New user, 48 yo, KS9, trying to get used to things!

Hello all, I’ve been reading in this forum as a unregistered lurker for a short while and wanted to say hello now that I have my KS9’s. This is only my first week using them and I am still trying to get used to how things sound.

Sorry for long post but here goes:

I’ve had bad tinnitus for 30 years. I played rock drums with no ear protection for a decade, went to loud concerts, had a loud car stereo for a while and then a short stint in the military that didnt help things at all. Its a constant loud ringing. I have had hearing tests done in the past and the loss has always been there but finally decided to do something about it now that I am almost 50 and my wife has been bugging me forever! Its harder and harder to hear her or my 3 kids so finally got my first pair of HA - the KS9.

My hearing test is in my profile, not sure if I link it or something if anyone is curious. This is my first post here!

Picked the KS9 due to costs and overall decent reviews I have read. I hate the app but it works. Streaming seems OK for phone calls on my iPhone 11. It breaks up a little if my phone is in my front pants pocket. I did not want to go overboard with costs and trying things out until I decided if they would really help. The 180 day return policy certainly helped push me over to purchase. Honestly I dont have a budget, if something would be a Lot better please suggest.

Pros - Well I can hear things I have not heard in probably 30 years. TV is clearer, wife and kids are clearer. That was the main goal. They are also comfortable. I have open domes with those plastic whisker sport clips I guess that tuck into the bowl of my ear so they dont move. After a short while of putting them on I barely notice them most days and if I do its a quick readjustment and then nothing felt again.

Cons - Some sounds are really irritating. Plastic bags being a huge one. My hair likes to brush on the mic ports which bugs me. Wearing my sunglasses or reading glasses REALLY bug me. Constant noise from sitting on the mic port. Not sure how to get around that yet but its very irritating.

One other issue - the tech only left things on “auto” for programs. I am not sure I like that and want to know if this is normal. I can actually hear the aid switching like when listening to music or even just sitting in a quiet setting a while. I listen to music a lot at my work desk and car and I can hear the sound signature change on the fly. Then a quite bit between songs or during the song and it changes again only to switch back. If I am sitting in my quiet office with no sounds at all it feels like the gain goes up on its own. I can hear a slight hiss and when a sound does come up or music it is super loud! If I am in an environment with constant noise then they seem to work the best honestly. I dont notice the changes.

I am supposed to go back in a couple weeks for a refit and make sure everything is working OK. I plan on addressing all the cons above but was hoping for some feedback. Is all this normal? Can something be done to help with those cons? Anything I should be asking for or pushing for? Would another model be better? Prefer Costco due to costs and return policy but I am open elsewhere. I went to my ENT for the hearing test (Costco also did one that was nearly identical). The ENT costs for the aids were insane. Then I went to TruHearing (we have BCBS insurance and sent us there) and did not like my appointment or the doctor. Costs were better than the ENT but again, I did not like them. Then went to Costco. I almost ordered the Resounds but the tech told me to try the KS9 and if I didnt like them in 5 months bring them back and get the Resounds then. It would be cheaper to try and many like the unit.

Thanks in advance for help or info.

hang in there and be very patient it takes time for your brain to get use to the sounds. You can also lower the volume for a while to help you get use to the aids.

Welcome! What you report sounds pretty normal. You haven’t heard certain sounds for sometime and now they seem very loud. Give it some time and you will likely get used to it. Regarding dark glasses. Frames with thin temples are easier to deal with. Otherwise getting little cloth socks for hearing aids (name escapes me) or covering glasses frame in cloth can help. If over time certain noises still bug you, you can tell they fitter and they can likely lessen noise. As far as something better? You could get a better app by going with Phonak Marvel from a hearing aid dealer for likely 3 times the cost. Also Costco Resound has better app for likely $1000-$1200 more than the KS9. As appealing as apps are, most of us find them fun toys for a short while and then resort to the hearing aid buttons for changing volume. Tell HA fitter what situations you’re still having problems hearing in. They may be able to create a special program to deal with that situation, but otherwise just sticking with the one automatic program is fine. Really sounds like you’re doing well. Keep us posted…

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Eargear

I agree with the others about how you are doing. You are really doing well.

It does sound like a manual music program might be good for you to stop AutoSense from bouncing around when you are listening to music. From your post other manual programs are not needed at this time. Something I do use now and then is the mute function. It can be added by the fitter. It is a long press of the lower toggle switch on either aid.

I also agree about the phone app. It’s a toy for most, not used much after the newness wears off. I don’t even have the app loaded. The few changes made are done from the aids themselves.

