20
   

What to look for...and avoid...in a hearing aid.

 
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 02:01 am
@roger,
Well, I don't know what the conditions will be...and I'll have to be making reasonably quick decisions, I fear....unless they are happy for you to disappear out into the desert with their expensive equipment. That'd be a damn fine test, though.

Why would you see yourself as interrupting? Oh come all ye hearless!
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 02:02 am
@ossobuco,
I was quite fond of mummur, actually.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 02:14 am
@dlowan,
A) it seems like the word deaf only is allotted to the profoundly deaf - which I can understand but didn't get for quite a while. There is a deaf culture that may be by nature needing some exclusivity.
Soz, help?
I suppose this goes on re the profoundly blind too, don't know - and I could understand that too. Though when I hear about blind people sailing to some far off place by themselves, they usually tend to have retinitis pigmentosa (my bit), which means they can often see somewhat.

B) the rest of us, re hearing, I don't know what to call us, except from my point of view, the "whats".
laughoutlood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 02:23 am
@dlowan,
On October 5, 2005, the first of three recipients was implanted with Cochlear's TIKI device, a totally implantable cochlear implant, in Melbourne, Australia.[14] This was part of a research project conducted by Cochlear Ltd. and the University of Melbourne Department of Otolaryngology under the umbrella of CRC HEAR to be the first cochlear implant system capable of functioning for sustained periods with no external components.

Feel free to experiment.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 03:24 am
@laughoutlood,
How's that working out these days? They used to have a very high level of consumer dissatisfaction.

For some reason, in the US, the cochlear device is sometimes approved for Medicare coverage. Other hearing aids are not. Ever.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 06:47 am
@ossobuco,
Isn't Deaf in Deaf culture rendered with a capital D?

(Says I with one book ever read about it under my belt, so I am likely wrong.)

Ok...I'm deafish. Auditorally challenged. A woman who says "I'm sorry, I didn't hear that" or occasionally "what" a lot.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 06:53 am
@roger,
I think if I were on the old age or some other sort of pension I'd get a lot of help with the cost.

As I am not, I am using private health cover,

As I have barely ever got a damn thing out of said private cover, and will be unable to maintain it when I really need it, time to get something big out of it!


Oh...I have had good dental cover...and glasses.

This is starting to sound like "What have the Romans ever done for us?"


0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 10:10 am
@dlowan,
Yep, that's correct.

Cap-D "Deaf" refers to someone who is culturally Deaf (in theory, this could be someone whose hearing is perfect but who was raised in an otherwise all-Deaf family).

Small-d "deaf" refers to a lack of hearing. If you can hear OK-ish, just not very well, "hard-of-hearing" might be more precise but "deaf" is fine too.
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 10:40 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

...I know lots of people have lots of problem with background noise and such.

Is that a big issue for any of my fellow deaf here?

Will I really be able to hear stuff and all?


Be prepared to go back and forth fine-tuning the programming until background noise is minimized and voices sound natural. Remember you'll be hearing everything through microphones. A lot of people have given up on hearing aids, put them in a drawer and forgotten them, because they didn't realize (or weren't told) it can take a few months to tweak the programming to suit your preferences and lifestyle. (These visits should be included in the initial cost of the aid.) This is why you need to find an audiologist with whom you can communicate well. The better you understand each other, the faster these sorts of things will get fixed.

Yes, you will really be able to hear stuff you haven't heard in years! You will be amazed! Hearing aids are not like glasses, though. They can't give you "20-20" hearing. The best they can do is bring you back to about 80% of normal. But that is huge!!! You may have to limit the hours you wear them for the first couple of weeks to prevent sensory overload. But adjusting to a richer, fuller world is a very good thing!
Eva
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 10:43 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

Well, I don't know what the conditions will be...and I'll have to be making reasonably quick decisions, I fear....unless they are happy for you to disappear out into the desert with their expensive equipment. That'd be a damn fine test, though....


On your first visit, tell the audiologist about the conditions the aids will be exposed to. That will help them choose a suitable brand/model.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 12:01 pm
@dlowan,
Hmm, you may be right..

I see you are, just read Soz' post.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Mar, 2011 10:28 pm
@Eva,
Quote:
Be prepared to go back and forth fine-tuning the programming until background noise is minimized and voices sound natural.


I don't use hearing aids, but my mother does, and all those return visits for fine tuning were very important. She needed the aid to adjust properly, without feedback noise, when she put a phone to her ear, for instance, and it took a few tweaks before her aids cooperated. She also needed volume adjustments in order to hear voices in various situations, and at various distances, well.

