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Tips on hearing aid purchase
#21
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Copy that Mitch. Best to ya.
Dave

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#22
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
OneSorer,

Most Bluetooth hearing aid manufacturers have a smart phone app, although it would be a good idea to check because even though the manufacturer may have an app, it may be that not all of their models can be used with it. It also depends on the phone as well. All of the hearing aids I researched that have apps are compatible with the iPhone. That was not the case with Android. If having a phone app is important to you it would be best to research it as diligently as the hearing aids and use that as part of the basis for your decision. Not all of the apps are created equally.
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#23
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Apologies if this has already been covered and I missed it.

I too suffer hearing loss and had a test a few weeks ago. The audiologist said I had profound loss at the higher frequency end of the spectrum, in both ears. He explained that this can severely affect a person's ability to hear conversations properly (which is my biggest problem) because consonants are comprised of 'clicks' and sharp sounds that mostly occur high up. Vowel sounds are lower frequencies.

If some or all of the consonants are missing, understanding speech can be hard. Also, loud environments make hearing those consonants even harder, hence that trouble we have in crowded rooms.

He went on to explain that hearing los in a limited frequency range - low, middle or high - cannot be alleviated with am old-style, 'simple' hearing aid that simply amplifies sound, because ALL frequencies will be increased in volume, bringing you back where you started - unable to hear those consonants.

He said that a digital aid is vastly superior because it can be tuned to only increase the volume of your 'missing frequencies', thus making conversation easier.

At least I THINK that's what he said  Big Grin

Anyway, that's my plan.  However, the advanced, digital aids that are discreet and reliable, with long battery life, are molto expensive, so because I am currently waiting to hear if I qualify for a disability support (which might make a hearing aid cheaper), I have put off the purchase.
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#24
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
The subject of digital and analogy came up when I told my audiologist my preferences during the consultation after my hearing exam. He stated that unless you were buying a used older model or an over the counter hearing aid, it would be a digital model since all of the manufacturers of prescription hearing aids have dropped analog. We are in the U.S., so that may or may not apply elsewhere.
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#25
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
(10-31-2019, 05:32 AM)MitchS Wrote: The subject of digital and analogy came up when I told my audiologist my preferences during the consultation after my hearing exam. He stated that unless you were buying a used older model or an over the counter hearing aid, it would be a digital model since all of the manufacturers of prescription hearing aids have dropped analog. We are in the U.S., so that may or may not apply elsewhere.

Yes. I should have been clearer. All the 'real' hearing aids here in Oz are digital, but some are dumb, other smart and adjustable. My audiologist was referrring to the smart aids that can be tuned for each wearer and retuned if necessary, i.e. when our hearing changes through ageing or in noisy environments.

That said, there are still old-style hearing aids on sale, mostly online, and other products masquerading as hearing aids when they are just very basic amplifiers. There is even a device on sale that comprises a remote microphone and earpiece, which requires that the wearer hand the microphone to the person they are conversing with ... Dont-know
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#26
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
I went in for what will probably be my final fitting yesterday, barring problems that may pop up, so I thought I would give a progress report.

My first fitting when I picked up the hearing aids went well, although I was a little doubtful about all of the noise I was hearing. Gain was set at 80% of the prescription. The audiologist spent a great deal of time explaining the features of the hearing aids and how to operate them. After a week of wearing them whenever I was awake, I got used to them and would even forget I was wearing them. My hearing was also much better than before. I was still having problems with noise and some feedback at times, however. Running water and rustling paper were incredibly loud. Sound fidelity and speech recognition improved a great deal.

I went in for the second fitting 2 weeks after the initial fitting. The gain was set to 90% of the prescription, frequencies were adjusted slightly and other issues I was having were addressed. Another appointment was set up for one month out to see if the hearing aids could be set at the prescribed gain. The perception of noise was back in full force, however, and worse than before. I almost turned around on the way home to complain about it, but decided to give it a couple of days to see how it went. It was a good thing I did. The adjustment period was just a couple of days this time.

In the mean time, I discovered the wonderful world of digital Bluetooth hearing aid programs and managed to customize them to better suit my needs. I used 4 of the user custom programs available in addition to the default programs. More on that later.

During my last visit to the audiologist this Tuesday, the gain was bumped up to 110% of the prescribed level (to give me more room for volume adjustments) and the feedback filter was adjusted. He also installed retainers on the receivers to help keep the domes from slipping out of my ears. When the audiologist found my custom programs he asked how they were working for me and if I wanted to incorporate them into the default programs, which we did. He also used Real Ear Measurement (R.E.M.) to adjust the hearing aids to my prescription. R.E.M. uses a tiny microphone between the ear drum and hearing aids to measure the output of the hearing aids. Although I’m still adjusting to the changes, I can already see a big difference in sound fidelity and speech recognition.

