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My hearing loss has remained mild to moderate over the past 15 years. My audiologist has a $6,000 hearing aid ready for me that amplifies sound (I know that because one of his tests was how comfortable I was at different levels of "louder"). I enjoy Andy Griffith reruns cause I can hear them and baseball games as well. I can hardly understand someone on a cell phone but much better speaking on landline phones. Anything louder than normal is irritating. If folks talk a bit slower and/or remove masks, I can hear them. I hear much better on analog equipment than digital. All this equals something called "recruitment." Most ENTs and audiologist have either never heard of it, or totally ignore it in conversation. Too bad. Folks think I don't wear a hearing aid out of some kind of vanity and so resent it when I ask them to please repeat. My audiologist feels that a device that amplifies will "help" me communicate better when out in public. While I would tend to agree with him, the irritation factor is a price I will have to pay for others comfort. I can still hear and enjoy the birds without a hearing aid, so what do I do? With my tinnitus, it's as though I were trying to hear with a tightly fitted pail over my head. And why is it that the noise from my electric toothbrush drowns out sound on one side of my mouth only?

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Replies to "My hearing loss has remained mild to moderate over the past 15 years. My audiologist has..."

Have you gone to Costco? They have great hearing aids, high end, for about $1500 and they come with a great warranty.

Those $6000 hearing aids will do more than amplify, but you will have to learn how to use them. They will have blue tooth connectivity that will allow you to hear the cell phone via streaming, and a lot of other things. Bluetooth adds considerable cost to hearing aids. Your audiologist should spend the time it takes to teach you about all the bells and whistles that come with that level of hearing instruments. They should also have telecoils, which add less than $10 to the price of a hearing aid, that will allow you to connect to hearing loops.This 'older' technology works better than BT does for many people.

You say your hearing loss is mild to moderate, and it doesn't seem as if it has gotten worse over 15 years. If you take those hearing aids for trial be sure to try them in every possible setting. The standard trial period is only 30 days, which may not be long enough to truly test them. Before that time is up, you will have to decide whether or not to return them and get your money back.

I do not promote 'big box' hearing aids, but I respect the fact that Costco allows a much longer trial period. I believe it's 6 months. That is a huge plus. Most of the people who fit hearing aids at those 'big box' stores are not audiologists. They are hearing instruments specialists. Much of the programming is done by computer, based on your audiogram. Ask you audiologist for a copy of your audiogram. If you decide to go elsewhere you will already have that piece of the information needed to fit hearing aids elsewhere.

Audiologists have very sophisticated technology to test hearing and fit hearing aids. After fitting, it is up to you to decide whether or not the technology helps.

Keep us posted. My hope is that whatever you do will take the pressure off of you socially. Recruitment is real, so is tinnitus. Learning to live well with hearing loss and all it's side issues takes a lot of courage. Be strong. and be objective.

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