because I was really close to my other audiologist that I had ever since I was little and she really looked after me and cared for me which meant a lot! So I was a little nervous but really there was no need to be at all! Sarah made me feel so comfortable and welcome and honestly she felt like a member of the family as soon as I met her. So I can’t thank her enough for fitting me in and for fitting my hearing aids for me. I was sooo nervous when my new hearing aids went in my ears and before they go switched on because I kept thinking omg what if they don’t work? What if they don’t sound right? What if I can’t hear anything from them? But OMG I had nothing to worry about! As soon as Sarah put the hearing aids in my ears I could hear EVERYTHING! I could hear cars going past that were outside which I could never hear before, I could hear my Mum and Jane talking at the same time and could listen to both of their conversation over the other side of the room also I could hear the door opening and shutting from other rooms that I couldn’t even see inside the building. I could even talk on the phone for the first time! All these things I could never hear before just made me flood into tears! I couldn’t believe how much I really couldn’t hear until I put these Resound Linx Quattro hearing aids in my ears. One of the most amazing things that happened was Molly wanted me to shut my eyes and told my mum, dad and Jane to stand in different areas of the room and for me to point at them when I heard them say something and OMG I could hear them all and know where the sound was coming from and it made me flood into tears. I couldn’t believe that I could hear them with my eyes closed which meant that I wouldn’t have to rely on lip reading which was just a sigh of relief! On the 17th of September I felt the luckiest girl in the world! And that was all thanks to the Molly Watts Trust, GN Hearing And Correct Hearing for letting me have these AMAZING, BRILLIANT, AND EMOTIONAL new hearing aids!
I just want to show you all now what my old hearing aids look like to what my new hearing aids look like that I’m wearing now! So here’s a photo of my old hearing aids next to my new ones!
So my old hearing aid is on the left and my new one is on the right. Can you see the see the difference? Haha!
So let me now tell you some sounds that I’ve never heard before. The day after I got my new hearing aids I was constantly listening to new sounds around me and concentrated on hearing new things. The funny things that I’ve never heard before was tin foil! My mum was doing my lunch for school and I heard a loud sound and I was like mum was that? And she said what do you mean? So we listened out for it and it stopped and I was like its stopped I can’t hear it now and then she went back to wrapping my sandwiches and I said mum that’s the noise again and she said Olivia that’s Tin foil and I was like what really? And omg it made me feel very emotional because I’ve never heard Tin foil I couldn’t believe that a little sound that I’ve never heard before now existed! Another funny sound I heard for the first time was my dog eating her dinner! Me and my family were sat on the sofa watching tv and I was like what’s that noise? And my dad said Olivia, that’s Hettie (my dog) eating and honestly it was an annoying sound because she is sooo loud haha! But yeah hearing Tin foil and my dog eating was just unreal haha! I couldn’t believe the amount of sounds I didn’t hear before these new miracle hearing aids! When I got to school I was a little nervous because I was thinking omg is it going to be overwhelming hearing loads of children talking all at once during break and lunch but honestly it really wasn’t! I can hear all my friends really clearly in a busy and loud environment and it was just unreal because I used to never be able to hear everyone, I used to have to get them to repeat what they were saying. When I got to school I was talking to my friends and then another one of my friends came up to me and started talking to me but then I looked the other way to talk to someone else and then my friend said something and I looked straight at her and I knew what she was saying and my friend was like OMG those hearing aids really work! Normally I would have to shout at you or tap you for ages but you responded to me straight away and OMG that just changed my life! Like it made me feel like everyone else again! Like I was just as normal as everyone else! So every since then I’ve just felt a million dollars! This week has just been amazing and I just feel really really really lucky to be able to get these Resound Linx Quattro hearing aids!!
Right that’s my story of the first week of having my new hearing aids done! However, I just want to say another huge massive thank you to the Molly Watts Trust, GN Hearing and Correct Hearing for changing my life and making me feel the luckiest girl in the world! I wouldn’t be where I am now without all these people who have given me the opportunity for letting me have these hearing aids! I also want to say a massive thank you to my friends, my family, my mum, my dad and my sister for being there through all the tough times and the good times and for all of you for just sticking with me no matter what! And finally I just want to say a massive thank you for all of you who are reading this blog! I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it wasn’t for all your amazing messages and feedback and I just really hope I have brought awareness out to everyone and for everyone to keep going and not give up when the times get hard because we’ve got this! Love you all Olivia xx
I have to admit that as time goes by, wearing high tech smart hearing aids has become just a part of me. I imagine this must be how natural hearing sounds, if that makes sense!
