Hearing Aids Pros and Cons

Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
Comments about hearing aids on another thread have led me to wonder what Shipmates' experiences have been with them.

I have been aware for a long time that my hearing is not what it used to be, especially in my right ear. It's ironic, because in grade school, when the school nurse used to come around to test everyone's hearing, I invariably scored among the best in the class.

My father was constantly complaining about his hearing aids. It seemed like every week or so he'd be back at the audiologist's for an adjustment. He finally stopped wearing them altogether, saying that they were more trouble than they were worth. Based on his experience, I swore I'd never give in and get my own.

But I finally did. I thought the audiologist gave me a very thorough exam and a very careful fitting. I was pleased at first. I could hear speech much more clearly. I could hear the television much better.

But music, especially the piano (which I love to play), sounded unnatural and tinny. And ambient noise bothered me a great deal. In a restaurant, the sound of other diners touching their knives to their forks, or the sound of plates or pots and pans clattering against one another in the kitchen, almost made me jump out of my skin! I was tempted to take them back, but I kept telling myself that these irritations would pass and I would soon get used to the sound.

And then one of them stopped working. That was the last straw. Back they went, and my money was refunded. I won't say "cheerfully" but at least the store gave me no hassle.

I'd be interested to know how my experience compared to those of others who have either tried and rejected hearing aids, or tried and kept them and still use them.

Comments

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited December 2018
    That's not very unfortunate. Neither of us uses them, but my father has for 20 years or more. To start with, he had real problems and had persevered, but there seemed a sudden and dramatic improvement in them a decade ago. He was not alone in that experience, others saying much the same. I do think it's still largely a matter of luck though. Whether the luck is in getting the right audiologist, the right aids, or having ears etc that react well - all sorts of variables.
  • Miss Amanda--

    I only have a minute right now, but do have experience with wearing hearing aids. First thing that comes to mind: do your hearing aids come with various "programs"? Some have options for "general", "conversation", "noisy background", etc. If so, the audiologist should be able to adjust the programs a bit to make you more comfortable. If I'm in a noisy place, sometimes I'll just shut the aids off for a while--especially in a restaurant. Noise levels tend to ebb and flow, and I can usually turn them on again.

    FWIW, YMMV.
  • Pros: I can hear better. Substantially better. I am not reduced to smiling and nodding when I haven't the faintest idea what someone said to me.

    Cons: Slight inconvenience.
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    This pair which is two years old is very much better than earlier aids. I think this is due to developments in electronics etc. They are much clearer and have little antennae to balance levels over the two. I can hear conversations behind me now.

    I find Miss Amanda’s comment re piano interesting. I have sung in choirs and small madrigal group type groups for years. No longer. An important part of such singing is to listen to those around so we are together in both pitch and tune. Since having aids I find that what I hear is sharp. Pianistsaid hewouldtell me if I sang sharp. My reply was that I knew I was singing sharp but it was what I was hearing.

    Mine are middle of the road type aids and as such they do not easily differentiate in direction.General noise is terrible. Coffee hour is dreadful. I stopped staying behind for it many years ago.

    Even before i had aids, noise was painful. I have put hands over ears many times in church. It was actually painful inside my head. Church one day had a pageant and acting pastor told sound desk he wanted levels up. They were to remain high. This was passed on to me byson’s friends who were on duty that day. I walked out and said I would not be back.

    When I first had them, grandchildren were tiny and it was good to be able to hear them.

    I had many ear infections as a child, a legacy from PinkDisease. This has led to the deafness. One ear is classed as severe loss,the other very severe. They have many disadvantages but over all, I persevere or I would hear very little without them.
  • Interesting re pitch. I find that, without hearing aids, one ear hears about a 1/2 step higher than the other. Haven't checked with my hearing aids.
  • I have had mine for 9 months and I must say they have made a big difference when watching TV, visiting with friends, and family and when in noisy restaurants. I am very hard of hearing in one ear, and have medium hearing loss in the other. I do have a little remote that I carry in my pocket that I use to change from background noise filter setting to conversations in a quiet room. The little remote also plays 4 different relaxing bell sounds. This is truly a gimmick but I found I did like to use it when at the dentist. I find that at one church that I attend the loud speaker system makes my aids have feed back and it is most annoying. I am not sure what to do other then remove them. Other churches have not given me feed back problems. Although I was told to wear them all the time as it trains your brain to hear again, I find them annoying in my ears after a period of time and I often do not wear them at home. I like the quiet of not hearing the fan humming, and dishwasher running and giving my ears a rest.
  • I almost never wear mine at home, unless there's something special on TV that requires precise hearing and/or something that doesn't have closed captioning.

