Hearing Loss: Come introduce yourself and connect with others

Welcome to the Hearing Loss group on Mayo Clinic Connect.
This is a welcoming, safe place where you can meet people living with hearing loss, and friends and family supporters. Whether you were born deaf or hard of hearing, experienced hearing loss after birth or with aging, it helps to connect with others. Together we can learn from each other, support one another and share stories about living with hearing loss, coping with challenges and celebrating milestones.

Let’s chat. Why not start by introducing yourself? What is your hearing loss experience? Got a question, tip or story to share?

@barbb

Hellowhatdidyousaynaz. Sorry for your very disappointing experience. There are so many who are happy with Costco, not that I think it is for everyone. I was hoping to find some comments about your experience but haven't seen any – maybe I'm not looking in the right place. I would like to think that for some reason your experience is unique – perhaps to the Costco location you dealt with. I am hoping that some of the participants who are technically so knowledgeable would comment e.g. Julie, Tony? 🙂

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In response to whatdidyousaynaz and barbb:
I think that the Kirkland aids are designed for those with little loss, that it's the entry line sold by Costco.

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@davekoh

Hi,

It blinks that it is sensing the speaker but shows no captions for up to a minute…then starts and restops again. Closing and reopening the app only sometimes helps. I am not usually in noisey
environments.

Dave

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@davekoh, that certainly sounds like a WiFi issue. Do you typically leave power on your device? If you haven't cycled the power, you may want to see it that helps.
Tony in Michigan

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@barbb

Hellowhatdidyousaynaz. Sorry for your very disappointing experience. There are so many who are happy with Costco, not that I think it is for everyone. I was hoping to find some comments about your experience but haven't seen any – maybe I'm not looking in the right place. I would like to think that for some reason your experience is unique – perhaps to the Costco location you dealt with. I am hoping that some of the participants who are technically so knowledgeable would comment e.g. Julie, Tony? 🙂

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Costco varies all over the board. I have heard both positives and negatives. A few locations have audiologists, but many have only hearing instrument specialists. Fully agree that the price is right in most cases. It is true that some of the hearing aids sold by Costco are 'locked'. That means that ONLY Costco can make adjustments. If you move or travel and have an issue with a hearing aid, you cannot get it adjusted or fixed unless you go to Costco. Not always possible.

In most cases with a poor fitting, it's not the hearing aid, but the fitter that can be the difference between a well fit device and a poorly fit one. Regardless of where you buy a hearing aid, you are a 'customer' of a product. If you do your research in advance you will likely learn that you should get manually operated telecoils and volume control, and also BlueTooth. But don't expect the provider to tell you that. Sometimes they'll tell you telecoils are 'old technology'. They are, but they still connect you to many audio devices and events. And, they do not add cost to hearing aids. Those of you who are on Connect are all computer users. Have you ever used your hearing aid's telecoils to hear audio messages on your computer?

Manual controls are important because you want to control what you're hearing. Automatic sounds good until you're in a setting where everything is too soft or too loud and your stuck with automatic controls. BT adds cost to hearing aids, but it's worth having if you use it to hear on the phone. It will also connect you to other hearing assistive technology. Again, there is a learning curve on all these extra devices. Worth time time to learn if you want to hear as best you can.

Question: Has anyone who has had a bad experience with hearing aids had a problem returning them whether to Costco or any other provider. Trial times vary, but what happens when one decides to return them?

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@joyces

I bought a $200 Samsung android phone to use Live Transcribe, primarily for technical meetings discussing public water shortage problems in our rural county–only to learn that most places have no WiFi or very weak WiFi available. I have zero cell reception at home, and the WiFi from our modem is too weak for phone calls…but, occasionally, Live Transcribe starts running, without being asked, only catching a few random words. Sometimes, it's difficult to shut it down, which is extremely annoying. I tried Otter, but found it simply can't report technical discussions well enough to be helpful. Fortunately, I've now gotten my newly-bilateral Meniere's in remission, so can puzzle out what people are saying for the most part. I was amazed that after a year of being virtually deaf, when I got the disease under control my hearing returned to about the level it had been before I went bilateral over a year ago. The last remission lasted over 30 years and I'm 78, so, hopefully, I'll only need to deal with increasing age-related deafness in my future. I'm positive that the 20-year guarantee on my new septic tank field will be adequate!

