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?