A Newbie With Some Questions

Hello everyone -
I am new to this forum and have some questions regarding a new set of hearing aids I recently purchased.
I have worn hearing aids for about 6 years and recently found that they were no longer doing the job for me, mainly because I was missing much of general conversations I was having with various people. They worked well for a long time but as my hearing declined they have become obsolete.
I went and got a hearing test and found that I’d lost quite a bit since the last test, especially in the high frequencies.
The Audiologist said that the best bet for me was an over-the-ear design which would have front and rear speakers and could be programmed to cut down on ‘surround’ noise to better able me to focus on others in front of me who I was conversing with. I reluctantly said OK, because I’m vain and had been using CIC (completely in canal) aids for years and they are almost invisible to others, but said OK because I want to be able to converse.
Anyway, I got my new ones 3 weeks ago and they really are loud…actually they were almost too loud and sharp (high end noise) for me initially, but I realized that I’d need some ‘getting used to’ time. These are much more powerful than my old ones and I knew my brain would have to adjust to the difference. I went Friday to get an adjustment and told her I needed the highs turned down some and the lows raised and she adjusted them for me.
I’m not happy with the results at present. The sound has improved a bit but I don’t seem to be able to understand the voices on TV or my wife’s voice at times. Her voice comes across loud but garbled and I’m still missing much of what she says. Everything is louder, but not necessarily more clear.
It’s like the highs are so high and sharp that it’s distorted. Now I think I need to make another appointment and have more of the highs lowered or the lows increased.
I’d like some feedback on this situation if possible. I have 60 days from purchase in which to return them and they are expensive so I don’t want to have to keep something that is never going to work for me.
Maybe the CIC aids would be a better fit for me.

Thoughts?

Len

Hi Len - I could have written many of your questions. This year I went to BTEs after 12 years of CIC use. I know what you mean about being vain but trust me, the BTEs will be better in the long run. I can turn mine up as loud as I want with very little, if any, feedback and they are much more durable with more features as well.

Do you have a volume control? I do turn mine down a touch when conditions warrant and you may need more, not less, high frequencies and a touch less overall gain by the sound of your message. Our speech comprehension comes from the highs and your garbled comment led me to think this way.

Also, have your audie verify the best fit versus your current settings. If multiple programs are available, try one with more lows and one with more highs. I like more high frequency gain than my best fit would indicate. This makes voices “sharper” and less garbled.

You’re right about the adjustment period. I’ve been wearing my BTEs for 4 months and still am getting use to the extra gain. Good luck and give us some feedback on what helps.

The problem I’m having with these is I think the high frequencies are set so high that that’s what is causing the distortion. My Audi said that she thought it might be that they needed to be set higher, but when I convinced her to try the lower settings last week and there was a definite improvement in my ability to hear people’s voices more clearly. The improvement has not been enough for me to hear 100% yet and I go back in tomorrow for some more fine tuning.
We’ll see if that helps.
Yes, I do have volume controls and I definitely get better results with the vol. set as low a I can set it. Volume is not the issue. Distortion is.
If I’m sitting 10 to 15 feet away from the person speaking and can’t hear them and I turn the vol. up the voice gets louder, but distorted which makes it still non-understandable (if that’s a word :)).
If I wear my old CICs, which have no vol. control so if I can’t understand something being said on TV I turn the vol. up on the TV and can hear it perfectly with no distortion. That tells me that something in the new aids is causing the distortion. I think it’s the settings of the high frequencies.
Thoughts or comments?

Len

Boy Len, that’s a tough one. What brand of aids did you buy? Are they from a reputable manufacturer? If you have to turn them all the way down to remove the distortion, there is a major problem.
You need to review these issues closely with your audie and explain that situation clearly - no pun intended. 50% volume should not cause the distortion you describe.
If you like the CICs and they work adequately, maybe you can exchange the BTEs for CICs. My problem with CICs was the shape (very straight) of my ear canal coupled with a large shift in my ear canal shape (mandibular shift) from jaw movement, did not allow the gain I needed without a lot of feedback.
CICs can be fitted to severe losses if conditions are ideal.
Let us know how things work out and maybe post your audiogram and model of BTEs for reference.
GOOD LUCK! :slight_smile:

I think I kinda know what you mean. I was having problems with high ranges. I noticed it mostly while listening to music. I couldn’t even recognize the song because it made it screechy and twangy. I don’t even really know how to describe it other than painful to listen to because it would get so distorted. He was never really able to fix this problem other than by turning the high frequencies down. I just took out my HA’s when listening to music.
5 years later I got a new audiologist and different HA’s. I think it was just that HA’s were inferior quality.