A Newbie Who Is Dazed and Confused! Please Help!

Now that I have my second audiogram and a visit to my ENT under my belt, hearing aids have been recommended even for my mild loss. Contrary to what I was told by Miracle Ear (for some reason they had me showing a conductive loss), I have a sensorineural loss. My results from the audiologist yesterday coincided with my last year’s results from the same audiologist…only somewhat worse. I have no particular bond with this person, so I don’t care where I actually end up buying the aids.

As everyone knows, the number and types of hearing aids on the market is endless and overwhelming. Since my speech discrimination is taking a hit as of late, especially in noise, the audiologist recommends more premium hearing aids for me, such as Phonak Audeo Yes, or a higher-level aid by Resound (can’t remember which one). Of course the price tags are around $2200-2400 each, and up. She seems to feel that I need an aid with an excellent signal to noise ratio, which would be best served by a premium aid. Of course I’m skeptical because what business doesn’t want to sell their top of the line product???

The last thing I need is a tinny sound or anything too trebley (is that a word??). I have my share of tinnitus, hyperacusis, and probably stapedial myoclonus in one ear…all due to an isolated incident when I was young. Loud sounds make me CRINGE and make my right ear “freak out.”

Enter Costco! I am going tomorrow with my current audiogram to talk about their hearing aids, based on what I’ve read in this forum. Of course I have NOOOOO idea what I’m doing, and as a result, I’m more than a little nervous. This is a substantial investment!

Any advice? Recommendations? Questions that I should remember to ask? Are any brands better for a mild loss or for first aids? If I feel comfortable with the dispenser from Costco, should I just buy what he recommends or continue to shop around? Would I get them on the spot??? (I have already done tons of Internet research which has made me REALLY confused)! :confused:

Many thanks!! :slight_smile:

Could you post your audiogram numbers? You indicate your loss is mild, but what frequency range is your loss in? With a little more information I’m sure someone here can offer some opinions and help.

Let us know what happens at Costco.


My $999 each complete with programming hardware and software America Hears LOF aids are working out for me. I am sure the $2600 and $2800 each options would have been fine but they were missing the programming software and hardware. I was stressed out but this site helped me see my options and now I am happy.

Best of luck as you shop for the right balance for your needs.

recommendation - NO REM NO SALE

I think I’m being stupid…I have no idea what “no rem no sale” means! :confused:

Here is my audiogram (and believe me…it is MILD!!!):

250 L 25 R 25
500 L 25 R 25
1K L 25 R 25
2K L 15 R 20
4K L 20 R 15
6K L 25 R 25
8K L 40 R 20

Perhaps because all of my frequencies were in the 0 - 10 db range when tested 19 years ago, the difference is astounding to my ears! All of the numbers are lower from last year’s audiogram, too.

Why I should be having such discrim problems is beyond me. (60db HL “speech level” in each ear, 88% R/80%L) Even with increased volume, I was still consistently confusing some sounds (ex., f/th).

I feel ridiculous even considering aids, but I’m embarrassed by how many times, depending on the person/listening situation, that I have to have people repeat themselves.

I am surprised you are having difficulty with such a mild loss. What were your discrimination scores? I have never used it, but perhaps you should try the LACE software which trains you to listen better rather then having to deal with hearing aids.

REM = Real Ear Measurements, a method to measure the performance of the hearing aid when it is actually fitted to your ear. Obviously xbulder is a big believer in it.

I have read a number of postings with people who have decent audiograms and difficulty understanding speech in conversation. I guess there is a huge difference
between hearing beeps and single words, vs. keeping up with the listening demands of coarticulation during running speech.

Rem is the ONLY way to measure in situ performance of the hearing aids,
let me explain a little bit, based on the audiogram your audi will use a fitting formula to calculate gain. We use REM, as a way to independently verify that you are getting what the right fit. Only about 30% use REM, so you a lot of people will tell you a lot of excuses not to do it. REM is part of the AAA guidelines for HI fittings…

I wouldn’t even consider your hearing loss mild. Your loss is 25db or less except in one ear at 8000Hz. Normal hearing is 0-25db so your hearing is still normal. You can try hearing aids at costco but you might just find them loud and annoying rather than of any benefit. My dad has a moderate high frequency loss and even that isn’t bad enough to benfit from HAs.

