Chronicle of a first time hearing aid user


#1

Hi all,

I’m 2 hours into my first time wearing hearing aids. I thought I might chronicle my journey for those others like me who are new and looking for what they can expect from getting hearing aids. I hope this is helpful to some people. If you’re not interested in the rambling thoughts of someone who may not know what he’s talking about, feel free to move on. Otherwise, here we go.

So, after much research here and on Youtube, I was finally convinced to purchase Oticon Opn 3 MiniRite-T aids for my mild to moderate hearing loss. I spent a couple days playing with the Genie 2 programming software to figure out my ideal setup, which all went completely out the window as the audiologist ploughed on regardless with her recommendations. I’m afraid I’m not very assertive in unfamiliar territory, so didn’t interrupt her too much as she went merrily on her way. While everything may not have gone exactly as planned, I was happy with what she was doing for a first fitting anyway, so I’m not too concerned at this stage.

First thing that surprised me was how little I could feel of the aids when they went in apart from a slight tickle, I hardly even knew they were there.

After doing the initial setting, using real ear measures, she programmed in a fairly conservation gain envelope. She said she has seen other audiologists blast in full volume settings from the get go, which puts a lot of people off wearing their aids as it’s just too uncomfortable, so she likes to start low and build up gradually. She also said my low frequencies were good enough that I didn’t really need any gain at the bottom end.

She did some vocal tests of how her voice and mine sounded, and while I could here the altered pitch of the voices, slightly tinnier than I was used to without aids, it was neither unpleasant, and I also didn’t think much different to my normal hearing.

After she finsihed tweaking the gain settings, we discussed programs. She was just going to do one initially, but I wanted some extras. We added a Speech in Noise program, without Speech Rescue, a Music Program, and Telecoil program. Autophone was setup as office phone usage is a big ask for me. The telecoil progrsm is more for teleloop venues though, so may not be useful, but the autophone settings have telecoil for the right ear, and mic & telecoil for the left, giving me some options for using non-telecoil enabled phones just wiht mic input on the left ear, and full telecoil phone if I use my right ear. I’m not sure these will work as intended, so some experimentation will be required.

I also had gone in with the plan to try bass domes as well as open, but the opens seem OK from the start, and I couldn’t force any feedback in her office (plus she just had two packs of opens in my goodie bag already anyway) so I figure that can wait till down the track too, if the opens weren’t working.

So after a little more chat, looking at the contents of my goodie bag, and maxing out my credit card making paymeng, I was off for the drive home.

I didn’t notice much difference in the car, listening to the radio on the way home, and started wondering if the low initial setting may not be very useful. However, when I got home, things started to sound different. Getting out of the car, I suddenly realised I could hear things like the seat belt retracting, dragging my briefcase off the back seat, and the load noise when I closed the car door. When I got inside and started changing out of my business clothes, I suddenly noticed the rusling of the shirt material, the clacking of my shoes on the floor, even the sounds of me removing my socks - sounds I haven’t thought sbout for years.

Now don’t get me wrong, there was nothing monumental about these sounds. They weren’t particularly loud or out of the ordinary, they were just “there” when they hadn’t been before. So the journey into new sounds had begun.

A quiet (or not so quiet as it used to be) dinner with my wife ensued. Her voice was a little more voluminous than usual, and with a slight “am radio” quality from the boost in high frequencies, but otherwise not much mor remarkable. Whether it was clearer than before I can’t say at this stage, as it’s a quiet environment. The guy down the road using a welder seemed rather annoying though. Whether I’ve missed that sound previously or not I’m not sure, but still it was there in the background and wouldn’t go away.

And so similar revelations have continued for the last hour or two. My ear is slightly itchy, more from the ear grips than anything I think, and I’m about to start exploring streaming from my iOS devices, to see how it goes.

So far so good, tomorrow in the office will be the first big test, and seeing if I can get the phone working. Stay tuned for that outcome tomorrow.

Russell.


#2

I have seen audiologists that just let the fitting software make the changes. Few audiologists and HIS are fully trained on every function of the fitting software. First time l got my starkey aids in 2007, l was working in a noisy work environment and went to the audiologist 11 times the first year. Your audiologist did the right thing to start low and build up gradually on fitting software.


#3

If the domes stay put in your canal then you can ask the audiologist to remove the ear grips/sports locks. I ditched them after a couple of weeks.


#4

Day 2 - 5 am

Had a quite interrupted nights sleep. Every time I woke up (and still) I had a feeling of something in my ears. Not painful as such, but unpleasant. You know how when you take tight shoes off, you feet still feel squished for a while? I seem to have more senation of something in my ear now than I did while I had my aids on last night. I think the feeling is in the canal, not where the ear grips were poking in slightly, but it’s a bit hard to tell.

