Hearing Impaired: What hearing aids do you wear?

FocusAndEarnIt

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 29, 2005
4,327
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Hi all. Long time forum member who has grown largely silent over the years... Coming out of the woodwork to ask if there are any hearing impaired people here? If so, what aids do you wear? What has your experience been? I know this is a niche question, but thought I'd ask.

I am severely to profoundly hearing impaired. Currently in medical school with very challenging speech in noise situations (hospital setting where patients speak softly or not clearly, face masks in the OR with lots of machine like noise, tons of beeps and lots of people… sometimes in wide open environments and others very close together). I am grateful to be able to say that despite my struggle, most people don't know that I wear hearing aids -- meaning, the fact that I have a deficit isn't glaringly obvious.

I do well, but I think I can do better. Currently trialing ReSound Quattros, will be trialing the Phonak Marvels. Anybody have experience with these?
 
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a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
384
227
Hi all. Long time forum member who has grown largely silent over the years... Coming out of the woodwork to ask if there are any hearing impaired people here? If so, what aids do you wear? What has your experience been? I know this is a niche question, but thought I'd ask.

I am severely to profoundly hearing impaired. Currently in medical school with very challenging speech in noise situations (hospital setting where patients speak softly or not clearly, face masks in the OR with lots of machine like noise, tons of beeps and lots of people… sometimes in wide open environments and others very close together). I am grateful to be able to say that despite my struggle, most people don't know that I wear hearing aids -- meaning, the fact that I have a deficit isn't glaringly obvious.

I do well, but I think I can do better. Currently trialing ReSound Quattros, will be trialing the Phonak Marvels. Anybody have experience with these?
I'm sure there are many on this forum hearing impaired, the view count shows the interest is there, but no posts...Strange.

As a fellow sufferer, my experience with the hearing industry, from the docs back down to the hearing aid peddlers, has shown this huge industry to be one big money grubbing scam.

Would love to hear the experiences of others. a2
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I've been wearing hearing aids since I was six years old (which was a LONG time ago!) since I have congenital conductive hearing loss. I didn't post earlier when I initially saw this thread because the type of hearing devices I wear now fulfill a specific need and are not as common as the hearing aids most people use. Mine are bone-anchored sound processors (BAHA) and are used by people who have patent cochleas but have some sort of moderate-to-severe conductive loss or one-sided deafness caused by acoustic neuroma and other issues. To be most effective there needs to be a minor surgical procedure to implant tiny screws into the mastoid process and then the sound processor snaps on to the "abutment," another screw which is connected to the one in the bone but extrudes through the skin. The quality of sound is significantly better with these than with the older bone-conduction hearing aids which were BTE aids modified to work with an external oscillator and microphone.

To clarify one thing: the BAHA system with the implanted screw and the external sound processor is NOT the same as a cochlear implant, which is a system used by many profoundly deaf people. Several manufacturers now offer these bone-anchored devices and there are other (nonsurgical) options for those with conductive loss as well. There are more hearing aid options available for those with other types of hearing loss. It's always worthwhile having an evaluation by medical personnel to determine which type of hearing loss one has and which type of device(s) would be most effective, and it is better to go to an audiology clinic associated with a hospital system rather than to just any old hearing aid dealer in the community. Regardless of what one chooses and wears, no device, no matter how fancy or expensive, is ever going to be able to accurately replicate the functioning of the human ear.

As for background noise, beeps, certain high sound frequencies setting off the hearing aids so that they squeal, lack of good directionality.....still an issue for any hearing aid user, regardless of what type of device is chosen. Background noise in a loud environment can be overwhelming at times! All the sounds just pour right into your head.... I hate being near machines which beep or emit some sort of frequency which then triggers a response from my sound processors! A hospital setting is a definite source of issues in that regard. Also, at times when I am attending a concert, certain high notes either played on an instrument or sung by a singer will also affect my BAHAs, even though I've adjusted the volume in anticipation of this. Hearing aid manufacturers have not yet managed to nail down a good technology to alleviate these problems and to mimic the way normal hearing works where that sort of thing is filtered out to a large degree. They're getting there, though, as certainly things are better than they were a few generations of hearing aids ago.
 

a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
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CP. & Focus : What interesting posts. Thank you.

CP ,As a kid I was into ham radio. At the time, the gov was dumping the last of ww2 radio gear on the surplus market, and I found some early experimental bone conduction radio headsets for tanks. I was fascinated that they worked. I also remember playing with audio through the teeth

My hearing loss is not nearly of the magnitude of yours and Focus, but I too live in the world of missing half of what's going on.

I hope we get lots of conversations going here from members with all levels of hearing loss, and maybe some new ideas. More later. a2
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Yes, I benefited from WWII, being born just as it was coming to a close, and one of the major ways was in the development of bone conduction hearing aids. I use my bone-anchored hearing aids for everyday hearing, but I also have a pair of Shokz Bone Conduction BT headphones which are great for listening to music and watching movies. My next set of BAHAs will have built-in BT so I'll easily be able to use my iPhone and iPad with them, no headphones needed. And, yep, it's fun to hear through your teeth! When I wore the old bone conduction aid I sometimes just for the heck of it would hold the oscillator against my teeth or on any part of my facial bone structure and listen..... Teeth are great conductors of sound!
 
