Totally frustrated newbie

Now on 4th different trial, still can’t hear converstations or TV. Hearing loss low ranges - mild to moderate. #1. Oticon Acto pro rite (pain in back of throat, like a sore throat major ear pressure) #2. Widex Passion 110 (felt okay - sound terrible, like tin can) #3.Phonak Audeo S Mini V - throat pain ear pressure, normal noises way toooo loud) #4. current model Siemens Pure SE - feels okay, can’t hear converstations or TV.

Audiologist tested many different settings, domes, wire sizes. When gain increases, aids click when I speak. Audio. hears it too, did every trick she could, including talking with manuf. fitting specialists. Normal sounds way too loud, but I still struggle and miss words in conversation & TV.

Is there such a thing as not being able to tolerate having a receiver in the ear? I have tinnitis, negative for Miniere’s but have idiopathic right peripheral vestibular paresis. Any suggestions.

Can you inform us about your audiogram?

How were your hearing aids fitted? Did the audiologists use in-situ audiometry (pure tone testing while wearing your hearing aids)? Was real-ear measrement done (output of hearing aids measured with microphones while wearing hearing aids) ?

Did you need much extra amplification after the initial fitting was set?

Do you think that there is something common that characterises the sound from all the hearing aids tested (such as tinniness, harshness, etc) ?

Problems with fitting is often associated with abnormal ear canal size, you should have that checked.

Sorry my bad ‘english’, but know you how old they Passion 110 HA is?
I do not know, but Passion 115 is over 5 years old model… and I believe 110 is one year over five years = six (6) years old modell…

After Passion 110 are come Passion 115 (=Inteo), Passion 440, Mind, Clear 440 and Fusion -models…

If you will/can try they little more new models from Widex… I hope

I know how you feel and let me give you some encouragement. It gets better. At first things may not sound perfect but during the trial period try to get the basics worked out, like fit (staying in), feedback, no other strange sounds like echo or sh sounds sounding like shshshshsh. Once it is working about right you can work on sound quality (too muffled, too tinny) and sound volume.

Your brain has to learn a new way to get sound and it will take a while. When I returned the Rexton Cobalts and tried the Resound Future (Alera) I thought the Future sounded more “electronic”, like it was coming from a set of ear buds. But, after a few weeks I don’t know what I was talking about. Things sound great now. Understanding voices gets better and better over several months as you get used to the hearing aids.

I know you have to make a decision on which hearing aid to get and you don’t want to make a mistake but if the basics are being handled and you think everything else can be tweaked, then the usefullness will increase over several months.

It sounds like you may have had hearing loss for a long time and never had hearing aids. That was my case too and it takes some time for the hearing aids to be really useful.

Everything can be adjusted so maybe your professional can tweak the Pures to get the sound or understanding up.

Thank you all for your support…my delay in following up was due to a very serious accident my spouse had…I’m now getting back to dealing with my hearing in earnest.

I’m feeling very uneducated as I now try to answer some of Arni’s questions…though I’ve tried hard to learn these confusing terms.

My audiogram as I understand what I’m reading which is just x’s, o’s and > < on the paper.
FREQ. L. R.
125 nothing noted
250 50 40
500 35 35
750 > mark @ 35 <mark just above 40
1000 30 30
1500 > & < marked @just under 30
2000 45 25
3000 25 20
4000 25 25
6000 45 25
8000 25 40

I’ve been tested 3 different times by this audiologist in a sound booth…each time the results were fairly similar. She says I have moderae- mild SNHL left ear and mild-bordline normal SNHL right ear.

Yes, I continue to need more amplification to hear TV or people who talk softly or a far distance from me…meaning more than a few feet.

I realize my hearing won’t be like normal…however as I know see it my problem is two fold. Wearing some of these aids such as the Phonak Audeo S Mini V actually made the back of my throat hurt…and the fullness in my head was not tolerable.

The Widex Passion 110 felt better physically however the sound was too tinny and distorted.

The audiologist continues to try different size domes and wires…for instance size 2 fit too deeply in my ear and that causes pain and fullness. We’ve literally spent hours with the various aids connected to her computer as she tries to find settings that help. Each time when she raises the gain…I then hear clicking noises when I talk she keeps thinking it’s feedback…I wonder if it’s my jaw movements that are being heard. Normal noises are beyond distracting. Running water from my sink sounds like a waterfall…the rustling of my clothing can drown out what I need to hear, and even the fan on my digital projector which sits close to me as I do professional presentations prevents me from hearing students asking questions.

