ana_m, So I am in the exact same situation as you.
I’m 33 years old and have worn HAs since I was 3. I don’t have my audiogram on me but I currently have similarish loss as you do (mostly 50/60 across the board but my dip to 70db is at lower freq end and my ears have pretty much the same loss). My hearing didn’t change much since I was a kid up until I was 25 but it definitely worsened a bit in the last 8 years.
I did have BTE ones with custom molds until I turned 25 when I got starkey CICs. I LOVED my star keys and wore them for 8 years until they broke a couple months ago and am not ready yet to go back to BTE.
I’m now near the end of my trail for Widex Unique 440 CICs.
Initially the hearing aids were just set way too loud. And only a day after my initial fitting my audiologist brought the volume down 25%. I think Widex definitely errs high on sound amplification, though audiologist might be erring higher on hearing loss as well. I also asked them to bring down the higher frequency volume a few notches to lessen the shrillness of normal sounds. I still hear way better than I did with my last hearing aids even with the significant volume reduction.
I don’t have quite the “balance” issues you do. The biggest issue for me was the vent, which now has to be smaller so the occlusion really bothered me. After a couple weeks I decided that the initial mold didn’t go far enough in my ear so I asked to have them remade and if possible, to widen the vent too. I got them back 1.5 weeks ago and the occlusion has definitely improved, but it still bothers me a bit compared to my old star keys. I feel like I can get used to it now but it’s a huge process.
As far as sound goes there are things I like and dislike.
I can understand speech way, way better. I don’t think I’ve ever had this easy of a time hearing people talk. I can watch TV without captions too.
I do have the same issue with the background noise you do. I have been making an honest effort to get used to the increased noise but I still feel like the sound of voices can get really distorted when the background noise amplification is so loud and it doesn’t help speech understanding. I have a remote-dex thingy so I can turn it down but I get headaches if I forget to bring it with me. Restaurants are particularly painful. Overall, I can still understand people way better than I was able to with my old hearing aids, even with the volume lowered via remote-dex so I think I can probably ask my audiologist to turn them down a couple more notches. I am getting used to the background noise where I work (lab machines whir a lot but aren’t super loud) and that REALLY bothered me at first.
While my widex were being remade I did try RIC demos (I think resounds) and though I liked the sound quality and loved not having the occlusion, I still disliked my hair brushing up against the microphone, they still sucked to wear with glasses, and my ears still hurt at the end of the day. Plus over the years I’ve played a high intensity contact sport (roller derby) and these didn’t feel like they’d be super stable if I play again. So it’s either that or deal with the occlusion of the CICs.
I’d consider another brand but it’s more time I have to spend going back and forth to an audiologist. Am I the only one who dreads doing this? It’s why I waited so long to replace my last pair.
Did you end up going with these? I think I will. I have my follow-up this afternoon and will make the adjustments then. I’m definitely functioning better over-all with these than I was before and the issues I have seem fixable. Another thing my audi and I figured out was you can have it set it to switch between programs quicker than default, which helps noise suppression a lot. I’m not sure why the fastest setting isn’t default.
I got the com-dex streaming thing too. The positives on that outweigh the negatives but I wish it was a lot more adjustable as far as volume goes. Even on the lowest setting my music is sometimes too loud (and if it’s not on mute, the background noise is WAY too loud). I still hate using it to talk on phones only because voices sound loud and distorted (I have always taken my hearing aid out to talk on the phone—at some point I do need to rely on my devices a bit more).