Hearing aid comments and opinions

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  #1  
Old 10-24-18, 08:16 AM
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Hearing aid comments and opinions

Hi guys and gals. Iím contemplating getting a hearing aid. Been thinking about it for several years. And of course those TV advertisements look interesting and seem to be the latest technology. There is one in particular that I would like to consider. The HearingAssist unit. 60 day money back guaranty, 4 modes of operation, two charging units, etc...Along with several others that promise similar things. Sounds good. Maybe too good.

So before we get started let me make things clear. I know I should see a doctor first (and I intend to). And I should get a professional hearing test. With that said I took several of those on-line hearing test and I have moderate hearing lose typical for a man at 69 years of age and in general good health. I can hear all sounds (except those in the very low or very high frequency range, again typical for my age) but cannot always distinguish particular words or sounds. And of course in a crowed room or noisy environments or perhaps a family get together with many people talking at once. I find myself asking people to repeat more often than I like. The noisy atmosphere like a sports event or a convention is perhaps the most frustrating situation. Or if I'm like 30 feet away and someone asking me something, I need to get closer and ask to repeat the question, while others nearby understand the question immediately.

So my question is, has anybody tried those $400 to $600 dollar money back guarantied aids? And do they work? Are behind the hear or in the ear the better choice? I would like 1st hand experienced stories. Or maybe I should just continue as I am. I still function fine. Itís just an annoyance.

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 10-24-18, 08:23 AM
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I don't have any answers for you. I also could probably use hearing aids but I'm a little leery of the over the counter ones and the others just cost too much. My biggest concern is the hearing aid would just amplify everything. I can hear real good when there are no competing noises but add other noises and I can't hear well at all. Wish you luck, I'll definitely keep up with this thread!
 
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Old 10-24-18, 08:33 AM
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So I find I'm in same situation but have been to Audiologist several times over the past 12 years so have seen first hand the changes, specifically in one ear.

I have been recommended hearing aids but balk at the $4 - $5K cost.

I work with a group of trades and several guys have them and it's about a 50/50 mix, folks that have had good luck, others that have given them up.

Reasons vary but one aspect that seems to be consistent is the guys that are into sports/outdoor activity cant wear while doing their "thing" and that seems to be the ones who dont get into the habit of wearing full time.

As far as the mail order vs prescription, I have never inquired to that specific question!

I've read enough about the prescription aids and they should never cost as much as they do so I dont like participating in something that I know I'm being over charged!
 
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Old 10-24-18, 08:36 AM
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That's exactly my fear also. Just amplification! Supposedly this particular unit has 4 modes, one of which can filter out background noise. If it's white noise filter, those never worked in my experience.

Here is what they claim:

" Switch easily between 4 pre-programmed settings to better suit your environment: 1) Quiet Environments (such as home or office use with high fidelity and low noise reduction), 2) Noisy environments (such as restaurants, using higher background noise reduction) 3) TV Mode (reduces low & high frequency sounds to concentrate on TV sounds) and 4) Outdoors (with background noise reduction focused on wind). "
 
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Old 10-24-18, 09:39 AM
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So here is what I've learned so far. My insurance (Independent Health) plan will cover a hearing test with a $45 co-pay. That's OK but I question if they will find results any different than what I already know. Then they will offer hearing aids specific and a cost ranging from $1000 to $5000 with a co-pay from $400 to about $600 depending on what one buys. No money back guaranties. However, going through a license audiologist they will make fine adjustments and provide testing with several types. My neighbor will a test to this. He had up to three test tries to get the right units. After that he would have to pay for additional test and treatment. And he is paying the thousand dollar pricing. But they monitor his use. Batteries, if I remember correctly seem to expensive and don't seem to last as long a expected. BUT, he is very satisfied. He also has specific hearing lose due to being a Vietnam vet.

So the over the counter $600 range units are not custom tweaked. You get "standard" type aid that is programed to be for the general public. If it works, fine, if not too bad. No tweaking will make it better. Their money back thing is less shipping and "handling". Key word here is handling! I'm going to call them and get specifics.

Also the over the counter units seem to use a white noise filter. Maybe it will work, maybe not. But at least you can get back money if they don't work (60 days trial). BTW the particular units I'm considering (Hearing Assist) include both ears for the $600 cost along with charging units.

