About a week after getting my new hearing aids I scheduled my first checkup. The blocked sensation in my left aid had increased, to the point where I struggled to hear a customer at work.
I made my mental list of changes, and realized I had only three: the blocked sensation, the tinny sound, and the feedback (whistling) from using the phone. When I met with my audiologist I explained all of these. My right ear remained happy, the left picky.
My audiologist hooked me back up to her computer system and we answered a series of questions to adjust the blocked sensation. We called it a muffling, which I’m still not 100% sure it was, however it fixed the problem. She adjusted a level, clicking it up three notches. Immediately I noticed a change. Sounds were crisp, but there was now a stronger background noise. I had the level dropped down one.
The tinny sound was settled by fixing the cap on how much sound my hearing aids allow.
The feedback we didn’t go into the system for. I was given a little foam cut out to place over the phone, thereby keeping my hearing aid away from the phone and reducing the feedback. I was hesitant, but figured it couldn’t hurt to try.
When I got to my car the blocked sensation returned. It comes and goes but is better than before. And I think I figured it out: my hearing aids are designed to communicate. My hearing aids decide whether I’m listening with my right or my left ear. It’s made to reduce unwanted sounds and help simulate a more natural listening experience. Great in theory. In reality? A device doesn’t know what my needs are.
My theory is this: I’m getting the blocked feeling when my hearing aids decide to quiet my left ear and listen with my right. I have no idea if I am right or wrong. This is a theory. And as the days go by, I’m thinking of the blocked sensation less and less. So either I’m finally getting used to my new hearing aids, or the adjustment took a little bit of time. (Or my hearing aids are reading my mind and altering accordingly.)
The feedback while on the phone? That’s not getting better. The foam device does help some, but I still have to hold the phone away from my ear. All phones. It’s not comfortable talking on any and I’m not about to get foam for every phone I need. So that’s still on my list.
I had my first battery change with my left ear, one week after I got my new hearing aids. Normal range for battery changes are one to two weeks. My old left hearing aid was running about a week, because it was old. I’m surprised this one needed to be changed so quickly. Typically, my right aid should go through more batteries, because it’s a stronger aid. That’s not the case. I’m getting about a week and half with my right. I plan to bring this up with my audiologist, just to verify it’s normal, rather than let any potential problems grow into bigger ones.
In the meanwhile, I’m continuing as I am. I’ll wait another week or so to schedule a checkup, especially as I know my audiologist is on vacation. Overall at this point I am happy with my aids.
Another person may take longer or shorter to adjust. Each experience is not the same, and should not be an exact copy of mine. I hope those reading are willing to give their hearing aids a chance. It takes time, and patience, and some back and forth. It won’t be perfect but it can help.
I’ve got at least one more trip until I get the tweaking stage settled. And if that doesn’t handle all my concerns I’ll schedule another visit. Adjusting to new hearing aids is a process. Without going through this process the maximum benefit of the aids cannot be achieved.