Deciding to Keep Wearing Hearing Aids

Hi everyone! I could use some help about next steps.

Here’s the important info: I have mild hearing loss in low frequencies (reverse slope) with exceptionally good hearing loss at high frequencies. I struggle to hear male voices, some deeper female voices, in noisy situations, on the phone while in the car, and in larger spaces when a/c is running. I work in education, managing adults in school settings. I am in a trial phase for hearing aids right now. I’m still working out features (autophone works only some of the time, for example) and hearing new sounds (thunder rumbling, boiling water, my a/c). I’ve managed to wear the hearing aids for the last six days for nearly all of the day. I have some minor out ear skin irritation. Overall, I’d say the adjustment has not been terrible.

Here’s the question: I’m not sure most people notice my hearing loss. (I only realized it was a thing as masks were being worn and I’ve had some trouble at work with preparing for a phonics-based assessment where I need to discriminate between vowel sounds.) The hearing aids help but I’m not sure the difference outweighs the cost and the upkeep I’ll need to do. I don’t know any other hearing aid users so I’m stuck for where to seek advice. I also haven’t told barely anyone that I was even having this trouble because I didn’t want to make it a big deal with friends and at work. Thoughts on the next steps? Do I keep them? Do I wait for hearing to get worse and then get them then?

TIA!

My leanings would be to keep them or replace with less expensive hearing aids. The thing about hearing loss is if the brain doesn’t get stimulus at certain frequencies, it can lose the ability to make sense of the sounds. (The issue with vowel discrimination will only get worse and harder to remediate. Don’t know how tight money is or how much these aids are. If money is a major issue, Costco has some excellent hearing aids at low cost.

4 Likes

I went through this experience. My hearing was getting worse. It was impacting my job. If you can afford it I would correct the hearing loss. It will only get worse and take longer to get use to them again. It will help you be a better as a teacher or administrator if you can hear everything it makes it easier to do the job. You stated that you had trouble with making phonics test hearing certain voices. It is important to hear everyone. From what you said about your hearing loss you have a lot of options to chose from for treating your hearing loss. They can be very discreet to fully in your ear and not seen at all. Also like said Castco does have great prices for hearing aids. Different hearing aids are better at doing things like streaming and noise reducing that can be helpful. Treating your hearing lose is important to help you not lose your abilities to process language verbally. I hope you find the answers to your questions you are looking for good luck.

1 Like

Welcome here!

I have reverse slope hearing loss :slight_smile: this makes two of us here currently active.

Check my profile and featured topic there,I’ve shared a lot of details from my recent journey - fitting new aids.

But first, share your audiogram and word recognition score in quiet and noise with us. It looks like your audi didn’t went through your results and talk about expectations.

And keep in mind, our loss type is really hard to fit right. I had an experience where I heard better without the aids than with the results of one fitter :joy:

So it’s crucial to find a fitter who follows best practices:
best practices summarised by dr cliff

And then listen to you and adjust. In order to do that, it’s best if you take notes of everything you’ve noticed - what was good, what wasn’t.

And thing in your canal shouldn’t create sores!

Thanks for everyone’s help. My hearing really isn’t that bad, particularly compared to what I’ve seen.

I have no idea where I’ve left my audiogram but here’s what I remember (since I’ve spent time trying to figure out if I should have even qualified for hearing aids): The points were: L 30db at 250, 30 db at 500 hz, 20 db at 1000 hz, in normal range at all above that except for a small drop at the highest frequency. R 50db at 250, 35 db at 500 hz, 20 db at 1000 hz, and in normal range at all above that. I believe I missed 1 word in a quiet setting. I don’t remember the in noise measurements so I’ll post when I can get a duplicate. I go back mid-August for a follow-up.

Just a quick note that the hearing aid caused tenderness at the external ear and not in the ear. My canal is just fine.

Thanks again!

You might want to take a look at the “Speech Banana” to see what you’re missing. Just a couple of consonants on the left, but quite a few on the right.