GN hearing’s assistive technology over the past 3 years has sort of become a part of my DNA, a real part of me, something I wouldn’t want to think about changing and for this very reason it’s almost trickier to begin talking about it. Nevertheless I am going to try and share my recent experiences with the latest GN Hearing re-chargeable additions “LiNXQuattro”.
About a month ago when I was fitted with them https://youtu.be/I7oXcSy9EEA
I was not just excited to be receiving GN’s latest and most innovative smart hearing aids but also excited and curious that the hearing aids I was being fitted with would be the rechargeable version, I know to many excitement wouldn’t be a way of describing “rechargeable hearing aids,” maybe useful or maybe practical but for me being deafblind I was excited - no more fiddly tiny batteries, easily lost, often resulting in no hearing until battery found or shop found to buy spares! As organised as I’d be I’m a girl, I change handbags regularly, have all sorts of things to carry and on occasion that spare pack of batteries I’ve fumbled around for in my bag have had all dead batteries! Leading to frustration, anxiety, sometimes even panic when I’m in an unfamiliar area and “virtually completely deaf” quite frightening.
No more having to pack spare batteries or worrying I’d lose sound whilst out and about - it really is the little things!
Wearing two dead hearing aids would make me feel more deaf than I am without hearing aids at all so I’d even take one aid out to use the tiny bit of residual hearing in an exhausting effort to keep my baby toe in with reality - of course this was ridiculously unreliable because lets face it, I am severely deaf and registered blind I need and totally rely on my hearing aids day in, day out and I can say without question that since being fitted with GN LiNX2 followed by LiNX3D and now LiNXQuattro this incredible technology has compensated in a positive way for my deafblindness more than anything. I’ve said it over and over and cannot stress the importance of this assistive technology it really is the “gamechanger”.
I’m going to begin by comparing my experience of having hearing aids with batteries and moving to rechargeable ones - shoutout to all hearing aid users : You know when you can tell your week is up and the sound quality starts to fade and you hear those beeps indicating you’re in need of a battery change?
That feeling when you change the batteries, that fresh feeling, almost feels like your hearing has improved a kind of ‘fresher!’ hearing (I personally loved a good new pair of batteries, no hearing person could understand that satisfaction but WOW new hearing aid batteries!)
Well, with rechargeable hearing aids, a full, new battery every single day - “fresh,” “clean” just like new hearing aid batteries every day, what a great start. A simple charge takes a relatively short time, I recharge overnight and throughout my waking hours use/stream without a care in the world. I have got into the habit of taking the little charging unit with me but am yet to need it - better safe than sorry until I know exactly what these aids are capable of.
If you’re hearing I can imagine you might be struggling to empathise with this however I just had to mention that it’s a very noticeable improvement with these new babies and a perfect start!
Like previous models these “made for iPhone” smart hearing aids still have the ability to connect the dots between all my accessibility tools - the sound quality streaming has improved making listening to music and taking phone calls so much easier and more enjoyable. I’ve experienced a new kind of sound quality, familiar voices have a different sound, I guess I’d describe as more of a richness, I’m picking up on things like expression of sound, sarcasm, exaggeration, pitch, those sort of things, things I’d never really realised I’d missed!
I love music, all sorts of music and since wearing LiNXQuattro I’ve begun listening more carefully and can pick out different instruments rather than just listening to words - before GN hearing aids I couldn’t decipher either. I used to make up the words and think what I heard was how it was, WRONG. Actually hearing was hard work and I’d rely on visual clues like lip reading and gestures, those days long gone along with my sight, how grateful I am to GN Hearing that I’m more than coping without visual clues.
I tend to use FaceTime to communicate with my friends, they seem to prefer it, not that they are deaf or deafblind, they just seem to be enjoy it more. I can still just about make out their faces, but that said most important to me is the direct stream of sound whilst doing other things (I’ll often rest my phone against something while I’m busy) I can walk around the room and keep busy and talk with my friends as if they are in the room - I’ve never been so productive whilst on the phone before!
The quality and clarity of sound has meant I don’t mishear very often, as a result I feel very confident in conversation not just with friends but with clients on the phone. I can still hear things around me like kettle, the microwave, the toaster - whilst on the phone.
I have often rung my Mum for instructions on something or the other and put the phone down while concentrating on those. The hearing aids feel like an extension of me, they allow me to do more than ever before.
I continue to enjoy the independence to swap and change settings in the changing environments I find myself in. Also to save hearing aid settings for places I visit regularly, it’s also pretty cool that the hearing aids remember settings for saved places.