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a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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@victoriani. Thank you for reviving this thread.

There are many members on MR with hearing loss but few posts.

I, like many others, have no Insurance that covers hearing. All is cash out of pocket.

Most full hearing people view other folks hearing loss as an aggravation... And it is, without a doubt.

We talk too loud, misunderstand others communication attempts, and are just plain a PIA.

My years of dealing with the hearing industry, including the docs, have shown their main interest is in selling disgracefully over-priced hearing aids.

I have found a couple of work-arounds that have helped over the years, including lower cost hearing devices. If there is interest here I will post more later. a2
 
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Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,413
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The Misty Mountains
I have tinnitus that developed about 5 years ago, and mild vertigo that has subsided to a point where I usually don’t notice it, but nothing that requires aides so far.
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Insurance coverage (or lack thereof) for hearing devices is a huge issue for many, many people, and it's really sad. Not everyone, especially the elderly, can afford to play upwards of $4000 or more out-of-pocket per hearing aid/sound processor. Children, due to the recognition of the importance of acquiring language and communication skills early in life, are often covered by special Medicaid provisions until they reach a certain age and then after that they and their parents are on their own unless they have good insurance coverage.

For some of us who have a somewhat different situation, usually involving atresia/microtia or acoustic neuroma or other medical conditions which require the use of different technology, usually implantation of titanium screws in the mastoid process, AND if we're over a certain age, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost, with the remainder being covered by the patient or family as out-of-pocket deductible. While I am greatly appreciative of the fact that I can get my sound processors for significantly less outlay than my neighbor down the street who is dealing with, say, the onset of age-related sensineural hearing loss, I really feel bad that she cannot also get a a break from either her insurance or Medicare on the cost of restoring her hearing via traditional hearing aids to at least some semblance of what she has had in the past.
 

a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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I have tinnitus that developed about 5 years ago, and mild vertigo that has subsided to a point where I usually don’t notice it, but nothing that requires aides so far.
Huntn. Did you ever, in the past, be around any toxic chemicals such as paints or wood sealers ? Have you in the past taken regular doses of aspirin?

The above are just a few of the causes of the exact symptoms you describe.

I am just starting to recover from almost total hearing loss this month from cleaning up an under-house spill of deck sealer. More later.

Check this out. These are all new to me revaluations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ototoxicity
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,413
17,163
The Misty Mountains
Huntn. Did you ever, in the past, be around any toxic chemicals such as paints or wood sealers ? Have you in the past taken regular doses of aspirin?

The above are just a few of the causes of the exact symptoms you describe.

I am just starting to recover from almost total hearing loss this month from cleaning up an under-house spill of deck sealer. More later.

Check this out. These are all new to me revaluations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ototoxicity
I can’t say for sure aboutbthe others, but I took baby aspirin for a couple of years on the advice of my doctor, but ceased over a decade ago,
 

hancuriang

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2019
109
120
I'm sure there are many on this forum hearing impaired, the view count shows the interest is there, but no posts...Strange.

As a fellow sufferer, my experience with the hearing industry, from the docs back down to the hearing aid peddlers, has shown this huge industry to be one big money grubbing scam.

Would love to hear the experiences of others. a2
True.... many people have mild hearing loss who don’t deserve $2000 price tags imo. But they will push for usd 2000-4000 hearinh aid.
Also people with almost flat diagram apparently don’t need fancy hearing aids but dispensers will always push you to buy $1000-$2000 digital hearing aid, and now they push for two. Whats worse, regular sound amplifier are thought to just work for these type of hearing loss...

———
Now to answer the question, im using starkey bte, the 3rd cheapest model offered because dispensers claimed the $400 and $600 one are not powerful enough for me... I don’t know how much of it is ********... I don’t wear it all the time though, being hearing impaired since childhood, hearing impairment is just more natural for me...
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
It is strongly recommended that rather than going to a place which simply sells and dispenses hearing aids that an individual with hearing loss go to an audiologist -- most audiologists work with ENTs and audiology clinics to assess someone's hearing loss, evaluate the type of hearing loss and then recommend the proper type of hearing aid(s) or other sound processors as needed.

For someone with conductive loss, such as I have, sound amplification is the key. For others who have sensorineural loss, more than amplification is needed. An audiologist can work with the individual to determine what type of hearing instrument will best suit their needs.

People with mild hearing loss don't need as much power and amplification, but can benefit nonetheless from some type of assistance. if the hearing loss is bilateral they will indeed benefit from bilateral aids. As anyone with single-sided deafness can attest, being able to hear bilaterally DOES make a difference! For one thing it widens the sound field. Profoundly deaf people do not usually benefit from traditional hearing aids but may benefit from cochlear implants.

