Sample sounds for hearing aid adjustments?

Posted by glkrause1117 @glkrause1117, Feb 17, 2021

Is there an app or series of prerecorded audio tracks that have a mix of speech and various background noises? I have a set of aids that allow programming of different options but when I'm with the audiologist I can't tell the effects of the adjustments will have in real world situations until I leave the office and randomly come across those scenarios. I'd like to try various settings while I'm there. Thanks.

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@joyces

Reply to Tony and Julie: I fear that the process is going the wrong way, thanks to Covid. Lots of places are scheduling fewer appts. at greater intervals for safety, which means that lots of us get discouraged about making an appt. sometime in the future. Social distancing (I hate that term!) means that everyone is far more careful about being close to anyone else…including the audi or fitter in the tiny soundproof room. I recently bought new glasses. When I went back to pick them up, the person simply handed them to me…no checking to see that the prescription was correct or that the frames fit properly. Because I wear one aid instead of two, my glasses frames really need to be bent slightly out of shape on that side to accommodate the aid, but the person said, "you can come back later if you feel it needs an adjustment." Helpful! I've found that not only do the frames need to be adjusted to fit my aid, but they're not tight enough on my head, so I now have a new thing to do: push my multi-focal specs up every few minutes so that I'm looking through the correct part of the lenses.
We all crave "getting back to normal," but I fear that normal is a thing of the past for many things, even simple ones, like a person to bag your groceries while you pony up the store's card, any coupons, and method of payment. When I'm out of our small town, I shop in a discount grocery where it's set up for us to bag our own stuff. The clerks are trained to remind you when it's time to pay (and I ask them to wave at me because I don't hear well), and all goes smoothly. The only supermarket in our small town is a national chain, and it was not set up for self-bagging. They've removed the small bit of counter for writing checks or placing the card, coupons, and cash, and there's no convenient place to bag your own groceries, plus the clerks don't yet know how to handle a customer 10' away, so it's all inefficient–but, once Covid is a thing of the bad past, I'll bet that they won't go back to providing bagging service!
Covid has been a fine excuse for everyone to deal more remotely, offer less service, and I don't think it will go back to the way it was. That means that we'll need to fight harder to get more realistic places to try aids before leaving the clinic or store. I hear "too well" right now for a CI in my long-useless ear; in a sound booth without background noise, I comprehend 55% of simple sentences. That's a far cry from the real world where there are often several kinds of noise and the sentences aren't always simple. We need to have realistic places to try out aids and get them adjusted. We also need to have enough time to ask all the questions we have.

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@joyces I shouldn't bash audiologists. As you mention, other "professionals" are not without fault. Consumer education is the key.
Covid should not be an excuse to be able to provide quality services. When I had to take my hearing aids in for repair, they wanted me to drop my $6500 aids in a plastic bin outside of the building. I got on the phone with them (was that a challenge with my old aids) and told them I did not trust leaving them where they could be stolen. They did meet me at the door so that I could put them in their hands. When the aids came back from the manufacturer, they simply gave them back to me without scheduling me to do any verification! What a joke, especially since many of the components were replaced. It was only after I insisted on a visit that they saw me for some adjustments. Audiology has been slow to adapt to remote care. Newer aids can be programmed without a face-to-face visit. I wonder how many people out there even know it that's an option for them?

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@julieo4

Thanks Tony. Right on. The advertising done on hearing aids is terribly deceiving. For years they have featured noise cancellation in their products. It's a bit sales pitch because that is what bothers hard of hearing people most; hearing in noisy settings. While it has gotten a bit better, there isn't a perfect solution for the background noise issue. Most who manage background noise well use add on assistive technology that works with their hearing aids. That assistive technology is visible. That further distorts things because the advertising also features 'invisibility' and 'so small no one will know you're wearing it'. Isn't it time the hearing aid industry stops marketing denial? It's also time the people who sell hearing aids share information about assistive devices with their clients. People should not have to learn about these options through non profit organizations, list serves, Facebook pages, etc.

Coppermoon brings up the need for more realistic testing. Definitely an issue. Testing should also include demonstration of controllable special features on the hearing aid that is fitted. How do telecoils work? Where can they be used? Are there assistive devices available for this particular hearing aid? What places are recommended for trying my new hearing aid(s) out during the trial period? Etc. People walk out of the fitter's offices overwhelmed. 30 days is not nearly enough time to test the product.

