Lots of firsts

#1

Hi there everyone, been a lurker for a little while and now finally decided to become a member. I have as of yesterday now joined the hearing aid wearers’ club! I wanted to share my experience with everything so far, my thoughts and concerns, my joys and hopes, with everyone who cares to read them. Thanks so much for the great articles and advice on here, sorry this is so long.

So I have a fully functioning left ear, but my right ear has been at about 20% hearing since I was 7 years old. I have severe scar tissue on my eardrum that keeps me from hearing, I can hear very loud sounds especially if they are higher in pitch but I cannot hear speech or normal everyday sounds and I have to crank the volume to watch a movie or use earbuds (which I use only one, in my good ear.)

I had always been told by my less-than-caring father to ‘suck it up, at least you can hear from one ear!’ so I never made a big deal about it, knowing I had problems but knowing so many had it so much worse off than myself. I learned to lip read, always tried to sit with my left ear cocked towards whoever I was speaking to, you folks know the drill.

Fast forward to adulthood, early 20s, and I decide that I would like to be able to hear out of both ears and I wanted to do something about it! I wore glasses since 4th grade to help me see, despite the teasing, so I would proudly wear a hearing aid if it would help me hear better! I had good insurance through my job, a well known international company, surely they cover hearing aids at least partially right? Wrong. Vision, certainly; dental, of course; hearing, not at all?! Why would that be unimportant? And to buy them out of pocket was waaaaay out of my budget. I was discouraged, and so I settled and lived with my lack of hearing. At least I still have one good ear so I can enjoy music and listen to my loved ones. Over the past several years my partner and I would occasionally talk about me getting one but it just was not financially doable.

Now to the present day, I still cannot afford a hearing aid and my insurance still does not cover it… but this year my company gave us the option of switching to a high-deductible insurance policy with a health savings fund that they add to each quarter. Intrigued, I go for it; my family doesn’t have many medical expenses and it is much less per month coming out of my pay which really helps out at our house. So I then found out recently that the Health Savings Account funds can be used… towards hearing aids! And maintenance, and even batteries! This is truly life changing!

I bought a MDHearing Lux, a model that seemed to have the basic features I wanted like automatically switching between settings based on noise environment, it is made in the US, and it says it is sweat resistant (there are no side holes.) I did not want anything with bluetooth as I would never use that feature, I did not need something to synch to TVs and such because I want to hear with both ears and just one is wearing the aid- I just wanted to hear in the bad ear what I could hear in the good ear if possible. This unit fit within my budget, the customer service was quick and friendly when I emailed with a question, and it had a 100% refund policy if I did not like it!

It arrived yesterday. I put it in and immediately heard a truck running outside the open window! After playing with it to get it comfortable I decided I was going to attempt to wear it to work. I got in the car, turned on the radio, and was instantly floored… I could hear music in stereo!!! Tears literally came to my eyes, I was listening to my favorite band (Def Leppard) and I was hearing them like I was never able to before! It sounded so good!!! I drove to work and had the best day, I could not stop smiling! I could hear the overhead music playing so clearly, I had conversations with my coworkers and didn’t have to bluff my way through the parts I couldn’t hear, even when the new girl sat to my right and I wasn’t looking at her I could hear every word she said (and she is soft spoken and has a lisp!) I had a conversation with two customers in front of the escalator from about 8 feet away and I did not miss anything they said! It was such an amazing day!!! My coworkers were happy for me, and happy that I didn’t say ,“Sorry, could you repeat that?” at all yesterday!

I came home from work last night and my partner said I was even speaking more quietly (apparently I had always been a smidge loud?!) My daughter is 4 and she asked if I had a good day and asked if I heard well at work :heart_eyes: She was pleased to hear that I did, and also pleased to see that I could still wear earrings with it (which was apparently a concern of hers?) After she went to bed he and I watched a movie and the volume was at a normal level, I did not struggle to follow along at all (before we would always start out somewhat loud and then he would always turn it up more when he’d see me leaning forward to try and hear dialogue better) and it was a Jackie Chan movie dubbed in English so I wasn’t even lip reading. I ate pickles and heard them crunch in both ears!!! Today at work for the first time in my life I heard a video’s sound come out of both computer speakers!

