Profound Hearing Loss--Extreme Frustration in Purchasing new Aids

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!!

The Naida can be a great choice, but when used with someone who is used to hearing loud sounds loudly and hearing all the background noise, then there is a lot of tweaking on the programming that needs to be done and if your Audi is not familiar, then the use of the Naida can be a problem.

You may want to look at the Oticion SUMO DM, which out of the box is usually a good fit for those who are previous power hearing aid users.

sumo is a good aid, it should do the trick

I agree, I was also thinking of the Oticon Sumo. That HA can even be programmed in analog mode. If you want to go back to the Naida, try the Phonak Naida V UP which is what I have and I still hear everything fine except it blocks some of the mid frequency sounds if it’s a constant puretone, the HA thinks it’s feedback.

Give Resound Azure power aids a try. But keep in mind that all digital aids will take getting used to and numerous visits to the audiologist will be required in order to program the aids properly. That’s just the nature of the beast. You might also consider leaving your 2 yr old with someone when you visit your audiologist. No matter how well behaved a 2 yr. old may be he or she will be a distraction from something that really needs your full concentration. And with modern technology advancing so rapidly old aids become obsolete very quickly.

azure do not have enough juice for this loss. If it is GN then the instrument is the Sparx

It’s always tough swapping to new aids. I’ve had good success measuring the preferred aid in a 2cc coupler, then matching the frequency response of the new aid to the old aid in the coupler.
Check the thread in my own forum on converting from analogue to digital

Naida is a great aid, and you can disable the soundrecover. Sumo is still a good aid, despite it’s age. I’ve not had a lot of experience with the 360 or the Sparx yet; although anecdotally I seem to be getting good results moving old Perseo users on to ReSounds newer aids, so Maybe Sparx (massive though it is) is worth a look.

My loss in both ears is profound. I wear azures everyday. Try them. If you don’t like them then you don’t have to buy them.

this is an interesting way to do things. I had done it a while ago.
I however ask you a question. The few Naidias that I have come across have
an unsually low MPO. I have perform speech mapping. Have you check the MPO on the naidias, or maybe it was just me?

I can’t say i’ve noticed an especially low MPO on the Naida’s, but tbh i’ve not looked out for it until now.

I am upgrading someone at the moment who’s been using Sumo XP’s with hardly any residual hearing. He didn’t do well with Naida or 360 at all- both seemed really quiet (also gave the US80PP a go). He did really well with Siemens Artis SP and subjectively the Artis gave the most power. Yet to try a Sumo DM as Genie crashed- should be able to update on Monday…

It’s always tough swapping to new aids. I’ve had good success measuring the preferred aid in a 2cc coupler, then matching the frequency response of the new aid to the old aid in the coupler.

I have done this a few times too - usually where the client has a very tired old analogue aid which they have used for 20+ years.

It seems a shame to program a fancy & possibly expensive digital aid to emulate a clunky old analogue aid … but sometimes it’s the only way to get the client to accept the new aid.

I have tried a few new aids this year…
I tried the nadia V UP …this aid sounded very distorted…junk to me
moved on the the sumo dm … good aid …I attached a boot and linked to my smartlink .thought about keeping .nevertheless i am now trying the
Otocon Epoq P with the streamer / tv connect package … just had an adjustment tuesday…
I am supprised that this aid and streamer package is what i am looking to keep… i can link to my bluetooth phone ( blackberry) , hear the tv , …etc

also I have a siemens centra SP good aid
and siemens intuis SP good aid also
siemens phoenx 313

I recomend trying any of the aids i mentioned except the Nadia v UP

250 70
500 80
1000 80
2000 70
3000 85
4000 85
6000 110
8000 105

Thanks for all the advice. After much searching and taking a break over the summer, my audi has me trying Siemans Centra. So far this seems the best but I still have a major problem with the compression. I am frustrated that I can’t seem to just replicate the way my old perseo’s sound!!! It is not an analog hearing aid and I am definitly not being stubborn…seems crazy to me to go from being really comfortable and able to function to having a VERY difficult time understanding speech–even my own family, in a room with NO background noise. Going in today for an adjustment but as this is the same problem I had with the naida, I am not very hopeful.

I will say the background noise-reduction program is AWESOME and what I wanted in a hearing aid (not the automatic sound recover). Now just to get the regular hearing setting adjusted.