    I use them most for personal conversations and medical appointments. I wear them in movie theaters, because IME the sound there is loud but not always clear. The aids clarify the sound, not just amplify it. Then I have to turn down the volume on my hearing aids!
  • Miss Amanda, I don't have them (yet!) but I will do, sooner rather than later, for two reasons.

    Firstly, if you leave it too late to start wearing them, then your poor aging brain finds it much more difficult to rewire, to adjust to being able to hear after a long period of deafness. I think this may be why the Dowager, at 90, gave up on them so quickly. She's started again, but she's so confused now it's hard to know how much help they are.

    Which brings me to my second point - deafness >> isolation, lack of social interaction >> dementia. Not always, of course, but it doesn't help. My grandmother, the Dowager's mother, was severely deaf for much of her life and very hard to converse with, and she had dementia long before it became A Thing. (Decades of smoking probably contributed, too...)

    As a young Occupational Therapist of my acquaintance tells her clients - 'you wear glasses, don't you? Why won't you use hearing aids, or carry a stick?'

    YMMV etc etc

    Mrs. S, looking forward to telling Mr. S he needs to wear them too...
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    I am moderately deaf in both ears, but at the moment wear an aid in one ear. Partly on account of the cost - I could get perfectly good care and appliances on the NHS, but it’s like glasses, if you want Choice it costs extra.

    I have learnt there are various technologies - one device I was given picked up everything, which I found intolerable, like having constant tinnitus. But apparently some users like the constant awareness of ambient noise.

    The model I have at the moment is a very small, behind the ear model, perfectly comfortable to wear, eats about 2 batteries a week (I wear it all day). I have never had it make any sounds or suffer interference. Without it, conversation would be difficult and I would be disinclined to use the phone.

    I would not be without a hearing aid, and may splash out for the other ear soon. Social isolation is a subtle thing and you can find yourself quite far in without realising. Discuss with the audiologist, and don’t necessarily take the first thing on offer, but find the personally optimal one.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I worked it out that I have been wearing hearing aids for 10 years now (although I've needed them for over 20), I did try some 20 years ago and sounds like the rustling of plastic grocery bags, or sneezing just about drove me insane.

    When I finally decided it was time to try them again I asked my G.P and 2 people I knew who wore hearing aids to recommend audiologists. G.P said to avoid the closest one, and users both said to go to the same clinic.

    The audiologist tested my hearing and asked me about my lifestyle so she could recommend the most suitable pair. I got mid-range ones with 3 programme options;

    1) Normal. For listening to speech and everyday use. I understand that the sound is somehow compressed so that it may not be a accurate representation o the tone

    2) Music - the sound is not compressed and live music is wonderful. I click onto this when listening to the organ at church or song birds in the bush. (I don't know whether I sing in tune with it or not though).

    3) Loop system- this is difficult to explain, but some buildings have a system wired in the building so that I can hear the speaker as though through headphones. I really loved it, but we lost it at church due to earthquake damage.

    Initially the audiologist didn't turn my aids up to full volume, but allowed me to get used to the increased sound gradually ( over a few months I think it was) This was very important in my successful use of them. I was lucky there was a very helpful man at church who had worn aids for years and was happy to answer any questions. One thing I noticed was that my hearing improved even without them in, which was due to my brain getting used to hearing better. (which is what Boogie mentions with the re-wiring.

    The clinic I go to allows a trial period of a month, during which time they can be returned with only the cost of the custom made ear moulds charged.

    I still have difficulty in large groups - but then I always have. There are techniques that can help - like sitting in restaurants with a wall behind you - more expensive aids may help too as a friend in a high powered job found.

