New User Questions - Avada BluLink In-The-Ear Devices

Greetings! I have been searching for weeks for a forum like this. Any input you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

I am a youthful and athletic 62, and have been putting this off for many years. My hearing is good or especially good from 250 to 2k, but is particularly bad at frequencies of 3k and higher which yields what my audiologist calls the “ski slope” profile. I understand this profile often reflects noise trauma, something I certainly triggered during 27 months on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in the mid-70s. The challenge for this type of loss is that I can hear low frequencies and speech from men very well, but the high-frequency stuff and speech from women and children is poor, nonexistent, or confusing. I cannot count the number of times I have answered a question posed by my wife that she did not ask.

Three weeks ago I took delivery of a pair of Avada devices. The initial programming was way off: the background noise in restaurants and public places just wore me out! Out of desperation I asked Avada to adjust the programming to go as low as possible for the background stuff. This adjustment has helped, but I was told it is all they can do; there is no more adjustment to be had.

I love how the devices are invisible, and they really do help me hear conversations and other things munch better, some for the first time in years. However, I am having a few challenges:

  1. The sound of my own voice is can be annoying. It sounds like it is coming from the middle of my head. Will I get accustomed to this?
  2. The level of background noise while driving is irritating. The sound of my tires (and other traffic as well) has a metallic quality to it that makes me think that a nearby machine is grinding off the top level of pavement on the road I am on. Can this be programmed out, will I get used to it?
  3. After about 6 hours it feels like the level of background noise gets much louder, and the sound of my own voice becomes much more noticeable. I suspect this is something that will diminish over time, but if it will stay as it is I may need to compensate by using the devices for only a portion of the day. What do you think?
  4. Often, because of the way my voice sounds in the middle of my head, I feel like I am speaking louder than I need to. It is difficult to know what is loud enough vs. what may be too loud. This is especially true when I am in a restaurant. Is this another “get used to it” aspect of the devices?
  5. I understand the Bluetooth capability of the devices requires use of a small box worn around your neck. This puts me in mind of one of those “I have fallen and I can’t get up” things which I am definitely not going to make much use of. This strikes me as incredibly low tech. Surely an app for my phone could do the same thing. If I must wear the little box, do you know of a different make of the same kind of device (totally in the ear) that does use a phone app?

Thank you for reading. I will be most grateful for any input you can give me.

If you have normal or near-normal hearing in the low frequencies, an open-fit behind-the-ear hearing aid will be far less occluding than an in-the-ear device. An ITE plugs up your ear canal, making your own voice sound echo-y or boomy. No amount of programming can fix this because it’s a physical issue. I would suggest that you go back to your dispenser and ask to try the BluLink II H330 miniRITE. It’s Avada’s private-label version of Oticon’s Alta Pro miniRITE.

Thank you for the suggestion; however, to me, the benefit of being invisible is more important than the shortcoming of how my voice sounds. I will live with it if I have to, but would prefer to eliminate it if possible. With technology as good as it is, it strikes me that this could be worked around.

A RIC (receiver in canal) device can actually be less visible than an ITE. The wire connecting the receiver is extremely thin and inconspicuous, and the part that sits behind the ear is tiny, especially if you get a size 10 battery. It’s your choice, but I think you’ll be much happier with an open-fit. Consider giving it a try before your return period runs out.

I have to ask is not you being able to hear more important than, than the aids being not seen. I hate to say this but I have been wearing aids for about 9 years and no one ever notices them except when I point them out. I have worn ITE, BTE, and now ITC aids. You being able to hear is what you should be worried about.