Close to despair after months of audiologists (note: PLURAL!) attempting recovery of music and speech

This is an extremely long story that I’ll attempt to shorten:

I’m a full-time HA user/wearer for over 10 years. It started with Beltone.

I sing and play music. Intonation is key, pardon the expression. As well, my wife is soft spoken and various folk accuse (can’t judge; my hearing sucks) her of being indistinct as well.

None of these metrics has been met over the 15 months of fiddling, including a factory rep’s assistance, since I got the new Beltones.

My audiogram(s - more on that shortly) all suggest moderate to severe hearing loss with most/worst at the low end. Without getting into a technical discussion of all that’s happened, the short story is that after acquiring the Beltone latest, and immediately having a severe ear infection, now long-since resolved, my previous satisfaction went into the chipper. Repeated visits to the ENT’s resolved that there were no inner ear dysfunctions, and had audiograms which showed the decline after my infection (which included a perforation of the eardrum, my 5th, but the first in 20 years, resolved). However…

Piano (singer/chorister) accompaniment sounded like someone took a handful of various sized rocks, tossed them in a metal bucket, and shook it. Warming up, to a played scale or arpeggio, was impossible; I could not discriminate any tone, could not pick out a key note, could not tell if the accompanist was moving up or down the scale, let alone…

As well, my “own voice” suffered - I could not hear my sung tone to match whatever tone there might have been, and…

Speech was challenging at the very best.

Turns out that all music programs are aimed at listeners, not performers, and so there’s compression to assist in keeping you from percussive assault and over-loud tones. Removing all compression from music program(s - more shortly) has helped. “Own voice” still challenging…

So, after over a year of beating on the problem, I gave up and went to - count’em - 4 different suppliers, forking over low-5-figures worth of trial monies (helped by one instance of their using a demo pair, and not charging me during the trial) for 4 different sets of hearing aids, all at the peak of whatever manufacturer’s technology.

Two of those trials have ended with my returning the units, one after 30 days, the other after an extended-trial 6 weeks. My nearly weekly visits to the remaining two, plus the original Beltone, have had mixed results. The vendor with Phonak is by far the best audiologist, but it’s been 2 months of constant twiddling to get close enough to continue trying (he’s just extended my trial to another month). The vendor with Liberty (Sam’s Club), while doing a VERY thorough audiogram, and diligently working with me, still is a long way from achieving either musical or vocal acuity. For all that, it’s far better than the Miracle Ear or Widex/Phonak/Signia (he tried 3) vendors’ results, so I’ve not booted the remaining two yet.

All expressed the opinion that I needed ear molds. Done. Better, but no resolution.

So, in the end, the question is, when my previous pair of Beltones, several generations ago, was tweaked and gave me all the above items successfully (heard music dead-on-pitch, my ‘own voice’ matching said pitches easily heard, and my wife’s speech brilliant), but are now long gone, is it unreasonable for me to expect that I can achieve that now, with current technology?

I’ve come to the opinion that it’s not the gear, but the audiologist, as, clearly, I’ve had the current state of the art in my ears for this time (now over 60 days of others-than-Beltone, but continuing triangulation with Beltone), but the results, even though each of the audiograms are essentially alike (not 100% on the same numbers, but all with the same pattern and general level of acuity), vary widely.

With the exception of the two folks I gave gear back to, who weren’t making any progress, all my audiologists have been accommodating and willing to keep beating what may be a dead horse.

Am I doomed? Is there some magic bullet nobody knows about which will allow me these 3 simple needs? Accurate perception of music (440Hz isn’t 432Hz like it sounds, e.g), hearing my own sung voice clearly (can’t match the tune if I can’t hear it, and can’t sing it if I can’t hear my voice in the middle of many others), and clarity of my wife’s speech?

As music has been central to my life for just about 70 years, and I’m married to someone I rarely can understand without being directly in front of her and cheating with lipreading, this is of no small concern. Yet all of this issue has arisen since I upgraded my Beltones (and seems validated by all the other vendors merely getting ‘close’ to a solution).

At this stage I’m willing to try just about anything other than CIs, that killing any ‘regular’ hearing…

An example: Last night at supper at a restaurant with 3 friends, even with the MyPalPro (a separate microphone designed for the purpose) centered on the table I had great difficulty understanding speech. Earlier at a bell choir rehearsal, normal all-around setting, quiet church, I had difficulty understanding our director…

Glad you came by and asked for help. Hopefully someone here will have an idea that clicks. But of course every one of us is unique, so that’s why we offer no guarantees! :wink: Although come to think of it, our advice is worth every penny you’re paying for it! :laughing: We’ll do our best.

