First timer, what to expect?

#1

I have a Widex 330 Evoke, left ear only. Got it about a month ago.

It’s the first HA I’ve had, so I have nothing to compare it to.

What sort of follow up visits to the audiologist should I plan on? I have a visit scheduled in six months for a checkup and answer whatever questions I have. I got this unbundled so I will be “pay as you go” after that 6mo visit.

One of my questions: under certain conditions, I get a noticeable metallic sound. It comes and goes and seems related to receiver position. If I jiggle it a little the sound seems to clean up. Does any of this make sense?

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#2

One question to ask is if the hearing aids are at target. Sometimes the pro will start you off with the sound a little low because it can be shocking to have new hearing aids set to full target.

I don’t know what the metallic sound is, unless it is just hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a while.

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#3

You could be getting some feedback due to acoustic leakage around the receiver fitting. It would be something to ask the fitter about.

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#4

@Don - At the first fitting we did set the volume a bit low so I could get used to it. A couple weeks later we put it back to full volume. I’ve been using it that way for around a month now.

@Sierra and Don - I suspect the metallic sound is probably just new sounds to me. The subtle metallic sounds of a keyboard click or the turn signal in my car. Maybe even the metal frame of my glasses against the aid have something to do with how sounds are received by the microphone.

I do get the feedback squeal once in a while, but I am starting to think it’s going to be a normal thing. My aid is RIC and has the tulip style dome.

One thing I do have trouble with is the voice messages. I need to have the volume of those turned up a bit. It was nice in a quiet office, but I generally work in noisy conditions and when the “low battery” or other signals pop up I have trouble hearing them.

At my #2 visit, we added one of those little sport springs. I mentioned that I take my glasses on and off many times a day (regular glasses to safety glasses and back, plus sunglasses) and I was constantly knocking things out of position. The spring helps keep the receiver plugged in properly even if I knock the aid out of position.

Thanks for the comments.

Also, right now I have 3 programmed settings: Universal, Music, and Comfort. The Comfort setting was added at my #2 visit - I use it sometimes where I work when I am in the middle of a noisy environment. Are there any other programs that are very popular? I’ve not had a lot of success finding that information. I’m a gadget kind of guy and want to get the most use out of this thing as possible.

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#5

As far as followup visits, it’s largely up to you. If things are bugging you or “aren’t right,” then it would be good to go in. If all is well, leave well enough alone. This assumes you have a supply of wax filters and domes and know how to change them.

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#6

Thanks. All my experience to this point has been from my wife dealing with her 90+ yo mom and her aids. Follow up visits are pretty common for cleaning, adjusting and re-adjusting. My wife got a pretty good bundled plan for her mom, so adjustments and cleaning are generally included.

I do have a supply of wax filters and an extra dome. I can always get more as needed. So far I’m not seeing any maintenance issues ahead that I can’t handle myself.

Question: How often should a dome be replaced? I can see the filter is clean and open, and I haven’t had to change it yet. I’m a regular swimmer and all that water in my ears seems to keep the canal pretty clean. But the dome will eventually start to break down - what sort of replacement schedule should I be looking at for one of those tulip styles?

I sort of looked at this as the way I deal with having glasses - go in once a year for a checkup, and if something needs changing, get it done if it’s reached a point where it’s going to be noticeable. I don’t know how much hearing changes from year to year, so I might get a test once a year or so until I get a better idea. I don’t know if that’s a good plan or not.

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#7

On dome replacement–I’d say when you feel like there’s an issue. I maintain my Mom’s and I think I’ve only changed the dome once in two plus years. They change them the few times we’ve gone in. So, change it if it tears or there’s another issue. Otherwise I wouldn’t worry about it. The one other issue that will come up on occasion is that a receiver will go bad. You could go in for this or order (or have on hand) a receiver or two.

