Hearing aids

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by slipbeer, May 8, 2015.

  1. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    I may get banned for bringing up the unthinkable topic for TGP but the reality is it's time's to get informed because I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a little something extra to hear what's going on around me pretty soon.

    Who's got them, who knows about them and what kind of advice can you give me on what to do to get them?
     
  2. Trotter

    Trotter Supporting Member

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    I'd like to know too. Just had my hearing tested at Miracle Ear and they said I need one for my left ear. They then proceeded to show me the mid-level model that was $2000 (yes, that price is for one hearing aid).

    I'll be getting a second opinion from a place that doesn't sell hearing aids prior to dropping any coin.

    But sadly, I've noticed hearing loss in the last few years (which is what prompted me to go in for a test)

    I'm 36 years old... take care of your ears guys.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  3. 84Bravo

    84Bravo Member

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    You can spend up to $6K or more on hearing aids. I'm waiting to get mine courtesy of the VA. I will let you know then.
     
  4. CheckSix

    CheckSix Gold Supporting Member

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    My wife had the Siemens Pure model ITC digital units, programmed by a pro audiologist and they sucked. $4000.00 out the window. They broke down several times, had to be sent back, blah, blah, blah. Never again.

    The Etymotic Research "Bean" PSA devices did her much more good. They use a sophisticated analog circuit, so the fidelity is much better than the digital stuff. $500.00 for the pair, not a bad starting point, in our opinon.
    http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/personal-sound-amplifiers/bean-qsa.html
     
  5. pkevinb

    pkevinb Member

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    I have hearing aids courtesy of the VA. I love them because I miss so much without them.
     
  6. CheckSix

    CheckSix Gold Supporting Member

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    HA! I see you're in NE Illinois... Etymotic are in Elk Grove Village, conveniently enough. I own multiple pairs of their in the ear speakers... which are great! They know what they are doing.
     
  7. How

    How Supporting Member

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    They told me I needed hearing aids. I told them as long as the TV can go louder I'm good. My wife can use ear plugs if she has a problem with the TV.
     
  8. Trotter

    Trotter Supporting Member

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    Thank you so much for that link! I didn't know about these.
     
  9. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    I can tell you this, they are very expensive. I mean what are they really? Amplifiers with frequency specific controls? $4000-6000? really?
    What a rip off. But then, the whole medical related field is.... nothing worse than making extreme profits off of sick people....
     
  10. DaveG

    DaveG Gold Supporting Member

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    We took my father-in-law in for testing, after they got him all dialed in, they had him try out a pair in the office... it was amazing how much better he could hear, and he was thrilled. He paid $5500, wore the hearing aids for one day, at home with his wife, and promptly sent them back. :thud
     
  11. Jeff Gehring

    Jeff Gehring Silver Supporting Member

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    I've got a pair of Phonak Audeo series aids and they work pretty well. Got them before I retired, because the upper mids and high end response of my hearing was way down, and I couldn't distinguish sibilants etc. Really made a huge difference for conversation, work, TV watching. They are more than 'amplifiers with specific freq controls' these days, as there are all kind of processing algorithms built in for feedback cancellation, handling noisy environments, and so on. If you get the really nice ones, they can do all kinds of things, like bluetooth TV audio, or link to phones (mine don't). It is infuriating how ridiculously expensive they are, but... whaddaya gonna do?

    One thing I found is that although they are indispensible for general use, I ALWAYS take them out or turn them all the way down to play guitar. The anti-feedback algorithm does very strange things with guitar; it thinks the guitar is feedback and attempts to phase-cancel it. Very bizarre sounding.
     
  12. RickV

    RickV Member

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    The good ones are multi channel micro processors that adapt and adjust to various environments. I'm 61 and have been using them for 9 years. On my third pair. The last pair were about $4k each. I have severe hearing loss, but these make things almost normal for me. I could not function without them.

    The technology in "hearing instruments",as my audiologist calls them, is incredible and getting better every day. Mine have several cool features, including channel selection (manual or auto), Bluetooth (I take phone calls through my aids and stream the TV audio through them), mute them like ear plugs. Listen to iHeart radio and YouTube through them. The sound reproduction is very accurate. They have molded ear pieces that are very comfortable. The processor (or amplifier) on mine are behind the ear. No one notices I wear aids, unless I tell them.

    I have them cleaned every month or two at the audiologist. I store them in a desicantt box every night when I go to bed. The worst thing for these is moisture (sweat, humidity, etc). I get about 5 days out of a pair of batteries (they give you a warning beep when they get low).

    My advice is to pick an audiologist that carries several brands. They're all good, but everyone is different. Some work better for some people than others. Try out a few different brands before you pick one. Some have a hollow tube that goings in the ear. They work great, if your hearing loss isn't too severe. More powerful aids will have the hard wired speaker (receiver) in the ear piece. I've had both. Both work great.