I agree, youd do much better training your brain to understand speech. That’s what my audiologist says I should do since he will be able to aid me down to 15db and that’s enough hearing to understand speech so any problems is my brain.

I could really take issue with the “train your brain” theory. :wink: My ears have been listening and learning for over 50 years and have not forgotten how to do that. I have some kind of problem, plain and simple.

I did in fact go to Costco, and the dispenser there felt the same as the audiologist; on paper, my audiogram looks good (except for the fact that my numbers have continued to become “larger” over the past few years)… but in everyday life, it’s affecting me. I am now posting this for no other reason than to perhaps help someone else with a similar problem. This was not the first time the dispenser at Costco (“Joe”) had heard of this problem. That being said, both the audologist and Joe agree that they would not ordinarily recommend hearing aids. Joe said that he was not PERMITTED to dispense hearing aids with such a good audiogram (I would have to write a letter and they would have to have the head honcho approve it!!) They both said that since my difficulties have become an everyday issue, I still may want to try “premium” aids, which can help the clarity. They are only trying to help me.

Despite my allegedly “great hearing,” with the aids in (Joe chose Bernafon Brites), all the sounds and voices around me became “crisper.” I sat and had a conversation with Joe and had no difficulty understanding him at all. His speech didn’t sound like it was kind of running together as speech oftentimes sounds to me. He and his female assistant talked to me out in the “store” area with people talking, carts rolling, registers beeping, and babies crying…and I was still able to make out most of their conversation from about 8 feet away. They said that they were speaking rather softly. I took the HA’s out while Joe sat talking to me inside of his tiny, quiet office. All I could say was, ‘WOW!’ “No offense to you, I’m sure you have great speech, but all I can say is that your speech sounds ‘muddy’ now. I can’t believe the difference.” He said that I was hearing like a “young” person again.

The HA’s gave me a sense of everything being somewhat tinny, but it was actually BETTER sounding like that. My own voice sounded perfectly natural to me. I was impressed.

So, what do I do? Continue the way I am, with everyone telling me how great my hearing is, yet still have problems? Unfortunately, my profession is such that I need precise hearing acuity.

The bottom line is that no one else truly knows what the world sounds like to us, and little beeps, spondee words (that I memorized a long time ago during audiological training) and single words cannot POSSIBLY tell the whole story as to how we hear running speech in ever-changing listening environments, with endless varieties of voice types. When hearing threshold levels drop between 15 and 25 db (with one frequency dropping 30 db) across our frequencies over the years, our ears notice. Like any other change in our bodies, some of us are more sensitive to the same changes than others. I have a lot of thinking to do, and a huge decision to make. These aids run $1,600 a piece, and I don’t “need” them.

As an FYI, Joe doesn’t like Kirkland Signature hearing aids…and as a wearer, he’s tried them all. He also said that the Bernafon Brites are a step up from the Phonak Audeo Yes HA’s. :slight_smile:

often times, perhaps in addition of being hearing impared, you might have
central auditory procesing disorder. I would strongly suggest to get a hint test…

Unfortunately, “Auditory Processing Disorder” is often to Audiology what “Viral Infection” is to the medical profession. When no other answer makes sense, or when the Audiologist does not do their job and recommend follow up with an ENT to get possible answers, it’s easy to slap CAPD onto the patient. I know, because I work with enough children in that category. Not ALL professionals do this… so please don’t anyone chop my head off… but many do, and it’s a shame.

In my case, the RIGHT answer would be for the audiologist to have said, “Hmm…what you’re experiencing, although it has been known to happen, is not typical. AND your left ear at 4,000 Hz has dropped 15 dB within the past 8 months. I would like this to be investigated further.” :rolleyes: Due to other “ear issues” that I also told the audiologist, there should have at least been a red flag raised. There is a chance that it could be a retrocochlear problem. At the very least, I should have been recommended for an ABR. Time to visit another Audiologist.

You know, you started out “dazed and confused”. As the thread progressed you revealed more and more knowledge. You managed to refute almost every suggestion made by other posters. Newbie? Not hardly, as John Wayne used to say. What’s really your point?

