I recently wrote about the bizarre standard of healthcare I’ve experienced since moving here. My new audiologist not only has a blatant, visible dislike of me, but also spouts untruths about hearing losses and the therapies available. I had another appointment at the beginning of this month. It’s taken a while for me to get to writing about it.
I had to go and have a blood test beforehand, so it already wasn’t a great day. It was my first time having one at this hospital, they seem to have a whole area just for outpatient blood tests, rather than the individual kind of appointment you go in for, taking your blood there and then (the blood test was for an appointment that still hasn’t actually happened yet).
They didn’t actually have a bed for me to lie down on, and remaining sat up during a blood test either makes me vomit, faint, or both. They had a reclining chair thingy, which I asked if they could lean back quite a lot, and I had to ask if it would go further a couple of times, because I just knew I was going to puke if I didn’t. I couldn’t get totally supine though, so even though I was facing away from the needle, I knew when it went in because I suddenly felt like I was moving. The room was still, but I had the feeling of the chair I was in rolling along underneath me! And blood tests always give me a swimmy head for the rest of the day.
My audiology appointment was afterwards.
So, I get in there, and the first thing she does is tell me off for having my hearing aids in, saying they will damage my hearing. I tell her I can’t hear stuff without them. Which she ignores.
I am subjected to another hearing test as well as a speech discrimination test (and I do often only hear fragments of words). I also had air puffed into my ears, which she said told her that I wasn’t deaf, even though 1) That only accounts for the physical structure of the ear, where my problem may not be based 2) That wouldn’t show that EDS may make the individual components of my ears too bendy to pass on sound properly 3) That doesn’t show any problems with my nerves between my ears and my brain, or how Dysautonomia may be affecting my hearing
After her last hearing test, she said that I was hearing at 20dB (I actually hear at 70dB). This time, the line had gone down to 30dB, which we could both see on the screen. But she pointed above it, and said “Look, it’s the same as last time, you’re at 20,” even though we could SEE THAT IT WASN’T, that she was pointing ABOVE the line as if in denial and literally asking us to disregard the evidence of our eyes.
She slammed the professionalism of the NHS and Specsavers in Southampton for both separately having diagnosed me with severe losses.
Specsavers Audiogram, 2015
NHS Audiogram, 2016
So Will said, what should we do about the NHS in Southampton, for misdiagnosing me so drastically, and suddenly, she backtracked more than anybody has ever backtracked in the history of the world.
Suddenly she’s all, “Oh no, their testing WAS right, some people just fluctuate, I see other patients like this,” etc. But then she said nobody can fluctuate this much, then said they could again, then said that people who test worse at other hospitals tend to show at 20dB with her (is this not ADMITTING that she fucks everybody’s tests?!)
She finally took my hearing aids away from me and made a big display of taking apart all the tubing. So I cried again, even more than last time. Condemned to a soundless world by a spiteful woman who can’t keep her story straight.
Will asking what we should say to the Southampton NHS seemed to rattle her though, to the point that she ended up giving me new hearing aids(?!)
She accidentally wound up giving me swankier ones than I originally had, the ones that seem to cost about £400-per-ear privately. And they do have the airier dome ends that I have been seeking.
They aren’t tuned to anywhere near the same volume as the hearing aids she took away. They do clarify some sound, but they don’t amplify a lot. When I went through the lakes I could only hear a couple of birds instead of what sounded like thousands. They don’t have a T-coil setting either so I can’t hear anything in situations like that, can’t hear train announcements coming out of speakers, etc., it’s all fuzzy nonsense.
I don’t have a lot to live for, but hearing wildlife, hearing my dog, hearing notebook pages touch each other and pen nibs on paper, hearing rain hitting the ground, hearing little noises like that at least gave me something nice out of life, and this woman took those sounds from me just because she could.
I’m not sure I can complain or seek a second opinion, because she gave me new hearing aids at the end, which she probably did precisely because I would look like an arse if I then complained about her.
She even said that people who hear at 70dB can’t have hearing aids anyway because it’s the same as living in an industrial factory and just causes more damage; how does she come up with so much bullshit?!