I have had a moderate to profound to severely profound hearing loss since I was 4 (I am 30 now.) Over the years I have gotten new aids about every 3-5 years. It is always a challenging but usually positive experience, as new technology over time allows me to have been hearing and understanding.
I currently wear 3 year old Phonak Perseo dAz aids. These are by far the best aids I have ever had. Sound quality is decent, I love the program for omitting background noise (and the fact that I can control that myself) and pretty much everything about these aids. However, I currently do not have a “back up” pair, so I feel the need to purchase new aids. I have a 2 year old, and I feel that if these were to break, I would be at a HUGE disadvantage. Even with the aids I pretty much cannot understand speech without lipreading.
I have tried 2 hearing aids so far, and both have been a complete and utter disaster. After about 9 appts (several with my 2 year old in tow!!) I told my audi I’d really just like to get a new pair of aids that I have, and was told they don’t even make them anymore, and pretty much every company is going with the new technology of aids like the Naida. I am highly frustrated as the Naida did NOT work for me, nor does the Unitron 360 seem to be as good as my current aids. REsearch has shown that Phonak DOES still manufactuer the Perseo, so I’m confused about that. Also contacted my old, childhood audiologist (and friend) who confirmed that most of the new hearing aids are going with the sound recovery technology, etc.
I am pretty much in shock and disbelief that I can’t just get a new pair of what I have, and that the “better” hearing aids are so much worse for me!! I am not comfortable spending 4k on new aids that I “might” adjust to in a few months, and I’m feeling pretty down and out that once the Perseos die I have no choice. I am also at a point where my son is really starting to develop language and speak in sentences so I think this would be a horrible time to have to spend several months “adjusting” to new sounds…its hard enough understanding him now!
Below is the synopsis of the 2 aids I tried, and my experiences. Sorry this is so long but I am just highly frustrated right now and could use some advice perhaps from someone in a similar situation.
Naida: Tried this twice, with multiple adjustments by both the audi and the rep. Hated it. Problems were:
- Everything sounded muffled, as though I had a severe cold or needed to pop my ears. No matter how loud she made the sound.
- The sound (volume) was terrible.
- Could not understand speech AT ALL…and while struggling to do that I was also struggling b/c the aids were picking up sounds like someone’s keys dropping in the next room.
- In general DID NOT LIKE the way it just “automatically” blocked out background noise, instead of me being able to do that myself. We changed the settings but it still omitted loud sounds like a door slamming or something similar. To me, this presents a safety issue as I live with a 2 year old. I am also a runner and I need to at least hear a car approaching as opposed to having my hearing aid eliminate it!! Hated, hated, hated this aid.
Unitron 360: Initially liked it but after a few days found it very uncomfortable. Had 1 adjustment, and going back next week to meet with the audi and rep to try again. She also emailed that she has a pair of Widex for me to try, I am unsre of the model yet. Anyhow, Unitrons:
- I loved the increased volume/power and the fact that sounds were very clear. There was no nasal or cotton-in-the-ear effect
- After 1 day we had to change the volume a little, but I started realizing that although it was great in a quiet situation, any bit of extra noise was too much…mainly the sounds of my son playing happily, things clanging like silverwear or a car door shutting.
- Once I got over the excitement of the volume, I realized I could barely understand anything my husband or son said. Very frustrating.
I basically asked my audi if we could somehow take the settings of my current aid and get them on the new ones but of course, that’s not possible, only by trial and error. I don’t understand this, but whatever. I can’t beleive in this day and age that I can’t just improve upon what I have without changing everything so drastically. I have NEVER had these issues before when getting new aids, NEVER!!