I’m enjoying life with my rechargeable LiNXQuattro, that “Fresh Battery” feel, the rich way I’m experiencing sound, the seamless direct streaming is priceless, totally enabling.
My work involves lots of speaking and lots of listening at Q&A time which at one time I’d feel a little anxious about but not any more, my ability to access sound and to feel inclusive has had a massive impact on my everyday life, I’m anything but that poor deafblind girl sat in the corner.
My confidence and independence is at an all time high and yes, I rely totally on assistive technology to live my life and of course, rely on my Guidedog for keeping me safe but it has to be said my smart hearing aids are without a doubt the “LiNX to everything”
I’d like to comment on the remote hearing aid repair but accept to say it’s an amazing as my LiNXQuattro are yet to let me down and judging by my previous GN smart hearing aids besides the odd tweak in the early days completely problem free, perfect performance.
For the last two years I have raved about ReSound LiNX² smart hearing aids and rightly so, they literally changed my life.
I would be lying if I didn't say "REALLY" when I initially read about ReSound LiNX3D, however, I absolutely wanted to try them.
Anybody familiar with hearing aids knows that whilst a new pair can offer more long term the initial few weeks/months are not fun.
It is key that people understand that a new pair of hearing aids are not an instant fix. With every new pair of hearing aids - unlike the cochlea implant there is not a ‘switch on’ and you hear new sounds process. Most with hearing aids have experienced sound before, unlike many profoundly deaf and hence the differences in "siwitch on/adjustment." With hearing aids the brain and nerves literally work hard to process new sounds and it is both mentally and physically exhausting. I often have to explain to people the reason I am not hearing as well as before (with previous hearing aids) in the first few weeks is because my brain is in a state of confusion to sounds, kind of re-programming itself all over again.
As someone with such restricted vision and somebody who has benfitted enormously from LiNX² I did feel really quite anxious about trying ReSound LiNX3D, probably more anxious than previously however I absolutely wanted my chance to experience the very latest smart hearing aid technology.
I knew I would have to deal with some very challenging weeks whilst adjusting to the new hearing aids and that the confusion they often cause makes me feel more deaf than normal however the benefits do far outweigh this once the brain adjusts. A time to be very patient.
Picking up new and unfamiliar sounds are initially confusing and often hard to make sense of whilst the familiar sounds no longer sound familiar. The brain seems confused and in a state of learning and it can be very tiring, frustrating and annoying all at once on top of which it can be hard to have patience throughout this period of time.
Even before being fitted with LiNX² I remember feeling hope that these new smart hearing aids could make a real difference to my life. I desperately wanted them to work, to give me something more then my NHS hearing aids. Could something really be available in any way shape or form to really enhance my hearing and in any way compensate for my failing sight?
I remember the early days of LiNX² the whole "getting used to" process. Almost bizarrely I could immediately sense a new clarity in sounds that I found strange but exciting.
Amongst the confusion of the many new sounds I was experiencing for the first time in my life there were sounds that initially sounded like interference in my ear, a process of elimination by the three audiologist present revealed I was hearing sounds from outside of the room I was sitting in! I had never experienced that before, hadn't as much as considered it an option, yes, up until I was almost 21 years old I had not thought this was even possible - how much had I really missed out on over the years?
Also although the sounds were kind of coming at me at all angles I could for the first time follow a sound around the room. It made me feel quite dizzy but also fascinated.
The first month was a journey of emotion and discovery. Slowly I discovered so many new things, the voices of my loved ones sounded so different, so much clearer. The LiNX² connectivity to my iPhone and applewatch, the app enabled me to experiment with my hearing, adjusting bass and treble and also adjusting the smart aid capabilities in different environments it really was unbelievable. As a result of me being able to adjust my hearing aids as appropriate to my environment I discovered how much better my access to sound really was. I discovered 'hearsay and earwigging'. I sat on a train hearing the noise of the train but over and above that sound I could hear people speaking clearly even though I couldn't see them, I knew they were sitting behind me. It was both fascinating and strange in those early days.
I could now speak and hear clearly on my iPhone as sound streamed directly to my ears, I could hear things I had never heard before.
Those difficult, exhausting days of constantly scanning to find sound gone I felt connected to people even though I couldn't necessarily see them. Ask any deaf person how important sight is to their very being and you'll understand just how huge these things are.
I could write so much about these amazing smart hearing aids however I have written extensively about my LiNX² already and most blogs can be found at www.molly-watt-trust.org this one is my personal favourite: http://www.molly-watt-trust.org/component/k2/bali-sound-sensations
So, in April of this year I was humbled and flattered to be one of the first in the UK to trial the very latest in ReSound's smart hearing aid technology, ReSound LiNX3D, Whilst I was excited I was also apprehensive as to what more these hearing aids could offer, which shows just how happy I have been with my LiNX².
