New guy...really anxious and totally clueless

Edit to add: my results are on the second page

Hello everybody.

New guy here, and I’m about to get hearing aids. A little about me: I’m 30 years old and have been in the military for almost 12 years. I was hard of hearing prior to joining, so much so that I needed a waiver to get in. While in boot camp I had another hearing test done and it was highly recommended that I get hearing aids. Like I said, that was 12 years ago, and being a 18 year old kid, I thought, no way am I going to get those things and wear them. My hearing didn’t seem that bad to me anyway. Throughout my time in the military, I worked in engine rooms a lot, so over time my hearing got worse.
So here I am now, with a family and two young children, and a job where communication is vital, and through the urging of my family and being fed up with being so hard of hearing, I’ve decided to finally get it taken care of.
Military insurance is a pain, especially if you live in a remote location as I do, so I’ve been working on getting them for months. At my most recent audiogram the doctor said, I think, that my hearing loss was severe. I don’t have the results in front of me (should by tomorrow), but it doesn’t seem like its severe, but that may just be denial.
I know nothing about my hearing loss really… I have to use captioning and subtitles even though I can hear things with no problem. I just can’t understand things. Why is this? Same thing with people. I hear them, but no understanding. Background noise to me is incredibly loud…riding in a car, AC units, at restaurants, etc…Are hearing aids really going to help?
I honestly have no idea what to expect. What kind I’ll be getting (knowing the military, I’m afraid it’ll be those huge 1980 models) what it’s like, etc…Nor do I know how to overcome the perceived social stigma (if there is one I guess) of young people with hearing aids.

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!

Where are you? Country-wise. This will shape responses.

Please post audiogram as soon as you can since that tells us a lot about how well hearing aids will help you.

From your comments it sounds like high frequency hearing loss. Essentially most of the low frequencies (where your hearing is probably a little better) give you detection of sounds like speech. The mid to higher frequencies contain many of the sounds that we use to understand that speech. This leads to what many of us professionals call the denial mantra: “I hear just fine, but everyone mumbles.”

Wow…Like you, I’m in Kentucky. Lexington.

If you’re getting HAs through the VA you will be getting top of the line, most likely Phonak, but I am not %100 on that. Most likely you will have the option of a remote and possibly bluetooth connectivitiy to things like the TV and your cell phone.

The HAs the VA uses retail around $6000 per pair and we are finally getting to the point that they actually look like expensive and advanced electronics. Were do you have to go to be fit?

I dont think it will be through the VA, as I’m still active duty. I’m going to Ireland Army Community Hospital in FT. Knox. I need to re do my hearing test through them for some reason, even though I just had one done by UK. Then I guess the hearing aids / fitting through them as well, so I’m not sure that its through the VA, but rather just TRICARE / the Army.

Tricare will - AFAIK - go through an independent Audiologist, so you will have some options on what you end up with. The audi should go over all of it with you.

Well it sucks that you can’t go to the Lexington VA (GO CATS!!! UK Alum here…and I live in Lexington, work in Georgetown/Frankfort) but have to go all the way to a post hospital since you are active duty.

I can’t imagine that you would get older tech than veterans, and veterans get the same, top-of-the-line stuff that private-pay patients get…so don’t worry that you’ll walk out of the office with something resembling a giant prawn hanging off the back of your ear.

If your hearing loss is as bad as you imply than I think you will be fairly surprised how much better you will do with hearing aids. There could be a few reasons that clarity is an issue but loudness doesn’t seem to be. If you can get a copy of your hearing test and post the thresholds and speech information that will help to better explain why you are struggling so much.

Until then, stay positive…the process may be long and tedious but the payoff in the end is worth it.

From the first sight, you may get the RSHL(Reverse Slope Hearing Loss), it means your hearing loss in high frequency is better than than low frequency. Most of the Audiologist doesn’t know how to adjust the HA of RSHL, since most of the deaf population is in the opposite.

Just send the audiogram first before further discussion. If you are really this type, I would send you
a newsgroup info to study.

DocAudio,

You had me confused for a minute there. Around here Lexington VA means Lexington Virginia. I thought you were in Kentucky.

I expect you mean the Lexington (Kentucky) Veterans Administration.