So when I call them my questions will be:
1) what is this "handling " charge if I should return them
2) how long do the batteries last, in terms of overall life and what is the cost of new batteries. Can the batteries be changed in the units or must I buy new units?
3) Is white noise filter in fact the type of filter used? (including red, blue purple, yes they are real filter terms)
4) is amplification the only thing used to aid in hearing?
5) do the units have any type of warranty? One year, two years, 90 days?


Anybody have any other questions I should ask?
 
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Old 10-24-18, 09:45 AM
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An overview of the device in question.

https://www.highya.com/hearing-assist-reviews
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-18, 09:57 AM
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I have hearing aids, tried the expensive ones several years ago and they did not help at all. They finally returned all my money after they brought a specialist down and he said hearing aids would not help my hearing loss. I cannot hear the sound of a watch alarm. VA has giving me new ones but they still don't help. I find I can only wear them a few hours before they bother my ears.
 
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Old 10-24-18, 10:06 AM
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Hi Norm, As a long time hearing aid user I have some relevant advice.

First you want a hearing test to see what is missing, highs, lows, or everything. Not sure what the online tests provide. From that you want to see the frequency response of the aid you are considering. Note, our ears don't expect a flat level of sound, the same amplitude at all frequencies, so reading or talking to a specialists is in the cards.

Under normal conditions, age not damage, our hearing declines while our brain compensates, kind of like an automatic gain control. It is when our hearing drops out of the compensation range that we start noticing problems, among the first is word recognition. I avoid starting long distance conversations as it always results in me going over to get my ears as close as possible.

I am currently looking for a back up aid (HB37T by Rionet) as my BTE (behind the ear) is getting a little intermittent. However, after 30 minutes of searching I have been unable to find my old provider, a $400 mail order unit. This one is from 2012 and has lasted the longest of all, since 1985. I sent an email to the closest link I could find to see if they still provide my model or what they have to replace it. Fingers crossed to see if they reply.

However, technology is constantly changing and I don't expect suppliers to all go away.

I also worked in electronics manufacturing and the current $400 units probably cost $40 or less to make. And the $4,000 probably $45. So inflated is an understatement.

Much more but will wait to see if I get a reply. I will check the web for the one you listed.

Bud
 
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Old 10-24-18, 03:50 PM
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First obviously is your need. A doctor and even you if you're perceptive can determine if you need help across the whole frequency spectrum or if it's just one region, probably higher frequencies.

I have used cheap "hunting" electronic hearing aids costing less than $50. They work but are pretty crappy. They do amplify but they amplify everything. Even moving my jaw side to side caused an annoying scrappy sound as the device moved ever so slightly in my ear.

High quality, several hundred dollar, aids do work better. Good ones allow some customization of the amplification and I suspect that they are honest hearing aids though the FDA doesn't allow them to market as such so... they are sold to give bionic hearing to hunters and bird watchers. As you move into the higher levels I think the quality of the electronics are such that you should also spend time looking at the fit and design. Some have moldable earpieces that really help. I can't stand the expanding foam earpieces as they take too long to put in.

Then there are the high end prescription hearing aides. I got a pair for my dad. Every bell, whistle and option you can think of... $6k. He said they worked very well but he never was truly committed. Yea, he said he really wanted them but... I've worn glasses since I was three so dealing with something annoying and artificial helping my senses is just a fact of life. He's never needed glasses and just can't get accustomed to having to put them in. Dealing with the learning curve fine tuning them and just getting used to using them. So, 3'000 Megamillions tickets wasted because he never uses them anymore.
 
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Old 10-24-18, 04:32 PM
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I have run into a lot of people who purchased high priced aids and gave up wearing them, I blame a lot of that on a poor match between what the person needs and what the practitioner wants to sell.

My one try at expensive aids was a disaster and while trying them I saw a mail order ad for the ones I'm using. I'll shorten here. When I returned the expensive one and told them it just wasn't helping the response was (quote) "this is the best brand on the market you just have to get used to it". I didn't tell them I had purchased a pair at 1/10th their price and they worked perfectly. I could hear and recognize words and voices again. That doctor was in business for a long time and I wonder how many of the aids he sold were left in a dresser drawer.

