I’ve been using Signia Silk 7px for about two months now and I’ve struggled to find information and feedback on these models so I decided to share my experiences.
To start here is some background on my hearing loss. As a teen way too much loud music and in my twenties lots of power tools without ear plugs. In my thirties I was more cautious about my hearing but the damage was already done. I never had issues hearing conversations until I turned 40 and I didn’t expect things to go south so quickly I figured because I was being cautious about hearing it wouldn’t get worse…I was wrong the damage you do when you are younger doesn’t turn up until you are older.
The strange thing is my hearing loss is pretty flat across all frequencies. The END and Audiologist both have told me they think my hearing loss is hereditary because it’s flat. Either way here I am now at 41 years old and struggling to make out conversations.
So I’m 41 and self-continuous about the idea of wearing hearing aids so I’m leaning towards CIC as discreet was very important to me. The first hearing center I went to tries talking me into BTE as she tells me they out sell CIC by 10-1 so she has me try them on. A sense of panic comes over me as I realize I have to wear these for the rest of my life. I took them off as quick as possible and told her again I prefer the idea of CIC. She rubbed me the wrong way so I decided to not deal with her.
Now that I’ve come to terms with my need for a hearing aid I started to call a few hearing centers and ended up talking to a few more audiologists before I finally came across someone more genuine that understood where I was at. A side note, it’s amazing how poor at sales some of the hearing centers are. They don’t listen to the customers needs and try to fit based on what the customer wants. Even if BTE is better it’s not going to help if they are sitting on my dresser every day. Also most hearing centers are tied to one manufacture I was quick to learn. I would ask why they prefer the brand they are recommending over another brand and all any of them could tell me is that they feel it’s the best brand. Being new to hearing aids I was looking for some solid information on what brand would be best for my needs.
By this point I had done some of my own research on line and when I saw the Signia Silks on display I had already read all about them. I knew I wanted CIC and I was willing to pay for the fitting charge to try them out but the Silk’s gave me a chance to see what it felt like to put a hearing aid in my ear for the first time. I really believe the BTE’s outsell CIC’s by such a large margin because there is no way to try CIC’s without getting a pair fitted. The Silk is a genius design, you can truly try a pair out for a few weeks where there was no way to do this in the past with CIC’s.
I tried them on and they felt surprisingly comfortable, I didn’t anticipate them being so comfortable to be honest. My plan was to see if I liked the idea of a CIC and if I did I would get a custom molded pair made up. The few reviews for Silk’s I was able to find raved about the comfort and I did find one reviewer say they were more comfortable than molded ones. When I chew or move my jaw I can really feel my ears moving around and if I had a hard molded I can’t imagine it being as comfortable as the flexible silicone of the Silk’s. That being said I have no idea as I’ve never tried a molded pair just my theory.
When I first put the trial pair in my ears the first thing I noticed was how loud my own voice suddenly was. The Audiologist’s office was quiet so it was hard to really know what was coming yet. He told me he immediately noticed I was talking way quieter. I’m sure over the years I became a loud talker without knowing however I do know in some situations when I would talk to others I would intentionally talk louder to encourage the other person to talk louder….it didn’t always work.
So I leave the office and get in my truck, I started my engine and the radio came on and it was loud. I grab the steering wheel and for some reason I really remember hearing my hand slide around the wheel, I can’t ever remember hearing this. I went home so show my wife my new hearing aids, I walk in the door and as soon as I see her I started to cry. It’s really hitting me that I have to wear these things for the rest of my life. I pull myself together and show her, she had no idea I was wearing them until I turned my head. “You can’t even see them” she said. Until you are the one that is wearing hearing aids at 41 years old it’s easy to say no one cares. Leading up to this as my hearing was decreasing she would yell at me all the time “you need to get your hearing checked!” I’m sure it was frustrating for her but I always knew a visit to the specialist only had one outcome and I wasn’t ready for hearing aids.
So I faced my wife with the hearing aids, I thought in my head she would see this as a weakness. You never want the person you love to think less of you. So far she has been supportive of the hearing aids, she tells me she doesn’t care it’s like someone wearing glasses you don’t think less of them. She just appreciates that I’m not asking her to repeat what she is saying all the time.