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#8

I’m not quite sure what your domes are like, but I think they’re similar to the ones on my Oticon Agil Pro HAs. I change my domes about every six weeks. I wipe them off carefully each night, but eventually they get a bit grotty. Also, over time they begin to slip off the receivers a bit more easily, and I worry that one day they might slip off while still inside the ear. That hasn’t happened in 7 years of wearing the HAs, but still a worry. So, when the domes grip less firmly, I change them.

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#9

With my KS8 hearing aids the app on my phone can be used to adjust the volume of the tones from the HA. If you do not have an app that can do it, then I suspect the software the fitter uses can adjust the volume.

On programs, I suspect they are somewhat specific to the hearing aid. However, on mine there is one for a noisy restaurant or party, which I find useful. There is another one called i360 or something like that. It seems to work well for travel in a car or truck. Cuts back on the road noise, but still lets me hear passengers talking.

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#10

I do have an iPhone app that lets me do quite a bit of control and customization, but it’s temporary. Whatever settings I change in the app get re-set each time I cycle power on the aid. Any settings I want “burned in” have to be done with an office visit.

I know the voice prompt volume can be set at the office, but it can’t be set by the app. I do remember asking that it be set to a low level, but in real life I do need it louder. I ran into that not long after I started with it. We added a “comfort” program that operates at a lower volume level but still has good frequency responses. This is for when I’m working out on the factory floor - I can scroll through a couple other programs to get to it, but the volume of that voice prompt telling me what program I am using is so low that I can’t hear it when I need to because of all the surrounding noise I’m trying to avoid.

I’m pretty sure that the Widex aid has a lot of program options. When I asked about them I was told to use the “universal” unless there are some very specific reasons to change. I don’t know if that’s to keep me from having access to everything even if I don’t need it, or if it’s a way to get me to come back for more office visits. I did wear this on a long highway trip a couple weekends ago. My left hear has the aid so I hear the majority of road and wind noise through it. I did find myself setting the “comfort” program to minimize that noise. My doc said the “universal” program was supposed to be smart enough to change to a “transportation” mode when it senses that sort of environment, but I have my doubts. It is the first time I’ve worn the aid on a long highway drive, so I might simply need to get used to it.

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#11

Yes, it seems different manufacturers use different strategies. I can customize a few things with my iPhone app. They don’t get blown away when I power the hearing aids down. However, when I go to the fitter and she puts a new program in, then they get blown away. But that is not as bad as losing it every time you power down.

One option I had programmed in is to use a long hold on the HA button to mute the hearing aids. I use that when I get into situations where noise level is high – like using my coffee grinder. I think it saves the ears!

On the transportation program, I think it is possible for it to be set with the automatic program. Mine claims to do that as well, but I find the i360 a touch better. As I understand it they have to be in communication with the phone app to do this. The phone tells the HA’s that you are moving.

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#12

I’m not sure the best way to insert an image:

My dome looks like the one on the bottom. I suppose if it ever seems like it’s due, then I’ll replace it. I wasn’t sure if there were any signs to indicate replacement was necessary, other than obvious things like a tear. Normally it just needs brushing/wiping off, but sometimes I’ll remove it and wash it.

So far it seems like preventative maintenance is all that’s really necessary.

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#13

I’m about 4 months into this, and I am hearing something similar. Light switches in the house for example “pop” instead of just click. The sound is almost explosive compared to what I think it should sound like. I guess it could be that someone with normal hearing hears things like that, but I suspect that light switches are not supposed to be that loud.

I can think of a couple of explanations. One is that it is a form of quick feedback of the click frequency and the feedback is additive to the actual sound. Another theory is that loud sounds are being amplified too much. The typical hearing loss is not linear. Our hearing loss is measured at the threshold level, and softer sounds typically are more impacted by hearing loss. That means loud sounds don’t need as much amplification and need to be compression. So my second theory is that not enough compression of loud sounds is being used.

My keyboard is a mechanical (gamer) type because I like it for touch typing. If I am alone in the room and there are no other sounds around, the keyboard is quite quiet. But if my wife or others are talking or if there is noise in the next room then all of a sudden it gets really loud. I suspect this is the HA increasing gain to hear what it thinks I should hear (other voices), and it makes the keyboard very loud. Again could be not enough compression is being used…

I keep telling myself that HA correction is far from perfect and there is always going to be some warts in the mix.

