Just saying hello

So I have been lurking on the forum here for a few days and figured I would sign up and say hello. I’m Matt, I am 39 and pretty recently diagnosed with a mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss, no surprise to me (or my wife to be fair). Has really become apparent in the last two years or so and with the continued difficulty in communicating with my wife I decided over our winter off time to get checked out.

I will post my audiogram in a few weeks after my follow-up and hearing aid fitting (I didn’t want to wait but the first avail appointment was during a two week trip so I have to wait till I get back) but my loss goes from (what I recall) 30 dB up to the middle of the chart and then drops down to 50 something dB as it goes higher in frequency. One ear was worse than the other but I don’t recall which. I also have tinnitus; don’t know when that started but I had a head injury from being hit by a car at age 12 so might’ve been then; all I know is I can’t remember a time anymore with true silence. My audiologist is setting me up with a pair of IICs; she gave me the choice between RICs and IICs and I went IICs only for the fact that the ones she recommended don’t have Bluetooth, which will simplify things for me at work (less paperwork).

So that’s my quick story.

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A young guy. Hope you get fitted well and the hearing aids work for you. I know how the wife hates repeating all the time. But it is good that she puts up with it. Good luck

Well I had a revised hearing test today and the results were not that surprising given what I’ve been experiencing these past couple of weeks but nevertheless still a bit of a shock, probably mostly to my wife since she came with me this time. I have a pretty substantial loss up top and there’s a sizable gap in bone conduction threshhold at 4K so I am stuck wondering if I managed to blow out my middle ear on the plane or something (they only did BC in my left ear today, think we were a little short on time because it was just supposed to be a fitting appointment). Anyway…I have my hearing aids now, and it’s a pretty big difference. They feel a little weird which is I guess to be expected since they’re my first. I also have an ENT appointment tomorrow to follow up. Super thrilled that my audiologist managed to score me an appointment so quickly because I had been having a challenging time trying to get an appointment myself for whatever reason. Anyway…

I have no use for the ent doctors. Why do you need to see one? Last time I saw one they gave me sorisis cream for inside my ear and after putting in in I could not hear anything for over a week. Total Quack. Young doctor who had no idea what he was doing. Should not be a doctor.

Had a change in my hearing from when I had my most hearing test back in December. Worst was last week after I flew. So, thought it prudent to have them check things out. They didn’t see anything today but I’m scheduled in for an ABR test on Monday morning. So in my intro post above where I talked about a sloping mild to moderate loss, well, now it’s moderate sloping (sort of) to severe, and my ears definitely are different, my right being the worse. As you can see in the audiogram on my profile now, made sure I got a copy yesterday.

Honestly, I’m hearing well enough now with the hearing aids that I’m not super worried about it; my wife is more concerned than me (which I understand). Basically just want to make sure it’snottatumah. Like I joked with her, three years ago I thought I’d die alone (was getting used to the idea of being single before my now wife and I met), two years ago I thought I was going to die and leave her alone (had a condition; sorted now; really just too melodramatic lol); last year I thought we were going to die together (we lived where the southern California earthquakes happened and it was damn scary) so if the worst thing that happens now is I get the hearing aids I’ve probably needed a while, then, it’s whatever. We have each other.

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I am not sure I follow the logic of your audiologist. You have a fairly significant loss, especially at 3-4 kHz and up. You are most likely to have issues with feedback, and an IIC type aid is not the best for avoiding feedback. The problem is that the microphones are so close to the vent in the aid. When the gain is cranked up to address your high frequency loss the sound will leak out the vent or around the aid, and get back to the microphones and start the feedback loop. There is only so much that feedback suppression (notch filter and/or frequency shifting) can do. When that is not enough to stop it, then the only thing that can be done is cut back on the correction gain – which will mean you are not going to hear so well.

My thoughts would be that you would be better off with a RIC type aid. The distance is further between the vent and the aid microphones, and the microphone system is more sophisticated on a RIC style aid. They can have more directionality capability. The other aspect is that if your loss is not stable, the power of a RIC style aid can be increased by just replacing the receiver, not the whole hearing aid. This minimizes your future costs of using one.

I also did not follow the thing about avoiding Bluetooth. It is more of a convenience factor for most in adjusting their aids, and can be turned off if you don’t want to use it.

Well I think the IIC choice was given the loss I had at the initial appointment rather than what I have ended up with now. I share the concern about there not being enough gain at high frequency and also about the potential for not enough power if my hearing continues to change. Honestly I find your posts quite enlightening; they have taught me a lot.