Here's the technical part. Even with their testing they don't know what you are hearing when you try an aid. To a point that office was correct, we adjust to the new sounds we hear and they begin to sound like what we were used to. In my case the disaster test was so far off from what i needed in both volume and frequency there was no way I could endure that aid to see if I could adjust, the side of my head hurt terrible after an hour of trying.

A modern aid should be digital and capable of tuning in almost any frequency curve needed. As for cost, the electronics inside that little package should be less than $1. When we rolled 2000 with all of the Y2K fears they were talking about basic microprocessors (early computer chip) whose price was down to $0.35. Those factories are still running and paid for long ago. those chips run toasters, microwaves, all over our cars and are far beyond what would be needed inside a very sophisticated aid.

BTW the company I use did respond and is mailing out a catalog so I will be seeing what they are now offering.

Bud
 
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Old 10-24-18, 05:03 PM
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In that overview I posted there was a link to a new law that was passed last year allowing for greater Over The Counter hearing devices.

Looks like more options, and standardization, in the near future!

President Trump Signs OTC Hearing Aid Legislation into Law
 
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Old 10-25-18, 05:06 AM
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Bud and Marq in particular, and all who responded, thank you. My gut keeps telling me to take a chance and buy the mail order units. But the poor reviews that Marq pointed out makes me think twice about that company. I'm going to keep researching and get that doctor exam.

Many years ago, I'm talking over 50, my Mon had a hearing loss. At the time they did an operation that replaced the small bones in her ear with SS wire. Apparently skin growth began to grow over the natural bones thereby deadening the sensitivity of her hearing. For her it was like magical. She could a dollar bill drop. Everything was crystal clear. Since then I have never heard of the procedure and it seems like it's no longer done.
 
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Old 10-25-18, 06:40 AM
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The doctors visit will help identify why your hearing is down and the test (get a copy) will work as a guide in selecting an aid both in volume needed and frequencies.. Even the mail order company I use said send in your test results so they can match the right aid.

The company I use started in 79 and although they have changed their name they are still going strong. I'm hesitating to post their new name for the usual reason. I will note, they have never been good at online information but I had talked to one of their techs when I got started and he was good, that's the long story. PM if you want their name.

Bud
 
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Old 10-25-18, 09:26 AM
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I'm hesitating to post their new name for the usual reason.
I'll ask, what is the usual reason?
 
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Old 10-25-18, 10:09 AM
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I have hearing aids provided by the VA. They seem to work pretty well. I don't use them all the time - play sports and don't like them there, play with the grandkids, don't use them there - kids are plenty loud...

One thing i like is that mine will pair with my phone so i can stream music to them or take a phone call. I can also adjust them from the phone. That may be a feature you like or don't care for at all...
 
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Old 10-25-18, 10:20 AM
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I know a boy that has/had $6k hearing aids from the VA [he was in artillery] He only wore them if he wanted to have a conversation. I think his motor mouth wife is the main reason he didn't wear them all the time. His hearing aids went missing, he thinks he accidentally threw them out when he cleaned his truck
 
  #17  
Old 10-25-18, 11:25 AM
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@ Marq1 "I'll ask, what is the usual reason?" Links to companies are sometimes frowned upon by the forum. If Marksr or another mod says OK I will post.

@aces-n-eights "One thing i like is that mine will pair with my phone so i can stream music to them or take a phone call. I can also adjust them from the phone."
Those features and more should all be available and at a reasonable price.

@marksr Out hunting when I was wearing the smaller in-the-ear aids and lost one of mine in 10" of power snow. No way was I going to find that. Yelled for my nephew to come help and he reached right down and picked it up. He said it was squealing like mad. Didn't help me. But $400 saved.

Bud
 
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Old 10-25-18, 01:29 PM
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Bud as far as I'm concerned your link would be ok, we know you aren't advertising .... but I am kind of low on the totem pole
 
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Old 10-25-18, 02:36 PM
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Bud,

If you feel more comfortable, go ahead and PM me the name. I'm interested.
 
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Old 10-25-18, 03:19 PM
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I told them I was looking so they are sending me a catalog. models have changed. I mentioned I needed information for someone on the forum and this was the reply:
"You can view all the instructions booklets for all of our current aids on our website. Whichever aid you would like to show them the digital instruction booklet will be towards the bottom of page of the selected aid you are looking at. In the instruction booklets there are technical data graphs that show the possible maximum output. If they have an audio gram they can mail in a copy to our address 1714 Sycamore Rd, DeKalb, IL 60115 or Fax it in at 888-489-9734. They can also call and talk to a licensed hearing aid dispenser or a hearing aid adviser that can help assist them in picking out an aid that best suites their needs the phone number for that is 1-800-221-2099."