Hopefully it’s just an adjustment thing and yes, I hope I can remove the ear grips, or they mould to my ear and become a bit more comfortable, as I feel they may the cause of a couple of irritiations at this early stage at least.

Bring on the new day! Mountains to climb and all that…


#5

Your Audi sounds very experienced and capable - a big plus!

I suggest that you keep good notes on both what you now hear, and what you still do not. Ask your wife – does this make a beep? a noise? Discover what sounds you have been missing and what sounds are annoyingly loud harsh, or abrupt. Experiment with crumbling paper bags, clanging dishes, etc. Be specific, so your Audi will be able to adjust properly. Soft sounds is a hard one for me. Once I realized the dishwasher made soft beeps, that is my go-to test after adjustments.

I also like the OPN Comfort program. I use it in the car, outside, when I am working alone, or in the house when my brain seems to need a break from general noise overload. I still hear speech, the car radio, etc, it is just quieter-not at all like reducing the volume.

Even after wearing HA’s for 20+ years, when I go to Audi and make an changes, it always takes overnight and the next day for me to evaluate.

You seem to be on your way to adapting! Very good!


#6

I still have my ear grips. Maybe I don’t really need them? Dunno. What I did was to kind of dull the cut end so that it didn’t jab into me. Costco replaces them when I go in for a cleaning anyway.
I experienced some discomfort in one ear initially. I tried a size smaller dome and the discomfort left.


#7

Forget the ear grips and go with custom molds, you’ll be glad you did.

Get a lot of feedback from your wife. I find that my wife is more aware of positive or negative changes in my hearing. She’s not distracted by rustling clothes, clanking silverware, or footsteps. All she’s aware of is how often she has to repeat herself.


#8

I’ve worn ear grips for three years now. Bugged me for the first couple of days but now I don’t even notice them.


#9

Day #2

My first full day with hearing aids. The ear grip annoyance seems to have disappeared already, so that’s good. I’m not sure how functional they are though, as my left aid keeps sliding out slightly, leaving about a 1/2” gap between my ear and receiver wire. I keep pushing it in every half hour or so, but it quickly slides out again.

Sound wise, I’m still undecided about the results in the office. Staff voices seem very loud, but childrens voices still seem softer than I thought they would be. Our office aur conditioner is vrey annoying with it’s background whirring. I thought it’s constant noise would hav ebeen a good candidate for noise cancellation, but it doesn’t seem so. The crinkling and sliding of papers around my desk is also something new to get used to, but it’s not annoying.

The big disappointment of the day is the telecoil on my desk phone. It activates fine, but if I move the phone even slightly out of place, it de-activates again. Plus the voice volume is very low, but worst of all, there is a horrible background static constantly that makes using the telecoil virtuall impossible.

I have just telecoil set on my right ear, but mic & t-coil on the left. When I use the left ear, and hold it so the t-coil doesn’t activate (which is an askward position), I’m surprised how well just the mic pickup works. But once again, it swaps in & out of telecoil mode woth the slightest change in position, and with a couple seconds delays between swaps, it’s playing havoc with having a proper phone conversation.

I have to get to my audi ASAP and see if I can get the configuration changed so I can use my phone properly. I’m thinking I may just have to try for a bluetooth setup instead, but that means spending significant money on getting a ConnectClip and dealing with the uncertainty of whether it will work for me or not.

Technically, I didn’t stream any video yesterday, so haven’t seen if I am still getting the annoying click click click sounds I got first night from what may be apple watch interference. Also I did the iOS 12.1 update last night on my phoen and ipad, which who knows what variables may have been changed. More testing required.

I am a little confused with the On app volume settings. I have -8 steps to lower the volume, each which seems to make a change, and only +2 steps to increase volume, but they don’t seem to change anything. I’m not sure if this is because I’m on a low initial setting, increasing volume is disabled, or I’m just not detecting the increase.

Overall I’m fairly happy with things so far. Need more time to tell if the aids are really helping me that much or not, but at least no drastic problems. Waking up on Day #3, I haven’t experienced the overnight phantom earplug feeling again, so hopefully I’ve adapted to that… maybe I’m a Borg??


#10

This is great reading. Thanks. I’m only shy a couple years into my use.
Telecoil: yeah…back in the day the phone handset used to be this honkin’ big magnet held up to your ear. Now…not.
Adjustments can be made to the telecoil program too.
I think now the telecoil is more useful for hearing loops.


#11

Yeah, but not sure they’ll fix the static. I saw some very old threads mentioning static in telecoil, with no solutions, just that some places work, some don’t. I’ll still leave the option on my left ear, just my right is primary and only has the telecoil option currently. So I’ll get them swapped, and still be able to experiment with my left ear to see if I can identify the source, and also handset placement, when it’s not so crucial to actual hearing the phone conversation.


