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.