I must say, after not quite knowing what to expect I am so surprised at its effectiveness! I know I am an unusual case because since I still have full hearing in the other ear my brain has not had to relearn what different sounds are, so I think I have adapted fairly quickly. I also know that everyone’s type of hearing loss is different and I am very thankful that this device seems to work perfectly for my needs and I have seemingly full range of sounds in that ear with it. Nothing is muddy or robot-y or weird, there is no whistling or feedback, I have not had any issues! It has far exceeded my expectations in that everything sounds natural to me and I never hoped that results could be so good for me!

I was worried that it would just amplify everything and all sounds would be unbearably loud, but it doesn’t. Speech is clear and even when I heard an ambulance drive past on the way home today it was no more uncomfortable than in my hearing ear. I was also worried that my glasses would make a BTE uncomfortable but I have ample ear space and it does not bother me at all to even take the glasses off for cleaning, I just have to be careful and of course there is a noise when you bump the aid. I don’t have hair to get in the way, though, as I keep mine very short. I thought it would easily fall off if I bent over or tipped sideways, but it doesn’t really move at all. I thought my voice would be super loud and annoying- it is a bit louder but not moreso than a normal hearing person probably experiences. I was worried that having something in my ear would be uncomfortable… it is weird and yes there is something in your ear, but it is just like getting used to wearing glasses and the weight of them. I was afraid I’d get wind noise if I rode with the car window down, but I didn’t (driver side ear is the good ear) and did not even have an issue when riding my bicycle! I even adjusted my car stereo’s equalizers on the way home today because I can hear the full range of differences now from all of the speakers!

I find myself randomly covering up the aided ear and then covering up the good ear just to hear things individually and make sure they sound the same, it’s probably weird but it makes me happy! So to sum up, I am extraordinarily happy with my hearing aid experience and suggest that if anyone is on the fence that you give it a shot because you never know until you try it!

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#2

Wonderful story.
Thanks for sharing.

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#3

Rau, thank you for reading, and for your thanks! I am just so pleased I had to share with people who would understand. :slightly_smiling_face:

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#4

I thoroughly enjoyed your story! I’ve had mine for just 7 months and never knew what I was missing out on as my loss crept up on me gradually! I certainly can identify with your experience!

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#5

What a read! Have you thought about writing a book? Or a blog? Indeed, blogging would suit you, sir.

It makes a refreshing change to read a success story from someone so happy with his hearing aids when so many here are struggling with Tremolo, settings, domes, moulds, crackling hair and sweat! :joy:

And such a story also makes me think about the struggles some people face financially. Here in the UK, despite its failings and sufferings, thank goodness for the NHS is all I can say.

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#6

Gary, thank you! I am so happy to be able to have people that commiserate with the daily struggles, I don’t have family with hearing loss and some of them just don’t understand. You guys are so great and helpful!

Legs, thanks as well! I love to write but don’t get the opportunity often (I guess I just don’t have much to say unless I am waxing poetically about gardening, mineralogy, or bicycles, lol.) Sweat was/is a major concern for me so I read a lot about it and thankfully my glasses arm keeps the aid from sitting right next to my head. If I still had longer hair the sound would probably be annoying but I gave up years ago because long hair is such high maintenance. I did a lot of reading here and so many people had so many complaints I was worried that I was opening up a can of worms just trying it! I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am still hearing and know what sounds should sound like, I don’t expect aids to do things that ears can’t. Should it block all background noise in a bar or resteraunt?
No, ears don’t do that, they pick up everything and your brain focuses on the sounds it wants to hear. Should it make you able to hear people talking quietly 25 feet away as if they are right next to you? No, ears don’t do that and you’re not the Bionic Man. I had no super high requirements I thought needed met and I just wanted it to sound natural and function like a regular ear.

You are so sweet I will even forgive you for calling me ‘Sir’ :wink: I am, in fact, a lady.

And indeed, healthcare here in the US is all about maximising profit for the big hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, etc. and less about helping people actually be well. There are times my insurance payments meant we had to skip bills, and they cover as little as they can get away with. I wish we had equal healthcare for all.

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#7

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
So sorry, er… Madam. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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#8

Hey there, everyone! Thought I’d leave an update!