Whilst waiting on my fitting I had time to do my own research and the more I researched the more exciting ReSound LiNX3D became, however, I was not looking forward to that first month of aural confusion especially as my work agenda is now quite taxing. There would be no quiet time to aclimatise myself to new hearing aids this time!
Since wearing LiNX² my confidence and ability to work independently has led me to, with a little help, set up my own business as well as work tirelessly for my charity and championing accessibility and inclusivity for all.
My Dad took me for my first fitting of ReSound LiNX3D. Being deafblind mobility is another of the extra challenges I have to deal with. I was excited and curious to experience the many things I had read - could they really be as superior to LiNX² as I had read?
I was being fitted by a friendly familiar face at ReSound so I felt very comfortable.
The fitting did not pan out the way I thought it would. The first thing we established from an up to date hearing test was that my hearing had worsened, not a lot but every single decibel of loss can be multiplied over and over for somebody deafblind. I put on a brave face on the day but deep down I felt myself grieving for that loss. My ability to hear is what keeps me inclusive in a world that is more often dark than light these days.
I was hoping for so much from ReSound LiNX3D after my experience of ReSound LiNX² and after that bad news I was desperate for them to offer more to compensate for the added hearing loss.
The fitting went well and I could immediately hear differences and as exciting as it was I felt a touch deflated, such mixed emotions.
I had an emotional couple of days coming to terms with the fact my hearing loss had deteriorated however after allowing myself time and with the support of my family and friends I soon pulled myself together and started to enjoy experimenting with my ReSound LiNX3D. My life is full of challenge, this is just another one and totally doable.
Almost immediately I began experiencing new sounds and they seemed louder than the old sounds, it felt like my brain was working overtime to make sense of them, it really was hard work but the belief that once everything settled I would experience more positives than negatives even with more of a hearing loss gave me hope.
Never one to stay down for too long I immersed myself into work wearing ReSound LiNX3D.
ReSound LiNX3D come with a new app, the new app offers much more than the one for LiNX² so more to learn, more to experiment with, exciting.
This app, like with LiNX² smart hearing aids bluetooth connect automatically once paired to both iPhone and applewatch. Like the now previous app my most frequently used programmes were there: ‘All around,’ ‘Restaurant’ and ‘Outdoor’I found the familiarity comforting. Knowing the three programmes I use most are on the new app for me to use and alter accordingly to enable me to hear to the best of my ability. The new app has bass, treble, volume settings and newly added, further wind reduction settings on each programme, an inbetween bass and treble, a ‘Middle,’ setting that almost balances out both bass and treble when in an environment with poor acoustics.
The format of these settings has changed slightly and is now in graph form - using your finger tips you can fiddle around with ease to find the settings that suit you best. However, the icing on the cake really has to be the ‘Request Assistance’ option.
What does this mean?
I can now simply, request assistance using the app on my iPhone wherever I am. The benefits of this are enormous. Besides the fact I have the assistance of my audiologist pretty much at my fingertips any time and any place I may be. I no longer have to make an appointment to see an audiologist which can be several weeks away and for me at a clinic very hard to reach by public transport.
For deafblind people like myself mobility is challenging at the best of times but the thought of having to attend an audiology clinic with broken hearing aids some weeks later is not acceptable but something those with dual sensory impairment have to endure on occasion.
The reassurance I now have from "Request Assistance" via the app on my iPhone is truly priceless. Now if I am away working, which is often the case and for any reason I have any issue or concern with my hearing aids I can fill in a short but thorough questionnaire to set out my concerns (ie: which programme, which setting, which ear, how annoying etc etc) I can also fill in a personal message to specify my issues and this is sent direct to my audiologist who will pick it up and respond as soon as possible.
My first two and a half weeks with LiNX3D were for me more challenging than my first experiences of LiNX² I think besides the usual "getting accustomed to" period I was very busy with work so challenged in varying environments and wasn't used to hearing aids or the app as a result I did struggle more so contacted my audiologist who insisted he check my hearing aid settings.
A short follow up visit to my office and a check of my previous programme for LiNX² with a comparison of my new programme with LiNX3D resulted in a small tweak which appeared to literally be a few taps on a computer then almost by magic my hearing aids came to life.
