Just got new aids, now the world sounds like I am listening to the worst, cheapest speakers

Like many in this forum I’ve known my hearing is declining so I went out and got some aids. After a couple of visits to audiologists I settled on the Costco KS6 that I see discussed a lot in this forum. I didn’t want to hijack someone else’s thread so here is my own. My problem is this:

The world now sounds like I am listening to it through my old transistor radio from 1965 when I was fifteen. Everything is tinny and thin. Voices are not realistic, small sounds like keyboards are extremely loud (I turned them off to write this), the noise from reading the paper is way too loud and distracting, music sounds awful and thin (I read here about the crappy low frequency response of the aids).

So, my question is: is this normal? Do you hearing aid wearers have a different experience?

Maybe my reaction would be different if someone had warned me to this. I guess I expected the world to sound like I was wearing my Bose headphones, i.e. everything crystal clear. Especially for something so expensive. But, it is as far from that experience as humanly possible. I bought FIVE cheap earbuds for $20 on Amazon to wear while cycling and they are so far superior it’s ridiculous.

I’ve only had them four days but as of now, I’m probably returning them. I have not gone in for further fitting/tweaking but given how far away from acceptable this is I am not optimistic.

Patience, my friend! If you’ve read any of the forums, you should know the importance of:

  1. Working with your Costco HIS and helping him/her fine-tune your new HAs. This is an on-going process and doesn’t just happen after a visit or two (usually). Take notes and tell the HIS what you’re experiencing and what you want to experience. You will be surprised at how well they can fine-tune these instruments. It took me about four adjustments over a period of 4 months to get to where I am now, very happy with what I’m experiencing.

  2. Allowing time for your brain to adjust to hearing through HAs. What sounds tinny at first will often sound more and more normal as your brain adjusts to the HAs. This can happen in weeks or several months. Again, patience is the key. Read the forums.

Finally, the world through your HAs will probably never sound like Bose headphones. That given, you can and will have a satisfying hearing experience if you help your fitter help you to the best of his/her ability.


I am not as fussy about sound as anyone who has a Bose anything, so quality of sound with the KS6 was not a problem for me. However, the loudness of background sounds was. By the end of my 90-day trial (I tried the KS6 when Costco was giving 90 days; I understand it’s 180 now), I could tolerate the loudness of keyboards, paper crinkling, etc., but I still jumped out of my skin over things like a door closing unexpectedly in my doctor’s office and a diesel truck coming up behind me when walking across a parking lot. So I still was not happy about it. I also didn’t think the KS6 Party/Noise or whatever it’s labeled was different from the main program in any way.

I had tried Widex aids before the KS6 and my reaction to them was pretty similar, so I now wonder how much of that was first-time wearer syndrome and how much could have been tweaked to make me happier, but…

I did have a budget and wasn’t going to spend the $6,000 and up some brands cost. However, before settling for the KS6, I just had to try to Rexton Trax 42s, primarily because of things said in this forum about them. From my first short walk around in the Costco, they were relative bliss because they controlled background noise so much better. However, I wanted to be sure that they helped me understand conversation as well as the KS6 because that’s the purpose after all.

So I “owned” both sets for 3 weeks before my 90 days for the KS6 was up and tested them as best I could in all situations. There was one situation where the KS6 were better, but for me that was at most a monthly occurrence. There was one situation where the KS6 were unbearable and I had to take them out and the Trax did fine (also not a regular occurrence in my life), but other than that they both did equally well helping me understand people, so I went with the Trax.

Be warned that not everyone reacts to these different aids the way I did. There are people who feel exactly the opposite. But if after tweaking and more time you still dislike the KS6, try some other aids until you find something that helps and that you like.


Your going to need to be patient. You probably haven’t heard some sounds you’re now hearing in years and you are only four days into HA’s, so be patient and let the HIS do their thing and get them adjusted over the next month or so and see if they sound better after that. Right now you are probably only hearing at 70-80% of the target amplification right now, so if it was at 100% think how loud the keyboard and newspaper would be! Your brain should adapt to the increased volume over the first week or so and then it will be turned up on the next visit to Costco or it might do it automatically and then everything will be loud again for a few days. Costco has a long trial period so don’t rush into returning them after the first week just because you don’t like the sound or don’t like how loud things are, just give it time and see if things improve. Good luck!

find an audiologist you can trust

DD, did you get fired by Widex?

