Hearing Explorers: Device We Use

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from: Longevity Explorers | Hearing

Discussion Summary

Hearing Explorers from across the country convene on Zoom via Tech-enhanced Life to compare the hearing devices they use or recommend for their own hearing loss and to learn about others.

During the animated discussion, the group covered a wide variety of helpful information in each of the following categories:

 

Problems Identified

  • Hearing aids tuned for low tone hearing loss cause high tones to go away.
  • Single sided hearing loss (can be improved by use of crossover hearing aids).
  • Mask wearing covers up lip reading and muffles speech to interfere with understanding.
  • The cost of high-tech hearing aids discourages some people.
  • Many avoid wearing hearing aids because they signal 'getting old'. 
  • Why not make them stylish (like iPods) instead of something that advertises hearing loss?
  • Do I handle hearing aid batteries or choose a rechargeable?

 

The Expensive Devices

Several mentioned using costly hearing aids purchased through audiologists or hearing aid sales centers. These tend to be thoughtfully designed conventional hearing aids which may include T-coil, Bluetooth, and smartphone app adjustments. They typically may be adjusted to settings for listening to conversations or for listening to musical performances, and yet can be expensive. As well, the audiologist tunes the ranges to compensate for individual hearing loss. An example mentioned by one member is the Phonak Paradise, priced at about at $2900 each ($5800 for a pair). A benefit of this type is the excellent Bluetooth or T-coil reception for listening to smart TV, iPhone, newscasts, or from a desktop computer. Note: Be sure to check insurance for help with the cost of hearing devices.

 

The More Affordable 

Members hear that Costco KS-10 hearing aids are remarkably high quality, but at a much lower price: about $1400. for the pair, with the same testing and fine tuning as that done at audiology offices.  Resound hearing aid products and Bose Sound Control (see links below to our database) over-the-counter hearing aids are also mentioned. 

 

Peripherals

The Roger On remote directional microphone is mentioned as a device which works with hearing aids to allow the user to hear more clearly in group environments or at longer distance. Mimi is an app which features a pure tone hearing test uploadable to the Apple Health app for adjusting Bluetooth headsets and earbuds. Also, bone conduction wearables are mentioned. Several members benefit from using closed captioning on their TV.

 

Heard of Hearables?

Hearables are a variety of wearable devices intended to offer hearing assistance through amplification and more. They include products such as ear buds, iPods / iPods Pro, Eargo, headphones, and other devices worn around the neck or in ear including Resound and bone conduction hearing devices.

For mild hearing loss, Apple allows the audiogram from the pure tone hearing test on the Mimi app to be uploaded to the Apple Health app on an iPhone. From the health app, the phone adjusts the levels in Ear Pods Pro to compensate for the user's frequency loss. Since this mimics what happens with hearing aids, but on a more basic level, should one need hearing aids later in life, they have taken the first step. Apple is bringing more hearing accessibility features to iPhone users in the iOS 15 upgrade. 

 

Medical Solutions

In the past two decades, cochlear Implants have become a common surgical procedure, as have bone conduction implants.

 

Stay Up to Date on Hearing Devices

Sources of information recommended by members:

  • The website Hearing Tracker (Hearing Industry Map),
  • Dr. Cliff, AuD, on YouTube
  • AARP
  • Cnet reviews
  • National Institutes for Health 

 

The Bottom Line

Not every hearing device is good for every person. Listeners are encouraged to seek testing and a professional opinion at the earliest indication of hearing loss. Some say that starting with a basic hearable early, then stepping up to a full-fledged hearing aid, when indicated, is better than letting hearing loss progress to the point that it may not be able to be helped as much as if it had been diagnosed and treated sooner.

 

 

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hearing aid buying guide, hearing and smartphone app, hearing amplifier, Hearables