Picked up my Opns today. And just like when I started CPAP for sleep apnea several years ago, I need a place to record my thoughts about what’s going on. It helps when I’m dealing with follow-up appointments and so forth.
I can tell a positive difference in that I can hear all the background noises that I was missing. And it is easier to hear what my mumbling husband says. (Hubby’s mumbling is commented on by multiple people, but my hearing loss made things even worse.)
But normal conversation in quiet rooms seems way too loud. Yes, I told the audiologist this since it was apparent as soon as she put the aids on me. She turned the overall gain down and wants to increase it gradually. OK, I guess. But I don’t really want ordinary conversation to sound like people are on the verge of yelling at me. And that’s what it sounded like in the office when she was talking to me. The audiologist also said that if I want to take the hearing aids out when conversational noise is getting too loud for me, to do that. She said it’s ok to go slow and start slowly. I’m not sure whether this will be a huge issue for me or just a small one. At least not with the current level of gain.
Pluses so far in no particular order:
- The aids are more comfortable than I was expecting. I don't really notice the feel of the one in my left ear at all, the one on the right is noticeable, but not uncomfortable.
- I appreciate hearing the background noises that I have not been reliably hearing in the past couple of years. I was happy to hear the click-click-click of the audiologist's mouse from across the office for example. Hearing upstairs bathroom fan was on from downstairs was a nice positive change as well.
- Pairing with my new iPhone 5S went smoothly. It's strange to hear the phone conversation in both ears.
- It is easier to hear birds outside.
- Tinnitus is much reduced when I've got the aids in my ears.
- Music and the radio sound correct without me having to fiddle with the equalizer to excessively boost the treble and simultaneously suppress the like I have been doing without the hearing aids. In other words, I can now set the equalizer to something that is normal and the music sounds right to me.
Some negatives again in no particular order:
- There's sometimes crinkling when I scratch my head or when my husband is rubbing the back of my neck. This was excessively loud when the audiologist first put my aids on me. She did some kind of testing and adjustment and that cut it down from "constant" to rather intermittent.
- There's an echoing quality to my own voice. My voice is louder than I would expect it to be, but at least it doesn't seem to be quite so over amplified as other people's voices. Audiologist says I'll get used to it, and at least it's not unpleasant. Still, I wish it wasn't there. If this gets worse when I start teaching and have to use my "teacher's voice", that will be something that I'll have to talk to the audiologist about.
- Quiet conversation seems over amplified. Please understand that I usually don't have any problem understanding someone talking one-on-one, even in a noisy environment. But the conversation I had with the audiologist in her office was almost, but not quite uncomfortably loud. I've also had to ask hubby to lower his voice several times when he was not talking particularly loud to begin with, but the amplification pushed the loudness up close to the level it is at when he's mad at me. I don't want feel like hubby is constantly on the verge of yelling at me.
- Cellophane crinkling is intensely uncomfortable. Paper rustling is louder than I would expect, but not uncomfortable. Cellophane crinkling is actually uncomfortable. I suspect that it may be related to my tinnitus----even before the hearing loss was diagnosed certain pitches have always seemed "extra loud" to me, and after the tinnitus testing was done, I was able to figure out that several of those pitches are right around where the pitch of my tinnitus. Cellophane crinkling seems to be at one of those pitches.
- I am not looking forward to having to add the daily "hearing aid cleaning" to my nightly "tasks to do before bed".
- These things make me feel really, really old. I know that objectively I'm in pretty good shape for a 58 year old. But outside of my MIL (who is 95) I don't know a single person who has hearing aids. And my MIL didn't get hers until she was in her late 70s.
- I wish there was a way for my MacBook Pro to stream directly to the headphones. There are a number of things that I listen to on-line, but the idea of trying to get to websites via the cell phone is not pleasant. I'm a ten fingered typist and I don't like web browsing on the iPhone since typing on it is just not easy.
- While the tinnitus is much less when the hearing aids are in my ears, it comes back immediately as soon as I take them out. This does not bode well for getting to sleep at night. And sleep is a huge issue for me---I've been fighting sleep problems for a long time and I and my sleep doctor are just about out of ideas on what can be done to allow me to get enough high quality sleep to not feel sleep deprived all the time.
- When I take one aid out (to scratch my ears for example), that ear immediately feels "stuffed up", but when I put the aid back in, the "stuffed up" feeling disappears. I think it's because I can tell I'm not hearing as many things without the aids.
- I'm terrified of losing these very expensive gadgets. I like to bike and hike in the summer. I like to ski in the winter. It's not clear to me what I should/should not be able to do without worrying about the aids falling out of my ears.
My first follow-up is in two weeks (Aug 15). Audiologist says to call/email her if anything comes up before then.
The audiologist also spent some time answering my questions about my fear of the hearing aids creating additional noise induced hearing loss due to the amplified sound. She didn’t really give me a good suggestion, however, on what to do when I’m walking outside and there’s really loud noise like a motorcycle in the road. Without hearing aids, I just stick my fingers in my ears anytime the noise level gets a bit uncomfortable until the noise goes away. Her suggestion for the time being was to just not wear the aids on my nightly walks so that I can keep doing what I do now. But I miss the background noises (birds, crickets, cicadas, etc) on my walks and if the aids will let me hear them, I’d rather not just take the aids out for the walk.