    Totally agree with Boogie about the isolation of not hearing.

    Sorry for the screed.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    edited December 2018
    Thanks Miss Amanda for starting this thread, I'd noticed there were a few of us aid wearers on here and always meant to start one,
    I've been deaf since I was five (severe case of measles). At first although my hearing was not good, and I never could hear high pitched sounds I managed without aids. I hated the idea of being different to my peers. In my twenties I started wearing one when in group situations, though one to one I could hear fine. Now in my sixties my hearing is very poor, severe loss in both ears, and without them I can hear very little. As others have said the switch from analogue to digital aids has been a big improvement, and if I wanted to fork out loads of money I'm sure I could have some with more features that are prettier than my NHS aids, but on the whole they suit me fine. Mine do have a setting that helps a little in noisy places, but I often find I cope better in such places than my husband and son. They both have excellent hearing, but a feature of their dyslexia is they find it tricky to distinguish speech in a loud environment.
    It is better to try and persevere if you need aids. I played hearing aid fairy to my MiL, who had some lovely little aids provided on the NHS that she just couldn't get used to. I put them in for her, explained about wearing them a little every day in a quiet environment to get used to them etc. etc., but I could see without me there to supervise she wouldn't bother. That's a shame as it is obvious that at least some of her confusion is due to not hearing what people are telling her.
    They are uncomfortable, and unlike glasses can never totally correct hearing loss, but the alternative is much worse.
  • Miss Amanda, when I first started wearing aids, I would get resonance from the higher end of the scale when listening to music. When I mentioned this to the audiologist, she explained that these high notes were being interpreted by the aids as feedback, and they were attempting to counteract the "feedback". She adjusted the aids, and I've not had a problem since.

    Most days my aids go in as I get dressed, and stay in until bedtime. I'm not wearing them today, as yesterday I had a slight irritation of the ear canal as occasionally happens. I'm giving the ears a rest so that can settle down.
  • My hearing is currently normal for my age, but I know I will go deaf - all my mothers side of the family do.

    (I have considered training to lip read before that happens.)

    My current plan, having seen older members of my family go through this process, is to get aids as soon as I have definable hearing loss. It seems to be harder to adjust if you leave it later.

    I think the social isolation thing is very significant.
  • Thanks for this useful thread. I had a hearing test recently and I was told that I had some hearing loss of high pitched sounds and might benefit from aids. I de died not to do anything about it at the moment but am booked for a recall in 12m time.
    Since that day I have had tinnitus, a continuous high pitched kind of whistle. Mostly it doesn’t bother me, and when I am concentrating on something I don’t notice it.
    So I am considering taking this further.
    As a singer, I do not want to lose my sense of pitch, or to be unable to enjoy music, so I was interested in the detailed comments.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    There was a discussion on this on Ye Olde Shippe™ back in 2014 on the Difficult Relatives thread, starting here and continuing here that discussed the problems with not wearing hearing aids, @cliffdweller started the conversation with:
    The hardest thing was when she made the mistake of asking me to drive her to the audiologist-- and I came in. I came in to hear her fibbing about wearing her hearing aid "all the time" when I know she wore it for a few minutes a day, tops. Came in to hear the audiologist explain (not that mom could hear her) that the problem was not with the hearing aid or the quality of sound getting thru. It was that after years and years of not wearing the aids the neural synapses that would allow her brain to understand and interpret those sounds had atrophied. And there's no going back.
    and then went on to say here
    Yes, honestly, if I could have a crusade about anything, this would be it.

    Hearing aids can be very uncomfortable to wear, especially the cheap ones that don't do a good job of filtering out background noise. It can be hard to get used to having this thing stuck in your ear. I get that. That discomfort is why a lot of people, my mom including, resist wearing them or wear them "only when needed"-- i.e. when someone is trying to speak to them directly. But yes, if you wear hearing aids, you really should wear them 24/7, whenever you are not sleeping or in the shower, or you risk losing your ability to benefit from them forever.
  • I’m going for a hearing test in the New Year - it’s very much hereditary in my family. My Dad was deaf for the last ten years of his life. He had lights for the phone and doorbell and a loop system in the house.

