Do I need hearing aids? (I'm a piano player)

I’ve been lurking and trying to learn as much as I can here. Amazingly useful Forum!

Anyway - I have had a documented long standing hearing loss (noted at the age of 25 mid 1980s) - assumedly congenital in some form - no history suggestive of high volume damage) - I’m now 58.

I had a repeat test in 2014 - basically just for fun - that documented high tone loss above 2000HZ maximal down to 60DB (tried to add that audiogram to the profile too but when I do the link in my profile only displays the old audiogram not the latest - see below).

AT that stage I had no real issues and ignored it :slight_smile: .

Last week I had a repeat audiogram - the reason is mainly the TV is becoming hard to understand - apart from the news and some Australian shows :wink: . Accordingly I live with the subtitles on most of the time. I have typical issues of difficulty hearing someone in a car, but face to face - not a problem even with back ground noise.

The repeat audiogram confirms further deterioration still isolated mainly to the higher frequencies - now with severe to profound loss. Interestingly my Speech score was essentially 100% - even with masking background noise (all uploaded to my profile).

The Audi clinic I use - all university qualified 4 year course etc (called AUDIOLOGISTS here - not Doctors of…) - and a practice that does not have a commission based business model - was so laid back about the results as to almost horizontal! They suggested that I MAY benefit from HA but couldn’t be sure. I guess that’s certainly a safe thing to say.

My wife is also of the opinion that functionally - apart from wanting the TV too loud (which doesn’t always help) - I am not too badly off.

Anyway, I thought I would turn to the community here to ask what peoples’ experience are. With this sort of loss - and function :-

  • Would you expect a significant benefit? The lower frequencies are essentially preserved and my speech recognition seems ok.

  • I play the piano and MOST of the notes sound below 2000HZ which is reasonably well preserved in me. only the Top 10 keys (88 key piano) are between 2000HZ and 3700HZ and I guess I have adapted to the sound. Any musicians have an opinion? Are my higher frequency losses too extreme to benefit easily from a HA - obviously from a musical point of view frequency shifting (if that’s the correct term)would not be satisfactory.

  • I should add that YES - I do have access to a local costco that has KS10’s - around 1/3-1/5 of the price of the Phonak branded Paradise p90RTs here. Also - The Audi I visit seems quite happy for me to buy them at Costco and they will program them (for a charge of course) and do all the follow up. Indeed they’re happy for me to bring in HA of my own however sourced. Of course they sell them as well! For the record - not focusing on Phonak/Costco or any particular brand at all!

  • Any general comments? It looks like EVENTUALLY I will need HA given the progressive deterioration - Not sure if I should get in early :thinking: ?

Appreciate your consideration and your thoughts. Sorry about the wall of text but I wanted to give some context.

Why would you pay for an audi to fit the Costco hearing aids for you when you can get it fitted at Costco which is included in the price already? They have qualified HIS or audis at Costco as well.

And yes, I would say that your level of loss would benefit from wearing hearing aids. The piano is probably loud enough for you, but you don’t know the highs you’re missing until you start wearing hearing aids. I’d be willing to bet that after you’ve worn hearing aids for a while, you don’t want to be playing piano without them anymore because they’ll start sounding dull and muted for you.

I function around my house communicating with my family OK with hearing aids, but whenever I play my piano, I gotta have my hearing aids on because I know what I’m missing out on otherwise.

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Thanks @Volusiano - Not sure about the qualifications/abilities of the Australian Costco fitters… I believe that they are generally NOT university qualified here - for what that is worth…
I appreciate you insight on the piano!

I would try out the Costco HIS or audis first, and if you’re still unsatisfied with them, then you can always take them to an independent audi next. HIS don’t need to be university credentialed with a PhD in audiology to be able to do a good job fitting you with hearing aids. Maybe a rough analogy is you don’t need to be a credentialed race car driver to drive a taxi. You just need a driver license.

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In my opinion and experience, the most important considerations are:

  1. Obtain a hearing instrument that is appropriate for your hearing loss and technologically capable of satisfying your expectations wrt what they should do for you;
  2. Choose a fitter with whom you have decent interpersonal “chemistry” so that you can challenge and dialogue with the HIS freely during the course of the fitting;
  3. Take the time you need to “tame the beasts in your ears”. Hearing aids are rarely fit-for-purpose right out of the box. The devices of today are complicated and sophisticated, and take time to adjust optimally.

A university education is not required to master the fitting software used today, and doesn’t guarantee an empathetic person who genuinely cares about the success of your treatment.