Sat in the office concentrating hard on my audiologist all of a sudden became less intense as I could hear him without any problem. I also became very aware of the clicking of a computer keyboard behind me and I could hear the familiar sound of the printer printing to my left and also the gurgling sound of the water cooler beside me - this is more like it I thought.
I remember having a similar check with my LiNX² 3/4 weeks on and a few little changes making a big difference so perhaps normal to need that follow up.
I think changing to ReSound LiNX3D from LiNX² I felt more educated as to what could be achieved and so more aware of any problem, either way, I was sorted.
I left the office that day with guide dog Unis, I could not just feel her body close to me but I could hear the clinking of her lead and collar and her paws on the pavement beside me, I could also hear birds twittering on the roofs above me, I could hear the sounds of cars to my right and behind me. As I walked through the town I could hear voices, different voices, men, women and children. As I passed the coffee shop I could hear people talking and the sound of crockery, I couldn't see any of it as I walked looking straight ahead allowing Unis to do her job. It was amazing to be able to understand my familiar environment because of my hearing. The depth, quality and clarity of sound LiNX3D provide is incredible. As I passed the bakery I could smell fresh bread and to the side of the bakery is a bus stop, I could hear voices, clearly people waiting for a late bus. My walk home from the office was as though I was seeing new pictures in sound. Sounds coming from all around me and the beauty really was I could decipher the sounds and where they were coming from - my new journey of discovery had begun.
Some other positives are the clarity of speech streamed via iPhone and also music has much more depth than previously. I'm enjoying hearing music, lyrics and new sounds, I've discovered the sounds of different instruments that I'd never heard before, now just to educate myself on exactly what those instruments are!
I have since experimented with ‘request assistance,’ because of course if you have an issue - you send the message what happens next?
Well after sending a request a week or so after I had seen the audiologist with a minor concern, I received a response.
Here is the absolute "creme de la creme" my audiologist sends back an up to date programme for me to install. Clear instructions display on my screen: ‘Take out hearing aids, leave them on and leave near phone,’ and the programme re-installs onto the hearing aids with the necessary adjustments made by my audiologist externally. I could be in America or Australia in fact any country with wifi and have both assistance and solutions made via my iPhone. This service is second to known and truly priceless.
It is possible to restart programmes and request further assistance if necessary.
There are two relatively small negatives for me at this point, both of which could be perfected. Firstly the writing within the app is hard for me to access at times, lots of white backgrounds and fine print - this is very challenging with tired visually impaired eyes, would love to see an improvement here, good contrasts and dynamic text would be perfect.
Also it would be great to receive an instant response from the audiologist to confirm my request for assistance had been received rather than me keep checking the app which did get very tiring. Besides that, I have been totally impressed.
I have now been wearing ReSound LiNX3D for around 5 weeks and I feel the initial "brain strain" and confusion is over and I'm now enjoying the benefits of this incredible smart hearing aid technology.
I am able to use the app on both iPhone and applewatch to adjust my ability to hear in every different environment I might find myself in.
I loved my LiNX², they offered me more than I could ever have believed possible however I can now report ReSound LiNX3D have exceeded my expectations and not just because of the ground breaking "Request Assistance" but because this smart hearing aid is providing much improved clarity of speech, crystal clear in fact, also improved connectivity provides excellent access to all number of iPhone apps audibly. My days of not hearing or mishearing are very much a thing of the past.
I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome almost 11 years ago - born severely deaf I have now been registered blind 9 years and whilst like everybody with this cruel condition I hope for a cure however, I am not hung up on finding a cure, I want to live my life positively and thanks to ReSound this is possible.
I am excited for the future because this incredible assistive technology keeps evolving and enables me to be an inclusive part of society. I simply want this for all living with the challenges of deafblindness.
At the end of my work and networking trip to the other side of the world, Mum and I decided on a a trip to the beautiful island of Bali to spend the last 10 days relaxing.
Arriving in Bali was surreal, it was dark outside, I hate arriving anywhere in the dark as I see so little.
We were very tired and our body clocks were already extremely confused! We were met with intense humidity whilst looking for our taxi service.
At Denpesar Airport we were met by a sweet Balinese gentlemen dressed in traditional Bali attire.
I felt quite important when Mum pointed out this man who was stood waiting for us holding a banner with our names on it. This lovely man spoke perfect English and without much of an accent so I was able to understand him quite easily, accents can be a problem for the deaf, thankfully for me, not this time.
The hour drive to Ubud for me was exhausting, it was really dark so I could not appreciate Bali's ornate beauty. What I could see was darkness amongst blurred street lights the lights hurt my eyes. It was incredibly disorientated amd quick sick so I put on my dark glasses turning my focus to communicating with the gent and his colleague the driver taking us to our destination, thankfully with no communication barrier it was pleasant interacting and finding out more about Balinese culture.
