Going tomorrow for new Aid. Looking for Advice

Hi Gang,

Stumbled across this site by accident, boy I’m glad I did. Real briefly, I’ve had Meniere’s since 10 years old. (I’m 41 now) and when I’m not symptomatic I don’t need an aid (about 50% loss in left ear, only 10% or so in right)(yes my Menieres is Binaural).

We’ll I’m very symptomatic right now, and I usually wear an aid in the left ear only. my previous aid (Siemens Triano 3) has pretty much died and I am going tomorrow to have a new mold made and select a new aid.

A couple of questions

  1. How much better is the current technology than the Triano 3? Why?
  2. I’ve been told my loss (sorry I don’t have the tests handy) doesnt allow for the newer open fittings with the smaller tubes, but the audi I’m using said I could possibly get the thinner tubes with my ear mold. Is that correct? What aids do that?
  3. I know its personal choice many times, but I am only interested in conversation, both 1on1 and in groups and with mucho background noise (think trade shows). Does one aid type/mfg etc. work better in this enviroment?
  4. The bluetooth options etc, seem very intriquing but also make me nervous as sometimes to much technology makes things worse. Any experience out there from heavy cell phone users?
  5. Anything else I may need to know?

thanks in advance

Dave

triano is past tecnology… siemens has superior instrument now

I’ll try to answer those for you.

  1. Technology has really exploded in the past few years. Modern aids contain faster microprocessors. Basically a digital aid has to ‘listen’ to the sound coming in, convert it to a digital signal, analyze it, amplify it in accordance to prescription needs, and then convert it back into a sound signal for you to listen to.

The faster the processor, and the more efficient the program running the processor, the more it can ‘play’ with the sound. The more it can filter background noise, make the sound pleasant, control feedback issues etc.

So as a general rule, the more modern your aids, the smarter they are at giving you a good quality of sound.

  1. There are at least four different thicknesses of standard tubing. The thinner the harder they are to see. But they tend to last shorter amounts of time. Not a big deal since tubes cost less than $2 each. But also a thinner tube makes feedback more likely.

The newer ‘open fit’ tubing is made of a different material, but is not designed for many kinds of loss. It is really just for high frequency loss. Meniere’s Disease tends to present with a lower frequency loss.

  1. Ask three different hearing professionals, and they will doubtless give you three different answers. It’s like saying. “Yeah I like to drive, I like a smooth ride, reasonable acceleration and handling, and good fuel economy. What car should I buy?”

I personally am a Starkey fan. I’ve been fitting them since 1994. They are a large American hearing aid company now expanded to 24 different countries. They have some class leading technology and do a great job. Other premium brands include ReSound, Oticon, Widex and Siemens.

  1. I think that Bluetooth is still relatively new in hearing aid terms. I’m not sure any one manufacturer has the perfect Bluetooth solution at this time. But like anything else, as time goes on better and better interfaces will come along. It wouldn’t surprise me to see aids with built in voice commands and full Bluetooth support within the next five years.

If you go with behind the ear, you can attach a Bluetooth dongle to it, and when better technology comes along, you can buy a newer dongle.

  1. Make sure your hearing professional voluntarily demonstrates new technology to you. If your hearing professional cannot be bothered to let you listen to new technology as part of his regular presentation, in my opinion he is not doing his job.

Also remember that prices are not set in stone. I’ve had patients bring me Internet quotes. It works as a negotiation tool. If they refuse to budge on the price at all, find someone that will.

Bluetooth techonolgy works well with HI, there are 3 main choices
Oitcon Epoq, Siemens Pure and Phonak Exelia…

Oticon did came out first and I have seen a lot of customers using bluetooth
for their phones with a lot of sucess. Because Phonak and Siemens had come up later, they had products with a bit more features…

To be honest, most mid price instrument do a relative good job. Being that
Epoq, pure and exelia are all high end instrument- expect to have an excelente product. Most of them offer extended bandwith which improve
localization and speech disc in complex situations…

You can buy the best instrument out there, but if you do not have an audi that knows how to adjust - forget it!

In the age of digital hearing aids, I’d say this is perhaps one of the most important things.

I have an audiologist working near me. She is very good at doing the tests. Her audiograms look pretty, and she carries out just about every unnecessary test you can imagine. Unfortunately she seems incapable of making good recommendations and she cannot program an aid at all. I bet half the people that see her end up returning what they buy.

So yeah. My advice is if your hearing professional does not demonstrate digital aids programmed to your loss during your test, try someone else. To me a demonstration is perhaps one of the most important things.

A demonstration not only confirms that you can actually help the patient, but it also demonstrates the ability of the hearing professional to competently program the hearing aids.

The problem, as I mentioned in another thread, is that anyone who qualified before let’s say 1998 probably didn’t have anything about digital aids in the exam. Also anyone over the age of 40 who does this job (and many of them are over 40) grew up in an era of no computers. Many of these people are technophobic and were happily doing their jobs when someone dumped a computer on their desk and told them to learn about it. So while these people may have once been great hearing professionals, their lack of technical ability hurts their ability to do their job in today’s world.

ZCT:

I know you are in East Tennessee, but do you know of a good AUDI in NE Arkansas? Thanks.

I must confess I am one of those over 40! I took a computer class in 7th grade where we had to write programs for computers using the old punch cards. If you messed up, you had to tape over the holes. I guess I have just gone along with technology and learned what I needed to know about new things (yes, I do remember when microwave ovens were invented…). I write the HTML for my practice website, and the programming software for the various manufacturers is usually a piece of cake to figure out.

That being said, I do know that there are many audiologists who are not as up to date on the technology. In my introductory class for my doctorate degree, one assignment was to download a photo, write our names across it in Photoshop, and then upload it back to the professor. This was just totally beyond the capabilities of many of the others in the class (the professor had to go into detail about how to download a photo, etc.).

Besides keeping current with technology, you also need to find someone who will change their practices based on research and not just keep doing the same things they have always done.

I agree completely. You need to keep up to speed and not be frightened of new technology.

I can’t beat your story of punch cards, but I did learn to program a computer in 1981. My father actually built it from a kit. It came with BASIC programming language built in, and had 16 KiloBytes of RAM. This RAM took the form of a large plug-in to the back of the machine that expanded upon its 1Kb regular RAM.

I went to college pre-windows, and thanks to a small ‘stack’ if you held a key down for longer than a few seconds, it would crash the machine.

Not meaning to patronize, or be rude, but whenever I meet someone over 40 who is pretty knowledgeable about computers I am generally impressed. I remember when computers came out. I remember using the Internet for the first time in 1996. I remember using a modem before the Internet existed.

Quite honestly, having watched some of my older colleagues with years of industry experience get issued with laptops back in the 90s, I can only imagine how scared they were. The same job they had been doing for decades was turned on its head.