    I’m convinced my hearing is deteriorating.

    🤔
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    I think I'm going to have to give them a second try.

    My friend who inspired me to try them in the first place has aids that are programmable (through his smartphone!) for different social situations. The ones that I had were not. That probably made a difference.

    Unfortunately here in the USA, Medicare does not pay for hearing aids. Some Medicare Supplement plans do, but the premium for those plans is high and the co-pay for aids is also high. (My current Medicare Supplement plan does not cover aids and has no premium. And I like the docctors and the service I get.) I see that I'm going to have to dip into my old age stash (where's Fagan when I need him so badly?) and "treat" myself to a good pair dispensed by a really competent audiologist.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    As a singer, I do not want to lose my sense of pitch, or to be unable to enjoy music, so I was interested in the detailed comments.

    It may interest you to know this. My hearing loss is the sort that increases with frequency: The lower notes I can hear fine, but the very high notes/overtones I can't hear at all even with assistance. My hearing aids have a feature that takes the highest frequencies and transposes them down, so that I hear them better . But there is a "music" setting on my aids that defeats this feature, so I hear all the pitches true (well, the ones I can still hear).
  • @Huia said -
    Loop system- this is difficult to explain, but some buildings have a system wired in the building so that I can hear the speaker as though through headphones. I really loved it, but we lost it at church due to earthquake damage.

    What is their excuse for not replacing it pronto?

  • Miss Amanda, I don't have them (yet!) but I will do, sooner rather than later, for two reasons.

    Firstly, if you leave it too late to start wearing them, then your poor aging brain finds it much more difficult to rewire, to adjust to being able to hear after a long period of deafness. I think this may be why the Dowager, at 90, gave up on them so quickly. She's started again, but she's so confused now it's hard to know how much help they are.

    Which brings me to my second point - deafness >> isolation, lack of social interaction >> dementia. Not always, of course, but it doesn't help. My grandmother, the Dowager's mother, was severely deaf for much of her life and very hard to converse with, and she had dementia long before it became A Thing. (Decades of smoking probably contributed, too...)

    As a young Occupational Therapist of my acquaintance tells her clients - 'you wear glasses, don't you? Why won't you use hearing aids, or carry a stick?'

    YMMV etc etc

    Mrs. S, looking forward to telling Mr. S he needs to wear them too...


    I want to echo all of the above. My mom had severe hearing loss. She found the hearing aids uncomfortable, so would wear them only when needed-- i.e. she would leave them out all day and put them in only when we came to visit.

    That Did. Not. Work. Not only did she never get used to the aids, so they always were uncomfortable, more seriously, she lost the ability to distinguish/interpret sounds, rendering the aids useless. The audiologist was able to determine the sound was coming thru-- clearly-- but at that point her brain was unable to interpret it-- it just sounded like noise-- because all of those neural synapses had deteriorated.

    The social isolation is very, very real. After my mom's death I really had to go thru a process of working thru my anger/resentment over the way she let her relationship with me and particularly my kids deteriorate-- because it really does. It was a significant loss in my mom's case that impacted every member of the family. I plead with you not to take that path, which feels easy at first (not to ear the aids) but costs so, so much in the end. The hard thing is that, at the point when you realize how much the hearing loss is costing you, those synapses have already decayed and the opportunity to fix things is gone.

    What I have determined for myself (and promised my kids) is to get my hearing tested frequently. At the first signs of significant loss, I will buy the best aid I can afford and then-- here's the key-- wear it every day, all day. As soon as you step out of the shower until I you go to bed. Even if no one's coming over, even if you think you don't need it today. Every. Day. Faithfully. Friends who have had hearing loss similar to my mom's but follow this path have had enormous success. They become used to the aid the same way you get used to glasses-- they feel uncomfortable and your vision is off at first, but soon you become used to them and they work great. These friends were able to age gracefully and continue strong, vibrant relationships and function well up until the end.

  • edited December 2018
    There's the kind which link to a cellphone app, balancing the 2 ears and filtering out noises. The cons are cellphone dependency and the environmental tolerances of the things in the ears.

