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My Hearing Aid Experience

Updated on December 1, 2018
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

I got my hearing aid at the age of 67. After a few years of living with a loss of hearing in my left ear, I decided it was time. I got evaluated by an audiologist and she said my left ear is operating at a 60% efficiency. Even though my right ear is fine, it is also operating at aprox. 85% efficiency. With old age, we all loose some hearing especially in the high and low frequencies. The mid range is where most of our conversations resides. I was hearing OK except for in a crowded restaurant where there is a high background noise. Also, my left ear cannot hear sounds from a distance or make out conversations. I was told it was due to nurve damage and there is no cure.

I can hear fine if it is close by. Since I am left handed, I always listen to my cell phone with my left ear. It is only across the room I have difficulty.

- Nov. 2018

Background

The human ear is an extraordinary organ. Very similar to the human eye, it has tremendous range and flexibility. We can hear sounds at the very low frequency as well as the high frequencies. In addition, it works with our auditory system in the brain to compose a total sound package. It filters out the noise and enhances the voices and music we want to hear.

Technology has given us a lot to complement our natural ability. We have invented binoculars and telescopes to help us see farther and better. On the same token, we have invented amplifiers and speakers and hearing aids and noise cancelling headphone technology. However, as of today, we cannot replicate both the human visual system and the human auditory system.

My recent experience with the Opticon hearing aid is one example. This device is small and fits behind your ear and it runs on battery that lasts about a week. It is very good at amplification of noise. In fact, it is probably too sensity. It can amplify the smallest sounds and cracks and squeaks. It is also very good at noise supression. Not the ocasional sounds but a background white noise.

I am told it takes a few weeks for the ear to adapt to it. Over time, the brain will integrate the sounds it hear and do more to process out the unwanted background noise. What is amazing is how it changes my listening. The first thing I noticed is when I got into my car. My radio was on and right away, I noticed it is playing too loud. I had to dial the volume back a few notches. This device is helping me to hear some of the sounds I couldn’t hear before. What‘s more, it is helping me understand conversations from across the room.

Some Restrictions...

I learned thst my new device is not water proof. I need to take it out when I shower or exercise. I need to clean it periodically to remove the wax or dirt build up. I also need to replace the battery every week. This small device is quite amazing. It cost over $2000 and it is warrantied for 3 years. Also, three years supply of batteries are included.

I will be going back in two weeks for a follow up visit. The audiologist can adjust some of the settings such as volume and noise level. There will also be a six month checkup going forward.

I couldn’t help compare what this device is and our human hearing system.

Our human system was working at birth. It is self adjusting, requires no external power, and no cleaning except for ear wax ever so often. It is waterproof and it lasted 60 years.

My Progress...

Here is how it looks installed in my left ear. I opted for the dark gray color.

Battery Life...

I am told the rechargeable battery model is not very good. The one I have is the Oticon Minirite with batteries. They last about 1 week and the batteries are size 312 and a 3 years supply is included.

My experience based on average of 16 hours of use per day.

Started 11/19/2018 new

11/24/2018 - it has been 6 days. I heard the signal the battery is low.

It was already late in the evening, so I decided to remove it for the night.

11/25/2018 - I replace the battery for the first time. It was easy.

11/30/2018 - need to replace battery again. Looks like 6 days of average use.

Bluetooth App

An app is available for the iPhone and iPad. It allows the ear piece to receive sounds directly from your bluetooch devices.

I went to the settings on my iPad and under “accessibility”, I was able to pair my hearing aid with my iPad. With this enabled, I can control thr volume and also direct sounds to my ear piece. The quality is not high fidelity especially with music or songs but it is fine.

IPad Settings Screen Shot

Summary

My first impression of this unit is very positive. It serves the function of amplifying the sounds with high quality. It is almost too sensitive and I can hear every little sound including the leaves cracking under my feet as I walk over them.

It is easy to use and small in size and very indiscrete. It also has a bluetooth connection and a smart phone app. I will be posting more as I use it over rhe next two weeks of break in period.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Jack Lee

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 months ago from UK

      Your experience echoes that of a relative of ours, who recently got hearing aids for both ears.

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