Gold-plated service


At the behest of Alison Byran of G.O.D.

Apologies for the lengthy break away from blogging. Things have been mad at work, plus an impending new addition to our new family, plus sustained efforts throughout Autumn to renovate the 2nd half of our house in readiness for the new addition. Oh well, life happened!

I started my Xmas holidays early – on 16th Dec – hee hee, Xmas glee! Whilst out Xmas shopping, I had an impromtu shear – haircut – so, as per usual, my hearing aid are taken off. Typically, I am always asked to take them off by the barber and, as per usual, the barber still try to strike up a conversation as if I am a hearing person. They mainly don’t seem to be able to connect to the idea of what would happens if someone was to take off their hearing aids. For the barbers of the world united, they go Deaf [cheesy grin with thumbs up!]

Anyway, I didn’t put my hearing aids back on after the haircut and went on to lose the damn thing whilst Xmas shopping. Must have fallen outta my pocket. So, I went through Xmas in complete silent. It doesn’t bother me as I would infrequently take my hearing aids out for a break from meaningless sounds and noises. Only to put them back on for when I need to i.e. waiting for a delivery or when my wife is having a bath and she would bawl to me when she need hauling out cos we got a very deep bath. But I still need them aids cos bouts of tinnitus would creep in in my left ear and it can be kept at bay by slipping on my hearing aid on. Funnily enough, if I wear hearing aid in my right ear it would trigger tinnitus. So I am permanently on mono – not stereo.

Anyway, midway in my Xmas holidays, tinnitus have gotten so bad that I am quite desperate to visit my audiologist for new impressions. I finally made it on 4th January when the department was open.

When I sat in the waiting room at my local audiology department, fiddling away furiously on my increasinly indispensible Blackberry, I sense new movements in the room. I looked up and saw the receptionist gesticulating to me as if her life depended on it. She pointed to the other end of the room and my eyes scanned the room, following her finger’s direction. At the doorway was an scruffily dressed shaven headed man, pushing 30 years old. I realised he had been calling out my name. He gave a half embarrassed smile that seems to indicate that he wasn’t expecting his next customer would be totally deaf to his annoucement of “Mr Anthony Barlow please”. He gestured me to come into his “office”.

After much tussling with my heavy overcoat, long stripy scarf and a laptop-laden shoulder bag, I plopped myself next to the all too familiar audiology machinery. A quick scan of the man’s ID badge reveals a name “James”, while he was busying himself among the fresh impressions, tub of silicon and red colourants, and clear tubes. He turned to me and began talking to me.

He got a gold tooth smack bang in the middle of his front top set!!! The next 5 mins, I simply could not lip read him as my eyes was following his gold tooth. I tried my damnest to open my tunnel vision on his gold tooth so that my line of vision would actually broadens out and be able to read his lips but the tunnel stayed narrow. I could not understand the dude. So, eventually, he reverted to pen and paper and the rest of the appointment was conducted in this same manner. Half way, I asked him if he can use sign language and he happily informed me that he doesn’t, with no inkling of shame or sense of duty. Well, I think he should be shamed.

Several warm feelings later (don’t ya get that when the mixed silicon is injected into your ears?) – I left the audiology department thinking what was the hell was that. I have succeeded in persuading college lecturers to shave off the beards in the past but I am somewhat hesitant to ask “James” to remove his gold tooth. To me, that singular experience on 4th Jan 2010 at the Derby Audiology Department only goes to shows how little deaf awareness some audiologists possess. In another blog, I read recently, exemplified the culture of this medical profession – they are only looking at ears – not the person. This is true, in my case.