I wanted to make this post for two reasons, the first to help anyone getting hearing aids for the first time and give them something realistic to reference. The second for anyone who’s interested in knowing what it’s like to wear hearing aids.
New hearing aids are a process, even for someone who’s worn them for almost three decades. I’ve worn and adjusted to many different types. Different hearing losses respond differently to hearing aids and technology. For the record, I have a mild loss in my left ear, and am (now) moderate to profound in my right. Simply put: I listen with my left, always have, always will.
I wear two different types of hearing aids, an in-the-ear for my left, and a behind-the-ear for my right. My decision to do this has nothing to do with appearance, but rather to do with sound. For my left ear I wanted the sound to come from the entrance of my ear, rather than from behind my ear. It makes it easier to talk on the phone and allows the sound to be a little more natural. It’s also more comfortable when I’m wearing my glasses and a headband.
My right ear I have no choice. Because of my hearing loss I can only benefit from the behind-the-ear model. This has never bothered me. I started off wearing two behind-the-ears. And since I talk on the phone with my left ear only, this is what works best for me.
Getting new hearing aids is a process. I know this, I’m aware of this. I’ve been through the drill many times before. My old hearing aids were nine years old, with the way technology advances these days, I had a lot to adjust to.
First things first: I wanted fun new hearing aids. I had no fun options for my small, in-the-ear hearing aid, but I went with color for my right. Here are my new aids:
They are both from the same manufacturer. My left, the small gal, I could have gotten smaller, but this was already small enough. My right, on the other hand, is the most powerful aid they provide. This doesn’t surprise me at all, in fact, I found it comical how powerful an aid I needed (and the model name does include “power” in it).
When I picked up my new hearing aids we started with my left ear. I put the hearing aid in and was hooked up to my audiologist’s computer system. She adjusted the aid to my audiogram, then we talked and I let her know what sounded off so she could tweak some more. At one point I noticed an uncomfortable tinny sound. My audiologist asked if it was a high sound. It wasn’t. But I had no other words to describe it.
I did complain about some background noise, which we discovered was a fan blowing in the room. Just goes to show how much we really don’t hear, even with hearing aids. There will always be something new to my ears. And the older I get, this “something new” is harder and harder to identify and process correctly. Now it gets lumped into “sound,” at times “annoying sound,” and the only thing I can do is turn my hearing aid off to avoid it.
Once my left ear was set, we put in my right hearing aid. The very first thing we did with each ear was a feedback test, a series of beeps getting higher and higher as the hearing aid and program communicated. My right ear is profound in high sounds, and I expected this testing to be quieter than in my left ear. I was wrong. This told me immediately just how powerful my new “power” hearing aid was.
(Side note before anyone gets emotional: I don’t care about hearing. Truly. Honestly. I don’t want to better my hearing. But I do function in the hearing world most of the time, so it is important for me to hear. While it’s fascinating how much sound my right is able to receive, I would be perfectly happy with the previous level of sound I had.)