Android vs. IPhone: The GPS while driving app is far more accurate with proper pronounciations for Android, but the GPS for off-road wilderness use is much weaker for Android, at least the apps I've found, than for IPhone. I found that trying to follow discussions on any phone adds problems, meaning that you find yourself fussing with the phone to make the mic more effective or point it toward the current speaker, which only adds to the difficulty of following technical discussions when you can't hear most of the words. Looking at your phone means that you miss many of the facial expressions/body language we've learned to use to interpret what we think we're hearing. I've learned how to "fake it" for simple conversation, filling in for the words I don't hear or can't understand.

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@joyces We have all become such fakers in communication. If my husband is around too after I am having a conversation with someone, much of which I did not hear, I end up asking him what was said.
JK

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@tonyinmi

@davekoh, that certainly sounds like a WiFi issue. Do you typically leave power on your device? If you haven't cycled the power, you may want to see it that helps.
Tony in Michigan

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Answer is yes so will recycle power…thanks

Even before doing that the app worked beautifully this morning in the house to pick up Skype conversation….wierd! So maybe it needs a stronger Wi-Fi than do the other two speech to text apps and is more affected.

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@julieo4

Costco varies all over the board. I have heard both positives and negatives. A few locations have audiologists, but many have only hearing instrument specialists. Fully agree that the price is right in most cases. It is true that some of the hearing aids sold by Costco are 'locked'. That means that ONLY Costco can make adjustments. If you move or travel and have an issue with a hearing aid, you cannot get it adjusted or fixed unless you go to Costco. Not always possible.

In most cases with a poor fitting, it's not the hearing aid, but the fitter that can be the difference between a well fit device and a poorly fit one. Regardless of where you buy a hearing aid, you are a 'customer' of a product. If you do your research in advance you will likely learn that you should get manually operated telecoils and volume control, and also BlueTooth. But don't expect the provider to tell you that. Sometimes they'll tell you telecoils are 'old technology'. They are, but they still connect you to many audio devices and events. And, they do not add cost to hearing aids. Those of you who are on Connect are all computer users. Have you ever used your hearing aid's telecoils to hear audio messages on your computer?

Manual controls are important because you want to control what you're hearing. Automatic sounds good until you're in a setting where everything is too soft or too loud and your stuck with automatic controls. BT adds cost to hearing aids, but it's worth having if you use it to hear on the phone. It will also connect you to other hearing assistive technology. Again, there is a learning curve on all these extra devices. Worth time time to learn if you want to hear as best you can.

Question: Has anyone who has had a bad experience with hearing aids had a problem returning them whether to Costco or any other provider. Trial times vary, but what happens when one decides to return them?

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My husband's first hearing aids were from a company called Mcdonalds Hearing in Sacramento. Don't know if they are in other states but avoid them. When he tried to return the aids (within the time allowed for return) they gave him a really hard time. After a second try they took them back but then stalled us on the refund for six months with one excuse after another. We had charged the aids on a credit card. Finally I called the credit card company, spoke with someone in the fraud department and in 48 hours we had our money back. After this experience I would suggest always get everything in writing, have a signed document showing the time allowed for refund (and make sure there is a trial period), and if possible use a credit card to pay. Oh and if they take the aids back and promise a refund "soon" get a signed receipt for the aids you returned as proof of return.

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@judyca7

My husband's first hearing aids were from a company called Mcdonalds Hearing in Sacramento. Don't know if they are in other states but avoid them. When he tried to return the aids (within the time allowed for return) they gave him a really hard time. After a second try they took them back but then stalled us on the refund for six months with one excuse after another. We had charged the aids on a credit card. Finally I called the credit card company, spoke with someone in the fraud department and in 48 hours we had our money back. After this experience I would suggest always get everything in writing, have a signed document showing the time allowed for refund (and make sure there is a trial period), and if possible use a credit card to pay. Oh and if they take the aids back and promise a refund "soon" get a signed receipt for the aids you returned as proof of return.

