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Hearing aids.

Discussion in 'audio' started by Andrew C!, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Andrew C!

    Andrew C! Been around a while....


    I have long suffered the effects of ‘glue ear’, and had grommets as a child. My hearing lasted out well from these surgeries(many years ago) up until last October, when my right ear has started working ok some days, but not on others. The consultant has said the next step is a hearing aid for the bad days.

    I’ll be getting fitted for the NHS standard one in due course, but I wondered if anyone on here had gone this route, and then got fitted for a bespoke privately purchased one? If so why did you do this? How do you fare regarding listening to music etc?

    I am aware of the headphone controller with balance control option to add to my hifi, and I’ll explore that at some stage.

    Any thoughts and experiences gratefully received.
  2. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Andrew, modern nhs ones are pretty good. Looks like you’ve got asymmetric loss as I do and that poses its own challenges with locating the source of sounds and enjoyment of stereo.
    I’d say get an nhs one first and put the work in to get used to it, before you consider going private. You’ll get more functionality from a private one like control from an iPhone over directionality and noise gating ( they can literally mute random background noise like traffic). The results aren’t necessarily dependent on the hardware though- the nature of the hearing loss itself will dictate how much benefit you get from the device- another good reason to go nhs before committing a lot of money. If you think Hifi is expensive, wait till you see hearing aids. Finally, I found it dreadful for music though a friend who is a composer said he can hear piccolos in the orchestra now, so he’s chuffed.
  3. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    No direct experience here but my dad has tinnitus and hearing loss and has had a few hearing aids over the years.

    He recently shelled out 4 figures for a private one but despite the claims made for it it wasn't any better for him so he went back to an NHS one.
  4. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    What you have to remember is that an aid is just that unlike eye glasses that can correct vision. Hearing is tested at spot frequencies from 250Hz to 8KHz and an audiogram produced. So the aid works by boosting up any deficient frequencies. The more expensive aids have (amongst other things) more channels in the equaliser section so can guestimate for other frequencies between those actually tested.

    If someone has had a hearing loss over several years then the brain has adjusted how it hears to try and compensate. This results in people initially rejecting an aid until the brain has had time to adjust to the new tones that were once missing and depending on the length of loss and severity this can take a very long time.

    Modern aids are amazing devices just think you have a mic, phono stage. ADC, computer for digital real time processing, multichannel equaliser, DAC, class D power amp, a receiver or micro loudspeaker if you like and two way wireless communications. Some aids double up on the first 3 devices and provide a degree of directionality and all this is driven by a tiny single cell battery. The price you pay privately also has to include the on going support such as adjustments and any further tests as the brain adjusts to the new sounds.


    Mr Pig and Andrew C! like this.
  5. Andrew C!

    Andrew C! Been around a while....

    Thanks for the replies. My plan is to try the NHS one(s) and see how I go.

    Today is a good day. Crystal clear. The recent condition also due to a very slight perforation, which I’ve never had before, that is taking time to heal.

    But the longer term loss is hereditary, and won’t get any better.
  6. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Was referred by my doc. 2 years ago after hospital and private tests, but still haven't taken up the appointment (too busy) but shall this year, as I can't hear people in my racquet sports venues. However, I'm amazed that being 40 to 50% down in my right ear (and down in the left) hasn't affected the imaging/soundstaging/holographic aspects of music; not even through (Focal and Senn.) cans), though I don't have a balance control.

    As D.V. says, the brain compensates well, though I'm still pleasantly surprised at being aware of quality differences in recently bought pieces of kit.
    Andrew C! likes this.
  7. The Far North

    The Far North pfm Member

    I have an NHS one for my lost high frequencies, but I don't use it for listening to music as I'm not a big fan of HF, and had got used to missing it anyway. I do use it every night for watching the TV though, since I need the HF in speech.
    Andrew C! likes this.
  8. peterm

    peterm pfm Member

    I've used hearing aids for about 10 years after a working life in noisy industrial environments has left me with hearing loss, particularly at HF.

    I wear them full time and, although not ideal from a hi fi perspective, my attitude is since I hear everything through my aids I can liken my hi fi to real life sounds. As DV said the brain adjusts, especially if it's a consistent situation (like wearing them all my waking hours).

    Mine are NHS ones, the last time I got new ones I asked the technician if I should consider going private for better quality aids and she said no. She'd previously worked for a private supplier of hearing aids and said they were no better then current NHS ones (although they can look more discreet perhaps) but the difference is that when you need new ones (and after a few years you will) you've got to pay all over again for your new private aids whilst the NHS ones are free!

