Baby boomers consider ourselves far too young to need hearing assistance. Hearing aids are for really old people, right? The reality is, however, that I am not alone in finding myself not hearing the birds singing, or being able to understand what’s being said by another speaker. I got tired of saying “What?” to my husband and complaining that “This sound system sucks.” at conferences. It was time to have my hearing tested and get some “ear tech” to help me hear better.
Let me start out by saying that this post is just about my personal experience. It is not sponsored by ReSound or Simply Hearing, where I bought my hearing aids. In fact, they don’t know I’m writing this. When I was researching hearing aids, however, I grew tired of only finding tweets and blog posts that were clearly bought and paid for by a particular hearing aid company. It was difficult to find something written from a real person’s point of view… someone who actually needed hearing assistance.
For those of any age who need help with their hearing, this has been my experience:
I chose to go to Simply Hearing because Lianne isn’t just selling one type of hearing aid from one manufacturer. I wanted choices. I decided on the ReSound Linx because I appreciate that it can be controlled (to some extent) by my iPhone. It’s possible to turn the volume up or down, and switch from regular mode to “restaurant mode” very easily. I can even turn the volume in one ear up and the other down as quickly as I check a text message…useful if you’re seated next to someone with a really loud voice at dinner!
It took me about two weeks to get used to wearing them. Like anything that we suddenly have on our bodies for extended periods – a new ring, glasses etc – I was very aware of them at first. But after about ten days I grew used to how they feel and now only notice them if I’m extremely tired or really bored.
When you first get hearing aids everything not only sounds louder but brighter and sharper. After a short time, however, my brain adjusted to this and now things sound normal…in fact, there are many days when I wonder “Are these things working?” When I remove them I find, of course, that they are indeed working; I’m just not noticing that things sound artificial anymore.
Are they perfect? Absolutely not. I’d like the ear piece to be slightly smaller and the line that runs into my ear softer. I’m sure that such improvements will happen in the future. I’ve also found that it helps the ReSound Smart app to restart my iPhone regularly. If I haven’t restarted recently sometimes the app refuses to open. My other complaint is that when I use these as a hands-free cell, all the sound around me is super-magnified. This also happens if I’m listening to a radio station using the Tunein Radio app but not, interestingly, if I’m listening to music that’s in my iPhone.
I’ve been into Simply Hearing once to have this problem adjusted but it’s still not great. When I’m driving it’s nice to use my iPhone and hearing aids as a hands-free cell but the amplified sound of the car is annoying. I’d like ReSound to improve the app so that I can fix this myself – they need to create a “car mode” like they have a “restaurant mode” perhaps, so that such adjustments don’t necessitate a trip to the audiologist.
For other baby boomers who are thinking that they really need some hearing assistance, I would say this: do it now while your brain is better able to adapt. Don’t think “I’m not old enough to need hearing aids.” A better approach might be “I want to hear what I’m missing.”