This is my first post on the forum. I’m having a negative experience trying to get used to a new digital hearing aid.
By way of some background, I have nerve damage from spinal meningitis at age 2, and wore an analog hearing aid (Beltone and Qualitone) in my left ear from age 5-20. I’m now 30 and have gone without a hearing aid for ten years, but am having trouble understanding speech and would like to find a new solution that doesn’t just turn up hiss like my old hearning aid.
I’ve had my left ear only fitted (I’ll maybe get a right one next year). I tried a Phonak Exelia IX CIC first, and the sound of the digital was nearly impossible to get used to along with the occlusion sensation. Sounds were tinny, unnatural, and my own voice echoed. The audiologist was able to get the sound tuned a bit, but the automatic noise reduction and compression made me feel like the left side of my head was closed off, especially in especially quiet or loud environments (like the battery was dying). My speech recognition was significantly worse, and chewing caused popping sounds.
I returned that one and traded for a new Phonak Audeo Smart IX with a standard receiver and open fit dome. Overall, it is ten times better than the Exelia, but there are still frustrating issues. The directional mic doesn’t always kick in correctly in loud environments. My speech recognition is much better, but music sounds odd when the Audeo is in either auto or a custom music setting. Tones are slightly off (sound recover is activated), and when I put the dome in my right ear, I can detect a slight delay in sound delivery and some out of tune reverb. Also, to my right ear, the sound reproduction is highly artifical, and electronic sounding - like a cheap tape recorder.
I could live with the other stuff, but most annoyingly, the Audeo actually cuts out or crackles when I am speaking loudly, another person is talking to me, or I hear a loud noise. The audiologist tried to turn down the sound compression today, but that made the cutting out worse. The problem is distracting.
So far my digital “top-of-the-line” hearing aid experience has been overwhelmingly negative. I find myself missing my old analog that turned up all sounds and acted predictably.
What are my options? More tuning? Another digital HA in a different brand? Back to analog with a mold? I’m really frustrated and expected the best to be better.