New user - first experiences

I have what has been described as a “Cookie Bite” loss and sometimes a reverse slope loss. I haven’t got the exact figures but at 250 it’s at around 25/30, drops down to around 45/50 at about 500 and 1k then slopes back up to near normal at 8k.

I have just been fitted with 2 Siemens Chroma S from the NHS in the UK. They seem to be the equivalent of the Siemens Artis. I have an open fit tube with a custom fit mold. I have ben given an epocket remote to adjust the volume if I really need to although the audiologist would prefer me to leave it at the default setting of 48% volume. He has said that it can take around 6 weeks for the brain to adapt but as I’m younger (52) I should adapt in around 3 weeks.

I wore them home and kept hearing this clunking noise which turned out to be the seat belt rattling - never heard that before! That evening I wore them to a restaurant when I went out to dinner with 5 friends. Fortunately not much background noise except for a music speaker which sounded quite loud. I heard my friends ok but then I never really had a problem with a small group anyway. The fan in the car sounded really loud.

Next day I wore them to work - I’m a Primary teacher. That day we had a visit to the Science Centre organised so perhaps not the best day to trial them. Anyway first impressions are that everything just sounds loud and tinny. The background noise made it more difficult to hear people than when I had no aids. Sitting in the bus on the way back to work I could hear people talking behind me but people next to me sounded muffled. Back at work I feel as if I am talking within a bucket! When my class was empty of children I could hear the teacher next door. The fans from the computers in the class were noisy and generally a hubub of noise was happening. My main problem of hearing some quiet speaking children when further away didn’t seem to be any better owing to all the distracting background noises. When working with smaller groups I keep getting distracted with noises that the other children are making from a pencil or a ruler or simply moving something on their desk.

Anyway I persevered until I got home (about 9 hours later) when I really felt the need to remove the aids. The custom mold still gives me a blocked up feeling, although they are vented. I feel a constant need to try and “pop” my ears as if I am on a plane but yet cannot manage to get rid of the feeling. I noticed that the inside of the right mold had some condensation. This ear sometimes gave me a “popping” noise when eating.

Today I had a similar experience within the class. In the staff room I could hear colleagues speaking far away on my left louder than those closest to me on my right. Again I managed for around 8/9 hours until I had to take them out.

On a one-to-one basis the sound is certainly louder although very “tinny”, almost too loud at times. I can hear the television at a lower volume. I heard my son who was at the top of the stairs and I was at the bottom very clearly. The telephone ringing sounds very loud but I cannot hear on the phone as well when I put the receiver normally to my ear. I’m not sure where to put the receiver to hear better and it’s very difficult to ask people to keep talking whilst I adjust it! I can hear people speaking normally on the telephone without an aid.

I am trying to persevere to allow my brain to adapt but it is very difficult, especially the ear molds which I find uncomfortable. Even now after not wearing them for 5 hours I still feel that I want to pop my ears.

I have been told that they are being trained on Receiver in the Ear models but do not have them available yet - should have then in around 6 weeks. I have asked to try these as when I looked privately these were what I was recommended. I have been told that I would not notice any difference between what I have now been given and the Rics and the mold would be the same. From what I had been led to believe privately I would not need a large mold to block up my ears so I am not sure who is right here.

I realise I need to give this more time but I’m disappointed at the moment. I had hoped for a more comfortable fit in the ears that still allowed what sound I could hear to get there normally. I had also hoped that it would be less tinny. The tube whilst thinner than the old style tubes seems inflexible and therefore more noticeable. Main problem is that I don’t feel it is helping the class situation that much at all.

Can I expect better from Ric style with regards to comfort and more natural sound or am I expecting too much? The aids are supposed to be fully automatic and adjusting to background noise etc - they just don’t seem to be doing that. Does the brain adjust to what at the moment sound like a cacophony of noise?

I am having the exact same experience with the same type of HA. I also have the cookie bite. If I wear small closed domes or open domes they buzz badly on certain frequencies (like my voice and other resonate low male voices) but sound good otherwise. The large closed domes make everything sound like you have a tin can held up to your ear up until they are in several hours, then everything sounds “squaaky” like a cartoon trombone cupped to imitate a voice. Sometimes if I pull them out and reset them in the ear canal it helps, but mostly I am disappointed. Very disappointed.

Thanks for replying. I’m so glad to hear it’s not just me but disappointed in the same way. I had hoped that there must be something better than this.

Have you tried the Receiver in the Ear models? When I had been considering going privately these were what I had been recommended and no-one talked about having a larger custom mold made. I am hoping that these will give a more natural sound than the tinny, squaky sound that you describe.