The KS9 aids are very nice aids and hard to beat the price.

Something not mentioned is your VA benefits. You are in titled to aids with the VA. @cvkemp might help you with this.

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Raudrive - no VA aids for me, already went down that road twice. Local VA appealed after first denial but was turned down again. I waited too long from discharge until seeking aids. I was discharged over 25 years ago and was told at the time when it felt like my ears were stuffed with cotton that it would go away and deal with it for now. The cotton went away but the ringing is still there today but to be honest it was ringing before the Army. Just rings a little bit worse now!

I honestly dont mind paying for my aids, VA would be fantastic but I’ve lost friends and have other friends and family who have a lot worse issues to deal with from combat than my ringing ears. The overworked, underfunded VA can take care of them.

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I was discharged in 1977 and I did not get into the VA until 2003 and I got my hearing aids from the VA in 2006.

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I saw some forum posts on those little socks, I may try them out. I can get thinner wire temples for my reading and computer glasses but I dont want to give up my Costa sunglasses (and similar poly frames). I imagine it is a trial and error approach to those as well.

Funny you mentioned the Marvel, that was the demo pair from my ENT and they were $6000! So quite a bit more than 3 times. They were a little less at TruHearing, around $4500-5000-ish but she was really pushing me hard on Oticon and would not offer a demo of any aid they had including the Oticon so I walked out frustrated. Costco let me demo the KS9 for a few hours and had others I could try but ended up ordering the KS9.

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I ETS’d in 1988 and I understand how you feel about other Veteran’s having worse issues. I’m absolutely stunned to hear how combat Veteran’s are treated.

I’m a cold war peacetime Veteran w/hearing loss and other physical disabilities. I just want to say, think about your months in basic training and years in active duty and the fact that you put your life on the line for your country!

My battle with the VA began before I even got out in 1988. I didn’t get my first claim approved until 2014, however, after the way I’ve been treated and that I put my life on the line for my country. The least the VA can do is own up to their promise. That is, to take care of it’s Veterans!

It wasn’t until 2013, that I found out that I was eligible for FREE VA health benefits. Because you know, why tell Veterans the can get help. My 35 year story is only one of millions of Veterans who are being severely neglected. My point is, please DO NOT let the VA continue to ignore their obligation to you. And, I had hearing loss when I went in just like you.

However, there is something called presumption of soundness and aggravation of a preexisting condition. So what, if you hearing was already bad when you joined, if it was worsened by your military service, they should rate you, no mater how many decades later it is. Even if the rate your hearing loss/tinnitus zero percent, you’r eligible for free premium hearing aids…

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My experience leading to hearing loss (percussionist, stint in the military, love of noisy rock bands and jazz) is similar, although my dad also had the issue so it could all be heritiary for me. In any case, I also have had tinnitus for decades.
I’m guessing that you don’t notice the tinnitus when wearing the hearing aids. True? At least that’s my experience. It’s still there, if I concentrate on it, but it pretty much disappears as a practical matter.
In any case, I also have K9s. I previously had Rextons (Trax42s) which were less ‘sound aggressive.’ I’m not sure if that is a real term, but I found that the Rextons didn’t amplify noises outside of the speech spectrum as much. So I didn’t notice some of the more annoying sounds as much. However, after a short adjustment I have found that I like the K9s far better.
If you haven’t already done so, I advise you to pick up the TV streamer from COSTCO. It’s a worthwhile $100 investment. It really has increased my enjoyment and ease of listening to the television and streaming shows, etc. And it’s an easy setup.

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I was trying to figure out how to send a DM to you on this forum but it appears I cant. I was trying to not clutter up this post.

** Mods - feel free to move this, delete it or somehow send it as a message if this doesnt belong here **

Short-ish summary is this - I have a “weird” discharge that only recently was changed by the VA so that I could get some benefits. It’s a KDS discharge which my local VA had no clue about and had to look it up. It’s basically an end of contract discharge before the contract was officially over.

Basically I enlisted to co-pilot a OH58D when they were new as an Aeroscout. The shiny new birds arrived and had cockpits that were off spec and I ended up being too tall to fly. (Seriously). About a 1000 of us were suddenly out of jobs at Ft Rucker being too long torso’d. The Army did not have a contingency plan - shocking - and told us we can go home or switch MOS. It was peacetime so the vast majority of us went home.

