With each new generation of hearing aids I always hoped that THIS would finally be the one that “fixed” my hearing. Obviously, I’ve gotten used to disappointment.
But I’m definitely impressed with this upgrade. It really feels like a several-generation jump. Although I have to mention that I’ve also gone from power domes to a fully-occluded ear mold, and I’m sure that contributes a lot of the improvement. Between the two, I find that I’m understanding a LOT more of what people are saying to me - to the point that friends have commented that I suddenly seem to be hearing much better.
I used the P90s with power domes for a week or two while the custom molds were being made, but I don’t remember enough detail at this point to be able to say with certainty what difference each change made, so I’ll try to concentrate here on things that are specific to the hearing aids themselves.
The improved Bluetooth connectivity is wonderful. I can sit down at my computer and my ears connect automatically in place of the speakers. But my (Android) phone is still connected, so I can take cell phone calls by just tapping my ear. The Bluetooth range doesn’t seem to be markedly improved, though; streaming still sometimes cuts out and in when my phone is in my pants pocket, and it flips between stereo and mono. Walking with the phone in my hand cures that.
The remote control app in the phone used to be next to useless, because most of the time getting it to connect would take restarting the aids and sometimes the app too. In most cases it just wasn’t worth the trouble - and I didn’t want to abandon the other people at the table and disappear into my phone to play with it. Now, using the same phone, the app is almost always available when I want it (well, within 5 or 10 seconds, but it doesn’t need my attention during that time), and I use it a lot to try out other programs or make adjustments in the current program.
The ability of these aids to suppress environmental noise is amazing. Especially in car mode. My partner used to have to speak very loudly to be heard in the car. We made an 800 mile road trip last week, and while I still had to make a point of speaking up to be heard, she did not. In fact, I understood a few mumbles that weren’t meant for me to hear. When we stopped for a break, I found myself checking the dashboard to see if the car was running, because the engine noise was suppressed into silence.
I’m sitting on my porch as I write this, and my neighbor is mowing his lawn. Normally that would drive me inside within a minute or two. Today I heard a mower, but until I looked up, I assumed it was somewhere else in the neighborhood. I have previously tried noise-cancelling headphones to deal with his mower, but of course I’d have to turn the aids off too, to avoid feedback. Amazingly, these aids don’t need to be turned off to use over-the-ear headphones. Although I suppose the ear molds have to get at least some of the credit for that.
I kept a headset plugged into the phone in my office, because even at max volume, I usually couldn’t make out what the caller was saying. The headset helped a lot. I no longer use that because the Acoustic Phone mode in the P90s works better. It boosts the phone frequencies and sharpens up the sound, and - best of all - sends the voice to both ears. Now I no longer have to run to the office to talk on the phone - I can pick up any extension.
I have always been leery of non-replaceable rechargeable batteries, especially in hearing aids. I’m not at all confident that they won’t quit on me halfway through an evening out, leaving me with no option but to go home. The rechargeable trial pair I was using usually got through a whole day (with some streaming), but the right one (the Bluetooth side) gave out around 10:30 PM a couple of times. And I assume those were fairly new. After a couple of years…?
I like the security of a spare battery in my pocket, so I decided to get P90-13s, even though I had to give up the double-tap. (Next paragraph.)
With the P90Rs I could double-tap my ear to answer the phone - more convenient than holding the button down. I could also double-tap and ask “How many ounces is 3.3 liters?” or “How is the traffic on I-40?” and get the answer. That came in handy a few times, but the assistant would very often get triggered by something like putting my glasses on, and answer some random question I hadn’t asked. A lot less handy. Downright annoying, actually. But I did very much like being able to double-tap my other ear to pause/resume the audiobook I was listening to. That was very handy when I wanted to stop and speak with someone. I will miss that.
So that has been my experience with the Phonak Paradise P90s. My speech comprehension in all situations has been greatly improved (Thank you, Phonak!), and the “convenience” factors (environmental noise reduction, Bluetooth, etc.) are a lot better too. Hearing loss still sucks, but not nearly as badly as it did a few months ago.