By Chelle George
A few weeks ago vocational rehabilitation gave their approval for my new hearing aids and last week they were in. I went in Wednesday to get them programmed and to get hearing aids molds made. We know from the loaner hearing aid I did not like the domes. There’s some feedback problems and they constantly push out of my ear so every 5 minutes I pushing them back in. My ear became sore so I returned the loaner early not wanting to deal with it.
Here are the new hearing aids. With domes.
And they are a boring color so I will have to decorate them when I have time this week.
As soon as we turned the new hearing aids on the feedback was horrendous. If I can hear it that loud then I know it’s bad. It’s not just the high pitched squeal, these babies SCREAM because my hearing loss is moderate/severe so the power is turned up. Once they were in my ears they were okay until I went to run my fingers through my hair. I winced and the audiologist said he’d take ear impressions later which will take away the feedback. I hope.
These Siemens “Carat” hearing aids just came out last week with a new upgrade and I’m one of the first to try it. There are more options than my old hearing aids had like turning off the annoying beep when batteries are low. He can change the beeps to more tolerable beeps when I change programs on them and that I like because the beeping has always driven me nuts. I made sure I had a T-coil so I continue to use the hearing loop and neck loops for my phone. I can change the programs on my hearing aids because he knew I didn’t want to carry around a remote on top of everything else. Then he pulled out this…
And I’m not exactly thrilled to see this to tell you the truth. Bluetooth sounds great but it wears my hearing aid batteries down faster and my phone battery as well. Yeah, it has great sound but I don’t like all the extra drain. When I use my T-coil, (neck loop and hearing loop) there is no extra battery drain at all. I am Ms. T-coil and my audiologist is Mr. Bluetooth and here’s where we clash. The device came with the hearing aids so of course I’ll take it.
I can’t use it to hook into meetings and I could use it for TV if I buy some adapter but I’m not a big TV fan (until football starts up again) and I’ve used captions since the late 90’s to fill in the missing pieces so ‘listening’ to TV is kind of weird. I’m unsure if I’ll hear enough even with the bluetooth and will probably end up depending on captions anyway.
The only cool thing about this device is there’s an app for my phone which I downloaded. It lets me chose the direction I want to hear from; all around me, focus forward or backward and to the sides. I can control treble and bass which is nice for my music. Music sounds so tinny through bluetooth and the neckloops. I think that’s because I don’t hear the higher frequencies anymore and when that’s added in through my hearing aids, it sounds weird. I hear low tones (bass) and that’s what I’m used to.
The app also shows how much life is left in my hearing aid batteries and that’s kind of cool, it’s much nicer to check in that way instead of all annoying beeping. So he showed me how to use it all, took ear impressions for new molds and sent me on my way.
I kept the bluetooth device on as I went shopping, listening to my music with the bass turned up. I can also change programs with that devices. Maybe sometimes I’ll use it.
Being a good girl I wore them the rest of the of the day even though when I laid back on pillows to watch a movie, they screamed so I sat up. Sounds come through naturally and I like that. The domes made my ears itch too so I was constantly pulling them out and jamming my finger in so scratch. I’d put them back in with a whole lot of screaming before they settled into my ears again.
The next day I went to work with for a full of training. The feedback made people on the other side of the room cringe. It’s a good thing I work I at a deaf and hard of hearing center because they all put it up with it in good nature. I had troubles changing my programs and had to used the bluetooth device to change it so I knew where I was at. If I walked too far away from phone, I lost the bluetooth connection and had to find it all over again. The battery on my phone went so low I had to charge it while at work which is something I normally don’t do.
I found myself frustrated with all the technology and I’ve never felt that way with new hearing aids before. It’s like when I get a new phone, I’m excited about all the new options but frustrated with the learning process.
When I got home, I put the new hearing aids back in their shiny box and they have not come back out since. I’m not wearing them again until the feedback problem is fixed (this coming Thursday afternoon). I took out my old comfy hearing aids the next day to finish day two of training at work without feedback.
I’m on the fence with these new hearing aids. There’s some cool features but I’m worried the ear molds won’t be able to control the SCREAMING feedback. If they don’t, I’ll return them and try another kind. Maybe my hearing loss is too severe these days for hearing aids??? That thought floats around in my mind too. In which case, I’ll have to consider a cochlear implant or go the deaf route with more sign language. However I feel like I cope pretty well without hearing aids with lip reading and a few rules (like face me when talking to me).
I’m facing another threshold I think. If my hearing drops even a little more it will shift my entire world once again.