(Newbie alert: cross posted to the other HA forum :o )
Hi everyone. I have been stalking posts, reading up and looking for info, trying to figure out whether to move forward with HAs. Little bit about me - I have long time mild-mod SNHL that started as reverse slope in childhood and is now a “cookie-bite” pattern that recently is either getting worse, or getting much harder to deal with. My mode of living is that some people I hear fine, others, not at all. If people face me, I rely on lip reading for a decent percentage of understanding, depending on how well people enunciate. I never watch TV, because I have to turn it up so loud other people can’t bear it. But, other sounds are intolerable to me (usually high frequency sounds like alarms, etc…). I generally have volume turned up fully on things like phones, the radio, etc… in order to hear well. In addition to my daily job (tech engineer) I have my degrees in music and opera, so music quality and ability to continue function in music making environments is important.
About two years ago I had a mild stroke which left me with some expressive and receptive aphasia and other cognitive challenges (ie. I get overwhelmed trying to do too much at once and seriously cannot tolerate loud environments like bars, sporting events, etc…). Since this happened, I am finding that my issues from the stroke, combined with my SNHL has made virtually everything more difficult, particularly working (I travel frequently; present at large meetings, conferences, work in a variety of environments). I find myself getting frustrated very easily and my ENT, neuro, and audi seem to think HAs may help.
My questions are:
Audi and ENT are telling my I should get HAs now, as my SNHL is genetic and progressive and if I wait much longer, I may find adjusting to HAs later down the line difficult to impossible to adjust to. They are saying the brain may ultimately just reject the sounds from the HAs and its better to get them now vs later. The skeptic in me wonders if this is accurate (are they trying to sell me HAs?); if so… what is the science behind this? Can anyone point me to articles, etc… or provide their own experiences?
I am reading here that cookie bite HL is hard to work with for audis and HA fitting. My feeling (based on what Ive read here) is: I should look for open fit, bluetooth HAs, since I rely on my phone for work calls, etc… (right now I have to use a headset to hear anything). So I am considering ReSound Linx2s or Oticon OPN. But I am very nervous about paying a ton of money for them, then finding the audi has no idea how to work with CBHL, and discovering I hate the HAs. My current audi seems dismissive of the difficulty fitting cookie-bite, and evasive when I ask if she has fitted for this before. Any cookie biters out there have experience with either of these HAs? Any tips on finding a good audi? Pros/cons of the ReSound app vs Oticon app for self adjustments?
Finally - I have posted my audiogram numbers in my signature. What do you guys think? Would HAs possibly help? Or is it still mild enough that HAs would make things worse not better. Very confused as to what to think at this point.
Sorry for the long post… and many thanks for any help you all can provide.