I agree with the others you really do have to give it some time. The first few days I wore my hearing aids, ordinary things like water running in the sink, the refrigerator motor turning on, and the rustle of my clothing sounded incredibly loud. Within about a week it sounded more normal, and now (four months later) those things sound perfectly normal.

Most hearing aids let you choose different programs for different situations. Be sure you understand what programs you have and learn which to choose in various situations. Each program can be tweaked, and depending on how many program slots your aids have, you may be able to ask the fitter to add some.

Costco offers such a long return period, take your time. As the others said, Costco sells other aids besides the KS6, so if it still doesn’t satisfy after you’ve given it some time, you can try a different brand. And please don’t hesitate to ask the fitter to adjust things. For now, you might simply want to turn the volume down a bit and gradually increase it as sounds become more tolerable.

DD has returned to manipulative form I see…

New user with adjustment period issues post highjacked to fit DD’s personal equipment preferences agenda - complete -once again - with the dead horse frequency response component. The only thing missing is the accelerated dementia argument.

Why doesn’t YOUR hearing aid adjust compression in 42 channels ? ha, bet you can’t answer that? yeah, told you!

You’ll be telling me next you don’t have output at 10KHz - Loser…


Don’t give up so quickly. It has probably been years since you heard some of the frequencies that you are now hearing. You have lived in a world with mostly low-frequency sounds. Now that you are starting to get somewhat of a normal frequency response, the higher frequencies makes everything sound tinny. It takes time to get used to hearing what you haven’t heard in a long time. I know it is hard hearing all of the environmental noises that you haven’t heard in a long time. Give it a week or so and things will become more normal for you. Follow up with your HIS or Audiologist. They may be able to make some adjustment to make the adaptation process easier for you. Good luck and better hearing is worth the trials and tribulations at the beginning.

Like everyone else has said, it does take some time to adjust. It is normal for things like paper crinkling, water running or flushing, potato chip bags, etc. to sound very loud. Your brain will adjust those down after a few weeks. If you ask for those things to be turned down a little, you are also turning down some things you do want to hear. So I would suggest a gradual program of getting used to the new hearing aids, maybe 2 hours the first day, 3 hours the second day, and so on, in easy environments. Then, once you work up to full time in easy environments, try progressively harder and louder situations, like restaurants.

It sounds tinny because you have heard it way too bass-y for a long time. It takes the brain some time to adjust and then it will sound clear and beautiful. At that point when you take them out at night things will sound muffled and strange.

Thank you all for your positive responses. I will take them to heart. Brad109 says “I know it is hard hearing all of the environmental noises that you haven’t heard in a long time” but, geesh, computer keyboards from across the room shouldn’t be so loud and distracting that you have to turn the aids off.

I’ve decided to wear them for 2-3 hours a day until my next appointment, next Monday.



Try wearing them for an hour longer each day until you are wearing them for a full day. You will NEVER adapt to them if you only wear them for 2-3 hours a day. One thing to remember is: “You have to hear things you don’t want to hear in order to hear things you want to hear!” Your brain will eventually ignore those things that are bothering you. Good luck!

Agreed. That’s the advice my audiologist gave me when I first got my aids.

A crappy transistor radio from the 60’s sounds poorly because the speaker is incapable of delivering frequencies above 5000hz.

In comparison I believe your audiologist used too much compression on the highband. (Shifting high frequencies into known good lower domains) You may want to ask your Audi to reduce the compression and increase the gain in your high region. The trade off is battery life.

Describing what you’re hearing is the most important part of tuning. Is it too dull, tinny, unintelligible, lows too loud etc….VERY IMPORTANT

Modern hearing aids are capable of Bose quality sound; it’s when the audi shifts frequency bands that the aids start to sound different.

If your audi is good and is using real ear measurement effectively, they should be able to empirically balance the HA’s for awesome sound. IT TAKES TIME. The more you wear the HA’s the less time it will take. It really is an immersion process. Like a cold lake, it is far less painful to dive in all at once than wade in slowly. Just stick with it.

