Who knew hearing aids could were so important? Most all of us have experienced old, cracked tubes which reduce hearing aid output and moisture in the tubes can play havoc with our hearing aids too. Other than that, I think we take our hearing aid molds for granted but lately I’ve learned bad fitting ear molds can make or break or a hearing aid’s potential.
Last August I received new hearing aids, Siemens Carats and I’ve posted some about my problems with them. One of the biggest problems was bad fitting ear molds made my Siemens. Right from the start my ear molds kept working out of my ear and I kept having to push them back in. Then I noticed if I pushed them in and held them in tightly, I heard differently…better. So I went back to my audiologist who ordered another pair and they didn’t fit well either so he suggested using fingernail polish to thicken it up a little. I applied 2 coats of red fingernail polish(my favorite color) and it helped some. I really liked having red mold since I couldn’t have red hearing aids. My new pair of ear molds came in with the same problem so I painted them too.
Other problems included a software update that crashed my t-coil program along with making all my programs sound the same. I continued to have feedback problems when going to hug people, which made me pull back. Who likes to hear squealing hearing aids? There were troubles with the bluetooth and not hearing right through that program. There’s a huge disappointment in the iPhone app for the EasyTek which at first seemed cool but ended up feeling more like a tease. (I hardly ever open that up anymore.) Then my ears started getting sore on the inside from constantly pushing them back in so I let my audi know I just about hated these new hearing aids. This is my fifth pair of hearing aids and the only ones I haven’t had a ‘wow’ factor when getting new hearing aids. I couldn’t recommend them to anyone and didn’t feel like talking about them. I don’t like being a complainer so I quit writing about them too.
My audiologist listened to my complaints and offered to order me new hearing aid molds from another company. We agreed on the soft rubbery ones which I remember working with my Widex hearing aids 10 or so years ago when they had to crank up the power after a big drop in hearing. He knows I like red so he ordered me red hearing aid molds too.
We switched out the hard plastic molds for the rubbery, soft, red molds a couple of weeks ago. There was a little of the stuffed up sound that I remembered with the old molds back when but it wasn’t as bad because there is a little vent hole. They felt comfortable right away and had a snug fit.
Now I have to back up a little. With my Phonak Naidas my best word discrimination score was 50%. With the Siemens I had 60% right away but with all the troubles I had, I couldn’t get excited. With the new, better fitting rubbery molds my word discrimination shot up to 72%. That’s a huge jump! I haven’t seen a 72% word discrimination score in years. Six months later I can finally see what my audi kept bragging about with these hearing aids. They have a lot of potential with a proper fitting ear mold.
Now as I watch tv, I pick up words here and there. That hasn’t happened in years either. I noticed in a classroom setting the other day I could look down and take notes and still understand most of what was being said. Finally, after 6 months, I get my wow factor and I’m excited about wearing them again.
We worked out a few more bugs on the programs adding a specific bluetooth program to my aids because last week I realized I could not understand my mom on the phone without captions. My mom has a strong, clear voice and usually I can understand her above anyone else. Not through the bluetooth program and I even tried the bass from the iPhone app (another tease, it wouldn’t let me). Last night I called my mom as a test and talked to her for over an hour without captions and only needed a repeat about 5 times. Another major improvement.
I wouldn’t trade my audiologist for anything. He’s been very patient through the whole thing and he can program like no audi I’ve ever known. Maybe now I can start going back every 3 months or so instead 2 or 3 times a month. That would sure be nice. I have one more visit first. My right ear mold works out still but not as bad as with the hard plastic kind. I’m pushing it in maybe 3 times a day compared to 3 times an hour. He’s making me a thicker mold on that side to help keep it in. I must have the strongest ear muscles in the world.