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…