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#14

You might be right about different frequencies being amplified differently in certain situations. The metallic sound that I hear isn’t always there - one example I gave earlier is the turn signal in my car. Sometimes it almost rings, other times it sounds like a turn signal. The keyboard I’m using right now does the same thing.

Sound processing is a pretty complex subject, and hearing aids are remarkable pieces of technology. But they aren’t perfect.

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#15

I would give your audiologist/specialist the benefit of the doubt. Yes, some hearing aids will let you put a plethora of programs on them. Personally, (and with you being a “newbie”) I, as a specialist, would hesitate to do so. I have the philosophy that the less someone has to fiddle with one’s aids, the more they are apt to use them. I usually counsel my patients to use the “universal” fit unless they find through use that there is some environment where a program will become necessary. With some lower end aids, patients may have trouble hearing the television. (Television is hard for aids for a number of reasons, but that is the subject of another post!) In that case, I will set up a specific program for television that cuts background noise down to the bare minimum, and focuses the microphones forward.

For the most part, the KISS method works for most 1st time HA users. I don’t know your fitter, but I would hope that a similar reason is why he or she chose to keep your program options to a minimum.

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#16

Thanks for the comments.

I do think the minimum number of programs is best, too. My job is working with chip-level embedded computer systems, so my first reaction to getting the aid was, “Cool! I wonder what I can make this thing do?” My audiologist has had to reign me in, and I’ve had to tell myself to let the expert do her job. I’m probably not the best patient because I want to get into it and tinker with it, but we are working it out.

I was able to find a list of the preset programs a day or two ago, but most don’t apply to me anyway.

It’s all good.

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#17

I have all 6 available programs set up on my HA’s. I would probably use more if they were available. One program that I would like to try but don’t have a spot for is the Anti-Reverb program. It is not a very frequent environment for me, so it doesn’t make the cut for spots.

The only negative I can think of for having more programs is if you only use the toggle buttons on the HA to change programs it can become confusing. One, two, or three beeps I can hear and count, but after that, not so much. But, I use the iPhone to switch programs and not the buttons so it is no problem at all. In total I have 9 programs including the extra 3 that come with the iPhone app.

This all said, the main Automatic program works well for most situations. I could live with only using that one. The other programs are nice to haves, and certainly not essential. I find the TV is only an issue for my wife. She does not use hearing aids and when she sets the volume it is too loud for me.

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#18

And I am just to opposite I have only the default program and use it only and I find I don’t need any other programs. Oh sure I have a tv connect and do use it in the evening for the news and a few series we watch. Most of the time I don’t even have to change the volume.
I just prefer the ideal of putting my aids in in the morning and not even thinking about them until bedtime.

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#19

My Widex will give me a voice message when I change programs, it tells me which program is active. I think counting beeps and remembering which beep is which program would be a problem. Right now I can scroll through “universal”, “music”, and “comfort”. “Comfort” is for high noise environments and the voice prompt, ironically, isn’t loud enough for me to hear it when I want to select it. If I make a custom program and download it from my phone, I will also get “custom” as an option until I turn off the aid. When the aid turns off I lose anything I sent from my phone app. I can also switch programs and change volume from my phone, but it isn’t always handy (like when driving).

So far I have used “universal” well over 90%.

I find myself using “comfort” when driving in heavy rain. Without it I seem to be able to hear every raindrop against my side window. With it, that turns into a low roar.

My audio doc recommended “music” for movies because of the way it balances the front and rear mics and works well with surround sound systems. I have a decent home theater setup and I think she’s right. I don’t use it for much else.

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#20

I’m finding that the universal program is almost all that I use, too. I do spend a lot of time on a noisy factory floor, so the “comfort” program helps lower the overall sound level for me. I still rely on hearing protection when necessary.

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