I’m going back again today, seriously for about the 20th time for another adjustment. This gal has only practiced a year…she is encouraging, never complains about how often I’ve been there, promises to make it work…but truthfully I am getting frustrated. She continues to say that hearing aids are generally made to address high frequency loss and mine is low freq. loss and that’s why this is so difficult…she raises the gain and then other sounds drown out or the clicking whatever the heck that is happens.

I’m currently using Siemens Pure SE 501…which I find the behind the ear portion very uncomfortable…it’s so fat it just doesn’t sit well, the receiver part in the ear still feels too big because I can’t push it in far enough or it hurts the back of my throat. She hasn’t said too much about abnormal size ear canal…and I’ve been seen by a ENT and that wasn’t mentioned either.

I’m at a loss about what to do…try someone else, try a completly different style of hearing aids…go to a much higher end aid that has more variations??/

Thank you all for any other suggestions…
Mary

Thank you all for your support…my delay in following up was due to a very serious accident my spouse had…I’m now getting back to dealing with my hearing in earnest.

I’m feeling very uneducated as I now try to answer some of Arni’s questions…though I’ve tried hard to learn these confusing terms.

My audiogram as I understand what I’m reading which is just x’s, o’s and > < on the paper.
FREQ. L. R.
125 nothing noted
250 50 40
500 35 35
750 > mark @ 35 <mark just above 40
1000 30 30
1500 > & < marked @just under 30
2000 45 25
3000 25 20
4000 25 25
6000 45 25
8000 25 40

I’ve been tested 3 different times by this audiologist in a sound booth…each time the results were fairly similar. She says I have moderae- mild SNHL left ear and mild-bordline normal SNHL right ear.

Yes, I continue to need more amplification to hear TV or people who talk softly or a far distance from me…meaning more than a few feet.

I realize my hearing won’t be like normal…however as I know see it my problem is two fold. Wearing some of these aids such as the Phonak Audeo S Mini V actually made the back of my throat hurt…and the fullness in my head was not tolerable.

The Widex Passion 110 felt better physically however the sound was too tinny and distorted.

The audiologist continues to try different size domes and wires…for instance size 2 fit too deeply in my ear and that causes pain and fullness. We’ve literally spent hours with the various aids connected to her computer as she tries to find settings that help. Each time when she raises the gain…I then hear clicking noises when I talk she keeps thinking it’s feedback…I wonder if it’s my jaw movements that are being heard. Normal noises are beyond distracting. Running water from my sink sounds like a waterfall…the rustling of my clothing can drown out what I need to hear, and even the fan on my digital projector which sits close to me as I do professional presentations prevents me from hearing students asking questions.

I’m going back again today, seriously for about the 20th time for another adjustment. This gal has only practiced a year…she is encouraging, never complains about how often I’ve been there, promises to make it work…but truthfully I am getting frustrated. She continues to say that hearing aids are generally made to address high frequency loss and mine is low freq. loss and that’s why this is so difficult…she raises the gain and then other sounds drown out or the clicking whatever the heck that is happens.

I’m currently using Siemens Pure SE 501…which I find the behind the ear portion very uncomfortable…it’s so fat it just doesn’t sit well, the receiver part in the ear still feels too big because I can’t push it in far enough or it hurts the back of my throat. She hasn’t said too much about abnormal size ear canal…and I’ve been seen by a ENT and that wasn’t mentioned either.

I’m at a loss about what to do…try someone else, try a completly different style of hearing aids…go to a much higher end aid that has more variations??/

Thank you all for any other suggestions…
Mary

Interesting case. The water sounds, rustling clothes, and fan are all somewhat normal for a new wearer. You are not used to hearing all that and your brain is trying to process.

Normal hearing people hear all that too but their brain already knows to discard some of it. Your brain will re-learn that, it just takes some time. So, harsh sounding everyday sounds will eventually sound normal (after a few months of everyday HA wearing) but they can be adjusted down until you get used to them.

