I have Meniere’s Disease and need my first hearing aids. Still work and am 56. It has been 6 months but Vocational Rehab has paid for my hearing aids and I pay the audiologist. My fitting of my Resound Quattro is this afternoon.
Do you have any advice for me? Is there anything I need to watch for or focus on during this first fitting?
The general steps are to first program the HA with a prescriptive formula of gains based on your hearing loss. A common formula is the NAL-NL2. The next step should be to then measure the sound levels at different loudness levels in the area after your HA’s and before the eardrum. This is to check that the gain you actually get is what the formula prescribes. The fitter should make adjustments to make the curves line up to the formula.
There may be some special features that this hearing aid has that need to be set up, but I am not familiar with it. You may want to do some google research on the various programs that it may have available. It is common to only have only the one Automatic or Universal program turned on. You may be able to pick several more that are more specific to your needs.
If you plan to use your smartphone with your HA’s you may want to download the specific app for your HA’s and have it installed when you go to your appointment. Then the fitter can make sure it is communicating properly with the HA’s.
Just be forewarned that certain sounds will sound way too loud (running water, toilet flushing, crinkled paper are a few of the commons–you’ll likely develop a few of your own). Give it some time, you’ll very likely get used to it. You haven’t been hearing certain sounds in a long time. It takes time to adjust. Sometimes things can be overwhelmin. It’s ok to turn the volume down on the hearing aids. It’s also ok to take the aids off a little early in the day if you’ve just had enough.
I may be a day late and a dollar short, but if you still work, make sure your aids are compatible with things like your office phone, also functional if you Skype or have conference calls at work.
If you have a cell phone, BE SURE to get that paired up to the aids BEFORE you leave the clinic. Streaming calls is super key, and for that matter, if you need or want to stream audio from the laptop or TV, ask about a TV streaming device.
Thing is: hearing aids is a LIFESTYLE. There are many accessories that are compatable with aids to make your life easier.
Finally, don’t leave the clinic unless and until YOU are satisfied with the overall sound quality. Granted you’ll probably have a follow-up appointment, but be VOCAL and insist that you get aids that actually help you in all areas of life, work, home, social settings, music, etc.,
WOWSER, I didn’t realize really what all I wasn’t hearing. Everything seems loud, paper, keyboard at work, shoes on floor, doors, I could go on forever. Going g out to dinner at Red Robin tonight. That will be a test as I always had problems there. So far so good. I am going to buy the accessory so I can Stream to my phone. Working on getting it with my phones at work.
Hearing in loud restaurants is a challenge for many. If it’s just too loud, turn the volume down rather than turn them off or take them out. Just looked at what aids you have. You also have consider ability to adjust from your app (assuming you’ve got that set up)
I didn’t realize for quite awhile (duh) that my Quattro’s restuarant app has more possible adjustments than the quick buttons for “noise filter,” “speech focus” and “hear everyone.” If you click on that “sound enhancer” thingie, the next screen has a “speech focus” slider. My audie has mine set at the far right which is the “automatic” setting (which I don’t exactly understand). When you move that slider, you will see how you can change the arc of what you’re listening to. OK, all that being said, I don’t find the restaurant setting particularly useful for understanding the speech that happens at my table. Still, I do hear changes when I move the sound enhancement slider and I’m hopeful it will be helpful in some settings. Mostly, I just keep my app set at “all-around” and occasionally use the “noise filter” button (which brings the decibal level at all frequencies down by 5dBs). And the “speech clarity” button does help me understand speech better–but at a pretty serious hit for the naturalness of what I’m hearing.
This is probably the most difficult situation for all hearing aids. Most will have a noise/party/restaurant program to help deal with it. The other part of it is to sit with your back to the main source of the noise (other tables) and get a central seat position at your table. Some HA’s have a microphone focus feature that lets you zoom in to the front, so that is worth a try too, if you have it. Last, as MDB says it may be necessary to back off on the volume if it all feels overwhelming. Also, some HA apps have a feature to use the microphone on the smartphone so you can place it on the table if it is a larger group. That feature, I have not had a lot of success with however.
