Well it’s been about six months now since I got these new beauties and on balance I would say the experience has been positive – once I recovered from sticker shock and went through the stoic acceptance of advancing age.
Maybe I could go over the positives and negatives just in case you are heading down the same road as I am.
- Comfort – The Receiver in Canal model is far more comfortable than the older fitted in the canal model I used for a decade in my “bad” ear. There is still a bit of beans in the ears feeling but it is far less annoying now. Some times I can actually forget I’m wearing the RIC units.
- They work – I used to have the TV blaring – at least according to Maria – and now I can turn it down and still hear dialog. I’m picking up a lot more actual conversation too.
- Music – it sounds the way it did in my 20s now – I can actually hear the ring of acoustic guitars and the electric guitar solos aren’t muffled. A string orchestra sounds normal – no attenuated violins.
- Hearing loops – the hearing aids have a second program that helps with phone conversations and in places (like a church) if they have a hearing loop installed.
- Cost – oh sure I can afford it, but it’s like buying two MacBook Air notebooks and then some. I know there are cheaper places like Costco to buy these gadgets but I am not sure if you get the same quality – for sure you don’t get the same personalized service. I’ve had a couple of appointments since I got the hearing aids to check and adjust the volume where needed. I am told I can write off some of the expense on my tax return this year. We’ll see.
On the other hand, Costco type 312 batteries are cheap and very good so I do buy them there whenever I need to.
- Noise – it’s getting better but I still hear a lot of humming and thrumming from electric motors, computer hard drives, lawnmowers, snowblowers, etc. As well women’s and kids’ voices are definitely amplified. It can get painful if 3-4 kids are yelling at once.
- Reverberation – places that are “live” like a church or other stone walled building have a lot of reverb – I hope for a hearing loop so I can switch over and still hear spoken announcements well – of course that means I don’t hear local conversation very well.
- Doesn’t solve all your problems – I went for the mid grade unit which helps a bit in restaurants and multi-person environments but I still get distracted by crashing dishes and other ambient noise. You will still have to focus on the person you want to hear.
- Wax occlusion and rebooting – I still have issues where one hearing aid is working and the other one is “dead.” Usually I have to reboot the hearing aid by opening and closing the battery door, or is all else fails I replace the wax filter in the receiver.
As I said above, positives outweigh the negatives, and the greatest positive is getting back in touch with people and music. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.