But, if harsh sounds you don’t want to hear are adjusted down then some sounds you want to hear will be adjusted down as well. It sounds like you may need to start out at a medium level and turn them up every month until you get back to full power. Anything like “too tinny” or “too muffled” can be adjusted.

I’m surprised with your low frequency loss that you are not in a custom mold. That might solve all the fit issues and give you better sound as well.

I tried the Rexton Cobalt which is very similar to the Siemens Pure (Rexton is a Siemens brand) and I found them to be excellent, with amazing speech in noise ability, but, that was after many adjustment sessions. I had feedback issues with the open fit domes and decided to try the Resound Futures.

Hang in there and let us know how it goes.

ignore the low frequency loss.

use an open ear rite mid/high frequency prescription.

trial/error with diff dome sizes for comfort. in 28 yrs of practice i have never had anyone complain of “throat” discomfort w/ HAs.

mild/mod gain in mid/high frequencies. once you’ve gotten used to your HAs ( 3-12 months) you may want to introduce some low freq gain w/ occlusion.

All of the HAs you’ve tried are good aids. if you keep switching aids thinking that’s the issue,i think you’ll be disappointed. if i were you, i’d pick one and go with it.

My continued appreciation goes out to this group…

I know I need HA’s, but the process is truly getting to me. I’ve been back twice since my last post. For the first time I began to think we were making progress, however the small domes she installed the prior visit apparently allowed the receiver to move around too much and I developed a rather bad sore, (which was weeping) in one ear.

She spoke with a fitting expert at Siemens who suggested that the clicking noise I hear when I speak might be eliminated with a different dome size…as you have suggested here too! She put on a larger ones…which didn’t make the noise disappear completely, but it’s not as annoying. However, it has a tendency to cause a lot of fullness in ear/head. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to truly determine the effectiveness because I haven’t worn them since last Thurs. due to the sore which is now almost healed.

After reading the forum and doing as much reseach as my novice understanding could absorb, I too wondered if a custom mold would be a better option for me. I spoke to her about it and she fears that due to my vestibular issues…my inner ears no longer function properly, she felt that would cause too much fullness and maybe even balance problems as it would block the ear too much. I’ll talk to her again about it.

Interesting that pain in the back of the throat has not ever been mentioned…two of the three HA’s def. caused it for me. Maybe the receivers were too long/tubes too long…but for sure it caused…well perhaps not pain, but rather discomfort…not quite a gagging sensation but definitely an awareness.

I can see where all this switching may be contributing to my confusion and general inability to get used to HA’s. Yet at the cost…which is totally out of pocket for me, I fear making the wrong choice.

Will continue to monitor the site and post progress…perhaps my struggle will help someone else to zero in on fitting problems faster than my experiences.

Have you tried a custom ITC rather than a RIC?

Are you being fitted using a real ear measurement system?

Were you given a volume control, comfort/sharpness adjustment?

It’s not that you need a particularly high end aid it’s just that you have a reverse slope loss that doesn’t suit the inherent bias in the aids above. Moreso, you need an aid to compliment your natural ‘noise management system’ not overpower it.

A RIC without a mould is not likely to satisfy your needs and the discomfort in your ears needs to be carefully considered. Bear in mind also that your loss may show variability so that your hearing aid is trying to hit a moving target.

I would agree with UmBongo on this one. I would avoid a dome on the HA (or switch to an ITE) and go straight to an Earmold. It is possible that the domes are moving in such a way or simply being inserted so deeply that they are somehow stimulating a branch of the Vagus nerve which also plays into the Cough-reflex that we have if we stick something down too far in our ears (protective measure). I would suspect that if the reflex could cause a cough, maybe in your anatomy it is causing the pain in the back of the throat, but this is simply a guess to explain why you are experiencing throat pain with certain hearing aid use. I am not sure why vestibular issues would compound auditory perception in regards to an earmold. Maybe I’m too far out of school and am not in the loop on this one…but that information is news to me.

Rising hearing losses, in my experience, are the most difficult to fit especially with hearing aids specifically designed for hearing loss that is the exact opposite configuration of your loss. If you don’t get adequate LF gain/volume, the sound quality will be very harsh/tinny. Too much occlusion with a closed dome will give you the gain you need but often result in felling “plugged up”. The best compromise, IMO, is a custom mold with a smaller vent to allow for LF amplification but not a completely occluded canal.