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@julieo4 and others.. When listening or watching TV news these Pandemic days we are subjected to the wide variety of how rooms affect the sound we hear. So many of the pundits or correspondents talk from a small room where the reverberation is so fast and reinforcing of the original sound we hear a buzz of each word.. depending upon the sound absorption of the materials in the room. When the correspondents talk outside there may be street noise, but there is no reverberation… Same phenomenon goes on in the hearing aid sales or audiologists office… the smaller and reflective the surfaces the more the reflected sound reinforces the original sound… .. We should be able to evaluate our home setting and compare it to the office…and understand how surface materials (soft-thick Materials absorb sound and do not let it reflect… to reinforce the original sound… ) work to make our hearing experience so different in different places..
My hearing tests show that I hear very little even in my good ear unless that sound is at 60 db.. (decibels). So when the ambient sound in the room (with others speaking or open windows) is 50db, the deciphering information is really hard unless I am certainly much closer than the "social distancing 6 feet away"…. So when I go up to the Clinic for something and there are many clerks working..with plexiglass or real glass shields… I have to bend down to place my ear near that token opening where we are supposed to put our Insurance cards or such to hear the questions…. at that point the clerk understands my problem hopefully and raises her voice to the 60db necessary… Ken..

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@ken82

@julieo4 and others.. When listening or watching TV news these Pandemic days we are subjected to the wide variety of how rooms affect the sound we hear. So many of the pundits or correspondents talk from a small room where the reverberation is so fast and reinforcing of the original sound we hear a buzz of each word.. depending upon the sound absorption of the materials in the room. When the correspondents talk outside there may be street noise, but there is no reverberation… Same phenomenon goes on in the hearing aid sales or audiologists office… the smaller and reflective the surfaces the more the reflected sound reinforces the original sound… .. We should be able to evaluate our home setting and compare it to the office…and understand how surface materials (soft-thick Materials absorb sound and do not let it reflect… to reinforce the original sound… ) work to make our hearing experience so different in different places..
My hearing tests show that I hear very little even in my good ear unless that sound is at 60 db.. (decibels). So when the ambient sound in the room (with others speaking or open windows) is 50db, the deciphering information is really hard unless I am certainly much closer than the "social distancing 6 feet away"…. So when I go up to the Clinic for something and there are many clerks working..with plexiglass or real glass shields… I have to bend down to place my ear near that token opening where we are supposed to put our Insurance cards or such to hear the questions…. at that point the clerk understands my problem hopefully and raises her voice to the 60db necessary… Ken..

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reply to both tony and ken: It isn't just the training of hearing specialists that is done poorly: people pay megabucks for a college education, but often the instructors don't really teach what needs to be learned. When my daughter was a sophomore, majoring in health care, she was required to take at least one communication class. She found herself in a class of juniors, all communication majors…and they wound up asking her to write everything because none of them were able to write coherently! Imagine: juniors in communication who weren't able to summarize their project on paper!
This isn't just something new, either: I've had a half-dozen graphics interns and grads over the years, and none of them knew how to size a photo, not even the ones who had just completed four years of graphics study at a major college! None of them had ever been handed "real world" assignments. Instead, they were given greeked type (i.e., meaningless, use as much as you need to fill any space) and some images to place on two blank pages. No difficulties, like having to fit ALL the copy in plus at least one image, or, worse, fit in all the copy and an image PLUS a couple of ads! That's the real world of magazine publishing! None of them were lazy or stupid, just not taught anything really useful. The concept that a publication, be it a magazine, book, or flyer, may only have certain pages where color is possible was entirely new to them. Think about all the books printed of "soft" paper with an 8- or 16-page insert of photo pages on slick paper.
I think it's flat criminal that so many people spend lots of money and four years of their lives, but really don't get the tools they need to be successful in their chosen profession. It's usually up to some old grayhead to give them a crash course in how to do the work! I've learned everything by the seat of my britches, but I know technical stuff that simply isn't taught anywhere, at least that I'm aware of. I'm sure it's the same with hearing professionals, whether they're audis or fitters. I think that's why the fitter I work with knows more than any of the audis I've been too: just a desire to learn more and the stubborness to find answers. Cranky, aren't I?

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@ken82

@julieo4 and others.. When listening or watching TV news these Pandemic days we are subjected to the wide variety of how rooms affect the sound we hear. So many of the pundits or correspondents talk from a small room where the reverberation is so fast and reinforcing of the original sound we hear a buzz of each word.. depending upon the sound absorption of the materials in the room. When the correspondents talk outside there may be street noise, but there is no reverberation… Same phenomenon goes on in the hearing aid sales or audiologists office… the smaller and reflective the surfaces the more the reflected sound reinforces the original sound… .. We should be able to evaluate our home setting and compare it to the office…and understand how surface materials (soft-thick Materials absorb sound and do not let it reflect… to reinforce the original sound… ) work to make our hearing experience so different in different places..
My hearing tests show that I hear very little even in my good ear unless that sound is at 60 db.. (decibels). So when the ambient sound in the room (with others speaking or open windows) is 50db, the deciphering information is really hard unless I am certainly much closer than the "social distancing 6 feet away"…. So when I go up to the Clinic for something and there are many clerks working..with plexiglass or real glass shields… I have to bend down to place my ear near that token opening where we are supposed to put our Insurance cards or such to hear the questions…. at that point the clerk understands my problem hopefully and raises her voice to the 60db necessary… Ken..

