Eh? What was that?
Dear Elderly Deaf Pensioner,
Thank you for stopping by unexpectedly to see me this afternoon. Nothing pleases me more than to be torn away from the stack of work on my desk to give someone the oral version of a form letter. So while I've got your full attention, there are a few things I think I should make clear.
First of all, this is a research laboratory, not an audiology clinic. I can see how you might think otherwise - we have audiologists, Captain Hearing Aid colouring books, and cushy waiting room chairs - but believe me, they're not the same thing. So when you tell me that you've returned four different models of hearing aid to four different hearing aid providers in the past year and have now come to the end of your tether, don't mistake the look of benign sympathy on my face for interest. Again, like the laboratory/clinic dichotomy, they're not the same thing.
At an audiology clinic, you've got the starring role. You can natter away for hours on end about your hearing difficulties and it's perfectly okay, because they exist to serve you. But at a research facility, we recruit clients to meet our needs. If we're conducting a study on the effect of wide dynamic range compression on chinchillas with severe conductive hearing loss, and you're not a chinchilla with a severe conductive hearing loss, the simple fact is this: we can't help you.
Plenty of our research subjects get personal benefit out of volunteering with us, it's true. But ultimately, all you're really doing this for is a cup of government-subsidized coffee and the good of all the hearing-impaired people who will come after you. So as much as I'd like to, I can't wave my magic hearing wand and fit you with that elusive fifth set of hearing aids that will make all your problems vanish.
I mean, honestly, if I could do that, would I be settling for a researcher's salary?
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Research Audiologist