Hearing Aid Adventures Continued

I wanted to post here all month but it’s been one thing or another.  First I was too depressed over my new hearing aids then after ten days of a swollen leg my boyfriend was diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg.  (He didn’t fit the profile so it took longer than it should have.)  That turned life upside down too for awhile but I think that’s leveling off so here I am.

Out of all the years I’ve worn hearing aids, this is the first time I wasn’t over joyed with new hearing aids.  The new molds didn’t fit right and kept working their way out of my ear and I kept shoving them back in which made one of my ears sore.  I noticed during that time if I held my molds in place, I heard a lot better.  As soon as I let go, things started to sound tinny again.

During that time I went to present to a senior center for work and their meeting was held in the worst possible acoustics ever.  Now that I knew how to work my app, I brought out my phone and tried focusing my hearing aids forward (zoom in) which helped a little.  I was thrilled with that option.  Then about 20-30 minutes later, the app figured I had been in the zoom long enough and went back to the master program.  Ugh!  Shouldn’t I be the one to decide when to change it?  I put it back on zoom hoping it might be a temporary glitch but half way through my presentation the app changed me back to the master program again making it very hard to answer questions from the audience.  So no, that wasn’t a glitch.


A few days later, my boyfriend and I tried to hook up a transmitter and there were no instructions.  We had no idea how to hook it up to the TV!  After half an hour of frustration, we gave up.  Between that, the app glitch and the hearing aid molds not fitting I finally had a meltdown.  I took the hearing aids out and put them away.  I had no desire to wear them.  For the first time in 23 years of wearing hearing aids, I could understand why some people hate their hearing aids and lock them away in a drawer.

I’m not the typical hearing aid wearer though.  After I had a good cry my resolve returned.  I didn’t put my hearing in again, however, until  my next audiologist appt.  I let him know how unhappy I was and why.  All the gadgets and high tech’ness of the hearing aids felt like a tease.  He was on the phone right away, ordering me different, new hearing aid molds.  He suggested painting the current ear molds with fingernail polish in layers to thicken them up so they would stay in better. Right away I envisioned red ear molds. Here’s were I learned when molds don’t fit right, we lose bass in sound he said.   Yeah, that’s it!

I also had problems with harsh sounds but I knew this was a matter of programming and my audi is a great programmer.  Anything in the kitchen hurt and I wound up clenching my teeth then taking my hearing aids out so I could relax.  Another issue was walking to the store with my boyfriend, I could not understand him with the traffic noise.

My audiologist listened and then spent about half an hour reprogramming my hearing aids.  He ran a test called ‘live speech mapping’ (a similar program is called ‘real ear measure.’)  He put something around my ear and slid something through the hole in my mold into my ear.  My audiogram was up on his computer screen and he introduced a squibble of noise and lines bounced up and down on my chart.  He said those noises represent the sounds of speech.  When it was done, he made a few adjustments and ran the program again.  I think he did this three times in all.

Sounds were easier on my teeth and tolerable.  We stood outside his office with the traffic and tested the new program and I could understand him.  Whew, I started feeling a little better.  Before leaving his office, he advised me to leave the other technology alone until I could get a proper hold on my new hearing aids.  Unfortunately, I didn’t wear them all that much the following week either because I still had to push them back in often.  Maybe I should have painted them with 6 layers?

The next week I went back for my new hearing aid molds which have a kickstand kind of thing on them to help keep them in place.  Another major relief.  The only adjustments to my program this time was add a new program that zoomed my mics forward since my app won’t let me have it longer than 25 minutes.  At home I painted my ear molds red again because I like the color and they could still be a little tighter.

Then I added nail decals to jazz them up a little until I have time to paint them.

Then I added nail decals to jazz them up a little until I have time to paint them.

I’m careful to paint only the outside edges staying away from where the receivers go in and the hole inside the ear.  (Good thing I used to be a hairdresser!)  I don’t want plain hearing aids, I want something I can show off.

The hearing aids are more suited to me.  I use the bluetooth feature to listen to music often and I find myself picking up more words with the lyrics.  I tried using the phone with it but it was a major struggle.

Easy Tek

Easy Tek

My boyfriend and I broke out the transmitter again the other day  trying to hook it up, his way, and I had the devil of a time pairing my Easy Tek to  it.  I tried until the battery died and when I plugged it in to be charged I took the hearing aids out too.  (Maybe my audi has something there.)  The next day I finally paired it but still no sound so next time I’ll try hooking it up with an audio splitter.