    I've lost high frequencies such that voices of certain pitches with noises such as water from a tap, fans, wind often the drown out the voices. I've taken to telling the person to look at me. Reading lips in the context of some recognized speech sounds works fairly well. But I've lost only high frequency sound.

    The one bothersome situation is when there's background music, including at Xmas when visiting. I've taken to merely saying without any emotion that I'm unable to be part of conversation with the background noise, which results in it being turned down. About the way people speak of anything uncomfortable, like an allegedly comfy chair which doesn't suit. I've also asked people to look at me so I can read their lips.

    The issues I've got with wearing the aides always is they don't work well if wet and also I'm not adjusting them when cycling, sailing, running, playing soccer, skiing. I'm a very daily active 60 year old who lives in an environmentally extreme climate (-36°C this morning). I've felt hearing aides aren't designed well for people like me. Not prepared to stop an adjust.
  • Just back from a meet up in a tiny coffee shop, fine at first but when a group of five noisy people came in, their chatter plus the noise of the coffee machine, meant I struggled to hear what my friend was saying, though before it was fine. Is this normal or is it me? Would hearing aids make any difference?
    Now I have come home and DH is watching a film with cinema sound and I cannot bear the volume. I ask myself, how would I cope with this, with hearing aids in?
    Any advice from users is welcome.
  • I should add that under normal circumstances I do not appear to have trouble hearing.
  • Puzzler, it is probably time to seek an appointment for a hearing test. When I struggled in noisy surroundings, it was discovered that I have a mid-tone hearing loss and I was given (UK) NHS hearing aids, which cut down the noise I don't need and increase the speech sounds I do want. DH, displaying the same difficulty, was told his hearing was exceptionally good, so his problem was that he was 'switching off' the rest of the world. We needed the expert to tell us the difference!

    Memo to self: take advice as well as give it. I must put my hearing aids in every day.
  • Landlubber, I had one earlier in December, only minor loss of high frequency detected, and she was quite happy for me to leave it another 12 months.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    Puzzler, your hearing loss sounds similar to mine, (slight high frequency loss in my right year). I paid out for a couple of entry level BTE aids a few years back, and although they don’t work magic, they help enough to give me confidence in situations such as the coffee shop one you just described. I’ve had problems with hearing with background noise my entire adult life, but for the most part was told that I was fine and that it was just part of living in a noisy world!

    They’re pretty basic, not many bells and whistles activated atm apart from volume control. Folk who don’t know I wear aids (most people?) might think I’m scratching my ear or brushing my hair aside. Much of what other posters have said about adjusting to sudden loud sounds applies. Quite fun at times; in restaurants I can hear plates being dropped in the kitchen ; hell- I could probably hear the chef effing and blinding if I put my mind to it!

    I’ve had a few adjustments made because of mild feedback (Greenbelt Festival, I’m looking at you) and what sounds like wind blowing down a chimney flue when I up the volume when I’m outside, but on the whole, I’m so glad I got them.

    Advice re wearing them ALL the time duly noted. :blush:
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    Right ear, I meant.
  • Based on my experience I would guess that you have upper frequency hearing loss. As my audiologist explained, the upper frequencies are where are the consonants are. As noise increases, it becomes harder to hear the consonants and therefore the speech gets muddied. This may or may not apply to you of course. But it's in crowded spaces -- with lots of people talking -- that my hearing loss is most apparent. Well, that and driving in the car trying to listen to my Russian-hating wife.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    Sounds as if that’s the case for Puzzler, yes. I find crowded places like pubs and bars tiring. It’s not that I mind small talk, it’s just the sheer effort needed to follow the cut and thrust of conversation that bugs me. It sucks the spontaneity out of social interaction.

    You speak Russian?
  • HET. (no)
  • Thanks for those replies. Just recovering from being bombarded ( pun intended) by the volume of sound from DH’s war films. So I suppose I really don’t want to submit myself to being overwhelmed by excessive noise if I do go in for hearing aids. I prefer peace and quiet ( despite the tinnitus). Oh no, the NEw Year’s Eve fireworks have started now. I certainly don’t want them amplifying! The cafe situation is a rarity for me.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Puzzler, hearing aids can be turned down, and they are often used as a treatment for tinnitus - I don't know much about this, but would encourage you to investigate whether they may do so for you,
    Boogie wrote: »
    @Huia said -
    Loop system- this is difficult to explain, but some buildings have a system wired in the building so that I can hear the speaker as though through headphones. I really loved it, but we lost it at church due to earthquake damage.

