Any advice on hearing aids?

roselee z8b S.W. TexasJune 26, 2009

I'm probably within a year or two of needing a hearing aid. I haven't had my hearing tested, but notice I tend to miss a word now and then in conversations or if someone is speaking from across the room where before I didn't.

I will say this: on a whim I asked the doctor on my last yearly visit to check my ears for wax and sure enough one of them was plugged up. After removal my hearing improved about 50%. I always thought I'd know if that was happening, but I didn't.

There are so many brands and types of hearing aids it seems, all saying they, and they only, have the latest and greatest technology. Does "Consumers Digest" rate them? I've heard so many stories about people spending $2,000 plus on a hearing aid then not using it.

I thought if anybody had some tips and advice on this question you all on this forum would.

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My MIL was very resistant to getting a hearing aid. She first tried one of those $29.95 ones and found it did help a little, but the ambient noise (the cheapies don't differentiate between noises, they just amplify everything) still bothered her. LIke many, she also has tinnitus so that makes it worse.

We finally convinced her to spend the money on the best top-of-the-line aids. She has to buy the batteries (they are changed every 10 days) but she has free maintenance, testing, adjustment, cleaning and parts replacement for life. This is important because:

1) turned out she was cleaning them incorrectly at first, pushing the dirty wax INTO the unit rather than out of the small tubes!

2) she has needed adjustment several times as it's a tricky balance between ambient noises being too loud and not being able to hear a conversation clearly.

We think it's worth the money ($1500 for each aid) and it has really helped her. They are so small it's amazing, almost indetectable when she is wearing them. Because it's so small and doesn't plug the ear canal (the way the cheapie did), they are very comfortable to wear all day.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 11:57AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Jkom, thank you for your reply relating your MIL's postive experience with the more expensive hearing aid.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 3:52PM
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My husband also has problems with wax buildup in the ear. The ENT doctor told him to put 1 or 2 drops of mineral oil in his ears every two weeks. Oil keeps wax soft enough to come out normal.

He now has the Oticon hearing aids, high tech little things and they work very well. This is his second brand.

Much will depend on amount of hearing loss you have.

Many hearing aids are not programable to your specific needs. The Oticon is computer programmed to my husband's specific needs and also records on a graff different types noise and voices he is exposed to as well as how much he talks, which is very little!LOL! He is a man of few words and will go to his grave with 99% of the words God gave him unused. Me on the other hand will go to my grave with "0" words left and finish on borrowed words!!!!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 7:18PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thanks for the tip about the mineral oil. They didn't tell me anything except to come back in and let a nurse check it. You'd think with all the shampooing, hot soapy water running in my ears and this hot Texas weather too boot would keep the wax pliable, but I guess not.

Also did not know about some aids being programable. Good to know.

You sound like my husband with the talking thing -- he's a sweet Gemini silver tongued orator and sometimes I am the only audience! I'll need that hearing aid to be able to make an appropriate response, though I admit my mind does tend to wander off part of the time he is talking. Oh well ... :-)

Anybody else have some tips? They are very much welcomed.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 9:04PM
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Hubby has hearing aids and what we learned that was important to know is to get them sooner, not later.... Thankfully he still had 92% recognition of sounds while a friend only had 35% recognition of sounds. She had been reading lips since she was very young and didn't realize how hearing impared she was. When she got hearing aids, she was actually disturbed by background sounds like a door squeeking or the latch clicking, or the clicking of her three dogs nails on wood floors. Those were sounds she hadn't heard.

It's not just about increasing volume, but your mind actually will forget sounds the longer you go without the aid of a hearing device. Hearing aids are set to your personal needs - they aren't one-size-fits-all... and all you do is turn the volume up or down.

Hubby had a free hearing test at a reputable place of business, they did the wax removal, and he uses a product called Miracell in them for wax. Moisture in his ears is a problem because he's on the phone all day. His hearing aids are a piece that fits over the top of his ear and a tiny wire that curves into his ear opening, rather than a piece that plugs into the ear canal.

Besides needing them to be useable on the phone, he goes in and out of a manufacturing plant during the day, and is also in meetings with a group of people. He can adjust his hearing aid so he can hear in all those situations.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 7:03AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thank you for the excellent information Grainlady. Didn't know about the sooner rather than later thing and the setting of them (programable) to fit one's personal needs seems important. Guess the expenditure is worth it to get a good one. It's all very encouraging. I wonder if the ones offered at Costco are top of the line? They are not inexpensive.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 9:01AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

For anyone who is interested a helpful series of articles from Comsumer Reports was found online:

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Reports on hearing loss and aids ...

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 1:27PM
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