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How do you feel about some of the advertisements we see on TV for hearing aids? Over the counter products are now legal. Most are mere amplifiers, which is OK for people with mild to even moderate hearing loss. They are pretty much like the hearing aids of a few decades ago before they became digital devices. Those of us who have more serious hearing losses need more prescriptive devices. We're going to see a lot more advertising for basic products. Buyer beware!

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so, the audiologist said that I had "moderate" hearing loss in both ears and recommended hearing aids. I go back this week. So should I go with expensive, high-tech hearing aids. I can afford it, but I am just wondering what to do.

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It comes down to personal preference. We are all a little different in our choices. Your audiologist probably knows what gives his patients best results. There are some differences in the way they sound (but I'm a terrible judge of how anything sounds). Take a good look at the features and connectivity of the devices. Check the Hearing Loss Association of America web site (hearingloss.org) for their hearing aid checklist. Don't pass up features you assume you won't need. You may like them. And you can't add them later. Work them HARD during your trial period. Become familiar with the features. You'll find your own preferences that way.

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arrowshooter offers gives very good advice, especially about working hard during the trial period. I would also suggest trying to be in as many "listening situations" during the trial period as you are likely to encounter in normal daily activities. It has always helped me to carry a small notebook to write down what I liked or did not like about how the hearing aid(s) performed in a variety of situations. It can be almost impossible (for me) to remember everything. This provides the hearing health professional with important information that allows them to do their best to make sure the aids perform at a high level for every individual. Yes, treating hearing loss is definitely a participation sport :-).

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@tarheel

so, the audiologist said that I had "moderate" hearing loss in both ears and recommended hearing aids. I go back this week. So should I go with expensive, high-tech hearing aids. I can afford it, but I am just wondering what to do.

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You may be satisfied with less expensive products, but if you can afford them, you may find the options and support you get by purchasing high end technology is worth it. Whatever you decide to do, make time to try them in every possible situation where you want to be able to hear better. Hearing aids take time to get used to.

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@tarheel

so, the audiologist said that I had "moderate" hearing loss in both ears and recommended hearing aids. I go back this week. So should I go with expensive, high-tech hearing aids. I can afford it, but I am just wondering what to do.

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@tarheel You have great advice here already. If you have a good audiologist who you feel will truly have your best interest at heart, then let her/him guide you. I want the most possible help I can get so I always go with the high end of things. The extra features make things easier and with hearing problems the easier things can be, the better.
JK

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good advice re going with the high end hearing aid. I plan to avoid scrimping to save money, provided I think it's prudent. Main goal is to try to reduce iinnitus, and, after that, improve my hearing. Fingers crossed. Appointment tomorrow.

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@julieo4

You may be satisfied with less expensive products, but if you can afford them, you may find the options and support you get by purchasing high end technology is worth it. Whatever you decide to do, make time to try them in every possible situation where you want to be able to hear better. Hearing aids take time to get used to.

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thanks, good advice.

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@tarheel

good advice re going with the high end hearing aid. I plan to avoid scrimping to save money, provided I think it's prudent. Main goal is to try to reduce iinnitus, and, after that, improve my hearing. Fingers crossed. Appointment tomorrow.

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@tarheel, it sounds like you will be new to hearing aids. I typically hate talking on this subject because everyone's experience is different. So many people that buy hearing aids end up putting them in the drawer. THEY DO NOT CORRECT HEARING AS GLASSES CORRECT FOR VISION. So, I make no recommendations, but only as person that has worn hearing aids for all of my adult life. Since your loss is moderate, you would be a candidate for an Over The Counter (OTC) device. The high end aids are recommended for people that have severe to profound loss and need fast processing to filter the background noise. Even with the high end aids, which I have, the background noise filtering is by no means perfect. I still struggle. The OTC devices are still not quite ready to go to mass market. Bottom line is that you may do fine with a low end product. Since you mention that you have tinnitus, maybe an aid with tinnitus masking will help. Having the amplification will help with the tinnitus but when you remove the aid at the end of the day, the tinnitus may return (as in my case). Fortunately, it goes away after a short time.
Tony in Michigan

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