With advances in digital hearing aid technology, persons with APD now have a discrete assistive device to help in noisy situations. An adult who was tested at Portland APD, and subsequently fitting with hearing aids to overcome her hearing-in-noise problems wrote the following about her experience:
Background: I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in my first job out of college (I worked as an accountant, and my desk was in a cubicle farm). I also had constant and massive ear infections as a child. Enough where almost every year in elementary school I’d flunk the school hearing test (due to an ear infection) and have to get it re-taken. I never had tubes in my ears (my pediatrician didn’t believe in them).
At home: (we have a 2 bedroom apartment) if my husband’s trying to talk to me from a room (or two) away I usually can’t understand him. I’ll be able to make out a word or two, and if for some reason there’s no TV/washer/dryer/dishwasher/fan/etc running I’ll do much better. If any noise-generating thing IS running through, I have to tell him I didn’t hear and ask him to repeat as I walk closer to where he is.
At work: I do alright, but mainly because I don’t have to work in group situations. The meetings I have to go to only one person speaks at a time so I do ok, but it’s still a struggle requiring lots of effort. Outside of meetings when someone makes a verbal request for something I automatically ask them to please email me with the information, as I cannot trust that 1) I heard them accurately the first time and 2) that I’ll manage to remember what they said.
I was tested for APD at a different institution and told there was nothing that could be done for me because my hearing is “normal.” I contacted Dr. Polich and was re-tested at Portland APD. Dr. Polich suggested that I try open-fit, mild-gain hearing aids to help me hear better in noise. My initial impression upon trying the hearing aids was BEYOND thrilled!! I noticed an immediate difference in being able to hear when Dr. Polich put the demo aids on my ears.
While walking around the hospital building testing out the demo aids, my husband noticed almost immediately he wasn’t having to ask me to talk quieter. He said I was responding quicker, too (less latency he called it). We went to a noisy place, and he was able to talk in a normal voice a few feet away and I was able to understand him perfectly. Not once did I have to ask him to repeat himself! The real test however, was later on when my husband & I went out to dinner at a fairly noisy restaurant with a couple of friends. I sat with my back to the noise, so the hearing aids could do their thing, and I was able to understand EVERYONE! Not a single time did I have to ask someone to speak up or repeat themselves. And my husband reports I was able to talk at a normal volume the entire time. I don’t remember the last time either of those things happened… I’m not sure they ever did. I’m very happy with these hearing aids!! I’m happy I can hear people more easily, my husband is happy he doesn’t have to repeat himself so often, and he’s thrilled I’m not constantly talking too loud!
This Thanksgiving was by far the easiest and least exhausting Thanksgiving I’ve had in YEARS. I was able to hear everyone easily (as long as I remembered to look at them), the noise of the children behind me didn’t prevent me from hearing the people next to me talking! At the end of the day I was just physically tired, I wasn’t mentally exhausted!
I’m very happy I came to Portland APD, and recommend it to others.