A couple more days and/or posts (not sure which), and you’ll be able to add your audiogram info. That might help some of us make suggestions. In the meantime, I have a question: when you had your recent ear infection and then got better, did you still have the hearing aids you were using before the infection? If so, then knowing whether your hearing with those HAs remained compromised (even after you were “recovered”) will prove to be a clue about the circumstances.

Thanks for the note.

I actually have audiograms from a very long time (couple of years) ago, as well as all the ones done by the various potential vendors - and the ENTs, too.

I got my current set (Beltone - I’m still trying to muscle that and the two remaining potential replacements into behaving) 3 weeks before the infection, which annoys me greatly, as, while I’m sure I’ve lost acuity, I had JUST achieved clarity of my wife’s speech; music had never been an issue, presumed a new-technology circumstance.

I’ve wished many times that I’d had those old ones to compare to…

It may help if you search the forum for music and Chasin (think that’s correct spelling )
There is a lot to learn. See GOAT of hearing aids.

Here’s some of the previous audiograms; I have to scan the current recent ones (since I started casting my net beyond Beltone) so will follow this up once I’ve had that chance.

And I further apologize; I attempted submission of those 4 and got my hand slapped as a new user, being restricted to one attachment per submission. So, there will be 4 rather than my single original message, and more, once I get the newer ones scanned.

If you’re able, read these in chronological order, as that’s how it would have appeared as a single post:

Here’s the last one before the change in management (the older pair, trying to tweak them, and a fiddling by the audiologist a couple months later magically made my wife’s speech crystal clear):

As noted, the rest of my original attempt follows…

Here’s the first, just before purchase of the current Beltones, of the current era:

And the first ENT post infection:

And, last of the ones prior to my scramble with many others:

My sincere apologies for the mass of data; if the audiograms have any smoking guns, it would be very useful.

My adjustments at both Beltone and the Phonak provider yesterday were a mixed bag. Rehearsal last night was HORRIBLE on what previously had been the front-runner, Phonak, as the tweaks applied made it VERY challenging, despite my audiologist there having created a new “Music 1” profile attempting to tweak what had been the best configuration of all my various suppliers’ shaping. Beltone is now better than the Phonak, but not as good as the Phonak was (technical discussion omitted, as I intend reverting the Phonak, something we’ve done once before in this trial, and starting over with this level of tweaks).

The Liberty/Lucid, from Sam’s wasn’t even on the agenda for trial last night; they think hard molds are the answer, but unless the shaping works, making sure the sound gets there, and there’s no escapes (feedback), isn’t all that important, at least as I see it, particularly as I have just under 2 weeks left on their 90 day trial…

Next submission will be the AGs from the 5 suppliers I tried, and the current AGs from Vero ENT and Beltone.

So, dunno if this will come through, but it’s the 5 taken after the previous above ones, and, unfortunately, in reverse order (though all in one place, so start at the bottom)…

AudiogramsPostInfection.pdf (1.3 MB)

I think you need the pros on this, Neville, Umbongo?

@Neville @Um_bongo Help here please

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Put the @ sign in front of their names to tag them and send notifications.

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My experience with beltone is run away screaming. Sorry but that’s my opinion.

Ok, what is your helpful advice then? What brand is better, in your opinion?

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There is no brand that’s better. The best brand is the one that works best for the individual. If there was a best brand we’d all be idiots owning anything else. Hearing loss is a very individual thing. Some of us with similar losses wear phonak others wear oticon, etc. There’s no such thing as best brand.

Is it the hearing aid, or is it the ear? There has been a significant change in hearing pre- and post-infection. I agree that it would be informative to be able to listen to the old hearing aids that were reportedly working really well in the user’s primary situations. For the detective portion of the job, I would want to know which ear was perforated, what’s the state of that eardrum now. Where are the old hearing aids, what were they, what was the acoustic coupling, where is the old programming saved–can it be accessed? What does music sound like without hearing aids, live or through over-the-ear headphones? Is the distortion still there? Is pitch matching better? One ear or both? Has there been improvement over time?

Clip a remote mic to the soft-spoken wife to reduce listening effort. But music is harder.

I’ve never met a Beltone hearing aid–I don’t think they are as present up here. Are they just Resound?

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I agree but that could mean there is no brand to run away from unless they cause additional harm.

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Huh? Boy you think you’re out and they suck you back in. All an audiologist can do is recommend certain brands based on an individuals audiogram. When an audiologist says this is the best brand for you it’s time to hop on the horse and ride out of town before sundown .

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Yes, I believe Beltone is equivalent to Resound but sold exclusively by Beltone.

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