    What is their excuse for not replacing it pronto?

    They have replaced it with a sound system that seems adequate for most other hearing aid users, but which I personally don't like as much as the loop allowed me to hear the sound easily, clear of background noises. Also there are issues about a possible rebuild.

    Miss Amanda, you know your own financial situation best, but I am tempted to say go for the most appropriate for your needs that you can afford.

    Since I have reached retirement much of my budgeting effort has revolved around ensuring I have adequate money to replace my hearing aids every 6 years. (Here in NZ there is a subsidy of $500 per aid every 6 years. This has worked out as about a fifth of the cost.)
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Landlubber, I had one earlier in December, only minor loss of high frequency detected, and she was quite happy for me to leave it another 12 months.
    Sorry - second memo to self: be sure you have reread the thread properly first.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Just back from a meet up in a tiny coffee shop, fine at first but when a group of five noisy people came in, their chatter plus the noise of the coffee machine, meant I struggled to hear what my friend was saying, though before it was fine. Is this normal or is it me? Would hearing aids make any difference?
    Now I have come home and DH is watching a film with cinema sound and I cannot bear the volume. I ask myself, how would I cope with this, with hearing aids in?
    Any advice from users is welcome.

    Puzzler, I don't have hearing impairment, but I have the same difficulties you describe, because I have auditory processing difficulties. This is about how the brain processes what the ear hears, rather than a difficulty hearing. I mention that in case your hearing is fine and maybe it is a auditory processing issue. If it is, hearing aids wouldn't do anything. People can have auditory processing difficulties (and any other sensory processing difficulty) for all kinds of reasons. The only solution I know is to meet your friend in a quiet coffee shop and go somewhere else if it gets noisy. I make myself familiar with all the coffee shops and find which are the quietest. Though the very quietest one closed down, because it had barely any customers, other than me!
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    I should add that under normal circumstances I do not appear to have trouble hearing.

    Sadly it is quite a common problem as we get older. I can no longer pick one sound out when there is background noise. Which often means that I can’t hear one voice when there is music or a lot of chatting, so I can’t carry on a conversation.
    I’ve had my hearing tested and it was fine, when there was no other sounds,. but not when there is background noise

    I have just said to a family member at a family do tonight – ‘I am sorry I can see you mouth moving but I have no idea what you are saying
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    When I first went to audiologist, he stressed that hearing aids must be worn daily to re-train brain to make good use of them. As he quite obviously was an expert in other areas of hearing, I decided to trust him and to wear them all the time. I hate, very much hate the feel of something in my ears, I still hate it years later, but believe I have benefited from it.

    I do know one man who wears them only if he is expecting someone at the door, or a possible phone call. He is more concerned about extending battery life, than about helping brain to adjust.

    I am fortunate down here. Hearing has relief packages for those on any giovernment pension. Free aids every five years. I pay $45 annually. That gives me as many free batteries as needed and also covers maintenance. I would spend more than double that amount on batteries annually. It also covers retesting every couple of years and any necessary tweaking of settings, along with a follow-up visit to audiologist.

    I mention this, although I guess many would know of it. The batteries available now last longer if protective cover is removed and they are given a few minutes to acclimatise, so to speak, before using in the aid. I found the difference between immediate insertion and waiting a short time, to be quite obvious in battery life.
  • Thanks for the hint about letting batteries acclimatise before using.
    (I've been lurking for a bit while I tried to remember my password, but am now sorted out with a new one - that was a new year's resolution accomplished).
    For shipmates in the UK, I thoroughly recommend NHS aids (if you don't mind the waiting list to get started): free aids, free batteries, free servicing - wonderful!
  • Comments about hearing aids on another thread have led me to wonder what Shipmates' experiences have been with them.

    I have been aware for a long time that my hearing is not what it used to be, especially in my right ear. It's ironic, because in grade school, when the school nurse used to come around to test everyone's hearing, I invariably scored among the best in the class.

