by Chelle Wyatt
Hearing aids have kept me connected for 30 plus years now. They have improved a lot since I started wearing analog hearing aids, which for the most part turned everything up. I was a dedicated hearing aid user at work but once I left the salon, they came out. It was not easy wearing them as a hairdresser in bad acoustics with tons of noise.
Ten years into wearing hearing aids, I got my first pair of digital hearing aids. I loved them straight away. I could tolerate salon noise enough that I wore them after work also. It was a smooth transition for me, I was no power junkie. (Some people like the power of analog.)
Technology keeps pace with my hearing loss, thank goodness. There’s so much more that can be done with hearing aids thanks to advances in technology. I learn all I can so I can keep myself connected to life.
Do you know of all the options available on your hearing aids or cochlear implants?
Some people are happy with 1 or 2 programs on their hearing devices, the most common one is the restaurant/noisy setting. However, there are more options for people like me who like more control for different environments.
- Bluetooth – There is a setting for Bluetooth, with cell phones and other personal devices such as streamers for the TV. Bluetooth and telecoil give great sound. Most hearing devices are now Bluetooth capable. People love it when using the phone because the call goes into both ears. Note: If used a lot, Bluetooth will use your hearing aid batteries faster.
- Telecoil/t-coil – Not all hearing aids have them but cochlear implants do. Sometimes providers might say it’s old technology. No, get one anyway and have the program turned on so you have all options. This will enable you to use a hearing loop, an assistive listening system that transmits sound from wiring in the floor to your telecoils/hearing aids. Depending on where you live, you might not have access to many hearing loops but when you do run across one, you’ll want to try it. Speech is so clear I can look down and take notes. You can also get small hearing loops for the living room to connect to your TV. *Note: T-coils do not use extra battery power.
- If you have a telecoil & program, you can also use neckloops instead of headphones. Neckloops plug into any audio jack, the same as headphones. Headphones can make my hearing aids squeal, that noise that makes people cringe and ask what is that?! I prefer neckloops for that and the clarity.
- Noisy Settings – The noisy settings help reduce background noise by focusing the microphones more forward, cutting off background noise. I’ve also found this program helpful in harsh acoustics cutting down the reverberation.
- Music – We hear music differently than we do speech so this program gives us a fuller musical experience.
- Stroll – Hearing aids can hear from all directions. This program focuses the microphones for side to side listening, such as walking next to people. Tip: I find this program especially helpful in the car where I need to hear the person next to me.
- Tinnitus – There’s a program especially for tinnitus. Is your tinnitus distracting you in quiet environments? This program adds ocean waves, white noise, chimes and other options. Even though I’ve habituated my tinnitus many years ago, I tried this program with ocean waves. It was so soothing, I used the program when I needed to relax too. When people came into the room, I could hear them fine and the waves receded into the background. When they left, the waves came back.
- Speech in Wind – Have you ever heard the wind coming across the cell phone when someone is talking outside in the wind. That is what it can be like for hearing aids too. This program helps cut that sound down.
There may be more options available, ask your hearing device provider. You can try one program at a time, or you can have several options, trying different programs keeping the ones you like. They are easy to put on and take off. They can also make a special program just for specific situations, ask!
Change it up.
It’s possible to change the lineup of programs. Smartphone apps are for our hearing aids make changing the program easy. I’m old school. I like having a button on my hearing aids to switch programs around as needed. Because of that, I have my programs lined up in a way that is easy for me. From the master program, I…
- Bump up to the stroll.
- The next one is the telecoil program.
- I had the tinnitus program here for a while.
- Last I have noisy settings.
When changing programs, I can go up the line or down backwards. I liked having stroll and noisy settings on either side of my master program as those are the ones I use most.
Each program can be tweaked specifically.
As an example: In my noisy setting, I had my provider take the volume down a few more notches. I have a hard time with a lot of noise. Too much noise distracts me and makes my jaw hurt (I clench my teeth). I have it on a narrow focus forward. In the beginning it was a 45 degree angle. It allowed too much noise. I wanted to be able to concentrate on the person in front me. I can turn my head to listen to others to focus on them. Each program can be tweaked to your liking.
Help your hearing aid provider help you.
Hearing aids come in a bundled price typically. You pay for future visits so make sure you get your money’s worth. If you don’t like the sound, go back until you do. Hearing through hearing aids will never be like normal hearing but you should be comfortable with the sound.
Keep a list of things that bother you, or where you might want more sound. Be specific. Example, I could not stand chopping vegetables on the cutting board with my hearing aids in and that’s what I told my provider. He got in the program, changed a few lines and I was better off.
Another issue of mine was sound compression. Hearing aids protect your hearing by compressing loud sounds. A Harley motorcycle went by and my hearing aids shut down completely. I waited, the motorcycle was long gone before they came back to normal. Meanwhile I missed a good chunk of conversation with my husband. My provider was able to fix this too.
I can talk about hearing aids for hours! Hearing aids are great and keep me from having to work so hard with lipreading. I don’t have a CI but I have many friends who do. Please share any tips about programing with cochlear implants.
If you liked this post, try InnoCaption Services, because sometimes we still need help hearing on the phone. Also try Lipreading Concepts because we all use a little lipreading even with hearing aids.
(No companion podcast.)