Giving HAs another go

I suddenly lost a large part of my natural hearing in my left ear about 5 or 6 years ago in an on the job event… Loss is primarily in the mid “vocal” range… In any case soon afterward (about 3 months later)I selected the Starkey endeavor ITE which worked Ok (not great)…

After 3 or 4 attempts to get the tuning right I settled for close instead…

Although I had only a few minor issues that could have probably been resolved through a little more participation from me… Anyway it was my first try & was a lot better than no HA…

After about 2 or 3 years the HA took an unfortunate trip through the washer and drier… So I’ve been without for about 3 years or so…

Well, the time has come to give it another try, so I contacted my local dispenser to take a look at what is available…

I only thought instruments were complicated before… with all of the advanced digitals, the field is almost overwhelming…

I’d like to stay with the same dispenser in order to develop a good relationship that can allow him help with and better understand my hearing needs (+I hate doctor shopping)…

I am currently test-driving the new Audibel (Starkey) Hear-Stick… But I’m finding it lacks any flexibility… This might be ok as a second or back-up aid, but without some basic controls I think it will definitely have limitations… Sort of a “set it and forget it” approach…

All this is not saying that the Hear Stick doesn’t perform well, in fact I was able to pick out the sound of our church violin and actually hear with some sense of balance and direction… Also I noted that the “open” design completely eliminates occlusion…

I am a little worried that the construction may not be suitable for an active lifestyle… However I’m told that a similar HA is available in a CIC with a large vent to reduce occlusion…

After discussing my concerns with my dispenser He suggested that I continue to wear the Hear Stick until the new Model comes in… Apparently they are back ordered… When the new one gets in He has agreed to let me test-drive it as well…

Since I haven’t worn a HA for several years I a little concerned that any sudden improvement may bias my decision… So I’d like to know (understanding that there are no one size fits all HAs & someone’s great may be only mediocre to another) What are some of the experiences with the new Audibels or Starkeys. If some of you could please try to describe any of the real problems, limitations, advantages, Good, Bad or Ugly… Along with the type and model, I can use this information to help in my decision…

Thanks

Pat

http://www.starkeynfusion.com/destiny/open_solutions.html

Here is a link to the new open solutions from Starkey. I think that this is the Hearstic replacement that your dispenser is talking to you about. There are two Hearstics, if you have the original one you probably won’t be too impressed. If you have the mark 2 (the EC3 as its called) it is a little more impressive.

But the new Destiny OTE versions are based on the outstanding nFusion technology. I think you will be very impressed if you try it. You are correct, there is also a CIC version available too.

This nFusion technology represents the latest generation of hearing aid technology from Starkey. It first came out in standard formats last year. Since then the range has been expanded.

As far as your concerns about OTE construction, the nice part is that the ear bud and tube can simply be removed and discarded. You should be able to get five tubes and five buds for less than $20 (maybe $10) from your dispenser. The actual aid is very hardy, although you can do a lot of damage if you force the battery in backwards (more so than most hearing aids). Other than that they are pretty resilient. The components are fitted to a flexible circuit board that prevents the need for loose wires in the aid. In fact there is no wiring at all in the aid, which is pretty interesting.

I think you are correct I must have the original hearstic. Overall not a bad aid & probably great for an entry level aid, but there are a couple of drawbacks,for me at least. They may have been solved in the EC3… I’ll certainly ask to try the Destiny as well… One thing about the lack of functional control on the Hearstic is that even though it seems to adapt to environment pretty well, I’d still like some level of user control. Also are the tubes/buds available in any variety, length,size, colors maybe, etc…? as I notice the bud needs to be adjusted frequently for proper fit & I think this may be due to it’s length being a tad short and actually pulling the bud out of position during some activities. Also there is slight discomfort after extended wear periods…

Pat

Pat,

The new Destiny CIC is probably (I’m not 100% sure) going to have a multi memory option on it. This will give you some of that user interaction you’d like.