    Plan on going in for a professional adjustment every 6-12 month. Complete
    audiogram at least annually, so the aids can be fine tuned to your current hearing loss. Have them sent in to the manufacturer annually to have them serviced. I get loaners from my audiologist. The good ones are fully warranted for at least 3 years and everything will be covered 100%. I've gotten mine back completely rebuilt, when I thought there wasn't anything wrong with them.

    I've been told 3-5 yrs is what to expect before you will have to upgrade/replace.

    My final piece of advice... Don't go cheap. Get the best ones you can afford! It will make a difference in your quality of life, as well as those around you (friends and family). Like anything else, you get what you pay for.
     
  13. Cropduster

    Cropduster Member

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    This is what I do for a living. Axe me your questions.
     
  14. ljholland

    ljholland Supporting Member

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    I had ear surgery two years ago to remove scar tissue built up over a lifetime of ear infections (cholesteatoma). While the surgery was a success, one of my middle ear bones was replaced by a titanium piece and my ear drum was replaced by some cartilage from my outer ear. I hear OK but it's not as good as OEM equipment. Mostly, I have problems understanding conversations in business meeting, especially when there's any background noise.

    I don't have a simple loss across frequencies...it just in the key frequencies of human voice. Which meant I needed a fancier hearing aid that could be programmed. You can get non-programmable ones these days for about $1K each.

    My audiologist had me try a dozen brands/models. Most sounded very artificial....some almost ridiculous actually....like robot talk. He said he was saving the best for last and when I put on the Oticon Nera Pro, I was amazed. They sounded completely normal - no artificial artifacts. It was like my hearing was supposed to be. In the end, it was about $4K for the one side.

    I had a couple of rounds of tuning and went back a third time to change the volume level up a bit. Other than changing the filters and the tips that go in the ear, there's zero maintenance. These are behind the ear models yet people never notice I have them on unless I tell them.

    Anyway, I'm sure how models sound will be a personal thing but having a decent audiologist that has a number of brands/models to test is key.

    Oh - I did get a pendant gizmo that allows me to talk handsfree through my iPhone or stream music ($300). I don't recommend that gizmo as it's too heavy and the audio quality is poor.....but the Oticon aids are great.
     
  15. RickV

    RickV Member

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    Sounds like the same ones I currently have (same brand, features and cost). I don't mind the necklace around my neck. It's easier to adjust the volume than reaching up and fiddling with the button on the aid.

    I prefer to take phone calls through the Bluetooth feature. I sometimes stream talk radio, while sitting at my desk at work.

    I'm very happy with the Oticons. Phonak is real good (1st pair). Did not like the Unitron brand I had for a while.

    Sometimes I forget to keep the necklace thing under my shirt and someone will point to it and ask what it is. I tell them it's really cool, but they need to stand back. Then I hold it up to my mouth and say, "Scotty... Beam me up." Always gets a laugh.
     
  16. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Most everyone I know have to remove them for music. Even the expensive ones. One friend has the ones with the little remote control, but they are useless on stage.
     
  17. ljholland

    ljholland Supporting Member

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    Oh - for music you have to take them out or turn them off. They distort with the loud volume levels. Hearing aids are not meant for live music.
     
  18. Radspin

    Radspin Member

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    I have pretty serious midrange hearing loss. I don't "feel" like I have hearing loss in my day to day life but the fact is, I do.

    I have the Oticon Agile Pro. I am very picky about sound quality and tried out a number of hearing aids at the audiologist. I found these to be the best out of the four or five I tried but man are they expensive. They are excellent for situations where you have to pick out conversations in crowds of people, listen to lecturers and so on. Basically, in situations where you need improved speech intelligibility.

    But, most of the time I don't wear them. I wear glasses and I find that after a while the combination of glasses and hearing aids gets uncomfortable (I have the kind where a little wire goes between the piece on top of the ear and the piece in the ear) and I've never been able to get this adjusted out. I've been meaning to have them looked at again but just haven't gotten around to it.

    Also, I don't wear them for playing gigs...I find them unnecessary for that.

    I have to mention that the first time I listened to my high-end stereo with them I wanted to cry. Listening to top-flight audio gear through what are in my opinion essentially mediocre digital electronics made the system sound terrible...all the subtle nuance and beauty was obliterated. So, I listen to my system without the hearing aids. I'd rather enjoy the really good sound quality with compromised hearing than listen to disappointing sound through crappy (to my standards) audio processing circuitry.
     
  19. hellbender

    hellbender Member

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    Hearing aids are pretty limited in their ability to reproduce a broad spectrum of audible sounds without compromising the rather severe gain and EQ they apply to discern speech frequencies. That is their primary goal. That they can also reproduce broad spectrum as to seem more like how an ear hears the world, is the real selling point for most. The transducer is tiny and does not move much air. The close coupling of the transducer to eardrum with the sealing surround piece, helps keep ambient delayed sounds from imterfering with what's been sampled, massaged and then amplified.

    Bottom line is that if your ears are not hi fidelity components anymore, hearing aids will not change that much. Restoring the lifesaving quality of the sense of everyday hearing is much more important.
     

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