My mother's are in the ear, state of the art, digital hearing aids that do seem to have amazing capacity to adjust to varying ambient conditions without amplifying unwanted background noises. They are not externally visible and she is not even aware of having them in her ears--she has to remember to remove them before she goes to bed. Hers signal her when she has to change the batteries which is also a nice feature.

I think you have to be sure that the hearing aids come with a fairly decent service warranty. They can malfunction, or need repairs, and it's important to have those costs covered for as long as possible.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Mar, 2011 11:08 pm
@firefly,
Many of us can not afford those.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2011 12:06 am
@ossobuco,
This is a divergent subject. I've heard for many years that older people shun hearing devices. Not just years but decades. Something about vanity, and I'm not sure I believed that then either. They might have liked them if they worked.
I don't know to what extent that shunning is still true, but I'd be surprised if that number is large.

In the US, there are a whole lot of us who would like some utilitarian hearing aids, especially good ones.
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2011 01:28 am
@ossobuco,
Vanity may be a problem with some older people, osso. That's why my mother wanted the in the ear type that were not visible. She doesn't like to wear her glasses either--she'll use them for reading, because she has to, but almost never wears them for distance because she doesn't like how she looks in glasses. Fortunately, her vision isn't all that bad, but she does see better when she wears her glasses. If she had been limited to a hearing aid that was visible, I'm not sure she would have used it. But, the in the ear type is more expensive, hers were very expensive, and not everyone can afford it.

Unfortunately, I think many older people don't have a hearing aid that works really well, or they have one that isn't properly adjusted. I've known people like that, and they just forgo wearing it. That's really a shame. I agree with you that they might like them if they worked properly. My mother loves hers--she likes being able to hear.

I also think that Medicare should provide some coverage for hearing aids because I think they are a necessity for older people with hearing loss. You can find cheap prescription eyeglasses that do the job just fine, but you can't find really cheap hearing aids, at least none that work decently. Just as people need help paying for prescription drugs, many need help paying for hearing aids, and I think Medicare should help with that.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2011 03:46 am
@firefly,
It'll be interesting to see what I can afford!

It will also be interesting to see which ear they suggest..one of my ears is worser than the other.

I don't have trouble generally with phones at all.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2011 07:49 am
@ossobuco,
It's weirdly large. (Weirdly from my perspective.) Just saw some stats on it somewhere.

I had to convince my grandma to get one -- she really needed one but was resisting. It would make her "look old." 14-year-old me pointed to my own hearing aid and said "Hel-LO! Do I look old to you?" She laughed and got one.

I could adjust my hearing aid myself by the way -- it took a little instruction, then it wasn't difficult. They don't usually do that but my hearing fluctuated on a daily basis so it was necessary.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2011 08:04 am
@sozobe,
I remember my grandmother's hearing aid whistling.

Man, bad hearing is rampant in my mother's family.

She was pretty damn deaf when she died at 47, but wouldn't admit it, bless her.
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2011 08:10 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

I remember my grandmother's hearing aid whistling...


Feedback. It means the aid's programming needs to be adjusted.

sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2011 08:10 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

It's weirdly large. (Weirdly from my perspective.) Just saw some stats on it somewhere.


This isn't what I had in mind but it's approximately the stats I was thinking of:

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20110301/hearing-loss-is-high-but-hearing-aid-use-is-low

Quote:
March 1, 2011 -- Almost two out of three U.S. adults age 70 or older have significant hearing loss, according to a new study.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say that 63% of 717 participants age 70 and over in their study had hearing loss, ranging from mild to severe.

[.....]

The study also shows that despite the overwhelming number of older adults with hearing loss, only about 20% use hearing aids.

“Any way you cut it, the rates of hearing aid use are phenomenally low,” Lin says.

According to the study, rates of hearing aid use vary considerably by severity of hearing deficiency, with only 3% of people with mild hearing loss saying they use hearing aids, compared to 41% of those with moderate or severe hearing loss.


(Emphasis mine.)

Edit: this article doesn't say this but I'd guess that affordability is a big part of it, in addition to vanity. Most insurance plans don't cover hearing aids, or only cover them in part (while they happily cover hugely expensive cochlear implants -- I can start a rant on that topic like that *snaps*), and hearing aids are pretty expensive to stupendously expensive.
 

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