Should old acquaintance be forgot?

Earlier this week I saw Mr Stephenson who is turning 89 soon. He was seen on a repair clinic a few weeks ago when his right BE36 broke at the elbow. We didn’t have any record of him as he wasn’t seen at the department in ages. Mr Stephenson was advised to obtain a GP referral so we could assess his hearing and upgrade his hearing aids to new all-singing, all-dancing, digital hearing aids.So when I saw Mr Stephenson on a Direct Referral clinic he was pointing out that he loved his old aids and doesn’t want new ones. As he had occluding wax in both ears, I manage to get an ENT consultant to remove this with some difficulty. By then Mr Stephenson already had to “pay a penny” several times and he was clearly fed –up. No matter how I explained it would be useful if we can obtain a quick audiogram whilst he’s in, he insisted that he has lived with his hearing loss for 60 years and has had those hearing aids for 60 years(!) and he doesn’t want anything else.

No amount of explanation that we don’t stock BE 36’s or its elbow’s anymore and that I need some hearing results to program a digital aid, could convince Mr Stephenson to cooperate. In the end I glued the elbow in place. I then also gave him a BE37 as a spare (as the 36 was hanging on for dear life!) but the fact that the switches and batteries were different was a major concern to him. It took careful instruction and reassurance before he was amicable towards my idea.

Unfortunately I have to admit he left looking completely worn out and frazzled. I wonder if we Audiologist realise in our attempt to help some of the elderly people, we sometimes upset their “stable, well-known world”. And I’m holding my heart for the poor 90 plusses that will come around our department in the next few years, when we won’t be stocking any analogues anymore!

Yours sincerely

Dezi Belle

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