In any situation, an accurate diagnosis is the first step towards getting the most appropriate treatment for one's hearing loss. Walking into some store which sells hearing aids or ordering some gadget online is not the best approach.
 
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a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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My hearing industry experience has been always been through ENT docs.

They then refer to to the audiologist, and that's where the $$$ fun begins.

This industry is a highly political influence group that has been very successful in keeping low cost "hearing aids" legally blocked from the market.


I can buy a high tech digital, programmable aid for under $400, yet by law, they can't advertise it as a hearing aid. LOL. a2
 

victoriani

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2013
120
45
Hertfordshire, UK
We don’t have insurance for hearing in the U.K. I have previously used our NHS for hearing aids but decided to go private last year to purchase Oticon OPNs as they weren’t available on the NHS. I actually purchased them in Denmark for £3,000 in total. Includes four years’ warranty for damage and theft. Also get as many visits as I want during that time and even ear moulds are cheap! I have just ordered Egger ear moulds for £100, which are £300 for the exact same in the U.K. Ridiculous!

I have bilateral mild to profound sensorineural hearing loss, profound in the high frequencies.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Just received the first of my two new Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)/Sound Processors (for conductive hearing loss)..... For insurance (Medicare Advantage through Aetna) purposes, although I was actually getting bilateral processors, two separate orders had to be placed. The second device will be arriving on Thursday. Wow, things have changed quite a bit since my last upgrade! This will be my first time with using an app on my iPhone and iPad to control volume and other features of the devices. Also looking forward to streaming my music right to them, too. Wow..... Have an appointment at the end of this week with the audiologist to fine-tune, tweak and program the devices. I'm excited and happy!
 

a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
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WOW! How great is that ? Please keep us posted, especially on the music.
Really do miss the music. a2
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Thankfully, I've always been able to enjoy music -- I've been using Shokz bone-conduction headphones, which work really well for me. However, with them there is sound leakage so I don't usually use them out in public, just at home. It'll be nice to stream my music right to my BAHAs if I am out somewhere and suddenly get the urge to listen to one of my favorite artists or favorite songs.

In the meantime, I've just ordered a ten-pack of 312 Rayovac batteries from Amazon, which should keep me going for a while! My older BAHAs use size 13, so this is another change. I'll be keeping the old devices as spares/backups so will still need to always have a few size 13 batteries around as well. Fortunately I am down to about one or two packages of those anyway from my last order of a ten-pack some time ago. Buying batteries in bulk from Amazon is significantly less expensive than picking up one or two packages at a time from the local drugstore.
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Oh, wow, I am just discovering what I have been missing through the years, now hearing music with this streaming thing!!! Even as I type I'm listening to a favorite artist and her voice is coming straight through from my iPhone to the titanium abutments and the sound processors right straight on down to the bone level.....well, this shifts to the cochleas on each side, actually. WOW..... I had no idea what I've been missing all this time! This is blowing me away, actually. I'm hearing all my favorite songs and artists and in a new, amazingly better way.....

Wow, just WOW.....
 

a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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Hearing in Virtual Reality.

I had hoped VR would open up a whole new world of personal contact, and to a limited degree it has. However, my hearing problems loom as large here, as in day to day life.

I use an Oculus Quest VR headset that uses no external computer, thus the audio system is all built-in. I can hardly hear this device, yet my wife says it sounds fine. Hmmn, what to do ?

This system has two tiny speakers under the lens and a left/right Mono out-put jack on each side. The jacks are 3.5mm. Each jack carries a full stereo output as well as the mono, and depending upon your plug setup, a Mic output as well.

Bluetooth is blocked to all but developers, as it is buggy. I tried an external blue tooth pod and the machine went nuts. LOL.

I have a temporary lash up that works now, but it is wired and very kludgy. I need either a tiny EQ box with an amp or a headset that I can use over my aids. Any ideas ??? a2
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I have little interest in any sort of AR/VR/IR -- actual real-time genuine reality is just fine for me! LOL!

Actually, I would not be able to wear that sort of headset or even the glasses that Apple is supposedly designing and I'm sure that audio is going to be provided in a way that works just fine for those who don't depend upon bone conduction in order to hear.

I truly hope that the day doesn't come when even smartphones are replaced by some sort of AR glasses or headset because that will leave out a certain portion of us in the hearing-impaired population.
 

a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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ClixPix. Yes, change is happening. VR offers an interesting experience for many people including those of us with hearing loss.

I wrote this post in hopes of gathering positive comments and ideas from other hearing impaired folks who have an interest in the growing VR community.

I gather you are not interested. :) a2
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Aside from the fact that I'm not interested, I really CAN'T participate in this sort of thing because wearing something like that headset or even special AR glasses is not an option for me due to bilateral atresia and microtia. I am not alone in this, and all I can do is hope that as technology progresses and they get into this AR thing more and more that they don't completely eliminate resources that some of us CAN use.
 
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