Jump to this post

@ Toni, Ken82, & Joyces: The strange pandemic times we're living in right now have definitely changed the landscape. I guess a lot will depend on how well, we as individuals are able to adjust, along with how long it will take to get back to whatever 'normal' will be. Many HH people I know through our local HLAA chapter, are terribly frustrated due to problems with their personal equipment. The only saving grace is that they are not going out in public, so they are mostly in settings where they can control the noise factor. it's not quite as frustrating than having to deal with the ambient background noise caused by reverberation, etc. in public and social settings.

I, myself, have had problems with my cochlear processor shorting out. I've taken the measures to replace the removable parts, but am still having problems. I decided this weekend that I will drive to the CI center in Milwaukee to get this repaired. I hope they will take me. They actually did offer to send me a computer that could test the processor and let them know what to fix and how to fix it, but no guarantees it will be fixed. We shall see what happens. My husband and I are going out to settings we feel are safe, but not to major events. Driving 100 miles south to a large hospital/CI center is somewhat 'major'

Ken82, I strongly suggest you tell the people at your clinic that they should install a counter loop in their office. All audiologists and hearing aid fitters should also install a hearing loop in their waiting room. They should connect it to a sound source so people can learn how to use telecoils, AND they should promote those telecoils in all the hearing aids they sell. It's an injustice not to. A telecoil ads virtually nothing to the cost of a hearing aid. BlueTooth adds over $1000. It's good to have both, but were I to choose one over the other, I'd go for the telecoils. Why? because I know how to use them in many ways, whether it's at home on the computer, listening to music on the radio, attending a concert or play, using my iPhone, or socializing in a noisy restaurant. I did not learn how to do these things from my audiologist. I learned from other hard of hearing people I've met through HLAA. And, in spite of the pandemic, I continue to learn via the Zoom conferences that HLAA is holding all over the country. I fear that way too many people are just giving up. How depressing!

On the other hand, I think positive about the end of the pandemic and believe that all the things we cannot do now will once again be a part of our lives. They will come back. The key to many of them is being able to get workers to take the jobs we've always taken for granted. Grocery baggers, wait staff, and a whole lot more. As long as they are not making more money collecting welfare and unemployment they will be back. (This coming from a retired educator/social worker LOL.)

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@julieo4

@ Toni, Ken82, & Joyces: The strange pandemic times we're living in right now have definitely changed the landscape. I guess a lot will depend on how well, we as individuals are able to adjust, along with how long it will take to get back to whatever 'normal' will be. Many HH people I know through our local HLAA chapter, are terribly frustrated due to problems with their personal equipment. The only saving grace is that they are not going out in public, so they are mostly in settings where they can control the noise factor. it's not quite as frustrating than having to deal with the ambient background noise caused by reverberation, etc. in public and social settings.

I, myself, have had problems with my cochlear processor shorting out. I've taken the measures to replace the removable parts, but am still having problems. I decided this weekend that I will drive to the CI center in Milwaukee to get this repaired. I hope they will take me. They actually did offer to send me a computer that could test the processor and let them know what to fix and how to fix it, but no guarantees it will be fixed. We shall see what happens. My husband and I are going out to settings we feel are safe, but not to major events. Driving 100 miles south to a large hospital/CI center is somewhat 'major'

Ken82, I strongly suggest you tell the people at your clinic that they should install a counter loop in their office. All audiologists and hearing aid fitters should also install a hearing loop in their waiting room. They should connect it to a sound source so people can learn how to use telecoils, AND they should promote those telecoils in all the hearing aids they sell. It's an injustice not to. A telecoil ads virtually nothing to the cost of a hearing aid. BlueTooth adds over $1000. It's good to have both, but were I to choose one over the other, I'd go for the telecoils. Why? because I know how to use them in many ways, whether it's at home on the computer, listening to music on the radio, attending a concert or play, using my iPhone, or socializing in a noisy restaurant. I did not learn how to do these things from my audiologist. I learned from other hard of hearing people I've met through HLAA. And, in spite of the pandemic, I continue to learn via the Zoom conferences that HLAA is holding all over the country. I fear that way too many people are just giving up. How depressing!

