First day with hearing aids

After procrastinating for at least 10 years (I’m 35), I finally visited an audi last month and was fitted today. My hearing loss was starting to impact my ability to communicate at work (office environment).

My stats:

1500 20
2000 50
3000 60
4000 70/75
8000 65/70

Sensory high frequency loss. Moderate to severe

I think like many other who are new to hearing aids, I only wanted to consider CICs even though I understand they do not have the same capabilities as other types. My audi fitted me with Starkey Destiny 400s.

This really is one of the strangest experiences for me. The initial adjustment was difficult because I expected there to be a dramatic difference in what I could hear. It was so difficult to sit in the office and get them adjusted when I really didn’t know what to expect or even how to feel about the different adjustments. What I do know is that my voice sounds different, almost mechanical. She was able to improve that very quickly, but it’s still not normal. Her voice on the other hand sounded normal to me. But I couldn’t tell you if I was hearing her better than without the aids. Maybe that’s the whole point is that you’re not supposed to notice that things sound better, they just sound normal. I was expecting that there would be some sort of test but it was just my audi and me talking. Is that typical? Why not play some sort of audio book or a simulated conversation so that I can hear the difference during the adjustment?

I do know that I can hear my children better, boy 2 and girl 6. Although a couple screeches by boy2 were startling and actually made me jump. Is that normal if you are in a fairly quiet environment and then have a loud noise that it seems extremely loud? Or does that mean that I need to get an adjustment? Or will I just get used to it?

I’m looking forward to work on Monday to see if I’ll actually be able to hear my coworkers better, especially when there are background noises.

I know a lot of you are old salts at this, but I hope you’ll put up with a few newbie questions as I’m sure to have plenty more.

chesapeake

i would consider an open fit
they are so much confortable …

have you consider this?

I’m not exactly sure what open fit is. On the Starkey site they have:

BTE
OTE
RIC
ITE
ITC
CIC

Is open fit another name for one of these styles?

After 8 hours with the aids in today, I couldn’t take any more. My 2 year old got hurt and started crying, and I thought my head was going to explode. OK, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but his crying seemed to overpower the aids and the sound started to break up. I’m not sure that I can hear better with them in than without them. I understand that I have to be patient, so hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

After I took them out, I was still bothered by my 2 year old when he spoke loudly. Is this just part of my brain reawakening?

i believe starkey call them OTE…

i would try something that has receiver in the canal

along the lines like a Oticon Delta, Phonak Audeo, GN pulse,bernafon brite

have you try this?

The Starkey website has OTE which is open fit, and RIC, which is receiver in canal open fit.

I’m not a vain person, but I like the idea of the CIC because they are so discrete.

The first thing I learned 6 years ago when I started wearing aids was that people don’t notice. You may notice another person wearing aids, because you know what to look for, but others won’t.

And while I never wore anything smaller than a half-shell, and only had one go bonkers on me, it’s well documented that CICs have a higher failure rate than any other aid.

When I was in the market for new aids several months ago, I specifically wanted open fit aids. The GN Resound Pulse aids I wear are much more comfortable that any regular in the ear aids, the care and cleaning is a lot less, and there’s no occlusion that makes my voice sound funny like you have already experienced.

With my open fit aids and the thin tubes that are barely perceptible people who know I wear hearing aids have asked me why I wasn’t wearing them, then realize I am after I show them the aid behind my ear.

And the last time I saw my optometrist, I made a joke about my new reading glasses bumping against my new hearing aids, and I didn’t know who to blame, her or my audiologist. She was surprised that I wore aids, and she sees me every 6 to 12 months, up close and personal to do the eye exam.

And regarding your first day experience, it reminds me of my first day with aids. Just hang in there as your brain re-learns to hear.

I"ve had the Starkey Destiny 400s for 3 month now and they have made a world of difference for me.