A couple of quick points:

  1. A ‘normal’ audiogram might hide that a while back you had super hearing … say -5 dBHL across the board.
    Dropping to a ‘normal’ +20dBHL loss would feel AWFUL … and your brain’s auditory decoding system might be less than pleased!

  2. Your brain’s speech decoding systems might NOT match your ability to detect pure tones.

  3. You might have a major - but narrow - notch of loss sitting between two apparently good measurements. Noise exposure can do this and the effect can be to ruin your speech decoding.

If you are having significant speech comprehension problems then it’s time to get a full check over.

Now to REMs … these confirm that the sound levels at your eardrum match the levels specified by an EQUATION. IMHO, this is a good general test that the hearing aid and it’s programming have worked out ROUGHLY right … but be aware that NO allowance is being made for what you actually HEAR!

For this reason I prefer In-Situ Audiometry, where you respond to the pure tones emitted by your hearing aid when it is specially setup as a quasi-audiometer.

I never said that I knew nothing about audiology. If you look back at my first post, I asked for input regarding HEARING AIDS. THAT was my “point.” I dont’ see any real need to be snippy. I refuted “Auditory Processing Disorder,” since it would have apparently started in my 50’s. :rolleyes:

EnglishDispenser… I had pm’d you to thank you for your information, but in case you didn’t receive it, I’d like to thank you publicly. You’ve made me feel much better. Your point #1 is exactly my situation. All of my 0’s, 5’s and a few 10’s have turned into 15’s, 25’s and a 40. My ears are none too happy about this change.

I have another appointment with Costco to be fitted with aids. If this helps with speech clarity, I will not try any further testing right now. If it doesn’t help, then I will request further evaluation. Through my own sort of “testing,” I have discovered that although my right ear shows better than my left ear on paper, it is my right ear that seems to have more impaired clarity. I would imagine this was due to the “noise accident” in my right ear years ago. I never use my right ear for the phone because it always sounds weird. Now that I’ve actually paid close attention to all of this, I also realize that when people to the right of me talk, especially when walking, I miss a bunch of what they say.

I can only reiterate to others that a “good” audiogram apparently does not always mean great functional hearing. :frowning:

Have you seen that thread? It could explain why your speech keeps dropping.

The study concludes that “older adults,” (ages 61-79) have brain changes that affect speech discrimination, unrelated to hearing loss.

I can proudly say that I’m not even close to 61 yet! :slight_smile:

I, too, have an “Auditory Processing Disorder”. I started wearing a hearing aid a year ago after repeated hearing tests showed a mild hearing loss in the higher frequencies but not sufficient to normally justify wearing a hearing aid. To cut a very long story short it took a few years of hospital tests (of increasing sophistication) and visits to private audiologists in the UK to convince them that I had a hearing problem - the classic “I have problems understanding speech in noisy environments”.

My NHS audiologist was extremely sceptical for the first couple of years that a hearing aid would be of any use. And, in theory, he was right. After all, what I needed was the ability to focus on the person I was listening to but not raise the level of other sounds. However, I did eventually trial a few different hearing aids and found there was benefit in some - but not all - situations. I eventually purchased a premium hearing aid and now wear it all the time. It does give me an extra edge to clarity of conversations and I am convinced I hear more of conversations than before. But, noisy environments are still a challenge although I do feel I am hearing more in those challenging situations, too. My NHS audiologist now accepts that the hearing aid is of benefit and has offered NHS hearing aids although I suspect that my private hearing aid is more sophisticated.

I am in my forties and suspect I have had an APD all my life but never realised it. I always had trouble hearing people in noisy situations (pubs, parties etc) but just assumed that was normal. But increasingly in recent years it has become more of a problem in my work. There’s only so many times you can ask people to repeat themselves.

The hearing aid is not ideal for my condition but it offers an improvement and aid to comprehension in some situations. It is far from perfect. I do wonder if the newer smarter hearing aids that have remote controls to focus the microphone and change settings would be of use in my situation. I have four different pre-sets that I press on my aid that I constantly adjust to try to get the optimum level for a situation but effectively I am playing with volume. What I want to do is to be able to tell my hearing aid what sound I am concentrating on. Will this ever be possible?