Every time there’s apps to be updated on my phone I say a little prayer the Easy Tek app will be updated too.  No such luck yet.  Today on my way home from teaching a hearing loss class I was listening to music again and all of a sudden my Easy Tek turned off.  No clue why.  My hands were on the steering wheel and the device hanging over the top of the seat belt.  Let’s hope that’s a one time glitch because if it happens often I won’t have any use for it and it will go into a drawer.

I also wish it would remember my bass position each time I turned it on.  I up the bass because for all these years that’s how I heard music with my high frequency loss.  I’m used to bass and although the tighter molds help, I still want a little more when my music is on.

I think I hear too much outside noise too when on bluetooth.  My audi said he shut down all the outside noise but I know through my old Phonak hearing aids, that isn’t always possible to shut it off the outside world completely.  That’s another thing on my wish list for hearing aid manufacturers, to be able to shut the outside world entirely when all I want is my music or especially when I’m trying concentrate on the phone as well.  I want no outside interference because I need/want every shred of noise I can get at that point.

I also have more feedback than I’d like still.  When I hug on someone, the hearing aids sound off.  If I put my hands to my ear, they sing.  Sigh.

As my audi reminded me, no hearing aid is perfect and that’s true.  They all have their glitches and they are better than nothing.  Even after 23 years of hearing aid use I guess I still get my hopes up.  Hearing aids aren’t called hearing miracles for a reason.

That’s where my adventure stands right now.   I’m done bitching so maybe the more positive stuff will start coming out now.  Understanding more lyrics is a good thing.  Being able to hear the neighborhood kids run up and down the street screaming is a good thing.  Maybe.


5 responses to “Hearing Aid Adventures Continued

  1. Thanks, Chelle, for sharing your adventure. I can certainly relate to the frustrations of switching to new hearing aids. Every year when I go for my evaluation I find out I have more loss and need new programming or a new hearing aid. I have a really great specialist though so I’m grateful for that. What kind of hearing loss do you have and is it progressively getting worse? I started losing my hearing at age 55 and no one could tell me why. Now I’m 63 and still learning to adapt. Everyone has some challenge, though, right? Keep posting your thoughts; I enjoy reading them. Winona Stewart

    • I have a sensorineural hearing loss. It’s been progressive but it’s held steady the last 6 years, knock on wood. I have a moderate-profound loss right now. I started losing my hearing a little at a time around 14 yrs old, I’m 46 now. I too have a great audi and I’m grateful I found him but that doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated.

  2. Chelle, your blog gave me a great look at the technical difficulties, adjustments, etc., that come with aids. It was fascinating to read about how closely you had to work with your wonderful audiologist to really get the most from your new ones. Did you know that the US now has The National Hearing Test, a nonprofit test developed with funding from NIH, that lets people who are reluctant to commit to an audiologist visit take a brief, easy, VALIDATED hearing test by phone? No products or services are pushed, period. Your readers who have friends and relatives who need encouragement to check their hearing should visit our web site, http://www.nationalhearingtest.org. It may be just what some folks need to get them to take their hearing health seriously! Thanks again for your super blog. Judy Allensworth, National Hearing Test.

  3. Wow. I totally get this, but I so admire the way you press on with all the technology helps available so that you can get the most out of your hearing aids, in spite of your frustrations. My molds tend to slip out, too, but my ear doctor has never suggested painting them with fingernail polish. How cool is that? Like you, I’m a bit creative & I’ve reached a place where I’m ready to flaunt these things! I’m planning on making a hearing aid dangle/accessory one of these days…looks like an earring, but you dangle it from the tube. Anyway, thanks so much for blogging your journey…I love it.

  4. Hi Chelle, I enjoyed reading your blog. I have a son who is 4 months old. He was born with severe sensorineural hearing loss. An wonderful Australian government funded company called “Australian Hearing” fitted my son Sam with his first hearing aids at 7 weeks of age. They provide children with free hearing aids until they are 21 years of age and free replacement batteries and moulds. The Australian Federal Government want to privatise Australian Hearing. This may have a profound impact on the our children and their families as the government have not said that the children would be looked after if it was privatised. I have started a petition to help save Australian Hearing. I was wondering if you would like to read and sign my petition and perhaps share it with your contacts if you can. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/687/980/264/call-to-action-save-our-australian-hearing-services-for-the-sake-of-our-children/# Thank you in advance.

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