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My hearing loss isn’t as bad as yours but high frequency as well, I didn’t realise what I was missing with hearing my piano. I’d lost the timbre of the notes I could just hear a flat sound. I’d lost the twangy twinkliness if that makes sense?! Is there anywhere you can go that will let you trial hearing aids and see how you get on? That’s quite common here in the UK although I’m not sure about Costco because we don’t have very many. Do you ask people to repeat themselves a lot? I did and that virtually stopped when I got hearing aids they’ve been a godsend at work (I can get by without at home and in quiet places though) I think at the end of the day you won’t know unless you try, it depends on many factors how well you adjust to them or perceive benefit

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I would you encourage you to get hearing aids. The longer you wait, the longer it will take you to adjust to them. Remember your good word recognition scores are likely with additional gain. Your loss is similar to mine. I would guess the benefits you’d notice would be subtle. You would notice that certain sounds are way louder than you’re used to. (running water, crinkling paper, pots banging) Also certain sounds you didn’t know existed will return (high pitched alarms, turn signals, etc.) So yes, get hearing aids now. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.

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@Oz-Tack: I am a musician who lived off playing solo guitar for twenty years of my life. I procrastinated getting my first hearing instruments, and that was a mistake.

There’s many excellent discussion threads on this site about the adverse effects of delaying hearing loss treatment, and more threads that highlight the benefits of acquiring well-fitted hearing instruments. It will take some effort on your part to dig around to find them in the topic categories, but we will help you to sort it out.

Remember… you’re digging for gold, and it may result in a significant improvement in your quality of life.

I join the voices of the other members who are encouraging you to see, through trial, what benefits will accrue to you from your use of appropriate hearing devices.

Best of luck.

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After looking at your profile, I think you should definitely trial a pair of hearing aids. Try to find an audiologist that will let you use them for at least 2 weeks, ideally 4 (with a check in at week 2 for programming adjustments). And wear them all the time—or as much as you can—in different situations (talking to one person, listening in a noisy environment, while playing and listening to music in various settings). You need time to train your brain to start processing sounds you haven’t heard for a while. I think you’ll find there is a richness and depth to sounds that you have been missing — and you won’t want to go back once you experience music :notes: as a more “normal” hearing person does. Report back on your decision. Good luck!

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Firstly a grateful thanks to all respondents! Amazing amount of information here.
I will take all your advice to heart as I consider where I go from here.
I am also posting a general question in the HA forums looking for other Aussies that may have used Costco and can give me more information on the Australian experience/warranty/process etc. If it is similar to the US costco policies etc then I can see no downside to going to see them and trialing some HAs (apart form having to repeat my audiogram).
Just to clarify that - while I play the piano - that is not my major concern (although it may be the major advantage!) when considering HAs. I guess it is more the potential for improvement (if any) in everyday activities of daily living.
Thanks again! Happy to ‘hear’ more advice! :smile:

Pinging the one and only @TraderGary to this convo!

Haven’t heard from tradergary in a while.
Hope he is ok.

@Raudrive: You have probably already looked this up, too, but I can’t find a more recent post than July 2020.:frowning:

No, just remember it’s been a while since TraderGary has posted.
Really respected his posts.
He is older, hope he is ok.

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I’m still alive and well. The pandemic has taken its toll the past year. We lost two close friends. At our age we became total hermits. We left our acreage only for required doctor visits or drive-up prescriptions. All groceries were ordered on-line at Amazon Fresh, delivered. and quarantined before use. Vegetables and fruit were thoroughly washed. But we made it! We got our second Pfizer vaccinations 3 weeks ago, so we feel a good bit better about being around for a while longer. I’ve spent the year working on the piano and trading the market as my screen name might imply. Kate and I are still using our same old Phonak HA’s. Now that we’re vaccinated, I need to make an appointment with our audiologist, and I need to get up to speed on what’s currently happening in the HA world.

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He’s alive!!!
image

Reminded me of this :joy:

In all seriousness, a warm welcome back! And speaking from someone in medicine who has been in the trenches, thank you for taking the pandemic as seriously as you have.

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Your old Marvel aids are still good ones.
Getting past the vaccines is a good feeling. At least it was for me.
Good to see you back.

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Hey TraderGary! It has been an interesting year in the market. I’ve never been big on stops but now I don’t do anything, even covered calls, without stops.

Thanks. With our health issues we had no choice. If we got the virus our chances would have been poor at best. Thank you for all the work you have done during this ordeal!

Thanks Rick. Getting the vaccine has made all the difference in how we feel about the future!

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