Archive for the ‘Diary of an Audiologist’ Category

Repair Clinic Champs

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

After operating walk-in repair clinics where the shear numbers of patients resulted in a wealth of problems and unpleasant complaints, we are now operating booked Repair Clinics. This means a more organised system, significantly reducing the waiting time on the day of the clinic and eliminating the disappointment for patients being shown away. However, the 15 min slots remain very hectic even for an experienced audiologist. And even with the help of volunteers to whom one can pass patients for re-tubing etc, it remains very challenging and tiring most of the time.

Over running on any one patient can be catastrophic and so one has to be fast and accurate (at identifying the problem and solving it) yet empathic and patient!

It is however inevitable that you will have one or more of the following scenario’s on each clinic:

  1. A patients who experience every possible problem in the book at once; needs replacement hearing aids, needs impressions, needs adjustments……
  2. A very slow moving patient who takes up to 10 minutes alone to walk to the consulting room
  3. A patient who changes his mind at the very last minute. Just as he is about to leave he says: “I think I will would like to go ahead with your suggestion for a second hearing aid after all, please take that impression”
  4. You open the Corda suitcase the wrong way around and the contents spill over the floor!
  5. A very talkative patient who love to be around some willing ears
  6. A very inquisitive, engineer-like patient who wants to know every possible technical detail and questions every treatment or adjustments to the tee
  7. A repair clinic “regular”; who comes every other week and really only want some TLC and attention and with whom you cant be rushed no matter what
  8. The computer or NOAH crashes
  9. The fire alarm goes off which delays your treatment with several valuable minutes as no-one can hear above the noise!

It is therefore understandable that I aptly call the Audiologists who braves these clinics: Champions of the Deaf!

Dezi Belle

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Analogue to digital not always the answer

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Take Mrs Morris for instance. She is severely hearing impaired and when I saw her the first time; she was in dire straights about “these terrible new hearing aids” she was given a week ago.

She came to us without an appointment (and continues to do so to this day); anyways she was literally at breaking point. To resolve the situation one of my colleagues kindly fitted her with digital aids since her antique analogue hearing aids packed up. But dealing with a new hearing aid with different switches and sounds was almost like asking this lady to move abroad to a country where they speak a funny language!

So when I saw her I switched it back to 37’s which made her as happy as Larry. In fact, this minor act moved her to tears of happiness this time and she proceeded to pay me five pounds! Clearly this has been her whole allowance for the week and she refused to take it back.

Since then I have seen Mrs Morris regularly. She wrote my name on a serviette that she keeps, folded up neatly, in her purse and she hugs and kisses me upon greeting every time. And she states so profusely that I am her very best friend because I helped her to hear!

Dezi Belle

Names used was changed for data protection.

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War heroes

Monday, January 19th, 2009

From time to time you see those patients that touch your heart and today I met (let us call him) Mr Harris, a very splendid gentleman indeed. He is in his eighties and like all war veterans I have seen, he has that twinkle in his eyes. He has a certain demeanour, a special something that sets him apart from the crowd. With all the veterans I’ve met so far, it’s evident that they can overcome hardship and keep a sense of humour through it all. I envy the way they seem to taste life, savour it as a gift.

Mr Harris was injured during the war in Arnhem (in Holland) during Operation Market Garden where he was treated in a hospital that was seized by the Germans. Shortly after his admittance The Germans used the basement to store ammunition and the Brits then proceeded to bomb the building unbeknown to the fact that their own injured mates were inside! Mr Harris still remembers the incident so vividly that he wept whilst relating how the shrapnel flew past their heads, how the roof collapsed, how they started singing hymns amongst the intense firing and how the Lord protected him. One brave soldier walked out with a white flag which brought the firing to an end at last.

Mr Harris was later transferred to a POW camp in Brunswick where he received a ration of a one inched vegetable and a cup of watery soup per day! He says many people died there (mostly of hunger) and he shuddered and wept again when he told me how he heard their cries as they died.

I asked him about the movie A Bridge Too Far which I’ve recently seen and he said unfortunately that was the American version. Apparently a British movie was made shortly after the war about Arnhem with many of the officers who served there, playing themselves in the movie. Mr Harris was invited to the premier and wept the whole 120mins and although not a smoker, smoked incessantly through it all. He says reliving it with all of his close friends “dying again”, was extremely difficult to bare.

Mr Harris has a very close knit family and speaks highly of his late wife. He says it is sad to see young people drinking their lives away and others robbing and killing each other. “What a waste of life”, he remarked. Having had several heart attacks recently, Mr Harris says he is content to go when the time comes. He says he has had a good life, that he ran the race and kept his faith.

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Dezi Belle


Dairy of an Audiologist

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

And so it is with being an Audiologist. One aims to improve your patient’s quality of life by improving their hearing but as it is; your patients ultimately change you. I will relate to you past and present experiences which I hope brightens your day.

If you have a funny, life changing, or interesting story please send it to me. To send it click here.

Dezi Belle