On arriving another surreal experience, I was guided by my Mum up some large steps, the lighting was low and I could hear water fountains, both left and right of the rugged steps but I couldn't see them in the dim light. I stopped on the steps holding onto my Mum’s arm, I had not experienced the still yet peaceful sound of water flowing before - I have to admit I felt quite emotional and incredibly lucky to have hearing aids to provide me with such beauty I couldn't see, but my imagination filled in the gaps.
As we carried on up the steps I sensed we were “inside”.
However Mum informed me whilst we were at reception we were still actually outside. Mum gave me a quick audio description which helped me form a picture of serene beauty and tranquility in the middle of a jungle.
There was water all around us in the lobby/reception. I felt frustrated I couldn't see it all, but so grateful to hear the flowing water, to smell the natural smells, flowers, damp trees, the smell of the Balinese countryside and to hear new sounds, I’ll come back to those sounds, the real feeling of peacefulness.
At the reception we were once again greeted by more incredibly sweet welcoming Balinese staff.
After check in and a complimentary sweet fizzy drink (was not totally sure if it was alcoholic or not!) all my senses were truly tested!
Mum soon grabbed me and guided me back down the steps and to what I was told was a golf cart already loaded with our luggage. We were then escorted to our chalet, what service I thought!
On opening the wooden gate into our private chalet I could see a little light coming from within, I couldn't wait to get inside, get some better lighting and really see where I was.
WOW, I was not disappointed, we were shown around our chalet like VIPs, I felt incredibly humbled. The bed was draped in what looked like sheer sheets hanging from the ceiling, the floor was made of large man made concrete slabs, small tables were decorated beautifully with Balinese flowers. The whole decor was ornate and stunning. The bathtub was almost the size of my double bed at home, and then a door opened to what was our outdoor shower! Again everything beautifully decorated with flowers, plants and everything ornate. I was quite overwhelmed and still I could hear noises, noises I hadn't heard before!
I was really tired that night but I couldn't sleep, I never sleep with my hearing aids in but on this particular night I didn't want to take them out. I was enjoying hearing the sounds of the jungle, I knew I could hear birds outside and some running water but really couldn't decipher the other noises, I was fascinated by the sounds, it still amazes me that I can hear outside with my Linx2 smart aids, something I could never have done previously. I went 20 years thinking you only hear sounds in the same room as you!
I fell asleep for the first time ever wearing my hearing aids!
The following morning was an out of body experience! I woke to morning sunlight shining through the sheer drapes from the ceiling around the bed, fortunately the drapes stopped the bright glare of the sun so I wasn't blinded by the brightness.
I hadn't noticed how many large windows with blooming large leaves growing in and out of the chalet met with the primitively made roof in our ornate and beautiful chalet. It all felt incredibly natural, the outdoors reminded me we were in a jungle in Bali.
On opening the patio door, WOW, I couldn't quite get a grip!
Scanning around I noticed a pool, being overlooked by a Hindu God statue fountain, ahhhhh, that was one of the sounds I’d fallen asleep to. The statue was also decorated in beautiful natural Balinese flowers, two sun beds on a small decking adjacent to the pool, and then a straw roofed hut with two massage beds also decorated with flowers. On the patio was a huge chaise lounge, a sink a table with a large bowl of tropical fruit on top and four chairs what more could we need?
A trip to the spa I thought, that really would be paradise, so we booked for that evening.
I was desperate to see what I had missed the night before so Mum and I tested out the outdoor shower, quite an experience and again I was taken aback by the smells of the hand made shower gel, soaps and shampoo it really was something I'll always remember.
Dressed and ready we left our part of paradise and ventured up to the hotel reception area where the restaurant was to be found.
My Mum was chatting to me on the short walk but I wasn't listening, I was still fascinated by the sounds coming from all around me, I could definitely hear birds and definitely more than one kind, I could hear running water. I was trying to concentrate really hard on what I could hear. The sounds were all quite relaxing, I'd never experienced these particular sounds before.
Mum guided me to reception and this time I could see the ponds of water either side of the walkway and I could see huge fish and again fountains shaped like Hindu gods and decorated in tropical flowers. There were also burners that smelt tropical, it really was a feast of the senses.
The receptionist greeted us and offered us a local hot drink whilst we decided on treatments for later that day, finally I felt able to relax after a very long and busy couple of months.