1 Like

Welcome to the forum.
I will second for you to continue wearing aids. Waiting will only make the transition more difficult later.
Costco has a good reputation for quality aids, good fits and a great return/warranty.
The ear irritation could be temporary or it might mean you need some type of medication or a hearing aid dryer with UV sanitation.

image

1 Like

I wear mine all day. It takes awhile to get used to the them. But the more you wear them the better your brain will get at processing the sound. I don’t know about your cost. I got my last two pairs through Costco. The nice thing with Costco is that the price is considerably lower and the test period is much longer. My first pair was through an audiologist. They cost me about $6k. She was able to fine tune them in one follow up visit. It took the Costco hearing aid fitter about 6 tries. But the total cost was under $2k and they have better features. Your mileage may vary.

1 Like

This is what made you seek out hearing aids, initially. Suppose you revert to no aids. Now you can’t hear deeper voices; you have to ask folks to repeat again and again; you get frustrated they get annoyed. Or you guess at what they said, guess wrong and the next part of the conversation is completely off track.

What do you expect them to do? The people in class are not going to say, "Hey Teach! You can’t HEAR us! You know that? " No, they will just drift away, take other courses or drop out of the program. What do you think your co-workers are going to do? Pull you aside and say, “hey you really struggled in that meeting, can’t you hear well?” Folks don’t DO that. They “may” decide you are going daffy with age; they “may” decide you don’t really like the job you have. Unlikely they will hit on the real problem, that you can’t hear. If and when they do, you have lost a LOT of credibility in your work place, and it will take you a long time to recoup that. Are you ready to ditch the career?

Stick with hearing aids. Take the time to take notes, and go in for the adjustments during the trial period. Decide if you want to stay where you are, with what you have, try a different brand on offer where you are, or move to CostCo or some other audiologist. (I get my hearing aids from CostCo, by the way, so I vote you get over there.)

Just my thoughts on this.

2 Likes

My first audiology appointment was a referral. Can I just request an appointment at Costco (seems like I’ll need a membership) or will I need to get a referral from my PCP? Will I get a full test again (I think I’d prefer that, truthfully, as a second opinion on need) at all ranges? Do I keep wearing the pair of hearing aids I have until then if I’m trying someone else out? My trial ends September 1 with a follow up on August 13th with my current place. Should I say I’m not sure I’m happy with my current provider?

I appreciate the Saturday/Sunday availability that my local-ish (65 mile drive) Costcos have. I actually haven’t gone elsewhere because the closest non-chain audiologist who doesn’t come to town is 65 miles away with 8-5 or 9-4 availability on Mondays through Fridays and it’s just a no-go at this point in the year (and given that I’m about to re-open a school district during a pandemic) and I’d like to either fix the problem or decide not to solve it before the school year starts.

I do think I’ve mainly gotten by unnoticed on the hearing front. I think only my new boss has noticed that I’ve added the HA’s (but doesn’t know better so hasn’t asked). I only noticed that my hearing wasn’t great as we’ve spread out in meetings, worn masks, and taken a new focus on phonics. But I hear you on the credibility front and given that I’m not 40 yet, I need to get a little more longevity out of this job.

Hello Acyhamrpen,

Welcome to the group. Please do not be concerned that you have to stick with that audiologist because of a referral. Yes you need an appointment at Costco and have to be a member to make a purchase. $60. You do not need a referral from your PCP.

I purchased the Resound Preza’s from Costco one month ago. I have really appreciated them. But because I am so aged I have difficulty remembering all that they offer. I got the rechargeable’s and there was only one other brand that offered rechargeables. may have been the Rexton. I am still in the learning process and know I still have a lot to learn.

A great benefit of Costco is that you have 6 months to make up your mind for which one suits you best. I also would be up front with the Costco Audi about where you have been and what you want. I would insist that they also do another audiogram and when The
HA come in they will do an REM, I believe that is required of Costco Audis or fitters. I have an excellent one. I may buy the multi Mike but will check on eBay or Amazon for a better price.