Also, on thid forum, UK usually refers to the United Kingdom, not the University of Kentucky.

It’s the start of a confusing day… :confused:

Well, I’ve got my audiogram results, but have no clue as to how to read it. I scanned it and tried to upload it but could not do that, as I dont have enough posts to do so. So now what?

If you look at the bottom axis, it will go 250, 500, 1000… There will be an x for the left ear and an O for the right. Read the numbers off the vertical axis and you’ll have a set of results for right and left.

I guess this is correct?

        Left  Right

250 Hz: 35DB 35DB
500 Hz: 25DB 25DB
1000 Hz: 30DB 25DB
1500 Hz: 35DB 65DB
2000 Hz: 70DB 70DB
3000 Hz: 95DB 105DB
4000 Hz: 100DB 100DB
8000 Hz: 100DB 100DB

For Speech Audiometry

SRT I In Quiet
Right: 20DB 72% 60 DB
Left: 25DB 5 52% 65 DB

Juston,
Google RACHAP. This is a program separate from TRICARE, and s/b available at the audiology clinic at Ft Campbell and Ft Knox.
I’m retired military, so in a different category. I’m on my second pair. It is an excellent program. Check their website.
Regards,
John

That’s a pretty hefty loss not to notice…

Looks ok, quite a steep sloping loss. Medium/high power RIC instrument would serve quite well, something with frequency transposition / compression built in.

Really? The audiologist who did the exam and was talking to me about hearing aids said that my hearing was to far gone for RIC’s. That’d be great if that wasn’t true.

those numbers are certainly within range to be fit with a RIC… was this the military audiologist or public? any of the major players can fit that range with a RIC with a molded ear piece. I can tell you the Siemens Pure’s work great for that range… you may want to go up to the Pure Carets (like hubby) with the HP receiver so you aren’t running to close to the edge.

It was a public audiologist. I’ll be seen by a military one Monday morning, then more insurance hoops to jump through, then, from what I understand, they will contract out my hearing aids to the public sector again.

I really, really hope that a RIC is in the cards. Based on my numbers, how much will the aid actually aid?

according to my husband it has made a huge improvement. he no longer has the radio blasting in the car. he doesn’t ask me to repeat myself near as often. said he had no problem with wind or hearing the other guys while golfing (I know it’s fake entertainment, but we like it). TV is not longer cranked up but he is using the tv link. I’m just a old chick (and over the hill) so what do I know.

Actually, the audiologist that said you are not a good candidate for a RIC is correct…unless you are willing to potentially give up some volume 3K and above. It would be hard to fit a RIC open and still get the necessary volume in those high frequencies without running into feedback issues unless the RIC had some really amazing feedback management system. When you get an earmold and put it on a RIC it ceases to provide the same benefit of the open-fit (unless it has a massive vent on the mold and is completely non-occluding) and essentially does the exact same thing that an In the ear or standard behind the ear hearing aid does. The main point of getting the RIC is to leave the canal open for those who have good low-frequency hearing, which you do, but your high-frequency loss makes an open-fit very challenging.

And FYI, the military and private sector audiologists have the exact same credentials so one isn’t going to necessarily be better than the other. In fact, the military audiologist might be less-biased since they have absolutely nothing riding on what hearing aid they fit or whether you get a hearing aid or not. Some pros will go for it on those difficult fittings, some won’t. I usually will as long as the patient is fully aware of the possible pitfalls and the potential that we may have to veer off the open-fit path in order to get them the volume they need, where they need it. I’m only putting that in here because some people believe that medical personnel who are in the VA system are there because they couldn’t cut it or get a job in the “real world”. For audiologists that’s actually not the case…in fact…VA audiology jobs are highly sought after.

Juston,

As you can see, my loss is kind of similar to yours. I have a hard time going out into the real world without them.

The aids will take sometime for you to get used to them. It took me about a year. Your brain has to learn to hear those sounds again. Once you do, you won’t know how you have lived without them. It will be like a new world.

If you have a choice, Phonak Ambras are the top of the line (in Phonak). They have a good track record.

I think a BTE style is more versatile, but not as appealing to the eye. My preference is, don’t get Beige. That is like saying, I am wearing aids, but I am trying to hide them. I think a Black or Dark Gray looks much better. Just my opinion.

Good Luck!