Now, the web page I went to was https://hearinghelpexpress.com
The address above corresponds to the old company Excel I started with so I concluded they just changed names. But they have been in business for many years so no fly by night company, IMO.

Note chat didn't work for me and the digital instructions book they reference I could not locate. To be honest, they put a minimal effort into marketing but once you make contact they have followed through 100% every time. Current aids are my 4th set and have lasted the longest of all. I credit that to the BTE design, all of the electronics are outside of the ear. But longevity of a hearing aid is not good with any brand and that makes the $3,000 plus (per ear) price tag even more ridiculous.

I haven't compared the new prices to what I paid but expect mine (more power) will be about $400. But I have only one ear that has anything left to help.

If I've crossed the line the mods may delete, but this may help others as well.

Bud
 
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Old 10-25-18, 03:43 PM
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Thanks Bud, I'll look into it. Much appreciated.
 
  #22  
Old 10-26-18, 01:13 AM
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The surgery mentioned above is called a stapedectomy.

https://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/l..._stapedectomy/
 
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Old 10-26-18, 04:48 AM
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Steve, thanks for the update. Didn't realize it's still a thing. good to know.
 
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Old 10-27-18, 07:40 PM
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My experience, perhaps short and to the point. My loss is mostly at the high end frequencies. My hearing aids were tweaked so as to emphasize the high end and not so much the mid and low. These HA's have an automatic environment adjustment as well as a manual override for 3 different settings.

Now for the "problems" with mine. (had them adjusted several times) I hear mostly 75% of the high end range, like turning the base off and the treble to its highest setting, annoying. Manual override (to restore more base and limit the high end ) is usually short lived and the automatic setting resets it again. When watching TV, my chair is next to a wall, and when the auto adjust the sound from the TV must bounce off the wall as well as straight line and they begin to sequel (feedback?) to the mic behind my ear. I wear glasses as well and they rub on the tube over my ear and that rubbing is amplified as well. secondly I have to "manscape" the canals from hair because the rubbing is amplified.

Hearing TV I am loosing my words, even though they are loud enough, the hearing loss does not allow the nouns and/or vowels of words to be passed on to the brain so that they make sense. My solution for that is that I have purchased a wireless transmitter/headphones and I listen to TV with amazing clarity and enjoyment.

I don't wear HA's outside when it is raining or I am doing yard work etc. Sadily they are in my drawer most of the time. Other than that life is great!! :-)
 
  #25  
Old 10-28-18, 05:42 AM
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I wear glasses as well and they rub on the tube over my ear and that rubbing is amplified as well. secondly I have to "manscape" the canals from hair because the rubbing is amplified.
Mike , this is a good point you bring up. How does wearing glasses affect BHE aids.

Any others out there who can comment on this? Will wearing glasses create noise as the frame rubs against the aid unit? I'm adding this to to my list of questions to ask.
 
  #26  
Old 10-28-18, 06:49 AM
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I also wear aids and wear glasses and have no problems. But I did my own fitting and the result (just looked in the mirror) is my glasses fit close to my head and the tube for my aid is out a bit farther. Maybe its the shape of my ears
But, guessing from your symptoms you do not need the power of a BTE. An all in the ear unit could easily meet your needs.
Wind and rain are a challenge for either model.

Bud
 
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Old 10-28-18, 07:00 AM
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Wind and rain are a challenge for either model.
Wow! Another bit of info I would not have thought about.

As far as in the ear, I would not feel comfortable with that. When I use ear buds for listening to radio in private, I can only use them for a very limited time before it irritates me. I understand that earbuds may not be ideal as far as form and fit goes but I'm very clear about not wanting in the ear aids. But it was good thing to point out. Thanks.
 
  #28  
Old 10-28-18, 07:24 AM
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A custom molded ear piece is typical for both styles. Like the other thread discussing train noise, you adapt and that adaptation is directly proportional to your need for the aids. If you need them you will wear them.