There was a period of adjustment at the beginning such as - my voice sounding different, sensation of the sound cutting “in and out” depending on the environment and comfort issues too. ALL this has resolved as I’ve grown accustomed to my aides both in expectations AND comfort. Unlike eyesight that can be instantly corrected with glassess, keep in mind that hearing requires your brain to “remap” things when you start with hearing aids. I’ve been to my audi 3 times thus far for fine tuning.

My audi explained to me that small, subtle adjustments over time will be more effective for me than just starting me out at maximum levels. She was right. Each time I’ve been adjusted I don’t notice what I would classify as increased volume but CHANGED frequencies. Meaning, I can detect different sounds BETTER than I did at my prior settings. Not sure it that make sense to you or not. What I’ve noticed more than anything else…I can NOW hear conversation in the presence of background noise. These aides do a great job of segregating and isolating background noise from speech. This has proved extremely noticeable at work. I used to have to strain to listen and hear others during meetings especially if there was some background noise (papers rustling; AC vents blowing; phones ringing, nearby conversation etc.). Not anymore, that’s all history now. I hear every word.

As to style, I got the receiver in the ear (RIC). The aide itself is about 1" long by 1/2" wide and sits behind my ear with a thing, clear coated wire that extends over the fop crease into my canal and at the receiver is attached at the end of the wire. I’ve had them for 3 months and only had ONE person notice them…They are truly small enough that they are not noticeable unless you know what to look for. I like this over the CIC because I don’t feel like my ears are blocked or stuffed and I still hear ambient (unaided) noises. My sounds are “more natural”.

Bottom lines…have REALISTIC expectations and work with your audi to fine tune your aides to your needs. Keep a log of the things you notice (you child crying for example) and they can make the necessary adjustments.

I was thinking that I should probably keep a journal to help make the adjustments at my next visit to the audi easier.

I appreciate all the advice you guys have for me. It’s so nice to have a forum like this to share ideas and experiences.

So far today, I’m almost used to the feeling of having the aids in my ears. I wouldn’t say that my hearing is superior to not having them, but I will continue to be patient. I still have a lot of tinnitus, so I’m hoping that that will subside over time and that by itself will be a huge improvement.

I do think that I will talk to my audi about the OTE style aids.

with open fit aids, how do you talk on the phone? If you hold the phone to your ear, how would the microphone pick up that sound? Do you use bluetooth to send the signal to the aids instead? I know this must be a newbie question, so I hope you’ll bear with me.

Hi chesapeake

I’m not sure I saw it really described, but open fit means that the tube that snakes down into your ear canal doesn’t block or occlude the canal. When the ear canal is occluded, like with a CIC or ear mold, your own voice, chewing and some other “internal” sounds are amplified, because the low frequency part of these sounds gets trapped inside the ear, causing them to sound very unnatural.

For me, it’s almost impossible to see the tube running into my ear, especially if I wear my hair just a little longer on the sides. You can actually be right up close, looking for the tube, and it’s very hard to see. Other people around you absolutely won’t notice it, unless you tell them to look closely. Trust me, an open fit BTE aid is just as discrete as a CIC, and ALOT more comfortable. :slight_smile:

As for talking on the phone, for me, it works exactly like before hearing aids. The aids don’t amplify the phone sounds. I don’t have a problem on the phone. There is also something called a T coil, but I don’t know exactly how it works, other than you have to mount a magnet on the phone to cause the hearing aid to switch to a T coil program.

So hang in there, and let us know how it all goes.

Dag

Agree w/Dag…phone use is same as before the HAs. It just so happens that all the phones I use, at home and work, have volume controls which I had relied on even before I got hearing aids. I’ve made no adjustments to the phone settings since.

I agree with Dag and you too, other than to add that a T-Coil picks up the magnetic resonance of a phone. The problem is that in the US, most phones don’t “leak” much magnetic resonance any more, making T-Coils mostly useless. But they are great for picking up static from flourescent lights, it seems, or the security stands at the entrances to department stores.