So off to work I go, I get to work and every key of the keyboard sounded different and the mouse made a clicking noise I never knew it made. I’m hearing beeping from the microwave down the hallway, the photocopier and printer doing its work. Also it turns out the photocopier has a beep at the end of a print job I never knew existed. So I go throughout my day and try to avoid people so they don’t notice. I know it’s inevitable but I’m not talking to people about it today. I go home and take them out, that’s enough for today.
The next morning I have to meet a client at a coffee shop, I sit down in a corner and wait for him to arrive. The noise is incredible, I can hear the girls behind the counter and so much cling clanging it’s overwhelming so I turn the volume right down. It was my first experience in a public place and it felt it strenuous to focus on the person with everything going on around us. I can’t imagine any hearing aid being different if you aren’t used to this. With new hearing aids it’s a bit if sensory overload. Water running is crazy loud and the noise of crumpling of paper takes over everything so after a week of wearing them on and off I ask for an adjustment.
They are adjusted to bring the highs down and the overall volume was reduced. I go into meetings and I struggle to hear what is being said so I crank the volume up. So after a week of this I meet for another adjustment and mention I’m having difficulty with voices so I ask for the mids to be raised. For the next week everything sounds like tinny AM radio and I’m getting really frustrated. Although I can do better in conversations I’m not happy with the sound. Thank goodness for blogs and forums helping me through understanding what to expect with new hearing aids. The hearing aids are programmed based on my audiogram. The audiologist plugs in the results from the audiogram into the Siemens software and the hearing aids are programmed to suit my hearing loss. So I ask him to completely reset back to the original settings.
The hearing aids are set back to how I first received them and they seem great. It’s funny how after a month my brain has slowly adjusted and the overwhelming sounds just seem normal. If anyone reading this is just getting hearing aids for the first time I would really recommend not messing around with the settings too much, just wear them for a month or so and let your brain adjust. The idea with the software is to get your hearing back to where it should have been before you had hearing loss. This is a huge adjustment and you need time to adjust. Now that I’ve adapted to hearing with hearing aids I hate taking them out. As soon as I remove them it sounds like I’m hearing with my hands covering my ears, everything is muffled.
I’ve always been a gadget guy, when I was buying hearing aids I wanted the top of the line. I went with the 7px, the Easytec and the TV Transmitter. Also the fact that I can control my programs and volume from my iPhone is amazing. I was actually quite blown away when I learned this was possible for the first time. I always have my iphone with me and it is really handy that I can control volume from the App. When I first got the Easytec I didn’t think I would use it often especially at work for fear of people seeming me wear the crazy necklace. I’ve come to terms with wearing hearing aids and become more confident about it. Now I use the Easytec for phone calls all day long at work, it’s great I can talk on the phone and have both hands free to multitask.
One thing I didn’t know until I started using the Easytec for phone calls is that it still amplifies the noises around me while I’m on the phone. Pretty cool, someone can talk to me while I’m on the phone and I can hear them while I hear the person on the phone. The only funny thing is that no one knows if I’m on the phone when they pop in my office, they just see me talking and not holding anything up to my ear. It’s not like a Bluetooth headset that people can see but my coworkers are learning. I haven’t tried out the TV transmitter yet one day when I do I’ll comment on it. On a positive note the TV volume is not driving my wife as crazy as it used to.
One complaint I have with the Easytec; if the caller you are talking to has a low volume and you adjust the volume up on the phone call the hearing aid volume stays at the higher volume when you are done the call. I find I’m adjusting the volume quite often due to this.
Like I mentioned the fact that I can control the volume and programs directly from the Touchcontrol App is amazing. One way Siemens could improve on this experience would be some back and forth communication between the phone and the hearing aids. For example the hearing aids reset back to the default volume whenever the battery door is opened but the App doesn’t know about the change in volume and program and still displays the last setting you adjusted on the App. This is a small thing but it would be a nice improvement.
In general I’m happy I selected the Signia Silk. I’m only two months in and still adjusting to life with hearing aids but I do like the comfort of the Silk. Also I’m happy I decided to go with CIC hearing aids, having something behind my ear and a wire going to my canal would drive me nuts. Also I like that I can just hold a phone up to my ear like normal. With winter approaching I tried on a touque and it seemed to be ok without feedback, not sure how this would be with a BTE.
I do get some chirps and feedback and as these are the only hearing aids I’ve ever owned I can’t compare this to anything else. Maybe some future adjustments may help this we shall see.
To conclude I would recommend the Signia Silk to anyone considering a CIC hearing aid.