On the fence about HA's? ReSound Live 9s, my first day

If you have a hearing loss and an audiologist has recommended hearing aids but you’re on the fence about whether they’re worth it , this is my experience. My hearing wasn’t “that bad” according to me but I was having problems understanding people and it was not getting better.

I’ve just started on this journey and am by no means an expert, I just wanted to put my experiences out there in hopes that they may help others. I know that when I first realized my hearing was a problem I had alot of questions, concerns, and more than a little apprehension.

I picked up my ReSound Live 9 TS HAs yesterday. After the initial feedback calibration, when the Audi first activated them I was, quite simply, amazed! The left ear being my poorer one was the biggest shock. I immediately realized that the “quiet” room we were in was chaos! People were talking in the hall, there was music coming from the room next door, the ventilation fan sounded like a wind tunnel, and the Audi was screaming at me! Ok, not really screaming, but I could hear her VERY well. I didn’t have to concentrate on listening to her every word to understand what she was saying.

The sound in my left ear was clear but very “tinny”. She said that she’d leave it alone for now because my brain needs to get used to hearing at those frequencies again and it should start sounding more normal as my brain adjusts. If it didn’t improve by my next visit she’d tweak it then. She was right. I was only a few hours and the feeling of listening to a cheap radio had gone.

The aids are very comfortable, light, and easy to insert and manipulate. The volume and program buttons are easy to use while wearing and can quickly find them and tell which is which by their different feel.

My first encounter after leaving the fitting room was the front desk to make a follow up appointment. Still not used to how loud my pants were walking down the hall and that it sounded like there were a hundred people talking all around me, I was in a bit of sensory overload I guess. The receptionist was with another customer so I stood in line for a few minutes. The TV that was a faint, unintelligible murmur when I was waiting to be seen was now loud and clear as two pundits from one of the news channels traded barbs over the crisis de jour. I was standing in line pondering if all of that “smart filtering” the audi was telling me about could be adjusted to filter out talking heads when something amazing happened- I heard the receptionist say “next”! I wasn’t looking at her, I was about ten feet away, she was sitting behind a tall counter and the TV was on… but I heard her plain as day! I could get used to this!

Same story at Starbucks - Muzak in the background, machines humming and clanking and swooshing but I heard them call my drink! Life is good!

So with my new found hearing I decide I need to go out and celebrate with some friends! Buffalo Wild Wings it is…and the first few thorns in this new romance. There were about 20 TVs tuned to different sports programs, about 70 people talking and laughing and carrying on and I can’t hear crap! Or, more to the point, i hear EVERYTHING! I try to select the 2nd program on my aides (heavy noise) and can’t hear the beeps that are supposed to tell me what program I’m in. Doesn’t matter because as I cycle through all of them and the only one that sounds different is the telecoil program because it turns off the microphones and everything gets very quiet. I go outside and start switching, I can hear the beeps now, and select the noise program. Back inside it’s still crazy, I hear everything except my friends and the waiter.

Oh well I figure, I couldn’t hear in this type of setting before HA’s and I know this is the most difficult environment for them. If they don’t work here I can live with that, they have been fantastic other than this. Time to just relax and enjoy the evening. If they get too bad I can always just take them out.
After about an hour I realized something, even though there is more people and more noise, I seem to be having much less trouble hearing my friends. The waiter is also understandable, not crystal clear, but understandable. The noise is still there but it’s not the focus. I can hear and understand pretty well. I do need to pay attention but I can follow what’s being said.

How much of this is the HA’s adjusting to the environment (as advertised) and how much is my brain sorting it out i can’t say but I do know that before the HA’s if I wasn’t two feet away and looking directly at you I wouldn’t have heard a word that was said. With the HA’s I actually heard the waiter ask if I wanted another beer from behind me and to the left, not well, but I did hear him!

After dinner it was back to hearing all of the new sounds crisp and clear, a friend said something to me from across the parking lot and I turned around and replied. That wouldn’t have happened the night before, I would have either kept walking, not even realizing they had said a thing or waved and said “see ya later” ,which would NOT have been the answer to his question!

The final shock of my first day was when I took them out for the night, the instantaneous feeling of dullness and quiet was … I can’t think of the words to describe it!

Well I too am on my first week with HAs.

My experience has been VERY different.

My hearing is worse than Kelly’s. My good ear is about the same as his(her?) bad ear and my bad ear much worse.

My first few days and I thought the darn things pretty useless. Could not reliably tell if they were even turned “on” but, of course they were.

After the audiologist tweaked them, it was much more obvious that they were indeed turned on. But it was no night and day difference.

I still can’t hear the turn signal in my car when at speed. I don’t think voice intelligibility much improved either.

I CAN hear a hissing noise in both ears in programme #1. When switching to programme # 2 (supposedly for “noisy environment”), the hiss in one ear goes away but I still hear it in the other. Needless to say I don’t like this hiss noise from the aids even though it is quite low. In a normal environment I do not hear it but it is a bit annoying in a quiet setting. It is NOT an environmental sound . . . it is something the aids themselves are generating.

There has been one situation where the aids made a startling difference. There are numerous juvenile goldfinches about the property. I was quite unable to hear them but I certainly can with the aids . . . but in one ear only . . . my “good” ear.

I am wavering as to whether or not I will keep these things after the trial period is up. We’ll see.

They are Siemens Pure 101 HAs’

Kelly, Welcome to the world of better hearing! You didn’t mention it, but do you have a problem with tinnitus (ringing in the ears)? I ask because you mention that you have the TS model of the Live 9, which is normally only fit on patients that are suffering from that to a degree where they find it bothersome. There’s no rule that says you can’t fit the TS model on someone without tinnitus, just a curious choice.

Terry, If you’re not noticing much of a benefit with your instruments you should definitely go back for an adjustment and explain your frustration. In my opinion, the two most significant factors affecting your success (or lack thereof) with hearing instruments are the skill of the person fitting them (or lack thereof) and the appropriateness of the brand/model selected.

Keep in mind that the model that you have (Pure 101) is an entry-level model. Kelly’s Live 9s would most closely compare to the Pure 701 in the SIEMENS product line. In a quiet environment the Pure 101 will perform beautifully, but in a more challenging environment the higher end models really prove their worth.

Kelly’s experience is very similar to mine with ReSound Live 5. These are my first and have had them for 2 months. Awesome.

I just got a set of ReSound Alera61 with bluetooth. I’ll comment on these in another thread.