Stuck without a hearing aid. NEED ANALOG in MN

analog
starkey
#1

I have been hard of hearing my whole life. I have bilateral sensory neural hearing loss. My left ear is non functional whereas my right ear is moderate to profound. My first hearing aid was at the age of 3 and it was an analog. My last analog hearing aid I got in 1997. It lasted me until 2016. I have been hearing aid less since that year.

I’ve tried digital but the sound is so distorted AND I noticed when I try to talk, the hearing aid actually clicks. The best way to describe it is if someone is turning my hearing aid on and off with my every spoken word.

I also got a migraine the minute it was turned on. The room started spinning and I thought I was going to puke.

I tried going to Starkey but was treated like a second class citizen because I was only there to get a hearing aid…not to donate to the foundation. This happened on my second visit to the facility (first visit was a preliminary visit with hearing tests and to sit through their attempt to force a digital onto me even though I insisted I wanted/needed an analog). My appointment was at 9 am. I got there at 8:50 am. Had my ears cleaned (for free). Then waited…and waited…and waited. 12 pm I’m finally brought back to have an impression of my ear made. Then was told to go to lunch (at their facility). Came back to one of their couches at about 1:15 and waited. And waited…and waited. I waited while a former US ambassador was given the red carpet. Waited while a former fighter pilot was given the red carpet. Waited while an elderly radio personality was given the red carpet. Waited while a couple (who obviously are wealthy) were given the red carpet to the CEO’s office. I was finally noticed at 6 PM. “Oh I only have 20 minutes before I have to leave to catch a flight to Africa for the foundation.”

Mind you, my appointment was at 9AM! Their excuse: “we lost your file”.

I was given a refurbished analog that was not programmed correctly AND I had to pay full price (as if I was purchasing a digital). $3,000 for a poorly programmed/refurbished hearing aid and over 9 hours of my time. Needless to say, I couldn’t get used to the cruddy hearing aid and returned it. It took over 4 weeks to get my money back (took them all but a day to cash my check). I had to call them wondering if I was going to get my money before year end so that I could get it back into my HSA account. I got the refund check December 27th.

I tried another hearing aid place only to be ignored there as well.

I am now having difficulty at work and my boss keeps asking if I’m going to get a hearing aid. I lie and say I’m looking because I feel like if I say that I’m not, I’ll get fired.

I work an accounts payable desk job and have to have some contact with vendors. I have to have a visual notification for the phone and the phone system at work was “upgraded” to VOIP. There are no visual notification devices for deaf/hard of hearing that is compatible with VOIP. There are no PHONES for severely hard of hearing compatible with that system either! I’m stuck using the analog phone I had because it has a visual notification device that is only compatible with the phone line and not internet.

I am desperate to find someone in Minnesota that is willing to work with me to get a hearing aid that will work so I can go to work without feeling frustrated.

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#2

Hello Kat,
I remember you from the past.
Have you tried Lloyd’s? I bet they can help you out.
Great bunch of people.

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#3

Distortion and feeling sick sounds like the hearing aids were way too loud, which could be from a bad hearing test, or from a bad setup. By the way, a bad hearing test could be your fault.

Modern hearing aids have many more options. I use a VOIP phone with bluetooth ability and it transmits to my hearing aids using my bluetooth hearing aid device. I’m on webex online meetings several hours a day, and I can hear better than I have in years.

I have profound loss in the high frequencies and my hearing aids move those sounds to lower frequencies where I hear better. It sounds normal, just better because I can hear high frequencies now. Music sounds good too. Yes, it sounded tinny at first because I was used to everything being bassy and I didnt realize it.

I would challenge you to forget the past, figure out what caused your previous problems, and fix it with modern technology. Stay with it, get several adjustments and give your brain several months to get used to the new sounds.

I use Phonak hearing aids from my local Costco Hearing Center but there are several good brands. Finding a pro to work with is probably more important than the brand. Find a pro you like and trust and give them 6 months to get everything right. The goal is not to sound like what you expect, or what you remember, but to improve your understanding of speech, in different circumstances, and it will take you some time to adjust to that.

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#4

Every place I’ve visited, I have had bad experiences. I just can’t find someone that is, despite the irony, willing to listen to me.

I’m not sure how a bad hearing test could be my fault. I know when I can hear something and when I can’t. I have all of my audiograms from kindergarten up to 3 years ago (when I was last tested). The only thing that I could say would cause a bad test would be the tinnitus…the constant ringing in my ear.

I had an analog hearing aid my entire life. The place that I used to go to, all of the sudden stopped working with Starkey hearing aids. Then they wouldn’t work with me (despite going there for 20 years) to get the parts I needed (like an ear hook or the tube from the mold to the ear hook, or a mold that was vented from the get go).

When I tried the digital and had the physical reaction that I did, the audiologist said, “This is what you should be at.” I don’t care what “I should be at”, I care about hearing the way I did, then gradually introducing things that the analog didn’t pick up. But nope…hearing aid “has to be set to my audiogram”.

