HA advice for a newbie

Hi to all in the group

After twenty years of saying “huh” constantly, my wife just convinced me to get a hearing aid. I got a hearing test at my last visit to my ENT (for wax removal) and was informed that my hearing in the left ear had deteriorated to the point a hearing aid would probably not help. So I’m going to get one for the right ear only. I’d like to get some advice from some of the experienced folks on this forum regarding types and brands that I should be looking for.

I am concerned about the following issues and would appriciate any advice that I would receive.

(1) I have always had a major problem with wax buildup in my ears. Would this be a problem with ITC or ITE hearing aids as opposed to BTE or “open fit” types?

(2) By wearing only one hearing aid, will I be losing the abilty to sense the direction of sounds? Which type of hearing aid would best maintain this directionality?

(3) My hearing loss in the “good” ear is primarily in the high frequencies. Is one type of hearing aid better at increasing the high frequencies without altering or amplifying the lower ones.

Vanity is not an issue for me. I am just looking for a unit that will do the best job for me with the least maintenence.

TIA for any advice - Tom

Hearing aids are prone to buildup of wax and can sometimes be difficult to manage.

For high frequency hearing loss, an open fit hearing aid may be a good idea. With the wax problems, it may be advisable to use a receiver over the ear design, instead of the new receiver in the ear designs.

You can also save a few $$$ this way also.

Most manufacturers use the same tubing, that you can twist and remove and run a thin monofillament line thru them for easy cleaning.

I like using the Sonic Innovations Ion 200, Phonak Micro (Extra, Eleva, Savia Art), but there are also many other choices available.

As for directionality…hearing aids today have directional microphone setups, on all of the models above. Yet, it doesn’t mean it helps you tell what direction sound is coming from. In fact, there are no hearing aids that are designed for this purpose.

Thus, when wearing only 1 hearing aid, please be extra careful to use your eyes and not only your ears to tell where sound is coming from, particularly when crossing the street or in a parking lot, for example.

Tom,

First of all, I am always deeply concerned when professionals make statements like ‘probably.’ If there is any way to make you hear out of both ears, it would be preferable. 91% of the patients I saw last year that I fitted were fitted binaurally. With today’s technology even a severe loss can be fitted well.

So my question to you is did the hearing professional let you listen to a set of real hearing aids as part of the test. Because frankly, if they didn’t, they are being lazy. I carry four sets of hearing aids in my case and one of those sets can be programmed to match ANY aidable loss. So the first thing I would do with you, after a test, is to fit you with a set of real hearing aids programmed to match your loss to see if you could hear. Then I wouldn’t have to guess if your worst ear was aidable. I would be able to ask you if you could hear better with one or two aids.

As to your questions:

  1. If you care primarily about hearing not vanity, go with behind the ear (whether that be traditional BTE or the new OTE concept). Get a system where the microphone and the speaker are both in the behind the ear unit. This means that in the worst case wax will block up a plastic ear mold that can easily be washed out and cleaned. If you make excessive wax this is a great idea, since you can clean the mold yourself. Some of the OTE technology has disposable parts that you can simply throw away.

  2. If your hearing is so bad in one ear that it is unaidable, you already have an imbalance in your hearing from one ear to the other. The hearing aid will not change that. Don’t be confused with the term directional as relating to hearing aids. It does not mean they tell you where sound is coming from, it merely helps you hear from in front of you in a noisy situation.

  3. Open fit ideas, or the concept of not blocking the ear as much as possible will help you enhance the high frequencies without over amplifying the bass.

ZCT - thanks for your reply and your advice. I went to another audi today and after giving me another test to confirm the last test results, she fitted a pair of Oticon Tego Pros on me with the Corda open fit tubes. They sounded great to me for the short period that I had them on. I think that I am going to go with them.

My only concern is the price she quoted seemed a little high for a pair a mid range HAs. She quoted $4900 for the pair with complete care, cleaning and batteries for 5 years. Supposedly, she said they will replace anything that needs replacing for the full five years. The aids come with a two year factory warranty with 1 year loss and damage with a $250 deductible.

Does this price seem reasonable or should I shop around. I have considered going the online route but I’m not sure if that is the right way to go.

Again - TIA for any advice.

I am not an Oticon expert and have not fitted any Oticon products for seven years, although I did like them when I was fitting them.

The price doesn’t sound out of line for a six channel hearing aid. Of course price does vary by region. The service sounds reasonable too.

As far as I am concerned if someone takes the time to let you listen to real hearing aids before you buy, that is an excellent sign. If you liked the sound of them, then that’s a good sign too.

Make sure you get a 30 day trial, with no financial penalty if you return them. There should be no excuse for a charge if the aids don’t work for you. Most places will offer a free trial if pushed.

I have been fitting Oticon for a long time, most of my clients prefer
the sound of the Tego Pro compared to the Syncro (which was top of the line aid before the new Epoq was introduce).


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