We had a breakfast of fresh fruits and local produce then headed back to our private paradise to enjoy the sunshine and warmth of Ubud.
I was able to lay in the sunshine and unwind listening to the unique sounds of the jungle. My headache lifted and I felt good.
After a day of sheer relaxation and room service I was looking forward to some pampering.
On arriving at the spa we were offered drinks, haven't a clue what they were but they smelt of ginger but tasted of something else!
Two ladies showed us into the private room overlooking the jungle. Inside where two massage beds, the view was stunning.
It was amazing, the whole room overlooked the jungle, ornate frog statues were everywhere, beautiful flowers, I couldn't believe the colours, the smells and the sounds, sheer peace and tranquility.
Having been massaged with magic fingers and hands from head to toe, we were then covered in a seaweed wrap and then before long we were told to shower and then soak in the jumbo sized free standing bubble bathtub which was full of floating flowers with an aroma I'll never forget surrounded by candles it was truly heavenly.
After the masseuse's left mum and I looked at each other and smiled, a long time since we shared a bath! Fair to say we laughed.
'Where should I put my hearing aids Mum?'
I couldn't see anywhere safe to put them without losing them in the jungle or the water!
Mum took them and put them on a shelf near the towels.
After our glorious soak in the huge bath overlooking Bali's outstanding nature, I remember feeling happy that it was still light outside so I could appreciate my surroundings even though it was in silence, it was absolutely stunning.
Getting out of the bath we felt completely fresh and relaxed.
The warmth on our skin dried us in no time, though being wrapped in a towel was somewhat refreshing.
We sat quietly in rocking chairs looking out watching the sunset and darkness descend upon us before getting dressed.
‘I need my hearing aids mum’ Mum's glowing face frowned, she couldn't see them, I was of no help in fading light so sat still and safe whilst Mum searched and then the horror, surely they have not fallen into the giant bath of scented flowers and bubbles!
Mum put her hands in the deep water and horrified she fished out one hearing aid, followed by a second we were both speechless
My mind was racing, 9 days without hearing, 9 days to not appreciate the beauty my hearing aids provide me, the unique and new sounds of this beautiful place and the everyday things like conversation, chatting with my Mum, conversing with the locals, communicating, there'd be none of that accept on those rare occasions when my sight is at it’s best and I can lipread. My mind was racing. I felt physically sick the thought of being blind and not being able to hear filled me with horror, how would I cope.
Mum was speechless, in shock, she knew 9 days without me being able to hear would be tough on us both and would definitely have spoilt our holiday.
Mum insisted I take the batteries out and throw them away. We got dressed in record time.
Mum wrapped my hearing aids tightly in a tissue and put them in her purse.
The walk back to our chalet was in silence. I hung on tightly to Mum’s arm, I felt very disorientated in silence and darkness and felt very vulnerable.
As soon as we got into the chalet Mum unraveled the now drier hearing aids and placed them in a cup while Mum found the hairdryer going on to use it aiming its heat into the cup for 15/20 minutes, it felt like a lifetime after which she asked me for new hearing aid batteries, neither of us felt very positive but it was the only hope we had.
I took the first hearing aid, fitted it in my ear and switched on and there it was the short signal sounds to say it was on and it worked, I was beyond happy, I felt elated. One working will be better than none I thought as I reached for the second hearing aid, put the battery in and again those switch on sounds and hearing aid two on and working WOW, I was so overwhelmed I was tearful - these tiny hearing aids are a huge part of what makes me tick.
I didn't want to switch my hearing aids off again that night, not only was I afraid they may not come back on but I wanted to continue to enjoy the sounds of paradise.
Thankfully my hearing aids did not let me down and continue to work and I appreciate them more than ever.
The following day we talked a lot about the sounds of Bali and that one sound I kept hearing but couldn't identify.
sat at the bar after a tropical shower I asked Mum and the barman what the strange, louder than normal noise was ‘ah’ said the barman, ‘that is the noise of the frogs, they are always noisy at night and even noisier when it rains!’
I was wide eyed, anybody who knows me knows I have a bit of a thing for frogs and yet I had never heard a frog before!
How I love the sound of frogs.
That hour or so of shock was a reminder to me just how important hearing is to me and why others like myself should have the opportunity to use such impressive technology, it really is life changing.
There is no doubt in my mind, if my hearing aids had not worked after the accident at the spa without a doubt I would have struggled, my holiday would have been ruined and my confidence destroyed.
Hearing is my access to people and without people and sight I fall into isolation how obvious that became that day in paradise.