We were in limbo land for approx 4-6 months while they figured all of this out. We were no longer required to attend flight school but we were still being paid so they asked if we wanted to volunteer to help out with the Air Assault school. I signed up to help and that is when the additional hearing loss happened during a live fire exercise. I went to the med center and they told me the stuffed cottonball feeling would go away in a while and dont worry about it. The ringing was partially there prior to enlistment it was just now worse.

Local VA attempted to get me covered but two factors shot me down - the weird discharge and the fact that I was never medically treated while in service. It was just a quick well check style visit when they told me to suck it up. Nothing was ever recorded. Since I do not have concrete proof it happened while in service at Rucker they denied me twice (local VA helped me fill out a simple appeals form).

Again, I honestly dont mind if I have to pay. Free would be amazing and I would have gotten them years ago but like I said earlier I have seen what friends and family have to deal with at the VA locations and hospitals. My one very good buddy has to drive nearly 2 hours one way to a hospital regularly for his injuries. I also lost my best friend in school (we enlisted together). I saw how his family was treated after the fact and I see what goes on now. Its sad.

As far as I know, as long as you served on active duty for a minimum of 90 days, you’re eligible for VA Health Care benefits. Ah, the famous “it’s not in your military treatment records so it didn’t happen” ploy. The law clearly states that every Veteran admitted to active duty, was admitted under the “Presumption of Soundness.” You may have had hearing loss when you began your military service. However, if you have prior medical evidence (say like a hearing test) before your military service and a current hearing test shows additional hearing loss, then it is legally on the VA. There’s all sorts of laws the VA has to follow, like presumption of soundness, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, and benefit of the doubt in the Veteran’s favor.

I began basic training in 1985 and began immediately having very bad lumbar pain, once I got to Berlin, Germany, they diagnosed me with Scheuermann’s Kyphosis (wedged vertebra in my lumber spine), and they kept me in the same MOS: Anti-Tank Weaponeer for my entire three year stint.

I filed for a VA claim before I even go out of the military and they turned me down because they said it was a childhood congenital condition. They denied me until 1990, then I gave up. Then an Iraq war vet told me to try again. That’s were I learned about presumption of soundness, I never had any back problems pre-military, they let me in and found no back problems at the initial exam. So my back problem is 100% on them, in spite of them trying to get out of my claim.

I’m now rated zero percent for hearing loss, 10% for tinnitus, 40% for back problems an 20% neuropathy, and zero percent for migraine headaches. I have the best attorneys in the U.S. helping me battle the VA on all the other tricks they’re pulling to not live up to their promise of taking care of wounded Veteran’s.

Anyway, I digress, obviously it’s up to you, if you want to pursue any VA claims and you can file anytime for any possible military cause medical issues for the rest of your life. There is no deadline to file a claim…

I’m a KS9 user for more than four months now. Overall I’m satisfied. But it took me a long time to get there, and multiple visits with a very helpful Costco specialist. When she was unsure of some settings, she has been perfectly willing to try suggestions I’ve gleaned from this forum.

My KS9s are set up with Automatic, Music, Noise and Acoustic Phone. The latter is a bit sketchy–it takes sound from a regular phone and pipes it into both hearing aids. In practice I’m not sure it’s worth it and it may make other settings more glitchy, the verdict is out.

My other settings are very useful. I use the Music program primarily when I play guitar and sing, because on high frequencies, without that setting, I hear a trilling noise. IIRC the key, recommended here, was to set up the Music program with feedback resistance turned off. Solved my problem. You should try the Music program and if “just” listening to music, this trilling may not even be an issue for you.

The noise program is intended to help focus the hearing aid mics more forward to make it easier to follow speech in a noisy setting like a bar. It is only marginally useful for that, in my experience, but it does eliminate a background hissing sound I hear from certain air-vents like that on my commuter train.

I don’t hear my Automatic program doing much switching around, so either your setting needs to be tweaked or I got lucky. But I really like having these other options.

You may need to push your Costo hearing instrument specialist a bit to work with you for awhile. By the way, it does take awhile to adjust as others have said. So much so that if I haven’t spoken much in a day or two (live by myself, telework sometimes), my voice sounds odd again, for a bit.

The KS9s are de-featured Phonak Marvels, and quite good period, never mind for the price.

Like everyone has said be patient your brain needs to adjust. Try to wear the aids as much as you can but if you feel your being overwhelmed take them out and give yourself a break. Scratchy crinkled sounds hair brushing on aids will go away with time or become more subdued. Also as you adjust to the aids, when you take them out the world around you will seem a lot quieter than you remember. That’s normal too. Just give it time

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