I understand about wireless being able to be disabled but that may or may not be sufficient for my work. They have concerns even about even these aids with no wireless features at all.

By far the best quality way I have found to talk on the phone is by using my iPhone in streaming mode. It would be nice if they were true hands free, but other than that the incoming audio is excellent. Depending on the job, that may or may not work for you.

That would be great; generally speaking though I am not allowed to have anything at work that has any kind of two way wireless connectivity be it active or even passive (like RFID). I discussed it at length in a different thread, there’s no changing it.

The second best method I have found is what Rexton calls XPhone. You hold the phone up to your ear (hearing aid) in a normal manner, and when the aids are in XPhone mode the incoming audio is re transmitted to the opposite ear. This allows you to hear phone audio in both ears which give sound about a 3 dB boost. Yes the ear to ear communication is wireless, so that may put you offside as well. However, be aware that many hearing aids use ear to ear wireless communication for other purposes.

Had my follow-up fitting appointment with my audi this morning and after some discussion of what she and I had previously e-mailed about we decided, as many folks on the forum here had pointed out both to me directly and to others, that the IIC aids I was initially fit with were probably not appropriate for me. Now, you have to understand, there were two reasons for them initially; when I had my test back in December my hearing was better, and I was dealing with this issue of my office and two way RF connectivity. Since my initial appointment my hearing had the indecency to go and get much worse, so that changed things but given the IICs had been ordered I guess she thought they were worth my trying out. They are merely OK, and in any kind of non-ideal i.e. one on one scenario I had a really hard time.

I also had a bit of a moment today and decided, if folks are telling me that in other areas of our org people have hearing aids with RF connectivity, then I should just go for it.

So, I’m getting Phonak Audéo Marvel M90s to try out. She was going to order me M50s but my wife and I had lunch around the corner and while we were doing that I was on Phonak’s website and decided that I just wanted to go whole hog so I ran back over and asked to order the 90s and paid the difference. Fitting appointment for those is next Thursday, and working with the IICs still in the mean time. She had me trial the Starkey Livio AI 2400 in the office and they were fine, definitely better than the IICs, but she felt for whatever reason (going to defer to the expert) that with my hearing now, and with the potential for it getting worse, that the Phonaks would be the best bet. I don’t know what kind of receivers or domes or whatever I’m getting to start off with, I will post that up once the fitting is done.

EDIT
Oh and since I apparently forgot to post about it, my ENT appointments returned nothing of consequence. No wax concerns, no physical deformity that could be detected, and my ABR evaluation (because of left/right disparity) revealed nothing of concern. So that was good.

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Got my Phonak Audéo Marvel M90-312Ts yesterday. Specs are #2 receiver length, M receivers, power domes in both ears, NAL-NL2 strategy, and they are set above 100% of my full prescription based on almost 90 minutes of evaluation post physical fitting. We did the built-in feedback/REM measurement a bunch of times to settle on power domes, we did walking around in the office, talked to other patients that were there (oh my gosh that made me feel normal for the first time in a while, I am so glad Franz struck up a conversation), watched TV, made adjustments, did the back turned to the doc with doc talking at varying distances, did some kind of sound field real ear measurement a bunch of times with varying adjustments, setup Bluetooth to my phone, and then sent me on my way. And holy wow the difference is real. I can hear things I haven’t heard in some cases in months (door beep at work) and in some cases ever (our dish washer, the rattle of our bathroom exhaust fan, …). I left it on auto kost of the day yesterday and in the car I can hear/feel it switching a lot. On the drive home I put it in music mode and that was much better, at least for music (won’t be practical probably with my wife in the car but my commute is solitary). TV is pretty good in normal mode, and I was impressed with the direct audio streaming capability (quality) which I tried just before bed. I still feel that music in the car doesn’t get loud enough so I am noting that. Also, switching modes through the app doesn’t give any indication in the aids like a verbal program number or title so I am hoping that can be fixed. I think I understood that the long press down to switch programs is disabled right now (it just double beeps and nothing happens when I do it).

Here’s a pic of the soundfield REM thingy after we were done.

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So I’m toward the end of day 9 with the Marvels and all in all it’s been pretty good. Really like being able to stream and use my mobile phone directly in my head (though not being able to hear myself speak when I’m using the mobile is kinda weird, I wonder if there’s a setting for that). Speech comprehension in noise is definitely improved but I kinda feel like they grab onto sound behind me more than they should when the mics are focused entirely to the front.

