Here’s a little of bit of my backstory, just for reference:
I’m a 53 year-old lifelong musician, born to a musician father who had profound hearing loss (some genetic and some noise-induced) at middle age. I’ve been very involved with audio from my teens. I have toured professionally both as a musician and audio engineer mixing FOH and monitors. I worked for some years as a design engineer for a professional audio manufacturer. I’m a current member of a touring band. I own a recording studio am actively engaged in producing, recording, mixing and mastering projects. I’ve had the good fortune of founding and owning a pro audio and acoustics design and installation company for 24 years. It would be accurate to say that my hearing has been at the center of my life and career from a very early age. I’m only one of so, so many in this industry who suffer from some amount of hearing loss…sigh.
My hearing was quite good and pretty stable until a couple of years ago. I had some minor age-related HF loss, and a little loss due to noise exposure over the years, but overall, I felt fortunate to be able to hear quite well. Then, I got Covid. My hearing was immediately negatively impacted and I thought that it was simply typical of head congestion. As the Covid symptoms slowly disappeared, unfortunately, my hearing never fully returned. Doctors have no explanation or treatment. Now, I have the typical 3k valley (down 15db right, 20db left) in both ears as well as a general attenuation of everything above 5k (like a HF shelving eq down 4 or 5db at 5k). As one would expect, this has made it quite uncomfortable for me in many of my daily situations and I’m learning to adapt. Part of my adaption strategy is to investigate HAs. I have no concerns about stigma or aesthetics of them.
I decided to try HAs last summer after becoming frustrated with my struggles hearing both my daughter and my girlfriend’s soft voices. Sitting at home, it was generally no problem, but in the car or in a restaurant, I was struggling to hear them well enough to have a conversation without asking them to repeat themselves so often as to interrupt the natural flow of conversation. I did some research and decided to find an audiologist that could fit Widex Moment HAs. I had them fitted with a very cooperative audiologist (also a musician) who was very intent on making my experience as good as it could be. I did the typical booth hearing test, he entered my audiogram data into the fitting software, made a few adjustments and sent me on my way. For five weeks I had weekly return visits to tweak the fitting in an attempt to acclimate my hearing. In the end, I couldn’t live with them. The terrible tonality, audible processing, unpredictability of how they’d respond to varying stimulus and phasing issues made wearing them a far more negative experience than positive one for me - actually inducing stress quite often. At every visit, I’d ask the audiologist for access to the fitting software, knowing that I’d be able to tune the HAs to my taste to the degree that the hardware and software would allow. He repeatedly declined my attempts to get the software and after 5 weeks, the HAs were returned.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try again. With the help of an online retailer (not sure if I can mention here), I’ve started a trial with both the updated Widex Moment 440 (Sheer) and the ReSound Omnia 9 HAs. I have the fitting software for both (thanks to this forum) and I have a Nomadlink. So far, I’m very pleasantly surprised with how much better my experiences are with both HAs as compared to my previous experience this past summer. I’ve been able to address many of my previous concerns by having the “levers” to pull to tune my own devices. Yesterday, I felt like I actually preferred listening to low to moderate level music with HAs rather than without. That was a HUGE breakthrough!
I’ll continue to post as I have time and gain more insights. Meanwhile, please feel free to ask questions as I’d love to be able to help others who might share the same struggles.