Data & Stuff // Neil Houston

Yeap, data and stuff
  • scissors
    July 23rd, 2012Neil HLifetracking

    Dear NHS,

    I used to love you. You were always there for me. What changed?

    You know we were meant to meet on Tuesday 24th July 2012, but instead you’ve pushed that appointment back to Tuesday 15 January 2013 with no reason given? Yes I understand you are busy, and the fact you are merging trusts but you did not even care to inform me of that fact. It’s just that I know it’s the case and that you changed the headed notepaper you use and took a look online.

    Over the years you were there for me, looking back at medical notes I can see how I ended up being a patient of the Royal National Throat, Nose & Ear hospital (RNTNE):

    2001: Right ear ossiculoplasty (Reconstructive surgery to my right middle ear)
    April 2010: Neurology, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery – Seeking a cause for my deafness.
    June 2010: CT Scan of facial bones
    July 2010: Adult Audilogy, RNTNE
    July 2010: Post CT scan advised that further surgery would be risky, and to retry hearing aids
    August 2010: Hearing Therapy, RNTNE – Preparing to be open about my deafness
    September 2010: Audiolovestibular Medicine, RNTNE – Seeking a cause for chronic sinusitis
    September 2010: Further CT scans
    October 2010: Right functional endoscopic sinus surgery
    November 2010: Post operation checkup
    November 2010: Fitting of hearing aids (behind the ears [BTEs])
    February 2011: Checkup on hearing aids
    April 2011: Offered new in the ear hearings aids [ITEs]
    May 2011: Fitting of hearing aids (in the ears [ITEs])
    …. Regular checkups on hearing aids and my general hearing/sinuses

    You cared for me so well, when I ended up at RNTNE you helped treat some longstanding issues – you were the perfect hospital and I sang your praises.

    To then find that you shift my appointment back by 6 months without giving a reason. Then when I turn up to get new hearing aid batteries to be faced with an receptionist who had no manners. How do you think this makes me feel?

    I hope you realise how lovely your hospital can be when things go right, the seamless interactions between the different departments was amazing to see. With staff who truly cared about my health. Though lately you make me wish I was being treated privately.

    Let’s see if things change, but if this was a relationship it would be dead in the water by now.


  • scissors
    July 18th, 2011Neil HUncategorized

    Bluetooth and hearing aids (iPod and iPad pairing!)

    One of the benefits of the new Oticon Vigo Pro ITE hearing aids (see previous post comparing them back to my BTEs) is the fact that they are Bluetooth compatible. 

    They operate their own low power network which means that whenever you alter the audio program on one hearing aid, then the other reflects that change. They are also compatible with the Oticon Connectline range of products, and for me the killer feature has been the use of the Oticon Streamer. Once paired with the hearing aids it then works as a remote for them, whether changing between programmes up or alteringthe volume. 

    It also has Bluetooth, which means it can be paired to a device and stream the audio channel direct into the hearing aids. So, I’m probably a rare ‘use case’ in which my iPad is paired to my hearing aids. As I write this I’m on a plane to Edinburgh and listening to music wirelessly, no wires, no need to remove the hearing aids and put in headphones. Ace right?

    Whilst volume changing and audio programme (i.e Normal, Meeting, Phone, Club programmes in my case) can be done with the remote/streamer in the pocket.  The Bluetooth streaming only seems to work when the streamer device is worn in conjunction with the neck loop – but that’s no hardship as it’s super light and most people assume it’s a phone of some sort.

    So the 123 of setting it up on an iPad:
    Turn Bluetooth on iPad
    ‘long press’ the Bluetooth symbol on the streamer until it blinks
    Ask the iPad to attempt to connect
    Enter the access code 

    It’s as simple as that, and I’ve repeated that process on a Lenovo x200 laptop and an Apple MacBook. In total the device can remember 8 pairings. 

    Then to listen to music just ‘long press’ the music icon on the streamer, in my case I’ve got Spotify playing.  Also you get the choice between letting the hearing aids pickup the normal external audio channel (I.e the world around you), which is at a reduced Db level; or just turning the outside world off and listening solely to music (just one long press on the up or down arrow can switch between those settings).

    Of course, if you have an iPhone you can pair it to the streamer. It opens up more access than just listing to music. You can use the streamer to receive calls. 

    When paired any incoming calls will cause the hearing aids to ring, and by pressing the phone icon on the streamer you can pick up the call. Wth the neck loop on, or the streamer handheld it has the required microphone pickup!

    I must say I’m pretty impressed with how far technology has come, obviously my experiences of using the devices are but it can be hooked up to a TV or landline phone as well. 

    A lot of my friends of normal hearing are a tad jealous, but it’s interesting to consider that maybe in the future headphones will all be discreet and wireless. After all if you wish you can get headphones made with the bud being custom fitted ear mould (like my BTE mould).

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