This was my first day in the office with the new hearing aids. Being Christmas Eve, a lot of people were taking the week off. But there were enough people for me to see that these hearing aids deserved more time to consider the ups and downs.
The two people that I work most closely with were in the office today and I understood them very well, much moreso than I normally would. They commented that they noticed I was speaking much more quietly than I normally would.
My 11AM meeting every day usually involves people from multiple locations on a phone or skype, and several of the participants speak English with a very thick foreign accent. Normally, the ones with the heavy accents are almost completely unintelligible to me and I have to seek translations if I suspect something was said that might be of interest to me. Today, a fellow from Russia who is normally about 10-20% intelligible to me was more like 80-90% intelligible to me, with his intelligibility becoming reduced when someone put him on the spot and he was more stressed out.
I went out to lunch with two co-workers to a crowded sports bar. In the general use program, I quickly lost the ability to follow. I tried out the restaurant mode (program #2) and while there was definitely some digital heavy lifting going on, it served to improve the intelligibility of the people around me and I was a first class participant in the conversation for a change. I do recall telling one of my colleagues that the HA made him sound a little like a cyborg in this mode, but the effect was subtle.
I’m still having the most problems at home. My own voice is clipping when I speak a little more loudly. My wife and kids are a loud bunch and their voices are clipping quite often. Sometimes when they get going now, it’s actually a little painful with the HA’s in to listen to them. I might start trying the restaurant mode at home to see if it’s any better.