    Give the NHS ones a try and see how you get on!
    Andrew C! likes this.
  9. mjw

    mjw pfm Member

    Andy, don’t use one myself but both in-laws do and if they’re anything to go by, because they’re not completely deaf the aid goes in a bowl on the sideboard and they turn the telly up a bit. They also ask a question then talk over your answer cos they can’t quite hear what you’re saying. Don’t get like that FFS.
    Andrew C! likes this.
  10. peterm

    peterm pfm Member

    And once you get to that stage you put your aids in the box without turning them off and everyone wonders where the feedback sounds are coming from!
  11. Nikola Krivorov

    Nikola Krivorov pfm Member

    That worries me a little... Did you get a hearing test? It can differentiate between Eustachian tube dysfunction and conductive hearing loss (which sounds like the problem you have - good days when it is open and bad days when it is not functioning properly) and a sensory-neural hearing loss which is treated with the help of a hearing aid. Fitting a hearing aid if not needed can damage your hearing, it is much more complicated than you think. For someone with your medical history(at least from what you said) hearing aid is a mistake, you have had problems with you adenoids when you were a kid(the glue ear, the grommets) and that is very often connected to Eustachian tube dysfunction...
  12. peterm

    peterm pfm Member

    I hope you're replying to the OP and not to me!
  13. springer

    springer pfm Member

    Currently going through assessments for the fitting of a bone-anchored hearing aid, possibly even a cochlear implant, subject to further scans. Tiny units that sit just behind the ear on the mastoid bone. You can link them via Bluetooth to phones, iPods etc! I will update as the process unfolds.
    Sloop John B likes this.
  14. Nikola Krivorov

    Nikola Krivorov pfm Member

    Of course I am replying to the OP, sorry if it felt not in place. But I was worried, you should never recommend a hearing aid to someone who has good days and bad days, that is against medical art.
  15. Andrew C!

    Andrew C! Been around a while....


    The senior consultant/surgeon and his colleague have recommended a hearing aid for me. Really appreciate your concern, tho.

    My Eustachian tube disfunction led to grommets, which led to a thinner ear drum etc etc. The procedures enabled much better hearing for me for a long time, but I know doctors are much more circumspect about fitting grommets now because the longer term effects are now more fully understood.
  16. zippy

    zippy pfm Member

    As someone whose hearing is 'on the way out', I'm almost at the point that I need hearing aid(s).
    I'm interested to know whether people take their aids out when listening to music, or are they so good that they can be left in without adversely affecting the sound...
  17. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    The Boss had an NHS set that was not a lot of good. From about 5 years back so may be better now

    Boots seem to do a good job, but I am not impressed with the hearing changes she has
    Could be the individual of course
    Price was either £1500 or £2500 ish. Can look up if req'd
  18. Nikola Krivorov

    Nikola Krivorov pfm Member

    Well, I have seen enough BS even from respected doctors and I just wanted to be sure you trust these guys, it is a very complex challenge that requires a thorough examination indeed. I guess they know what they are doing, I was just worried that the hearing aid does not know when to be on and off if there are fluctuations in your hearing abilities...

    The more expensive the better and I would prefer a rechargeable one as the new higher end models are very power hungry with all that DSP inside. And if there is a chance wear one for a few days, they all look fantastic on paper but it is really important that their algorithm fits your situation well. Thanks for taking my advice seriously, appreciated, hearing is the most precious sense we have and people do not realise that we get most of the information of the surrounding world through the ears.
    peterm and Andrew C! like this.
  19. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    No way Jose ! Put further amplification between my speakers/cans and my lug-hole ? No chance on principle alone and it wouldn't be necessary anyway.
  20. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Do the NHS provide two hearing aids if required? Last time my mum got one she was only allowed a single aid on the NHS despite both ears being almost as bad as each other. So two years ago she went private and ended up with a pair of ReSound Linx 3D 7. I think the total cost was around £2,400. She's very happy with their performance, but not their reliability. Every six months or so, the aids die and need to be sent to Denmark for repair, leaving her aid-less for two weeks at a time. She can never get a straight answer from them as to what the actual fault is, which is very frustrating. She's very careful with them too, uses wax guards and stores the aids in a dehumidifying case overnight. She's fed up with the repeated problems and wants to return them for a refund but the supplier isn't playing ball...

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