I work in a lab. When I first got my HA’s, I was assaulted by every little rustle of paper, centrifuge beep, keyboard click, running freezer, etc. etc. that I had never, EVER noticed before. It was insane. It took a couple of months, but those sounds blended in after a time, once my brain learned how to organized them.

Good luck.

It’s pretty difficult to have hearing aids sound ‘natural.’
They’re often not optimized for stuff above/below speech range.
Often it’s assumed that spoken speech is the priority and other types sounds are not so important.
Many people use HAs with different kinds of settings optimized for different ‘soundscapes,’ e.g. group meeting in big room, listening to soft soul/lounge music while making out, etc.
You should now have the idea that different settings sound different and your hearing aid should be adjustable somewhat for this.
ALSO – your hearing disability makes a big difference.
If you don’t have any hearing in the high end even a hearing aid won’t make that up for you without additional digital processing etc.
Same for low-end hearing loss.
If you have a relatively flat audiogram there’s hope and your audi should fix it for you AND teach you how to fix it if possible.
P.S. Hearing aids remain a seller’s market, manufacturers don’t have enough incentive to serve deaf/hh people well, unlike many blind people who feed on people’s “sympathy” to get a tax break just for being blind.

This is my experience with the Costco hearing aids as well. I just returned them. It is true to some extent that you will get used to the tinny, unnatural sound of the hearing aids if given enough time. You will also get used to just not hearing conversations if you leave your hearing untreated. That doesn’t mean that either solution is a good one.

It is true that all digital hearing aids reproduce sounds in a way that we perceive as unnatural and that you will have to get used to whichever hearing aid you choose. Different manufacturers have different ways of approaching the issue. You may find one implementation better than another. I recommend trying as many different manufacturers ad you can.

I am currently wearing Widex Dream 440 and they do sound much more natural in my opinion. My hearing is significantly improved over my old Oticon Agil Pros in every environment. I am very social and I spend a lot of time in conversations in noisy places. I also see a fair amount of theater. The base amplification and sound environment of the Widex compared to the Costco KS6 hearing aids is night and day. I found that the KS6 amplified every sound pretty indiscriminately while the Widex amplify more of what I want to hear. That said, my keyboard at this moment is audible in a way that seems artificial but that I don’t find annoying. Additionally, when I was in the kitchen making coffee this morning, the sounds of my electric kettle and coffee grinder were amplified but not to the extent that I found it oppressive. These widex are operating “at my prescription” according to my audiologist. She said most people need the amplification lower. The KS6 on the other hand I found amplified kitchen noises, traffic noises and footsteps to an oppressive level. The KS6, in my experience, are garbage when it comes to amplifying voices in noisy environments as well.

I’m going to test the Siemens Binax 7 hearing aids next week and most likely Audeo V90 the following week. I am lucky to have found an audiologist who has a very liberal policy on loaning out her demo hearing aids. Prior to finding this audiologist I didn’t think it was possible to test hearing aids in this way. Being able to compare different technology from different manufacturers back to back has been a revelation.

To reiterate what many have already said on this post, it takes time to adjust to all the new sounds the hearing aids are going to give you. I am at about day 75 with my Rexton Trax 42 from Costco. When I originally had my hearing checked at Costco, the audiologist was very upfront and said she did not want to sell me hearing aids unless I was prepared to wear them for at least eight weeks to allow my brain to adjust to these new sounds.

That was excellent advice and I am now finding that I do not even notice that I am wearing the hearing aids. Every once in a while I use the Smart Connect to turn the HAs off in the middle of a conversation and then I realize how much I am starting to depend upon them. The tinny sounds that drove me nuts the first week no longer bother me.

Adapting to HAs is not unlike learning any new skill. It takes time and presistence.

I am very happy with the service at Costco and with the Rexton Trax 42 and I love the Smart Connect that I use with my iphone 6.

You should also be aware, Bob_in_NewHampshire, that Trax 42 are just rebranded Siemens Binax 7, more or less. Many people regard them as the most advanced hearing aids available. Costco offers that technology at the lowest price available. My audiologist recommended I buy those hearing aids from Costco if Costco worked for me.