Hearing aids are not helping - I feel like giving up with them

After over 6 months of wearing hearing aids I still feel I am receiving very little benefit from them. Sure, everything is louder but I am still not recognizing speech very well.

I had the Kirkland Signature 5 (KS5) from Costco initially and then the KS6. Neither have really helped – for the last few months I have been using custom molds which have improved the bass but voice recognition is still no better than it is when I am not wearing hearing aids. The only time the aids work well is through the TV Steamer or on my phone - the streaming program really does emphasis the voice, especially when I turn off the mics. I have mentioned this to my audiologist but despite a number of visits for adjustments, they are still no better.

Based on the feedback on this forum I decided to try the Rexton Trax 42. I only trialed them in-store but honestly I could tell very little difference between them and the KS6s. I tried swapping the two sets of hearing aids over a couple of times whilst sitting in the noisy café and could only notice a slight difference. Maybe the Trax 42 were a little better but there was certainly no “wow” factor.

I am now wondering if I should give up with hearing aids altogether. I realize I can never expect perfect hearing but surely I should be getting a significant improvement, otherwise why bother?

Your hearing is within the normal range for the main speech frequencies (500 to 2000 Hz), so the hearing aids are most likely giving you no amplification at all for most speech sounds. You should be getting amplification for the higher frequencies (3000 Hz and up), and your audi should verify this using real ear measurement, but there aren’t as many speech sounds in those areas. And unless your earmolds have large vents, they may be causing an insertion loss by physically occluding your ear canals.

Thanks rasmus_braun, yes my audi has performed the REM test every time she has made adjustments. The earmold vents are not very large and I do hear a little better with nothing in my ears compared to having the molds in and the mics turned off.

There is some amplification with speech however also with background noise so there is no real benefit when trying to listen to conversations in noisy environments… After wearing the aids for the while, it does seem very quiet when taking them out but I can still hear speech albeit with around the same comprehension difficulties as with the hearing aids.

Rasmus: There are very significant amounts of fricatives and plosives with their element peaks from 2-6khz - I suggest you do some reading on the generation of articulation index figures.

OP: The probable reason why you don’t suit the REM target is that the person fitting you isn’t listening to your needs and is following a fixed fitting protocol. The REM should deal with ear canal differences, but maybe it’s not being set up properly. Otoh you can ask them to do a preferred loudness measurement if they have the kit.

Failing that, ask for the REM with a +5dB of gain across the chart and see what difference it makes to your levels.

Have you tried experimenting with Analog Units ? I know that they are not “fashionable” in today’s HA market place but they are unique in the sense that they do not “distort” or “eliminate” sounds that the more sophisticated digital units are set to do. They are more like the mega-phone used by police units. The only necessary feature they need is the volume control. They will cost at best 1/3 of the digital units. I use my Analog units when I am playing music where it is very important to hear the real frequency of the musical notes. You cannot get them with any of the digital units to this date. They either make a nota a slightly sharp or flat but never right on frequency. My units are all ITE with a full shell for my profound hearing loss. It has helped me tremendously.

I have a similar situation to you in one of my ears. Rasmus_Braun is correct that you are probably seeing very little gain from the hearing aid in the 1-3 Khz. range. I wear an open dome on the left ear. For me amplification doesn’t start until 4 Khz. The open dome allows me to hear sounds without being processed by the hearing aid. The aid then begins to process sounds above 4 Khz. which helps me to deal with things like cell phones, microwaves, etc. Without aids I don’t hear many of the high pitched alerts in use today. Do you know what your word recognition score is and at what level it was determined?

Grey Wolf,

are you using custom molds with your trax 42?

Thanks doubledown and others who have replied - lots to consider before I consider ditching my hearing aids :slight_smile:

I have been doing some non-scientific tests using an online tone generator and I find the results are almost identical whether I have my hearing aids in or not. The results also correspond quite closely to my audiogram. However, if I stream directly to my aids from my laptop through the TV Streamer II, my results indicate near perfect hearing at all frequencies! I find that really interesting… and also confusing?

By the way, the Trax 42 demo was with tulip domes so I do appreciate that it was not a fair comparison. I am tempted to purchase the Trax 42 so that I can give them a full try out in all situations although I do feel a little guilty of taking advantage of Costco’s generous 90 trial offer yet again!

The pure tones will be turned down by your aids as they are not speech - it’s a meaningless test in terms of modern hearing systems.

Thanks Um bongo, I will give up on that. I just wish my aids would do something with speech. By the way I have updated the audiogram in my signature as I had had a quick hearing test last week and there has been some deterioration at high frequencies (mainly above 6k).

My audi made some adjustments as a result although I can’t say I have noticed a difference.

Gary Wolf,

I have always felt that I hear better through the streamer (listening to the TV for example) than just getting the sound through the air to my hearing aids. During some period this has been to the point that I almost get a little “high” from enjoying hearing really well with the streamer. I think the explanation is that when using the streamer the sound is transported directly into the ear, as opposed to being bounced around the room on the way to your hearing aids. So, it may be a little easier to obtain good speech recognition with the streamer, but that does not mean you should give up on getting it much closer to that with the HA’s on their own. It took me almost a year and a half before I was really happy with my aids. I don’t think it needs to take that long, but you definitely should not give up!

I too hear much better if it is streamed to my aids. Also I have a set of Bose over the ear headphones that I will use at times. When I am using my headphones I set my aids to the music program so I get as much of the sound that I can unfiltered.

streaming eliminates the need for noise and wind processing.