Thursday, November 15, 2012
Today I went to a presentation by the ReSound representatives to hear about the latest greatest hearing aid technology...
I'm cautiously optimistic... or maybe always hoping and optimistic, but still raw and cautious from some of the less than professional conduct of previous hearing aid dealers and other snake oil salesmen.
This blog won't make a lot of sense to the average hearing person and so it's okay, as this is really just my place to sort out my thoughts. And I got to get it in before midnight before the points expire.
There's a lot of backstory but I really don't have time to go into it. The main thing is that my sensorineural hearing loss is what's known as "ski slope" you know, like skiing down almost a straight vertical cliff downward into "loooooooook ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!" and then...... splat!
Those hearing losses do NOT work well with the historical variety of "analog" hearing aids. (Insert very long and dry and technical dissertations upon discussion upon ancedotal stories about why this is true...). Analog hearing aids would be the type everyone has seen on anyone else the past, oh, 45 years or more. I myself am of the old-school generation who wore the HIDEOUSLY UGLY Zenith body aid strapped across my private-school "kiddegarten" classes (back in the day before USA Federally mandated half day kindergartens were established, long before full-day kindergartens...) and first grader dresses, where kids would poke me, thump on it, magnifying the sounds and hurting my ears.
Okay, so today's show wasn't about your grandmother's hearing aids...
Noooo these have built-in blue tooth. They come with mini-microphones. They connect seamlessly to your bluetooth enabled hearing aids. They send signals back and forth to each other (the left ear aid and the right ear aid) to amplify the sounds you hear behind you, outside the usual range of the directional microphones. They have FM enabled transmitters (which they called "streamers", how cute!!) which would put the signal from a TV monitor or Stereo or other sound device right into my ear.
Guess they will surpress wind sounds (important in Kansas and a major disadvantage of the hearing aids I've had.... and other feedback inducing sounds.
Guess they process music stupendously wonderful (and yea, I know, it's weird, but the deaf gal goes to the Wichita Symphony with her hearing husband. I use an Infrared (IR) receiver which only partially processes the music - anything above a certain volume, and it "clips" out the sound and I hear nothing for awhile until the circuitary comes back online. Yea, kinda like a veg-0-matic approach to music. Better than just watching the guest violinist stand on stage and play the "air violin" literally, this way I do get some sense of the range of a violin. But a piccolo player? I might hear 3 or 4 separate notes if they played it literally in my ear, the one end shoved into my good ear while the player attempts to blow into it a mere 2 or 3 inches away. Anyone looking at us would think it was some weird "whispering sweet nothings" process.
Oh and "whisper sweet nothings"? what's that???
So I don't know. Do I trust or do I stay away.
And where do I pony up $5,000.00+ (USA dollars.)
Obama care has reduced the maximum Flexible Spending Account from $5,000 to $2500.00. Oh joy! And this helps me how?
Our insurance has no coverage provisions for hearing aids. I realize some lucky saps do. I talked to a friend of mine who was deafened in the 1980's at the age of 8 or 9 years of age due to a case of spinal meningitus. Her husband's insurance pays 90% of hearing aids cost every two years. Wowza!
So anyway... time is slipping away. I can edit more later....
I have a lot of ambivalence... need another pros and cons list?