Mine are receiver in ear. Rexton Revo +'s. There is just a wire going to the ear canal. The speakers are the largest they have with the Revo. Sorry, I can’t get used to calling speaker-in-ear receiver-in-ear. The receiver is the mic and circuit people! At least in every other form of electronics I have worked with…

So you are working with a BTE with the tube and have the same problem? Shoot! That was my next try. These sound really good other than the harmonics (buzzing). I’ll bet you would not have the same problem, I think it’s my head (bone structure - vacant space betwixt the ears, etc.). With the holy type ear domes (blessed by the Pope?!) the sound is really awesome.

BTW 52 here as well. Deaf for life. Looking at this to “match the curve”. The next trip in I am going to have the audi “flatten the curve” a lot. I think the tin can may be the fact I just have never heard the midrange worth a tinkers damn. If that’s the way things really sound I don’t like it.

I think the problem is the closed mold that really just acts like a stopper on a bottle. It doesn’t allow the natural sound in to my ear. I have been told that this is necessary because of my low frequency loss.

What I find strange is that no-one in the private sector mentioned having a custom mold made.

Shoot! That was my next try. These sound really good other than the harmonics (buzzing). I’ll bet you would not have the same problem, I think it’s my head (bone structure - vacant space betwixt the ears, etc.). With the holy type ear domes (blessed by the Pope?!) the sound is really awesome.

So it sounds like you get a better sound when the ear is open to natural sound? I think I’d like to try the more open domes just to see what would happen. That will be something to discuss at the next visit.

BTW 52 here as well. Deaf for life. Looking at this to “match the curve”. The next trip in I am going to have the audi “flatten the curve” a lot. I think the tin can may be the fact I just have never heard the midrange worth a tinkers damn. If that’s the way things really sound I don’t like it.

My problem has only been apparent in the last 4/5 years. It is something I can still manage. I don’t have a problem with small groups in restaurants or the classroom. Some of the children’s voices in the class give me a problem simply because of the volume level - I cope with this by moving around the class more. I know I have the volume level on the TV up more than I have when using the aids but it’s not that much - my receiver is normally around -21 as opposed to -30 with the aids. It’s only me in the room so not bothering anyone either.

I would like to hear better overall but my comfort is still a major concern to me. I feel it is not an advantage if I feel a great relief to get home from work and remove the aids. At the moment I’m sitting here in a quiet room typing on a keyboard that sounds like someone hammering an a piece of plastic. In my right ear there is the constant whooshing noise of the PCs fan. In my left ear there is a clock ticking loudly!

With the large closed domes I feel the same way. I have relief when I take them out. With the smaller closed domes or the open ones I do not feel that way. I sometimes forget I have them in. The smaller closed domes do not seal as well and will pop out. The audi installed the “clips” that go in the bowl of the outer ear to remedy this. They did work, but the buzzing (while less noticeable on the small closed domes than the open ones) is still there. The clips caused slight irritation. I say slight, it was just a touch of itchiness from where it attached to the speaker wire. That’s why I opted to try a week of the large closed domes. As now I am getting everything from the HA and very little from the environment I knew there would be some adjustment because of it. So far I am very disappointed. The mid-range it too loud. Everything has lost it’s “snap” and become muddy.

Now that’s how I’d like them to feel. The audi told me that I will get used to the feeling of something plugging the ear but to me it’s not natural. The ear was designed to collect sound, not block it out. I could understand if I could hear nothing at all but why block out what I can already hear??

The smaller closed domes do not seal as well and will pop out. The audi installed the “clips” that go in the bowl of the outer ear to remedy this. They did work, but the buzzing (while less noticeable on the small closed domes than the open ones) is still there. The clips caused slight irritation. I say slight, it was just a touch of itchiness from where it attached to the speaker wire.

Apart from the buzzing (which obvioulsy would be a pain) how did the open domes stay in? How did you find the quality of sound?

That’s why I opted to try a week of the large closed domes. As now I am getting everything from the HA and very little from the environment I knew there would be some adjustment because of it. So far I am very disappointed. The mid-range it too loud. Everything has lost it’s “snap” and become muddy.

I feel that too. In the class situation I wanted to be able to hear the children better. Now I just feel that everything is louder and the children’s voices are lost in this sea of noise. The only noticeable benfit I had on Friday was when I had the whole class sitting on the carpet beside me and taking it in turns for 2 children to speak to the rest of the class. Those 2 children were standing right next to me and were very loud - but then I could always hear them in that situation anyway!

