Q&A With Donald Gordon - Chime Audiologist

17th July 2018

Donald has worked as an audiologist at Chime since 2013, where he carried out a 12 month training placement before graduating the Audiology BSc course at the University of Bristol. We asked Donald a few questions about his experience as an audiologist and what it’s like working for Chime.

Q&A With Donald Gordon - Chime Audiologist

Why did you choose to become an audiologist?

In my late teens, whilst I was at college, I wanted my future job to be with people and to invest in helping people. I’d done a lot of voluntary work in care homes, hospitals and with supporting children as well as charities. I wanted to be in a profession that tied in with these areas of health and social care.

Where do you see the future of hearing technology going?

I’d like to see the future of hearing technology remove the outdated stigma and reluctance towards hearing devices. Hearing care education would start at a younger age, where people can feel more knowledgeable and comfortable in pro-actively doing something about their hearing. Also, the integration of smarter technology, that's more on a level with the advances made in the fast-moving tech industry will undoubtedly help.

What is the best bit about your job?

Seeing an individual through the whole process. From initially finding they have hearing loss to returning them to a better quality of life and supporting them through the journey towards improved hearing.

What would you say to others considering a career in Audiology?

Both Academic and Clinical Audiology is rewarding – either way, you’re at the frontline of healthcare and can help advance the population’s hearing wellbeing. With an ever-increasing elderly population and a greater need for hearing as people maintain their social activities well into their later years, a career in Audiology is a bright one and you can help develop this.

What is so special about Chime?

Being a social enterprise gives Chime the unique financial and strategic independence to operate in the best interests of those under our care as well as allowing us to focus on driving an awareness of the economic, social and environmental well-being of our local community. We’re supportive, informative and personal to the individual in front of us.

Hearing Solutions:

How do you know you need a hearing aid?

Often we come to this realisation a little late! It is more often than not our friends and relatives who pick up on things before us – maybe the TV is too loud, we are miss-hearing in background noise (like a restaurant or work meeting) or frequently need the person we are talking with to be face-to-face rather than behind us, walking away or doing something else that stops us hearing. Perhaps we even struggle on the phone a little too.

What hearing aid suits which kind of hearing requirement?

Like the lens in a pair of glasses, the strength of the hearing aid needs to match the hearing loss – we can provide a hearing aid for any type of hearing loss and any type of requirement.

What's the most technologically advanced hearing aid that you know of?

There are now hearing aids that can be controlled by an app on a smartphone and take mobile calls directly in the ears hands-free or use IFTTT protocols to control various functions using the internet which is brilliant. I am looking forward to integration of other smart technologies for Google searches and map directions in your ears because then the line between hearing aid and smart ear pods or headphones is blurred; normalising their use.

What’s the most commonly purchased hearing accessory?

Microphones – small, discreet devices that let you extend your hearing across impressive distances and improve hearing in background noise.

In your opinion what's the most overlooked hearing accessory?

Microphones! Far more people can access them than currently do and it makes such a difference to hearing in the trickier situations that the microphones on the hearing aids sometimes get overwhelmed by.

What other accessories do you know of to help hearing that aren’t fitted to your ear?

Alerting devices – these assist people who miss the knock or bell from a door or the alarm in the morning so that they have a greater awareness and can feel safer. These alerts we experience every day don’t need to be acoustic – they are often far more effective if they are clear visual indicators for those with hearing losses.

What's the best accessory for situations with significant background noise?

A personal microphone – worn by the person you want to hear – will have a microphone sensitive only within a few inches so it doesn’t pick up on all the excessive noise of the traffic, restaurant or café and delivers the person’s voice directly to your ear as though they’re stood right next to you speaking in your ear, even if they’re actually several feet away!

What's the best management for tinnitus?

For extremely intrusive tinnitus that is difficult to manage through habituation and acceptance from the brain over time, it is important to talk to someone about it in order to understand it. Hearing aids may be needed and may help too. There are also techniques of introducing a sound into a quiet environment​, maybe using white noise​ to ‘mask’ the tinnitus, mindfulness and therapies (cognitive behavioural or tinnitus retraining) and relaxation and minimising stress.

What hearing accessories are useful in the home?

  • Alerting devices for doorbell / alarms
  • Smoke detectors that vibrate or have a visual alert
  • Telephones that have decent quality loudspeakers (these can vary massively) or connect directly to the hearing aids (very specific loop or DECT phones)
  • Good quality speakers or a soundbar
  • Wireless TV streamers that connect to the hearing aids
  • Wireless headphones for the TV
  • Smartphone or tablet – allows instant messaging which is text-based or video calls that may be better than the standard voice call (but they have higher quality voice calls too – compared to telephones)

If you have any other questions for Donald or any of the other Chime Audiologists please contact us on hearing@chimehealth.co.uk or call 01392 953060.