Good luck.

2 Likes

One thing you can be sure of. Everyone will notice your hearing loss before you do.

2 Likes

@acyhamrpen One thing about Costco; if you have a hearing test from within the last six months, they can just set you up with a quick in-store demo and order you hearing aids based on that. You won’t need to go through testing again if you don’t want to be bothered and you’re already finding some benefit from the hearing aids, which it sounds like you are.

Thanks everyone for the advice! I am going to see if some reprogramming makes them better. I do hear better with them in general. I think I am a little bit embarrassed to need them, particularly when there are people who have much greater hearing loss, and I know I’ll get over that. I’ve worn them all hours of the days for the last week and a half and I cannot feel them at this point. I may also try an upgrade to see if greater functionality is what I want. I truly went in just wanting to get the smallest thing that would help me hear but no one has noticed them in the week and a half and I don’t know that it matters what size they are as long as they help with hearing.

1 Like

The average person pays absolutely no attention to what other people are wearing, how their hair is styled, type of glasses, hearing aids, earrings, make-up, etc. It seems like all of us who didn’t grow up wearing hearing aids start off being really self conscious but after a very short time it’s really apparent that people are simply oblivious. I’m really curious to see if anyone out in the world notices my new hearing aid and/or my cochlear implant after tomorrow. My wife noticed my hearing aid, but she knew to look for it so that really tells me nothing.

1 Like

As said, you don’t need a referral to go to CostCo. That is because CostCo in USA does not accept health insurance. You either direct pay, or some health insurance plans allow you to submit the receipt and be reimbursed (usually not 100% of what you pain). CostCo pricing is much lower than buying from an audiologist.

The $60 membership is fine for buying hearing aids. They will try to push the Executive membership - $120 - it only benefits you IF you are also going to be shopping there. My CostCo is a drive, so I only go for hearing aid issues. If you purchase hearing aids from CostCo, you want to keep up the membership for the full 3 years (if you buy Kirkland) warranty period.

CostCo battery pricing is great, so I go every few months and stock up.

You can also order online and have it delivered. There isn’t an Costco within 250 miles of where I live but I still save with online shopping.

Costco is a 75-mile drive (into a Covid heavy area) for me so I’m going to keep working with the local place for now. We are about to make adjustments based on what I’ve provided. There are still so many environmental noises I’m hearing so loudly right now. The world feels very noisy. I have never heard my office a/c before (or all of the a/c outside of work, so many!), the buzzing light poles, paper, footsteps in what I thought were quiet shoes, trees/weeds rustling, food sizzling in the frying pan from across the room, My place said it may be that I also just need more time to adjust especially if I have likely had the hearing loss for awhile.

Also I was able to test them out with an employee I have trouble hearing and it is better but not perfect with background noise. To everyone’s point, he assumed I was just always distracted. This makes me feel terrible but I usually just cannot hear him. His background is SLP and jokingly (and nicely) said he would be upset if he found out I didn’t keep the HA and I couldn’t hear him in the future.

We all get frustrated with wearing them, but you wouldn’t have gotten them if you didn’t need them.
Miracell Pro-Ear is really good for itchy ears and irritation. It’s a very thin oil and it works really well for me. A couple drops in each ear before going to sleep and the itchiness and dryness is gone. I get it from Amazon.
Also, if you don’t have a dryer with a UV light, that could help. It’ll dry out any wax making it easy to remove and it’ll kill any bacteria that may have gotten on them. Putting bacteria in a warm moist area like your ear canal is asking for trouble and I think the UV is great insurance to avoid that.

Another thing I do is to wipe down my hearing aids with a whip called audio-whips. Doing this and drying them in a UV drier has stop the itchiness and cut the number of ear infections down. I also brush them off. You brought up some great points. Thank you for sharing.