Well, as some of you may recall, I went back and forth trying to decide whether to buy some hearing aids in India while I was there, but finally opted for getting some KS9’s on return to the USA.
I got back to Orlando a couple of weeks ago, went into Costco for my hearing test, and more or less got the same results that I received from a local audiologist prior to my departure - I’d load the latest results on here but don’t know how to do it, even after looking at the appropriate page.
I had to wait for over ten days to receive the KS9’s after paying for them the day of the hearing test, and went in a couple of days ago to take charge of my shiny new toys and get the rundown on how to use them. After reading a great many posts on here I was frankly a bit disappointed with the process, as I thought there’d be more to all of it, but the audiologist I was dealing with basically gave me the impression that the KS9’s are a fit and forget set of aids that only he or another audiologist would tinker with, other than my lowering or raising the volume at need. Other than the volume controls and how to change the batteries I was told little else other than the fact that he’d book me in for a follow up visit at the end of December, one that he thought I probably wouldn’t need as he claimed few people bothered coming in for the additional visit because by and large they’re happy with the initial settings.
So I went home feeling optimistic and happy, thinking of how soon I could approach my former employer to let them know I could resume my work with them, but I soon noticed some issues that I couldn’t be sure were either a problem with the aids or simply my lack of familiarity with them and the fact that perhaps I was expecting too much of them.
The first thing I noticed was the sound of my own voice - it sounded louder than it needed to be, and had a real ‘electronic’ feel to it at certain ranges that sounded odd, while the rest of the sound around me sounded more natural, even when I was listening to music in my car. The other thing that was really noticeable - and annoying - is that every tiny little abrasion of the right aid came across very distinctly, such as strands of hair brushing up against the plastic casing. I can’t chew food or walk around without hearing a constant rustling in my right ear, and there’s definitely a distinct difference in volume if I rub a finger up against the right HA, as against the left one. Later in the evening my daughter came into our bedroom to chat, sat on the bed a few feet from where I was lying with my wife, and started talking to us - the effect was like her having a megaphone - it was so painfully loud that I instinctively covered my ears, and after a second similar experience I kept my ears covered until she reduced her voice to virtually a whisper. I get that I would expect to hear certain vocal ranges, especially someone like my daughter, more clearly with hearing aids that are new to me, but it was way beyond that. I thought that perhaps I may have inadvertently bumped the volume up while practicing putting the aids on, but after pulling the batteries out to make them reset the issue remained. Finally, even though it’s barely audible, whenever I’m in fairly silent surroundings I can hear a faint static sound coming from the right HA.
So to cut a long story short, I went back to the Costco store in nearby Altamonte Springs to simply ask the audiologist if the issue was with me or the aids, but I didn’t get anywhere. I wasn’t expecting the guy to drop everything and everyone to take care of my issues, but I was hoping he could at least shed some light on the matter quickly and either hasten my next appointment or point out where the problem might lie. He wasn’t in attendance when I arrived, nor were any of the other staff there seemingly in a hurry to serve me, and after waiting interminably the audiologist finally arrived from the direction of the toilets and walked towards me. I quickly started outlining the problem but had barely uttered more than a few words when he peremptorily raised a hand to cut me off, said, “I’m not on the clock”, and sauntered past me to sit down at his desk inside his soundproof cubicle, where he proceeded to work on his computer and totally ignored me.
So other than feeling like telling Coscto where to shove their hearing aids after yesterday’s performance I’m still not sure what’s going on with these KS9’s. Is this normal behavior for hearing aids, or is there a problem with them - I just don’t know? And is it normal to get a pair of hearing aids and be told they’re set and forget from the first visit - from what I’ve read on here it seems many people go back for multiple visits to fine tune their hearing aids.
This is all just a little demoralizing, especially given how much I was hoping the aids would help me work-wise. I wasn’t expecting miracles, just enough to make life easier at work. I haven’t put the aids back on since yesterday morning, and they’re just sitting in their little drying box on my bedside table. I don’t really feel like going back to the Costco in question as the guy’s just plain rude - I’m kind of wishing I had bought those $1800 Phonak Marvels after all back in Delhi!