Hearing aids in but still not understanding words
I'm trialing advanced Phonak hearing aids that amplify beyond 2KHz tailored to my hearing chart, but still have trouble understanding some words. Subjectively, I feel there is no discernible improvement in understanding, or only minimal improvement. Who else still has trouble understanding words and why is this so?
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I've sometimes felt like you do, where there's no discernible improvement. I do want to mention that hearing aids have a "curve" to them – That is, you have gone without hearing certain sounds or frequencies for so long that your brain isn't able to immediately pick them up. It took me a couple months after getting my hearing aids to be able to hear everything and to make sense of what the sound was. Also, consider that you may need an adjustment from your audiology tech or audiologist. Voice your concerns to them, they may be able to assist. (I also use Phonak hearing aids – P70 RL to be exact.
Thanks for your valuable feedback, Blue. I've got the Specsavers equivalent to Phonak Paradise 70. When I see my audiologist again, I'll talk about still not being able to understand some words. A question: Do some voices sound very tinny to you now, as if you were listening to a small radio. Voices for me have lost their natural sound. Cheers, Les
Les the tinny sound was my first impression 10 years back and made me think that wearing hearing aids was more trouble than it was worth so didn’t wear them. Wrong I should have. Fast forward 5 years and I started to wear them regularly and eventually the tinny sound decreased although sometimes voices on the tv are not normal. My hearing loss I would say at 83 is severe not for sounds as I can hear the cooking alarm from a distance when my non hearing aid husband can’t but word recognition has plummeted in one ear in particular. Down from 90% to 40 % such that my audio sent me to the ENT to do an auditory brain response test to check for a tumor I presume. He said “nothing” and put it down to an aging auditory nerve. I am wondering whether in fact any newer aids (mine are Phonak Audeo of 3 years ago) would honestly make any difference. When I got the Phonaks I couldn’t say they were any better than my Oticons of 7 years back but they were smaller. I am now at the stage of wondering whether to check out newer ones.
Thanks Betty. I'm glad to hear that voices sound less tinny as time goes on. When you started wearing your HAs regularly, did you find your word recognition improved with time, over a couple of months or so? Sorry to hear your hearing has now deteriorated so badly.
All I can think is if it’s inevitable in time all hearing will be lost . I’m using a setting on tv where I can read the words as well as hear them the best I can. No point in turning it up louder & louder.
It's always interesting to see the results people have when trying to adjust to hearing aids. So much depends on your individual hearing loss. Even with audiograms, success with hearing aids can vary considerably. It is typical for it to take some time for the brain to adjust to amplified hearing. However, it shouldn't take more than a few weeks. It's important to use the hearing aids instead of putting them in the drawer! Cochlear implants take a bit longer for adjustment. Sometimes I think people read about CIs and assume that the adjustment process is the same with both technologies. It's not.
Real Ear Measurement (REM) is very important in getting a proper hearing aid fitting.
The reason for doing real-ear measurements is to confirm that the hearing aid is performing in a certain manner to provide maximum benefit. This is usually to confirm that the hearing aid is matching the prescription target chosen in the hearing aid manufacturer’s software. You should consider verification alongside validation.
These measurements are essential to perform because the anatomy of the ear canal is unique to each person, which will impact the sound delivered to the ear canal. Real-ear measurements are the only way you can measure – and account for – these effects in the hearing aid programming.
Did the person who fit you with hearing aids use Real Ear Measurement?
Here is some good information on Real Ear Measurement. https://www.interacoustics.com/academy/hearing-aid-fitting-training/rem/real-ear-measurement-steps
I want to encourage the people in this discussion who say their hearing is getting worse and worse, even with hearing aids, to consider the cochlear implant option. Cochlear implants, until recently, were only considered for people with profound hearing loss. Due to the success of this technology the criteria for CI candidacy has been lowered to include people with less severe hearing loss, and also for those with single sided hearing loss. CIs are generally covered by Medicare and by insurance, unlike hearing aids. The implantation surgery is far less invasive than it once was and is generally done on an outpatient basis.
In most instances, cochlear implants will provide the clarity that hearing aids don't. After implantation my hearing tests went from 35% understanding to 90% understanding in audiology testing. That is not uncommon. My implant surgery was done in 2005, so it's been a long time for improvements to develop, and they have.
Age is not a factor in determining CI candidacy. I personally know several people in their 80s who have had CI surgery done. Their only regret is that they didn't do it sooner.
Not all audiologists and ENT specialists are well informed about cochlear implants, as it is a specialty aside from theirs.
Has your ENT or AuD mentioned the cochlear implant option? If not, ask about it.
YES, ask about the Cochlear option AND ask for a referral to a CI audiologist and surgeon. You may have to insist.
Thanks, Julie, for the info on REM. I think my audiologist did that on my second visit to fit the Phonak. I'm at around week 3 and my word comprehension has not improved significantly, if at all. It sounds as if I need to be patient and wait for some more weeks yet.