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Hearing Aids or Heartache?

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?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Honestly I love the fact that im reading the behind the scenes people with disabilities issues. I love how so many responded to this as well. Whats funny is I remember two assingments I had. One was in middle school we had to wear a blind fold to see how the blind experienced the world. In college, i wheeled in a wheelchair to see the barriers of a person in a wheelchair. This blows and it is said you cant get it all covered I like the others advice, youll find something that will assist with it,
    2039 days ago
  • MOGAL1946
    I just got two Resound hearing aids and so far so good. Check with your audiologist to see if there is a program you might qualify for to help with the cost. My audiologist got me in touch with a state funded program which I qualified for due to my income & still working full time. She also mentioned if I didn't qualify there she would find other programs that might help me. She has me on the lowest setting for now & I go back next week to adjust to a higher setting as she didn't want to overwhelm me with sound all at once. I can hear sounds better now but still have a little clarity issue. As mentioned above....I don't think any aid will give normal hearing. Oh, forgot to mention that with these aids I have no feedback. With my old aid, whenever anyone hugged me the aid would whistle loudly! Good Luck!
    2046 days ago
    I'm excited that you have good up to date technology to consider-but you're right-that's a lot of money, and you hope all they said was true! Good luck with your decision making process!
    2047 days ago
    When I read things like this it makes me glad I'm in the UK. You can buy hearing aids privately if you want to here, but most people get theirs for free on the NHS and the NHS started providing digital ones more than 10 years ago. That said, anyone who tells you their hearing aid will give you back perfect hearing is . . . selling snakeoil.

    I don't know what the market is like in the States but the advice here has always been that you should be able to take an aid home and try it out for a few days and get your money back if it doesn't work for you. Also that independent audiologists tend to be better vfm than big companies with pushy salesmen.
    2047 days ago
    Oh, my. I have had 2 stapendectomies and have sensorineural hearing loss too, which I've also had since kinder age. I have had many-a-person recommend hearing aides for me, but the price is a barrier for one and secondly, don't think that hearing aides would do much for my hearing loss. suppose it should be a consideration but then I think, what if it doesn't work out????

    It's a tough situation. I learned sign language and read lips. Crowds are a hugs problem for me, but one-on-one, I can do pretty well.

    Wishing you luck in making your decision. You're so right, it is hard to understand the difficulty in making such a decision if you're not hearing impaired.

    HUGS and good luck.
    2047 days ago
  • GLORYB83
    Julia, I can't help you here because I don't wear an aid, I have a cochlear implant and I'll tell you this, the implant is one of the greatest thing there is! The hearing device goes behind my ear and is like a mini computer, I have 4 programs of hearing on it, one is for partially blocking background noises, one is for music, etc. It's a Blessing to me! But like hearing aids, it's also expensive.

    Music tends to be so-so, sometimes I can understand it, sometimes I can't, I think it just depends on the music. If I'm told what the song is, I can catch it and sing along, ho ho ho!

    Your choice must be a difficult one. I wouldn't know which way to go. As for financial help, sometimes I think governments think the deaf are also invisible!
    Let me know what you end up doing?
    2047 days ago
    Best wishes!
    2047 days ago
    a guy i work with had a hearing implant , and he clips this tiny box right to his head behind the ear.... cool!
    2048 days ago
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