I don’t think I have any special answers. Everyone has to try a bunch of things and find out what works best for them. With me, I found my audi had set me up with the ReSound “First-Time User” profile, which emphasizes comfort (not hearing sounds too loud) over hearing sounds amplified more. So I got switched to the ReSound Experienced (Nonlinear) profile, which new users might find too much but I didn’t. I also like the open-source NAL-NL2 fit better than ReSound’s proprietary Audiogram+ (based on NAL1). I thought these changes enabled me to hear sounds, especially high frequency sounds, louder and more clearly and pick out speech in noise better. Initially, I had a by-the-book open dome fit because of my reasonable low-frequency hearing. But I found that I agreed with opinions that say an open fit allows noise to bypass your HA processing, go directly through the holes in the domes to your ear drums so that you miss out on the ability of the HA to give you directionality and focus more on localized speech vs. noise from all over and also the ability of the HA’s to process out the noise as much as possible from speech with DSP. So I went to custom molds with select-a-vent and I don’t mind a pretty occlusive fit. Especially for fairly regular droning noises, the ability of the HA’s to process out the sound is pretty amazing if you don’t have the same sound leaking by domes directly to your ear drums.
Also, in the ReSound 3D app, if you’re like me, you’ll find that in Sound Enhancer that the Strong noise reduction setting is so strong that it can also begin to degrade speech intelligibility. If you stick to the lesser settings of Moderate or Considerable, you’ll still enjoy a good deal of noise reduction but maintain better speech intelligibility. The Restaurant program allows you to focus the directionality of listening but I usually like the All-Around or Outdoors programs more for perceived sound quality. Before I got my occluding molds, I did find turning on the Speech Clarity Quick button helped speech intelligibility in noise at the cost of making speech more tinny (turns up Midtones and Treble, turns down Bass a bit) but since switching to the NAL-NL2 fitting algorithm and the more occluding molds, speech in noise is easier to make out without hitting the Speech Clarity Quick button (you can also manually tune the exact effect on Bass, Midtones, and Treble yourself in the Sound Enhancer rather than just be happy with the Quick button results). Don’t have wind reduction turned on in any program unless you really need it! And lots of times one is tempted to hear speech better by turning up the volume! I’ve learned to control that impulse and try to avoid too much of everything (what I was doing as a beginner), i.e. I now turn down the noise reduction to Moderate to Considerable, turn down the volume, keep wind reduction off in not outdoors, and approach speech with an Opn mentality - if I’m not blasting my ears with volume and degrading speech with too much noise reduction, my ears can still hear speech pretty clearly even with noise (at a moderate level) present.
The ReSound Relief app (see Android or Apple app stores) has a speech-in-noise test built into it. I took the challenging test recently streaming sound separately to each ear and was scored wearing my MP Quattro’s as “having no hearing loss.”
The other trick that might be helpful in finding the settings that you like best if you have a helpful and understanding provider is trying what Neville suggested to Volusiano. If your HA’s have multiple program settings, have your provider briefly substitute alternative fittings for programs you hardly use it all (Restaurant and Music for me, for example). That way, with everything else the same, you could try First-Time User vs. Experienced(Non-Linear) as different program versions, say, of the All-Around program or you could try ReSound’s Audiogram+ fit vs. the NAL-NL2 fit. Then when you decide what you like best, you could have those fittings applied to all the regular programs put back. All this might be a bit much to contemplate after A First Fitting Ever Today but sometimes providers want to start you out with baby steps and after a while you might feel like you’d like to try some big steps and see where they lead you. Perhaps your provider would also give you a couple of the speech-in-noise recordings out of the ReSound Smart Fit software (the lunch and the bistro conversations at 0 dB above background noise) to play around with and see what settings of your HA’s work best at understanding those recorded conversations. It’s easier to listen to those recordings and adjust your settings than it is to test your self with the Relief app hearing test, IMHO.