Bud
 
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Old 10-28-18, 09:36 AM
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Like the other thread discussing train noise, you adapt and that adaptation is directly proportional to your need for the aids.
Ohh, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Point well taken! I'll need to think about that one.
 
  #30  
Old 10-28-18, 11:15 AM
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Just to add some guidance.

When it comes to straight amplification vs shaped to better fit your loss it is more than just better performance. Applying too much energy to your ears will damage them, like kids sitting in front of the speakers at a concert. By shaping the response the total energy delivered is reduced and that allows the needed frequencies to be pushed a little more.

As an example, I cobbled up my own hearing test set up. I have a frequency generator and use a set of headphones. I realize it wasn't close to the sophistication the hearing centers use, or at least we hope they use, but it allowed me to graph my hearing every 200 cycles instead of the 4 or 5 points the test center used. I was shocked. The results were not a nice line of dots but extreme dips and peaks at very close frequencies. I monitored the input with an oscilloscope. I found several frequencies mixed in with ones i could hear where there was zero, nothing to be heard. I even asked another person if the headphones were making any sound and they replied they were squealing like mad.

My point is, hearing isn't like speakers and amplifiers and you and I are most likely very different. From my experience, confirmed by all of the aids hiding in the dresser drawers, a good match comes from trial and error and hearing specialists are just making their best guess. If one aid doesn't work for you that doesn't mean all would not work.

BTW, my first hearing dr said aids would do me no good. I have no idea why he would have said that.

Bud

Sorry for the long post.
 
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Old 10-28-18, 12:19 PM
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Bud, don't be sorry. I appreciate your comments. I'm beginning to second guess my perceived need for an aid. The single biggest annoyance is when I'm in a crowded room or a room with loud "music" (I'm a big band swing music person and I don't call today's noise as music), such as a wedding reception or a church festivities with music or loud crowd noise. Others seem to be able to carry on a conversation and I have to back-off if people try to communicate with me. A bit embarrassing and annoying. Other than that the rest on the hearing problem is not a real issue. I sometimes feel as though I'm the only one with this problem. I wonder if a hearing aid will solve this type of problem? Otherwise I'm OK as is.

Early next month I'm going to an October fest (yeah, I know it will be November) at a local church (my son will be part of the music festivities, German and Polish traditional). The music will be fine (if a not bit loud) but past experience has shown me that I won't be talking to new friends or people nearby.
 
  #32  
Old 10-28-18, 12:52 PM
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Not to pump the company I use but the 45 day risk free offer is a great way to answer many of your concerns. Plus, they have been helping people via long distance for many years and we here at the forum do understand that challenge.

I just opened the catalog they promised and will be looking at what is available today, my old analog units are not, all digital.

From your description I think you would be surprised at how much a little help will add to your social activities. Even with overpowered aids I scare people away by either asking them to repeat or giving answers to the wrong question. They ask for gravy and I tell them the cemetery is about 5 miles down the road. But I'm way beyond you. You are in the category like the day the tears were rolling when I was finally able to hear my wife. Maybe that's a bad example.

Free is definitely worth a try.

Bud
 
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Old 10-29-18, 04:34 AM
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giving answers to the wrong question. They ask for gravy and I tell them the cemetery is about 5 miles down the road.
That made me laugh
I often find myself in the same type of situation, either hearing a word wrong or half hearing a word and guessing wrong.
 
  #34  
Old 10-29-18, 01:55 PM
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Me too,I will follow this thread. Going stone deaf and quickly
 
  #35  
Old 10-29-18, 03:44 PM
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The part that they don't explain, somewhat mentioned before, is that our hearing steadily declines from a young age to old, baring some sort of damage. But as it goes down that automatic gain control, our brain, keeps compensating and everything seems ok. When we finally reach the limit of that compensation then the words start to be difficult to understand, group conversations difficult and long distance conversations near impossible. At that point we are not just starting to lose our hearing but have lost 50% or more. The hearing will continue to go down but without the compensation the step by step decline will be more noticeable.

Anyone experience ringing. In the absence of external sounds our minds often decide to create their own entertainment, very annoying at times and one of the benefits of my aid. Turn the aid on and the brain shuts down the ringing, or thumping or whatever it has decided to drive me crazy with. I don't sleep with my aid so the entertainment takes over at night, but like the train or airport I have adapted to some extent. It's a case of adapt or go crazy.

Bud
 
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