On the other hand, I think positive about the end of the pandemic and believe that all the things we cannot do now will once again be a part of our lives. They will come back. The key to many of them is being able to get workers to take the jobs we've always taken for granted. Grocery baggers, wait staff, and a whole lot more. As long as they are not making more money collecting welfare and unemployment they will be back. (This coming from a retired educator/social worker LOL.)

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In many ways, Covid seems rather unreal here in the quiet of the Oregon coast. Our town of 9,000, which swells to over 50,000 most weekends (except during the past year) has had a total of nine cases, in two outbreaks. At one point our county had fairly high numbers, all related to fish processing in the town on a bay 40 miles south of us. I learned that workers there are NOT employees, but all temps so that the fish processors need not pay any sort of benefits–which should be illegal, to my mind. We've seen news photos of food lines in big cities, where people are struggling with how to provide food for everyone who needs it. Shoot, due to our 100% tourist economy, we always pack food boxes every winter…nothing new about that, well organized among our local charities. This year, we had the addition of a forest fire north of town that burned nearly 300 homes, so we've been providing not only for those with no work due to Covid (and tourism during winters) but fire victims. Oregon's Gov mandated masks and closures very early, which helped slow the initial spread, and everyone here has been very good at being careful, so we haven't ever really felt immediately threatened by Covid. Because people and businesses in town are pretty militant about mask wearing, we only had one outbreak traced to visitors (five of the nine cases, all due to one gloriously beautiful weekend in August). The fire is much more real to me, perhaps because I've done fire relief food distribution and cooking for the past six months, some of it out in the mobile kitchen in the fire area, where residents are working to clear their own lots and moving back onto them in various temporary trailers, campers, etc. Still, it would be a treat to go somewhere wearing something at least a bit better than a sweatshirt! I miss our local lecture series (24 days most years) and monthly fly fishing club meetings, but I see the other three main people who volunteer for Backpacks for Kids several times every week. Due to Covid, we're the only ones who work in our pantry, so we're often there. We do miss seeing all the volunteers we ordinarily have, and it's been hard to learn how to provide for "our" families when there's no school (kids took food home every Friday to see them through weekends). I miss doing graphics work for clients, the interaction with them…no need for glossy catalogs when the national tackle show is virtual! So, I do look forward to a time when we will be able to go about without masking. I do feel much better about being out and about every day now that I've had both shots: not only am I far less likely to catch the damned disease (if I ever was likely to), but there's far less chance I could hand it off to someone else. Most of all, I miss hugs!

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@joyces

reply to both tony and ken: It isn't just the training of hearing specialists that is done poorly: people pay megabucks for a college education, but often the instructors don't really teach what needs to be learned. When my daughter was a sophomore, majoring in health care, she was required to take at least one communication class. She found herself in a class of juniors, all communication majors…and they wound up asking her to write everything because none of them were able to write coherently! Imagine: juniors in communication who weren't able to summarize their project on paper!
This isn't just something new, either: I've had a half-dozen graphics interns and grads over the years, and none of them knew how to size a photo, not even the ones who had just completed four years of graphics study at a major college! None of them had ever been handed "real world" assignments. Instead, they were given greeked type (i.e., meaningless, use as much as you need to fill any space) and some images to place on two blank pages. No difficulties, like having to fit ALL the copy in plus at least one image, or, worse, fit in all the copy and an image PLUS a couple of ads! That's the real world of magazine publishing! None of them were lazy or stupid, just not taught anything really useful. The concept that a publication, be it a magazine, book, or flyer, may only have certain pages where color is possible was entirely new to them. Think about all the books printed of "soft" paper with an 8- or 16-page insert of photo pages on slick paper.
I think it's flat criminal that so many people spend lots of money and four years of their lives, but really don't get the tools they need to be successful in their chosen profession. It's usually up to some old grayhead to give them a crash course in how to do the work! I've learned everything by the seat of my britches, but I know technical stuff that simply isn't taught anywhere, at least that I'm aware of. I'm sure it's the same with hearing professionals, whether they're audis or fitters. I think that's why the fitter I work with knows more than any of the audis I've been too: just a desire to learn more and the stubborness to find answers. Cranky, aren't I?

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@joyces Its ok to be cranky.. I taught architectural type courses for 20 yrs at the big Universities in OK.. I practiced Architecture 20 years before teaching.. The Oregon K-12 schools are so much better than in the south.. and Yes, I had a saying.. only 20% could make it through all 4 years.. but we would try to pull them kicking and screaming to competency…

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