To me the EC3 is twice as good as the original Hearstic, at least that’s what my patients have told me. I expect the Destiny OTE to be twice as good as the EC3 (since that was the case in the intra aural versions). They even have one of the OTE’s available with twin mics for directional sound, again all automatic.

The buds come in about four sizes. The tubes five sizes with a further two or three sizes of deep fit, that goes a little further into the ear. They can also make a custom ear piece that is molded to the shape of your ear. It sounds like you need to try the next tube size up.

All the tubes are clear with the red or blue markings where they join the aid. The current earbuds are BLACK, if you were fitted with white ear buds you have the mark one, which is not as good as the mark two. The black buds are more comfortable and softer. Also the current version of the tubes have a little strip that tucks into the concha bowl, if you are missing this, you are again on the original tubes which are not as good.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for your comments I can see a general direction that I need to proceed.
Sounds like I have the mark 2 from what you are telling me. the bud is black & has the little whip like extension… Overall the fit is quite good & in comparison much improved over my former ITE which was bulky and if it became dis located slightly could be very uncomfortable… So I suspect that a next size up tube assembly would eliminate the discomfort altogether… Ear bud seem to be very comfortable… In fact it would be easy to forget that I’m wearing an aid… Sounds like the Destiny CIC is definitely going to be on my list, but I could see having the hearstic as a spare… Twin mics would also be a big benefit as I sometimes attend large meetings & nothing is more embarrassing than to be asked an important question and when answering find you have engaged the person at the opposite end of the table…Most of the folks I work with are used to being “snubbed” & it’s usually worth a giggle or two… in any cased there are instances where decent directional perception would be a major improvement… Automatic would be great for this function. Multi memory selectivity would provide a means to “tune in” or “tune out” in many environments… Automatic or self detect/self adjust modes would be Ok, but I tend to change sound environments quickly and go from one extreme to another many times over a short period… I usually carry hearing protection 100% of the time & can change several times per day… It would be nice to have a CIC because I feel that a CIC may offer some greater level of hearing protection… Which brings up an obvious question… How much protection can I really expect from an aid, or should I continue to use ear plugs in high noise (80db +) areas…?

Thoughts/comments…

With the kind of loss you have you are going to have a massive vent running through the aid (should you get a CIC). This will allow noise to get into your ear almost as if you were not wearing the aids. Therefore in high noise environments you do need to use hearing protection.

Earbuds hardly block the ear at all (that’s the idea) and so equally don’t protect the ear from noise either. Keep using that protection.

If the bud is black and the tube has that ‘whip like’ protrusion, you are definitely wearing the mark two ear piece. This does not mean you can draw any conclusions about the aid, it could still be the original Hearstic. All versions of this aid use the same tube/bud system.

Thanks, that’s kind of what I thought also… My old ITE provided a pretty good measure of protection & it was never a problem, I’d just reduce the volume a bit if it was a bit loud & rely on the clips to filter out the really loud stuff…

Of course I’m obviously a pretty big supporter of hearing protection anyway…

In the case of the hearstic, I’m going to make a trip over to my Audi on Monday & have some adjustments made… & I’ll certainly ask about which version I’m using…

Like I’ve said it’s not a bad HA but I really need more latitude in a HA…

I don’t think any one program HA is going to be effective in a diverse sound environment…

Hope the Destiny comes in soon I’d really like to give it a try…

I’m making a list of features I want to try & we’ll start there…

Also I’ve been looking at the “LACE” software for speech intel… training…

Any experience with this or other programs ???
Comments, reviews???

Pat

I must be honest, I have never used it personally. I’ve given copies of it to dozens of patients, and only one of them bothered to use it. Quite frankly I found it interfered with my rehabilitation advice, and had him going off on tangents and just confusing himself. At this point, I don’t even issue it any more.

As to your comments about multiple programs, I’d say the Destiny could cope with a very diverse set of situations without a multi memory or volume control. The EC3, not so much.