I have written and spoken extensively about my GN Resound Linx2 smart hearing these aids over the last 20 months and what they have given me but that day in Bali, the fear I felt at not benefitting from hearing made me very aware that praise I have given them is little compared to what they give me every single time I switch them on.
NB I would not recommend having your hearing aids anywhere near water or where they could be damaged but am thankful my pair stood that terrifying ordeal.
I recently read about somebody I know who has Usher Syndrome and had got into a very scary situation.
Having Usher Syndrome this sort of thing is very easily done.
An accident as simple as getting on the wrong bus in the dark, being put off the bus with directions to safety but you didn't understand the directions and finding yourself all alone in the dark bearing in mind you are completely blind in the dark, terrifying.
Being deafblind is often very disorientating at the best of times and lots of us experience dizzy spells or vertigo, often seems part and parcel of the condition and being lost or feeling lost adds to the anxiety lots of us can feel when out and about particularly in unfamiliar areas.
Similar happened to me before I had guide dog Unis and I was petrified, fortunately for me I had my cane, must have looked lost and was helped to a bus stop and onto the correct bus home. To say it knocked my confidence was an understatement, I didn't attempt to go out alone for several months, isolating myself rather than face the possibility of getting lost again.
The day that happened to me I did not have a smartphone or the technology I am lucky enough to enjoy today I just did my best with what I had.
I am pretty confident today and I know that confidence and independence come from incredible technology and of course Guide dog Unis who has saved my life on more than one occasion as back then I struggled to see or hear traffic even with my old hearing aids.
I have blogged about my new hearing aids Linx2 but after four months of this incredible technology along with iPhone and Applewatch I can say my safety and feelings of vulnerability have improved substantially.
Now when I am out and about with Unis I have the ability to change my hearing aid settings to block out certain sounds so that I can not only hear traffic but I can identify the direction of the sound, something I have never ever been able to do so now I see so little I can have trust in my hearing even though I'm deaf and I hear nothing much without hearing aids - get this, "My deaf ears compensate for my dodgy eyes!"
I am now 21 years old and in four months I've learnt so much more about sound than I ever knew.
I hear sounds I've never heard, I've corrected my own speech, things I've said wrongly for years simply because I couldn't hear the sounds properly, I've "overheard" conversations, a really new concept for me, I can speak and hear well in small groups, I hear so much more its hard for me to explain its just quite an "Eyeopener and I'm blind!"
My confidence in my own hearing has improved my vocabulary, yes, even at 21 I'm learning new vocabulary, I'm not mishearing which was often my biggest frustration.
This last week I did something I never thought I'd be capable of doing without help - I took my first ever conference call yes, not Skype, not FaceTime I totally relied on technology to hear and this is how:
The ReSound Linx2 connect to both my iPhone and my apple watch via bluetooth. When the call comes in I can answer via my watch, clear speech goes directly into my ears, no background noise or interference.
I cannot describe my elation at being able to access a three way conversation, to hear clearly two unfamiliar voices and to make plans for an upcoming event.
I'm sure lots of people are thinking it's no big deal but it really is because using a telephone is something most take for granted and yet people with with Usher Syndrome who use hearing aids often cannot and as a result struggle, particularly in the workplace and yet it's possible if only this up to date technology was available to them.
To have these "Smart Aids" (the first to be fully compatible with the applewatch) the watch and an iPhone work out to be very expensive, however when considering what this kit enables a person to do it makes complete sense in my opinion.
I feel very humbled to have access to this technology, it absolutely makes me me.
I am not a tech expert, an expert of Usher Syndrome or anything else for that matter but knowing that this sort of technology exists and what it can do to enhance the lives of those with such challenges it has to be viable.
Speaking about Siri I have noticed it is by far better on my Applewatch than on my iPhone, I'm curious to know if it will improve on iPhone with the new operating system, either way I will continue to use Siri on my watch so I have the security of leaving my phone out of view and safe while I am out and about with Unis.
I'm still a huge fan of taptics but am now finding Siri so useful, when Siri talks to me the sound goes straight into my ears so I hear clearly thanks to these amazing Linx2 hearing aids and if Siri cannot help then there's almost certainly an app that will do so.
It's great to have so much independence via technology that I can access so easily.
I was asked if Siri understands "deaf voices" well, it understands mine is all I can say.
I'm also looking forward to understanding what "native apps" work on the new operating system for Apple watch and just out of curiosity to see if there is any safety element there.
Along with the excitement of so much new assistive technology available comes the frustration of knowing so many people who would benefit won't because they cannot afford it.
There is so much advancement in technology surely funding the right equipment as opposed to the cheapest equipment makes absolute sense.