Meanwhil I keep trying to swallow every few minutes to try and clear the ears like you would do when landing after a plane journey. For a second or two it sounds better then clogs up again.

I am told it will take up to 6 weeks for the brain to adapt, possibly 3 as I’m younger. I will try to persevere but I feel like giving up and coping with my rather quieter but more natural environment.

If anyone out there could explain why a low to mid frequency loss needs the ear totally blocked up I would be really grateful to hear.

I do the swallowing bit a lot these days. And yawning.

What do these domes look like?

They look like an umbrella (but smooth) with round holes all the way around them. The speaker is pointing out a hole in the center of the top of said umbrella. I am going to try slitting some closed domes today to see if that will work.

Thanks for the description. How did you get on with your slitting?

Do you feel that you get a much more natural sound from these domes?

So far so good. It lets my ears pressurize normally and so far no buzz. I clipped a little triangle out of the domes and it seems to work well.

That’s great to hear.

How is the sound - hopefully less tinny?

I had to give up wearing my aids at lunchtime today - I could not stand it any longer! It’s like wearing a bicket over your head all day - voices are muffled whilst everything else takes over. Even when the class is quiet I can’t hear the children any better than with no aids.

I will phone and make an appointment tomorrow as I can’t go on like this. No aids are better than what I am trying to wear.

Tinny all gone. The sound across the board improved 100%.

Glad to hear you’re having success.

I’m having none, not even in getting an appointment.

Since you have a reverse cookie-bite (just like me) you might find it useful to read this article that I found recently: The Bizarre World of Extreme Reverse-Slope
(or Low Frequency) Hearing Loss
. It’s fairly long, but worth a read (see section “Hearing Aids and Reverse-Slope Losses”).

I tried CICs about 4 years ago…and hated it. I stuck with it for about 6 months, then realized I could actually understand people better without them. Too much of the high frequency sound (which I’ve relied on all my life) was blocked out.

I’m in the process of giving hearing aids another try (have an appointment set up). I think an open-fit might be a more satisfying experience…so will give it a shot.

Thanks - that’s a great article. I’m certainly not anywhere near as good with high frequency sounds as Class 2/3 of the article. However I definitely seem to fit into Class 1.

Now all seems clear as to what I really need in a hearing aid, especially the mold. Blocking my ear seems all wrong as it’s shutting out the sounds I need. I think I’ll print this off and show it to my audiologist if I ever get to see him again!

Reverse cookie bite? First time I’ve heard “reverse” thrown in there! Good luck with the open fit. If you have not tried it before and you are in the states I might recommend Costco. They have at least 3 I know of which will go to 70-80Db range where it is likely to hit a cookie biter.

By the by Jem, I get an appointment once a week with Costco for adjustments. This is the first week I won’t be in because of Thanksgiving. Are you going a state-sponsored route there? January seems like a loooong time! You might want to by some domes and start experimenting as well…

Not in the US but the UK. We do have Costco but it doesn’t do hearing aids as yet, only glasses. I don’t even need to go that far down - more in the 45/50db range.

By the by Jem, I get an appointment once a week with Costco for adjustments. This is the first week I won’t be in because of Thanksgiving. Are you going a state-sponsored route there? January seems like a loooong time! You might want to by some domes and start experimenting as well…

It’s our NHS ( National Health Service) I’m using at the moment as it;s totally free. I may try the private route if I don’t get anywhere.

I’ll need to look to see if domes are available here.

The article does not really cover mine, but I believe it points out the problem I have rather well. My curve looks like the last half of a sine wave. Low (below normal testing) and high (above normal testing) frequencies for me are “normal”. I.e. I can hear them, but because that’s all I hear “normally” they mask other freq’s. The article is good and I will show it to my audi. And now some things make more sense…

If she “equalizes” the 14 channels on these Revo +'s to my hearing curve the sound is muddy and indistinct with closed domes and buzzy with open. I think the closed domes are causing cancellation because we have created a reverbration chamber in my ear. The open domes buzz on me because I am getting harmonic coupling (which he kinda alludes to in the article).

My solution was to modify the closed domes by adding a small port (not unlike a bass port on a speaker) to relieve the “chamber” effect. It seems to work. I also think the open domes would work but need to be “tuned” different because of what he states in the article.

Long story short, the audi I am using right now has been in the business a good few years and has never seen my type of loss. The Revo + certainly has the adjustability, but it is not as straight forward as simply equalizing for the curve. I have told her to drop off certain frequencies she wants to boost and to increase others she wants to drop. Logic does not always work here. She needs to listen to my comments (and she does). But as this is the first time I have tried HA’s I find we are not always speaking the same language.