As previously stated, most people who wear an open fit can hear just fine on the phone. For starters, they have good low freq. hearing and secondly the phone tends to transpose things to a lower freq. range where they can hear it easier.

Chesapeake:

My hearing loss is about the same as yours, moderate to severe high frequency. I wore CIC’s for about 7 years because they are discrete. I switched to Oticon Delta 8000’s last fall. There are an over the ear, receiver in the ear, open fit type aid like xbulder suggested. I hear far better with these than I did the CIC’s…far better…and they possible even more discrete than the CIC’s. My own voice also sounds pretty much like it does without the aids in.

I have told people I know well that I have new hearing aids and they cannot see them even if they are looking for them. They are barely visible and then only if you know what to look for.

Do yourself a big favor and at least check out the open fit aids.

the fitting range is also extended

I’ve concluded that with the current setting, these are $4,200 ear plugs. I can’t hear as well with them in as I do without. My next audi appointment is in 3 weeks at which point I will be at the end of my 30 day trial window. I am going to try to get an adjustment sooner than that if possible so that I can give these HAs a fair chance.

I know that they are not turned up all the way to give me a chance to adjust to them. I am comfortable with them in, so maybe just more volume will help.

One ear seems to be occluded more than the other, and I hear better in the non-occluded ear. I wonder if I might have a bend in my right ear canal or something that is blocking the large vent on that side?

At work on Monday, the first conference call I had with the phone on speaker, I basically couldn’t understand anything being said. The other people in the room were looking at me wondering why I wasn’t responding to a question being asked. I had told one person about the hearing aids and she, having family members with poor hearing, helped me out by repeating what was said. The other person in the room didn’t know and I now know what you all mean when you say that not being able to hear is more obvious than wearing a BTE.

I’ve had them in and out of my ears several times a day all week, but I just can’t hear as well with them in as I do with them out. I tried, I really did.

I actually thought maybe the batteries were dead and I just didn’t realize it. But I can whistle and hear that they are in fact working. Actually, a steady whistle tone actually “flutters” which is kind of strange. Can anyone explain why I would hear a flutter? Is that a bad adjustment or is that normal? As I lower the whistle tone, the flutter disappears and I assume that because that frequency is not being amplified as much.

The other thing that was happening was that I could hear static occasionally, especially when driving. I am guessing that I’m hearing that when the aid is attempting to adapt to the envirionment? Or maybe that’s just a sign of a low battery?

The other frustrating part is when the sound breaks up. At times they sound like a broken tweeter on a pair of stereo speakers. I wouldn’t expect aids that have no volume adjustment to ever amplify the sound to the point where the speaker can’t handle it? (OK, I’m sure it’s not called a speaker, so clue me in on that if I’m using the wrong term).

All-in-all, this has been a very frustrating week. I’m beyond disappointed.

I’m going to take your advice and try out the OTEs open fit aids. I can do that without having to pay the 10% return.

One major benefit of open fit aids over CICs is that you can have directional microphones, which is one feature that has been clinically proven to increase speech understanding in noise.

The Starkey open fit aids are a bit strange looking, but they are very discrete when worn. This would definitely help with the “plugged up” sensation.

Your audi may have to turn the aids down just a bit until you get used to them, and then gradually increase the amplification as you adapt.

starkey will introduce a receiver in the canal aid
in AAA www.wavehearing.com

it is about time, they are really late in this market…

I’ve concluded that with the current setting, these are $4,200 ear plugs.

You really should get back in right away for a tuning. Don’t wait until the trial is almost over.

I don’t know anything about your aids. But I can tell you most modern aids all have AGC and compression settings. The frequency responce also needs to be adjusted correctly.

Aids can be useless if those things aren’t correct. And sometimes 2 or 3 adjustments will play against each other.

You spent a lot of money on aids. Way more than I ever do. You need to have them work correctly. Don’t give up, and don’t just let the trial period slide by and be stuck with something you’re not happy with.

Your aids should be improving your life. Even the first day.