So far I am at the end of day 8 and have not needed to change the battery yet, so I am surprised and impressed! Other than the first day which was about 12hrs, I am averaging 14-16hrs a day so I am pleased. It took a while to get totally used to having something in my ear all day, and at times I almost feel like it is an odd irritating feeling (like I just want to have nothing in there for a while) so I thought maybe my comfort tip that came with it was too big. I emailed the company asking if there was a smaller size option I could purchase and their customer service is so quick and awesome; the next day I got a reply that they are sending me 6 different domes, free of charge, to see if any of them are more comfortable! Way to go, MDHearing! They have not arrived yet, and I am getting used to this one, but it would be nice just to make sure I have the best fit. I have also bought a Stay-Dry dehumidifier box, which arrived in the mail a few days ago, and I have been using at night. I worry about days like today where I was caught out in the rain going to the car, but hopefully it will suck any moisture right out.

Over the past week I have had a few more ‘firsts’. A few days ago I was walking the dogs past the park at night and oh, the crickets!!! They were so noisy I was almost overwhelmed! I thought they were loud when I only had one good ear, now they sound thunderous!!! I always like to hear everything the same in both ears but they are one of the few occasions I will turn the volume down for!

Friday was another loud experience, good and bad at the same time. Good because it was the wonderful sound of my child squealing with laughter… bad because she has a high pitched voice that can be loud already when she is excited, and she maxed out the decibel output in my HA! It was my fault, I was tickling her and she just kept getting louder, but after a shrill burst of laughter meant reaching maximum volume I had to RIP the thing out of my ear! She was upset and worried that she hurt me, her papa explained to her that I was still learning with it and we are all still getting used to it, and that everything was ok. I now just turn it down if we are going to be roughhousing or if she gets riled up, just in case. But I love that I can hear her whispers, and that we can have a normal conversation easily whichever side of me she sits on.

I also had the great pleasure of being in my first rainstorm with the HA today! I love the rain, it is my favorite type of weather, and I have always loved the sound of it. Well now I heard it properly pounding on the roof of the car, it is quite an experience! It sounded like it was coming from all around me, it was glorious! Rain is so much louder in stereo! :heart:

Other than the two overwhelmed loud episodes I am adjusting great! I can easily hear my customers at work now, no having them repeat everything back to me, and listening to my family at home is so nice! Hearing a movie in surround sound is very cool too; we watched the most recent Alien movie tonight (Monday night is our ‘date night’) and it was very suspenseful hearing it sneak around. I couldn’t be happier with my HA experience, it is far exceeding my expectations!

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#9

How about Thunderstorms? :smiley:
It’s so great to read of someone lovin’ their aids, lovin’ their ears and lovin’ the sounds of natural life. @CrazyInWeston - you need to read this!! :grin:

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Hearing aids for me are useless
#10

I had this yesterday myself… I have never heard crickets be so loud!!! Drove me crazy to be honest.

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#11

Legs, I don’t like thunderstorms only because of a traumatic life experience when I was a child that just happened to take place during a thunderstorm. I will forever associate them with that day, I suppose, so they make me terribly uneasy. But thanks! I want other people to know my honest opinions of the good and the bad from all viewpoints. That way new users can maybe know what to expect and make informed decisions for themselves.

Brian, I am very much a nature lover and never knew that nature could be so loud, haha! Who knew?!

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#12

Thanks for making me aware of this Legs. It does sound similar to what I’m experiencing further convincing me to your link that you gave me in my thread alluding to the “Hyperacusis” I am now deffo more convinced I have this.
Ironically though you mentioning a thunderstorm is why Its been a while that I’ve not been on. A lightning strike bolted my phone line the other night and currently I’m just checking quickly using my mobile data instead of my broadband because said lightning strike fried my phone line.

BUT I’m still more than half convinced I have recruitment. Does Hyperacusis cause garbled hearing that I have? Recruitment does. It doesnt matter how loud things are when you talk to me, its still “garbled” and you may as well be speaking french unless I can lip read you.

(I’m going to copy this to my thread as so not to hijack this one so answers/replies please go to my thread. ‘Hearing aids are useless’ Thanks.)

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#13

(And I have replied to this on your thread - Hearing aids for me are useless - Hope it helps)

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