I had/have what I am calling some fit issues though, would be curious as to peoples’ thoughts as I’ve searched the forum for one of them and am turning up blanks. First was dome size. My audi fit me with large power domes. The first day my right ear was fine and my left ear was uncomfortable, but not painful (the prior IICs were basically almost immediately unnoticeable but I still couldn’t hear worth a damn). Days two and three were fine in both ears but on day four my left ear started to ache and as the days wore on became painful. I started using Miracell morning and night in both ears, and this helped, but not enough, and by the end of my 16 ish hour weekday wear my left ear was killing me. So today I did some research, determined that the Marvels and the KS9s can take the same domes, and ran around the street to Costco and begged the audiologist (yes, ours has an actual AuD) for some medium sized power domes. They work great for the fit BUT I am now getting feedback in my right ear occasionally ANNND…I am not hearing as well. Sigh. So, this’ll be addressed on Monday. I think molds might be in my near future as some folks have suggested to me here on the forum.

Second fit issue is, and this is the one I have turned nothing up on, is that the receiver wire seems to be causing me some ear circulation issues, particularly in my left ear. My ears have been staying red and the receiver wires leave marks on the front of my ear over the course of the day. In the morning they’re not tight at all but perhaps from movement of my ear canal and my ears between eating and talking and walking and what not, they seem to pull down tighter over my ear and cause this issue. So it’s a little concerning. I’ve taken to pushing up on the aids every now and again to ensure it’s not happening, but Thursday I got a little spooked as my left ear was basically purple when I used the restroom before getting in the car to come home. So, I will be talking to the audi about that as well. I’m not sure what possibly could be done about that? Anywho, that’s where I am right now…

Matt,
Custom molds will likely be more comfortable than the domes you’re presently wearing. And solving the issue with your receiver wire might be as simple as asking your audi for a different receiver length.

You are wearing your aids a long time each day. That is good but can get painful if not used to them yet.

Your description of medium and large power domes and then looking at your audiogram leads me to believe molds might be best. Your lower frequencies are getting into the 40 dB loss range which usually mean custom earmolds. Your fitter will know what’s best.

Sure sounds like you need a size 3 length receiver too or do you wear glasses that could be pushing your aids back?

Thanks @Diapason and @Raudrive I didn’t think about a different receiver length, that’s a good idea. I think I read somewhere on here about how the length helps set the aid where it needs to be to help discriminate front to back? My audi used the little ear card tool thing to determine size 2, seemed pretty straightforward to me but never know :grinning:

I do wear glasses but only on the weekends usually, and the aids don’t seem to be impacted by them (they are Oakley frames with arms that go straight from the temple rather than curve down around the ear).

Matt - I seem to remember that I had a similar problem with the receiver wire - from memory they changed the shape of it so that it was more comfortable over my ear. I am sure its something they can adjust. I also had a sore inner ear initially but that went away after a couple of weeks - audiologist suggested getting some cream from the pharmacy but I didn’t need it in the end. I have the custom moulds after trialling all sorts of others tips and they are working really well. Good luck - I am sure they are problems that are easily fixed :slight_smile:

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Well, I relayed all my concerns today, she tried some different domes in the office and they were getting feedback like crazy so…I have the same domes I have had for a few days now. I didn’t bring anything up about molds and she didn’t either. I related my other concerns so she adjusted some settings, turned baseline volume up a few clicks, fiddled with the acoustics on the speech in noise auto program, changed the button configuration around for me a bit, turned on Acoustic Phone and telecoil phone, and I was on my way. Next follow-up is on the 30th. I removed the little plastic retention strings after I got home, doesn’t feel like they do anything but make ny ears itch. Oh, one thing I did learn is that I am not on NAL-NL2 like that display on the REM near-field sound gadget showed; I am in fact on the Phonak proprietary strategy.

Well my follow-up appointment for next Monday is being rescheduled. It seems like my audiologist is shutting down temporarily. And my 30 day trial runs out soon. I am still having dome difficulties (discomfort/irritation), which I relayed to them via email. No response though. Need some program changes too. I guess I am getting a Noahlink Wireless and I will just have to deal with domes for now. Alternative would be return the aids and ask for a refund but that’s really not a great option. Sigh.

The 30 day trial period makes it tuff. 30 days just isn’t enough time usually, especially for those new to hearing aids.
Good luck with your decision.

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