#12

I had the same problem. I wore an 8mm dome on both sides for two days. It kept slipping out on the right side. I went in the third day and switched to a 10mm on the right side and the problem was solved.


#13

Custom molds, most definitely. You’ll be glad you did it.


#14

Check out this thread.


#15

I’ll have a look tonight when I’m home, at the thread, but my first thoughts are it’s a bit early days to consider, and I’m guessing there’s a considerable expense both intiially and longer term?


#16

A larger dome is a cheap fix if it works


#17

Oh, one other thing is forgot to mention on day 3. I can home from work with a headache. Now there’s lot of reasons to get headaches, but I don’t get them very often. So I wonder if it’s just coincidence, or something about my new setup is confusing my brain?


#18

Regarding headache. Wearing hearing aids for the first time is tiresome. I’m guessing it’s from being assaulted with so much new sound. It’s ok to work up to a full day of wearing them, or take a break from them.


#19

From what I understand, they usually run around $40 each. My audi provided them for free. They should last you the life of the aids, but I did break one once and had to purchase the replacement.


#20

Day #3

So an emergency call to my Audi and she fit me in between other patients at short notice for a change of phone program. I swapped my main ear to Mic only, not telecoil. Unfortunately I had problem still for the day, until finally last thing, I figured if I hold the earpiece of the phone way up high on my head and out at a large angle from my head, the mic pickup seemed to be pretty good. However, it was still detecting the phone speaker as an autophone cue and chiming in an out of the phone mode during the conversation, which was very bad.

I can’t live without an easy to use phone at work, so bit the bullet and ordered a bluetooth setup of the MDA220, BT300 and ConnectClip. Hopefully it’ll all arrive sometime next week and hopefully the bluetooth quality and ConnectClip will provide a satisfactory solution. In the meantime, I’ll have to persist with looking like I’m trying to blow my brains out with my telephone.

The ear grips were a little annoying on occasion again today, so I guess it just depends on how I position them at the start of the day. I’m sure I’ll be able to get them into a comfortable position all the time with a bit of practice. The audi did say they generally bend to match you ear shape after a bit anyway.

The left ear is still backing out a bit. It only goes a little way then stops, so it’s not a big issue apart from the cosmetics of the wire sticking out a bit, although I do feel I have to keep pushing it back in. I’ll just persevere until my proper follow up appointment in a couple weeks probably, and discuss then. I did look at the custom mould thread recommended, and am not convinced it’s the prefect solution. Seemed as many people had issues with custom molds as without, although some are happy with them. I don’t need any extra expense at the moment, so will look at other solutions first.

I had no real issues with sound during the day. The air conditioner on the wall in front of my desk is still noisy. Also, when outside in some wind, I do get some wind noise across the microphones when facing away from the wind direction. Was fairly easy to avoid, but I can see it being a little bothersome down the road when the real windy weather starts.

I spent some time streaming from my iPad after dinner. I only had the ‘tap tap tap’ interference briefly once as I was putting my Apple Watch on it’s charge stand for the night, much better than the previous night when it was happening regularly. I can’t say if the ios 12.1 update was a factor as I didn’t have enough previous data points. I’ll continue to monitor.

I must say though, having only used corded earbuds previously, the freedom of moving around cord free was very enjoyable. So much so that when it was finally time to go to bed, I was actually regretting having to take my aids out. I see that as a very good sign that I have become accustomed to them very quickly. I was expecting weeks of discomfort while I became accustomed. Only thing is the loss of bass tones in music does spoil the listening experience slightly. I may revisit bass domes when I next see my audi.

Funny thing, on the first day in the office, I didn’t mention I had my aids, and was waiting for someone to make a comment all day, but no one did. Then today, since I had to leave the office during work hours to see the audiologist, I had to let my work partner know I had to go out, and she was surprised to hear I was wearing them, as she hadn’t noticed. I was surprised, as to me that left wire sticking out seemed to make me look like a martian with his antenna coming out of his ear. Later in the day I had to discuss purchasing the bluetooth add-ons for the phone with my boss, and she was also surprised to hear I had them in, as she too had not noticed them. I thought they were just trying to be polite not saying anything, especially as most them them approach me from behind, and I have no hair, and I have two different coloured aids, so was sure they would see the aids behind my ears. Apparently not. So even though I’m trying to make them stand out, people still don’t notice! Maybe I need to affix some flashing LED’s on them, kind of like aircraft landing lights…

So, it’s now the morning of day of Day #4. I was considering now wearing my aids for the weekend, as it’s just a quiet weekend at home, but I’m enjoying streaming music, and also was to have a full run of daily use to see exactly how long the batteries will last with moderate streaming. So I have them in, have the tunes playing, and enjoying a not-as-quiet-as-it-used-to-be-in-a-good-way weekend at home.