I’m only 44 but needed hearing aids. Since there are very few reviews of hearing aids on-line, I’ll spare you the details of my hearing loss and get right down to the review. I purchased the BluLink™ II H110v2s hearing aids through Avada. These are units that fit behind my ear and have a thin wire that goes to the ear bud that fits into my ear canal. The total cost was $4,600.00 and included 3 year warranty, free batteries for the next 3 years, and free ear cushions. My hearing loss is a reverse slope meaning I don’t hear the low frequencies as well as the high frequencies (just the opposite of what most people experience with hearing loss). I have had them for one week. Here is my assessment so far:
- I hear much better
- You can have your phone or TV play through your hearing aids (with the purchase of a separate unit that hangs around your neck)
- Batteries will last about a week (depending on how much you use them)
- You must buy a separate unit to have your phone or TV go through your hearing aids. I did not purchase this.
Function: they do help me hear better. So far, I have only been to church once since I have had them (give me a break – its only been a week!), but when the church service was over, I turned to talk to a friend. The sanctuary is very loud after the service but I was able to hear him very clearly. Without the hearing aids, it would have been impossible to understand him. The sound in a loud environment is not a natural sound, but it is not bad either. It sounds like I am listening to a recording. I still have to pay attention to hear what someone is saying, but I can at least hear and understand them now. An improvement to be sure.
In normal noise level environments, the sound it much more natural and does not sound like a recording. I have noticed that I am able to hear others talking when I would not have been able to hear them before. My wife commented that she likes it when I wear my hearing aids…interesting observation considering that I have only had them a week. She has already noticed the difference.
The TV is a notable improvement. I don’t have to turn the volume up nearly as much as before. When I am in my room and the TV is on, I notice a dramatic difference when I put my hearing aids in. I have to turn the TV down a bit.
Comfort: This has taken some getting used to. For the first three or four days, my ears itched and bothered me. But now I forget that I am wearing them from time to time. They are much more comfortable. Although I do wear glasses, they slip next to the hearing aids and I don’t get bothered by them.
Social Factor: I have not had anyone comment on my hearing aids. I was asked if anyone noticed that I am wearing them. Perhaps they have and did not bring it up. When was the last time you asked someone about their hearing aids? If you noticed someone started wearing hearing aids, would you ask them about it? Perhaps a close friend. Guys tend not to ask. Even close friends. So it is difficult to tell if anyone has noticed without me asking them directly – which would call attention to it.
I assume that people have noticed. Although the hearing aids are discreet, I have noticed that many people wear them…but I have never brought it up. I decided not to worry or care about it, but I must admit, I do feel a bit ashamed to have to wear them. As if I did something wrong and now have to wear hearing aids as punishment. One could argue that I did expose myself to harmful noise levels which is why I have to wear the hearing aids… OK…point taken…and I already feel shame for it… no need to pile on.
Other things: When I whistle certain notes, I hear a reverb effect. I kinda like it. I whistle those notes a lot. I have not experienced any whistling or feedback in the hearing aids other than the whistling that I do myself.
I have been outside several times when it was a bit windy, but the hearing aids did not pick up the wind (like the sound of blowing into a microphone) unless they are directly exposed to the wind. Still, it is not a severe distraction. I can move my head a little and the noise goes away.
I can still wear ear bud headphones (the kind that do not go into the ear canal). I listen to pod-casts when driving, so I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to wear ear buds anymore. But they do just fine if I gently put them in my ears (key word here is “gently”).
I am a drummer by hobby and I have only played my electronic drums (Roland TD-4) once since I have had my hearing aids. I was a bit distracted by playing and did not notice one way or the other if the sound of them improved. I’ll try to be more attentive next time I play. I have not played my acoustic drums since I got hearing aids, but because of the excessive volume that they put out, I will remove my hearing aids and put on hearing protection before I play on them again. Also, when I was walking past a band doing a sound check, the drummer was hitting his bass drum which sounded amazing! Low chest-thumping with a hint of reverb. That could have been mic placement, drum tuning, speaker size and brand, sound guy who knew what he was doing with the right kind of equipment, or a combination of all of those. But for sure, the hearing aids enhanced the experience. I wanted to hear more of it, but couldn’t stick around to listen to the band.
I have only adjusted the volume on the hearing aids once and that was for a couple of hours before I adjusted it back down (via buttons on the back of the hearing aids). I think I’ll experiment a bit more with that over the next week to see what works for various scenarios.
The batteries lasted one week. They both gave out about 4 hours apart from each other. When they have about an hour left of power, they will give a little beep in your ear every 15 minutes or so until they drop off line. When they drop off line, there is a tone that plays to let you know that they are gone.
I took the advice of the audiologist and put the sticker from the battery on my calendar. I’ll keep track of how long they are lasting. My advice: keep a pack of batteries at work, home, and in the car. You will be covered in most cases when your batteries go out.
I’ve got to figure out what to do with the dead batteries. Yes…yes…recycle. But there has got to be something else I can do with them as I assume that I will accumulate quite a few of these little buggers.