Over all, I’m very pleased with the hearing aids and wish I hadn’t waited so long to get them. Here are a few observations:

First off, the Bluetooth capable hearing aids were a good decision. They give me much more control over the hearing aids by allowing for the use of preset programs for varying situations. Bluetooth also allows my iPhone to stream audio directly to the devices for phone calls notifications, etc. and allows other Bluetooth devices to be used with the hearing aids as well.

The preset programs are fantastic. The phone app comes with 4 preset default programs.
  • All-Around which is designed for general use and is the one I use the most.
  • Restaurant which allows the user to determine the direction the sound is picked up from. This program isn’t perfect, but it does help a great deal in filtering out noise and improving speech recognition in crowded places.
  • Music which is self descriptive.
  • Outdoor which I use mostly at work.
  • TV/Micro-M which used for streaming audio from Bluetooth enabled TVs or streaming devices.
  • An audio program that is only displayed when streaming audio directly from apps on a mobile phone. It is not used for phone calls, notifications, etc.
All of the programs have various user selectable filters, volume controls and a simple frequency equalizer. While the All-Around program is used whenever the hearing aids are powered up or restarted (as note by KSMatthew), any changes to a program are saved so they aren’t lost. I plan on setting up additional custom programs.

I use a streaming device for our TV. The streaming device is made by the hearing aid manufacturer. All I can saw is WOW! After setup, it sounds like you are in a movie theater. It even allows you adjust how much background noise is allowed.

I also use a Bluetooth external phone mic which attaches to the front of my shirt by a clip. It allows me to make and answer phone calls, adjust the volume of the phone calls as well as change programs. It is also made by the hearing aid manufacturer.

My advice for anyone considering purchasing hearing aids is to use an audiologist who uses Real Ear Measurement (R.E.M.) and use the same processes described on Apnea Board for choosing and purchasing Cpap equipment.

If you decide to buy streaming or other devices for your hearing aids it would be a good idea to check Ebay. The best prices for the streaming device and external mic I could find elsewhere was between $500 and $600 when purchased together. While those prices were for new devices it was more than I wanted to pay. I bought them both together on Ebay for $175. They were gently used, like new and both work great.

Edit to add:
While the tinnitus feature didn’t seem to do much for my tinnitus, the fact that my hearing lose is being treated is helping it quite a bit.
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#27
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Hi All, newbie member on this forum.

Also recently a new HA user, been told by SWMBO that I'd better get something done or else.
Had my HA's for 2? months now, initially dissapointed with results, but after 2nd follow up with supplier (Value Hearing) they solved a few problems & better now.
Went with the Phonak Audio Marvel rechargable, has BT (Android User) Initial ticket price $4K+ each but with discounts ended up paying just under $5K pair (inc TV conector - BT thingy that streams direct to HA)
I find phone calls not really acceptable quality & unless I'm in a VERY quiet enviromnent, will get caller to hold while I turn BT off & just go back to using mobile normally
Also struggling hearing in a noisy enviroment - pubs, restaurants etc.
Clinician organsied me a Phonak Roger Connect which is a small BT disk that you put on table & it picks up conversations @ the table & sort of blocks out background noise.
Used it last night but found another problem - had left it on table when I went to order dinner @ counter but couldn't hear lass taking order as the bable from group @ table was coming through HA's.
 If you want some good advice on HA's & hearing loss, I found a good source on Youtube - Dr Cliff (is an audiologist from Phonix AZ)
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#28
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
I haven’t had much problem with sound quality during phone calls. It could be due to having used a Bluetooth device for phone calls for years before getting hearing aids. I don’t know about Android, but my iPhone has a way to setup the phone for streaming to hearing aids. One of the settings helps make the sound quality better for phone calls. It is located in settings>accessibility>hearing devices. Another option offered is the ability to change how the phone routes audio for phone calls. Your Android device may offer something similar.

Noisy environments can be challenging to say the least. The restaurant setting for my Resound devices let me adjust the volume and the angle the devices pick up sound from. It also has a general noise filter and a wind filter. Adjusting the wind and noise filter to max, setting the pickup angle to narrow and adjusting the volume to compensate for the filters helps a lot. Sitting with your back to most of the noise sources, where possible, may help, as well. Sitting in a corner facing a wall can be counter productive, though, since the walls can reflect the noise. 

I think we tend to over estimate how much hearing aids will help in noisy situations. We forget that people who don’t have hearing loss have the same challenges in noisy environments that we do. I’m satisfied if I can get the noise down to levels I can tolerate. Excessive noise can actually be physically painful for me. 

 Dr. Cliff is a good source for hearing loss related information. He has videos on YouTube covering all areas of hearing loss.

Another good source is the Hearing Tracker forum, which also has a Facebook page. Just google Hearing Tracker. Dr Cliff and several other audiologists are contributing members of the forum.

Best wishes with getting where you want to be with your hearing loss treatment. 

Regards,
Mitch
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