I fit primarily Phonak and Sonic Innovations and found that the Phonak hearing aids are MUCH more aggressive at picking up softer/environmental sounds. Some people LOVE it, others do not. The Sonic aids, in my experience, are far quieter in regards to those same sounds and when patients are moved from one to the other they typically report a significant reduction in the sounds that are bothering them while maintaining speech understanding. Bose recently purchased some of the Sonic noise reduction technology for their products, FYI. I am absolutely not trying to push Sonic technology, honestly I feel that each company out there has something to offer patients. The trick is finding the one that works best with the patient’s hearing loss and brain. Some brains like sound processed a certain way and there’s really no way to know until you try.

If I clean my ears too aggressively with Q-tips, I feel that “throat discomfort” that you are talking about. Maybe the tips of the aids are slipping too far into your canals, and are tripping that nerve ending. As another (pro) poster said, it’s got something to do with the vagus nerve.

I would definitely try a custom mold for the RIC, or as Um Bongo said, a CIC or ITE aid. I have trialled RICs (both Oticon and Phonak) and found the domes to be annoying, itchy and if they slipped around or shifted, too occluding. Having a custom mold made all the difference for me…and I think it would be worth it for you to give it a try.

Keep us posted…

Thank you all so much for taking the time to provide such thoughtful and helpful suggestions.

I’m printing them out and will be talking to my audiologist about this on the 29th…
I have not tried a custom ITC as stated previously, the thinking was it would cause greater fullness. No, I don’t recall getting any kind of real ear measurement…not sure what that is but pretty sure I’d would know had that been done.

My Doc has done countless adjustments with the computer…changing settings many, many times…not sure if that falls under Um bongo’s questions of volume control, comfort/sharpness. At this point, after trying 4 brands…all with receiver in the canal, seems to me a different approach would be beneficial.

I’ll report back after seeing the Doc when she comes back from vacation on the 29th.

You are all appreciated so much…

I have never discussed hearing aids with anyone other that the costco hearing aid man who never impressed me so I don’t know where to begin. I am going to an ear doctor for the 1st time in quite awhile on the 5th to have my ears tested while these Resounds are still under warranty. I sent my broken Bernafon icos out for repair and waiting for it to come back. I didn’t tell Costco I was doing this experiment. lol When I went in to get new aids he treated my old Bernafons like they were now junk…how can they be junk when they sound better than the new ones. :eek: I don’t know if I am writing in the right place or not…lol I think I hafta get used to this. :stuck_out_tongue: I think the verites are the same cost as the resound vivid stratus.

I am new to the forum, but have noticed that everyone who inputs their audiograms omits one big part of it: Their speech discrimination score. This is the percentage of correct words you obtain when listening to a list of words (either live voice or recorded) and which is presented above your tone thresholds. These are standardized word lists that are very important because from this score, one can extrapolate roughly one’s performance understanding speech in the real world with amplification. However, the test is typically done in a quiet setting. Another test that many audiologists do (and if yours doesn’t you should make them buy it, it’s cheap!) is called the Quick SIN, or Speech in Noise test. It determines how much you need speech increased over the background noise in order to hear at least 50% of what is being said. This test literally takes about 5 minutes to perform, but yields a tremendous amount of info. What it boils down to is that it is much more important to determine how well you will understand speech with your hearing aids than how well you hear pure tones, because it is the speech we are interested in, afterall! We don’t listen to pure tones in our daily lives.

I am new to the forum, but have noticed that everyone who inputs their audiograms omits one big part of it: Their speech discrimination score. This is the percentage of correct words you obtain when listening to a list of words (either live voice or recorded) and which is presented above your tone thresholds. These are standardized word lists that are very important because from this score, one can extrapolate roughly one’s performance understanding speech in the real world with amplification. However, the test is typically done in a quiet setting. Another test that many audiologists do (and if yours doesn’t you should make them buy it, it’s cheap!) is called the Quick SIN, or Speech in Noise test. It determines how much you need speech increased over the background noise in order to hear at least 50% of what is being said. This test literally takes about 5 minutes to perform, but yields a tremendous amount of info. What it boils down to is that it is much more important to determine how well you will understand speech with your hearing aids than how well you hear pure tones, because it is the speech we are interested in, afterall! We don’t listen to pure tones in our daily lives.