“Chev, do you know if Kai uses his volume button on his hearing aids?”
This is how my conversation started when our Audiologist, Natalie, called me after 5pm today. Even more strange was the fact that I was typing an email to her when I saw her call come through on my mobile!
Her question confused me, it was an odd conversation starter, especially since I asked her a few weeks ago to please get me quotes for a discreet FM System for my Kai. I explained that I would have some extra money in December and wanted to work out how much I would still need to fundraise for in order to get the FM before the 2017 school year starts. Gr.4, the year when the children start moving from class to class for different subjects, and understanding that a smaller FM system will make moving around to the different classes a lot easier for my son, and won’t look so “intrusive”.
I responded, hesitantly after a few seconds of silence.
“No, but I do know that he opens up the battery compartment of his hearing aids when things get a bit too loud”.
She understood this, and immediately referred to when the noise overwhelms him – I suppose after working with us for 3 years she knows Kai well. He is after all a very direct and reliable communicator when it comes to his hearing needs (and everything else for that matter).
There was another pause. Silence. Then.
“How would you like new hearing aids for Kai?”
Unusual silence while I stood in the kitchen, wondering if she was asking me if I wanted a quote for new hearing aids, or whether I wanted to buy new hearing aids, or maybe she just wanted to know if new hearing aids were on the “needs” list at some point in the future.
My mind was rambling on, trying to analyse this simple, yet complex question.
I suppose she sensed that getting an answer from me would not be that straight forward.
Then she continued. “I’ve been twisting some arms at WIDEX and I had a meeting with a Representative a few days ago about their COM-DEX, a wireless device. It will work in the classroom . . . it is also more wearable for the teachers”. She continued with some more tech speak way above my level of understanding while I was still trying to figure out how to answer the new hearing aid question!
More silence. Sometimes communicating with me can be a bit strange . . . the analyst in me!
“The COM-DEX is the device that I have in mind for Kai. The only challenge is that it is not compatible with his current hearing aids since it uses wifi technology . . .”
More silence. A couple of weeks ago she mentioned another FM quoting in the region of R7 000 per ear (excluding the transmitter for the teacher!).
My neurons firing, calculating the additional expenses I will have in 2017 – additional support for Kai in Gr. 4 – where am I going to cut on my budget? My end of year salary has already been allocated (some money towards the new FM system, registration for 2 UNISA modules and end of year gifts). There is absolutely no budget for hearing aids. Never mind that my rent is increasing in January!
Then Nat’s voice filtered through my thoughts.
“. . . there are some technicalities that we need to chat about – their is a new transmitting microphone being launched now and Kai will be one of the first to try it out in South Africa, but because his current hearing aids aren’t compatible with the technology WIDEX has decided to donate new hearing aids to him . . .”
Silence. Silence. Silence. The kind of silence where your mind is blown away and everything stands still!!
“Nat, you do know that I am speechless right now?” I stood glued to the kitchen floor, my body numb with shock!
“WIDEX is DONATING NEW HEARING AIDS to Kai? As in for FREE?”
“Yes! His new hearing aids will be far more technologically advanced than his current ones. It has 10 channels instead of 5, it is Bluetooth enabled – mid range. . .” she continued with more tech speak, while all I could think about is how exactly did we get here? How?
“Oh my word! I don’t know what to say! Are you sure you didn’t also break a few arms while trying to bend them??!!”
She chuckled. “Uh, okay, I did break a few arms in the process, but WIDEX is awesome like that! I will ask Gwen to contact you and set up an appointment for us to go through the technicalities. His new hearing aids is specific for use with the COM-DEX in the classroom, and he will still have his old hearing aids for when he is just messing about. I am sure it will help him with processing, and the sound quality will be much better”
And here I am, typing this post, still uncertain of what just happened. All I know is that grateful does not begin to describe how I feel right now. It doesn’t even come close!
If you follow my blog, then you will know that this has been a challenging parenting year. I finally found my Perfect Puzzle Piece, and currently I am planning for the 2017 school year – finalising school workshops, support plans, intervention requirements, etc.
Being a single parent, trying to juggle full time work (and my outreach passions and studying) has not been easy at all. Add to this the cost implications of special needs parenting and you will understand how very worrying it can be.
Natalie (NB-Hearing) & WIDEX I don’t quite know what to say. The most amazing things tend to happen when I least expect it. Thank you for not only quoting on the figures – thank you for also LISTENING and CONSIDERING the bigger picture.
Three years ago you stunned us with your generosity and here you did it AGAIN, The Difference in our World! I am so thrilled for Kai and can’t wait for us to introduce him to his new technology!
Seems the South Easter brings with it a wealth of kindness. Happiness all round.