    My father was constantly complaining about his hearing aids. It seemed like every week or so he'd be back at the audiologist's for an adjustment. He finally stopped wearing them altogether, saying that they were more trouble than they were worth. Based on his experience, I swore I'd never give in and get my own.
    Personally, I think ear trumpets should be made available on the NHS! :) However, age-related hearing loss is something that catches up with many. Some of my contemporaries still have excellent hearing - it's all the luck of the draw, isn't it. Interestingly, I wonder whether those with such retained good hearing found loud noises painful when they were young.
    When I first went for testing, I was given some priority because of the lack of focal vision. In spite of the inconveniences, I wouldn't be without my hearing aids. The quality has improved over the years, although the current design must have been made by someone who did not wear the things!
    But I finally did. I thought the audiologist gave me a very thorough exam and a very careful fitting. I was pleased at first. I could hear speech much more clearly. I could hear the television much better.

    But music, especially the piano (which I love to play), sounded unnatural and tinny. And ambient noise bothered me a great deal. In a restaurant, the sound of other diners touching their knives to their forks, or the sound of plates or pots and pans clattering against one another in the kitchen, almost made me jump out of my skin! I was tempted to take them back, but I kept telling myself that these irritations would pass and I would soon get used to the sound.
    I agree so much about the listening to music and although I have been to concerts earlier on, I would not choose to go now and find that the best way to hear music is with headphones, the sort that go into one's ears, is the nearest I get to real enjoyment of listening. There are little buttons on the aids for adjusting background noise, but the difference is just not the same!
    And then one of them stopped working. That was the last straw. Back they went, and my money was refunded. I won't say "cheerfully" but at least the store gave me no hassle.

    I'd be interested to know how my experience compared to those of others who have either tried and rejected hearing aids, or tried and kept them and still use them.
    Not being able to see people's faces when they talk means that I definitely need them, but in any more than one to one conversation, I tend to give up trying to hear what anyone is saying. I do not turn on TV, but the hearing aids make a big difference in listening to the radio - clarity, instead of listening as it were through cottonwool!



  • I have now read all posts - I wish I had known more about the reasons why one should wear them all the time when new for the brain to adjust. I was told that, but not forcefully enough! As I have to use headphones to listen to Synthetic Dave, I find the best way is to use in-the-ear headphones, so have had to compromise on wearing them all the time, but I don't think it has made a huge difference, and if it has, I can't go back and re-think!
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    I have a digital piano, and I always wear headphones when playing it lest I disturb my neighbors (although if I know they're out I don't bother with headphones). With hearing aids, I did find that I heard the piano much more naturally through headphones. It's good to know that others have had the same experience.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I have very reduced hearing in my left ear. It is only a matter of time before i go in for a hearing aid. on the plus side, i inform my students of my diminished hearing and use it as a prompt to have them speak clearly in class.
  • fineline wrote: »
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Just back from a meet up in a tiny coffee shop, fine at first but when a group of five noisy people came in, their chatter plus the noise of the coffee machine, meant I struggled to hear what my friend was saying, though before it was fine. Is this normal or is it me? Would hearing aids make any difference?
    Now I have come home and DH is watching a film with cinema sound and I cannot bear the volume. I ask myself, how would I cope with this, with hearing aids in?
    Any advice from users is welcome.

    Puzzler, I don't have hearing impairment, but I have the same difficulties you describe, because I have auditory processing difficulties. This is about how the brain processes what the ear hears, rather than a difficulty hearing. I mention that in case your hearing is fine and maybe it is a auditory processing issue. If it is, hearing aids wouldn't do anything. People can have auditory processing difficulties (and any other sensory processing difficulty) for all kinds of reasons. The only solution I know is to meet your friend in a quiet coffee shop and go somewhere else if it gets noisy. I make myself familiar with all the coffee shops and find which are the quietest. Though the very quietest one closed down, because it had barely any customers, other than me!

    Ah!! The sound I have just heard is the penny dropping!! That describes my hearing difficulties perfectly. I also have problems with being able to bear loud sounds when I am very tired or sometimes when I am ill.
Sign In or Register to comment.