I tried to get them to give me an hearing test with the hearing aid but “that’s not the way it’s done.” The hearing test with the hearing aid will tell me what I can hear and what I can’t hear with the hearing aid. It would have given them a baseline to compare the two audiograms to see where the changes need to be made. Now it’s too late to do that since I haven’t had a hearing aid in 3 years.

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#5

Have you considered the DIY route?
I agree with doing a hearing test with the aids you plan to wear set up like you will wear them. This has done well for me.

You are going to have a much harder time adjusting to an aid now that you haven’t worn an aid for three years. You are going to have to want to hear again with an aid. You won’t like it at first.

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#6

James B. Conant was a famous chemist, famous President of Harvard, a notable diplomat, and one of the people who backed the national scholastic aptitude test at its start because he believed the important people in power should be chosen on merit, not on the social status and wealth that they inherited from their parents back in the day.

He particularly liked a pun in Latin on his name: “conanti nihil difficile est” - “conanti” is “trying” in Latin. So the Latin phrase could be interpreted in English as “nothing is difficult to trying” or just using conanti as his name “nothing is difficult to Conant” - maybe a little immodest but humorous that the Latin meaning behind his name plays up to him.

So wherever I try to get through something difficult that requires some perseverance and adjustment, I try to think of Conant’s motto (with a smile). :smiley:

Maybe thinking about “conanti nihil difficile est” could help in a transition between analog and digital. The attack and relaxation constants for compression and the relative amount of compression can be adjusted so that a digital hearing aid can sound a lot more like an analog. For ReSound HA’s, their Audiology Online courses explain what’s available in the fitting software settings to allow this to be done. Maybe you just need a better audiologist or care provider than the ones you’ve been seeing?

For a digital hearing aid the MUSIC program usually has the least compression and the slowest attack and relaxation constants. You could ask to be sure to have a MUSIC program set up for you for starters. There are sometimes user profiles that are more linear (for ReSound, the one in the fitting software would be “Experienced User (Linear),” which is really not completely linear, just less compressed than other options.

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#7

I would pick a couple of hearing aid pros based on a hearing test and a conversation like "what would you do for me? What if they seem too loud, can we ramp up? How many adjustments do you think I’ll need? You can tell a lot about attitude from answers to those kinds of questions.

Finding the pro you need is not easy, but it can be done. I would base the initial contact almost totally on recommendations. Every place you go, someone in there has hearing aids. You dont have to have a long conversation, just something like, I see you have hearing aids, or just motion to your own ears, I have to get new ones, where did you get yours? Working OK? Then write down the answers. You might see a trend. Bubba on 10th has 4 OK’s, nobody else is close. Hello Bubba!

About the hearing test, if you have had several and they are about the same then they are probably right. But if a person waits to push the button, until they are sure there is a strong tone, they could end up with a worse hearing test than they really deserve, and the hearing aids would be set up stronger than necessary. It takes concentration and effort to press the button as soon as there is the faintest possibility of a tone.

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#8

A few years ago, I worked as a help desk agent at General Motors. My duty is to answer telephone, and to provide software and hardware solutions to autoworkers in GM-Korea when they had troubles with their factory PCs.

Each agent was given a Plantronics telephone with a headset. However, I could not use that headset because I wore hearing aids. So, I designed and used a special headset for me.

I connected a Headset Buddy to the telephone RJ9 adapter. The headset buddy is a short cables with a telephone jack (RJ9) one end, and audio jacks in the other end. It splits telephone jack in to two audio jacks: one for mic, and the other for earphone.
Then I connected the earphone jack to my ComPilot (either wired or via bluetooth connection), and mic jack to the microphone of Plantronics headset using a couple of audio cables. In this way, I could hear my clients through hearing aid, and speak to them through the mic.

You can buy a Headset Buddy ( Headset Buddy: PC Dual 3.5mm Headset to RJ9/RJ10/RJ22 Phone Adapter) from Amazon, eBay, or directly from Headset Buddy for about 20 dollars.

I have found least one visual notification devices compatible with VOIP available in the market (Amazon or eBay). The name of the device is Algo 8128.

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#9

Besides Conant’s motto “conanti nihil difficile est” - Nothing Is Difficult to Trying, another anecdote of his life comes to mind. The NY Times actually cites Conant’s usage of the metaphor in 1978 obituary and he may have repurposed and expanded it in his autobiography. It certainly applies to choosing hearing aids.

Back in the good ol’ days of Model T’s and dirt roads turning into gravel roads and eventually paved asphalt, Conant recalled a sign planted by the side of the old Trans-Canadian Highway: “Choose your rut carefully. You will be stuck in it for the next several thousand miles.”

(the quote in his obituary is more restrained and consequently not quite as humorous):

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#10

Kat…

you need to find someone who’s been at it for a long time. A good tech can make a digital hearing aid very linear sounding and feeling with proper programming.

The problem you are going to run into with linear is that it is so limited in gain without the risk of feedback. Once you get past about 30db in an in the ear instrument, there is a constant risk of feedback when you yawn, chew, or get to close to a wall or door. Digital manages feedback and eliminates it before it can get started.

If you don’t mind sharing, what is the zip code where you live? I know people all over that area from my former employment with Starkey, and might be able to steer you to someone who can help you.

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