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"New" hearing aids

Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:40 PM (#1) User is offline   Gary 

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Over the last 6 months, both my Siemens Reflex hearing aids developed a fault.
The right one kept cutting out intermittently but it didn't happen too often, I just ignored it for now. It was still annoying though.
And finally, the left one stopped working altogether in T mode only (coil pick up).
Since I use my pick up coils a lot (Music, TV etc.) I decided it was time to make an appointment to get them repaired.

Had my appointment a few weeks ago and the audiologist stuck them in a "Test Box" to check them out, saying there was nothing wrong with them. :rolleyes:
I said "Well you're not gonna find anything wrong with them just by testing them in a box with the aids on Program Mode One, are you?!!?"
I again explained that one aid had an intermittent fault and the other, the pick up coil didn't work. (Which she didn't test, it wasn't a part of the test in the "Test Box". Doh!

So she agreed to replace them both, however, they didn't have any Reflex's so she offered me Siemens Impacts instead.
She set them up and I complained that they didn't sound right. So instead of trying to fine tune them for me, she said I would have to make an appointment to come back and have an hours appointment because a repair appointment is only 15 minutes long and also saying that there were now some new and better aids available on the NHS now.

Reluctantly, I went away with these godawful Impacts and as soon as I got home, I put on my old Siemens Prisma 2 D which I was lucky to be able to keep when I got my Reflex's.
Had my new appointment last week and was offered Phonak Nathos UP W. Hmmmm. I was dubious about them since I never had any joy with Phonak before and have read so many reports from other deafies how Phonak are crap. However, I decided to give them a try. On the plus side, I got to choose what colour aids I wanted from beige (skin colour), brown, black, clear or blue. I chose blue! :) (I was also told I could have blue moulds now if I wanted! Yay!) But these aids are not "new" really. I've read other deafies have been getting them on the NHS for the last 2 years.

Anyway. She set them up and explained so many "new and exciting" features such as I now have 5 programs (instead of 3 I used to have) plus Bluetooth. (I later discovered that Bluetooth wasn't actually built-in, they were iCom compatible. Bah! Not the same thing at all.) They also have a 6 second delay to turning on when you close the battery compartment and a rocker volume control instead of a wheel. The hour appointment went by so fast that I didn't think it was enough time to tune them to my liking and as a result, I was sent away to "get used to them and go back again in 8 weeks time". EIGHT weeks?!?!?!

I didn't like the new sound but OK, let's see if I can adjust to them. After just half a day wearing them, I began to get a headache from concentrating on the new (awful) sounds. I put my Siemens Prisma's back on again. Couple of days later, I decided to give them another try but no, I just cannot cope with the sounds at all. They just weren't natural. That got me thinking - maybe audiologists need to have some way of listening to some familiar music through the aids themselves to hear what crappy sounds we're sent away with to endure! Or maybe the sounds from the Phonaks were "normal"? I started to wonder if sounds and music I hear and am used to was "normal", or was I used to what I hear, meaning "normal" sounds sounded wrong to me. If you get what I mean.

This gave me an idea to test this with my wife. I plugged my iLoop into my phone and played some music and then placed my ear close to my wife so she could hear the quality via my hearing aids. First I wore my Siemens Prisma's. Wife said the music sounded normal, just what she would hear if it was playing on my phone's loudspeaker. Then I popped the Phonaks on. She immediately said they sounded awful, like the music was being played through a tunnel or a pipe, hollow and distorted. That's exactly how I would describe it!

So it's a relief to know that music and sounds as I know them are exactly what they sound like to any normal hearing person and that the Phonaks are indeed crap and not something "that I have to get used to and allow my brain to adjust to" as suggested by the audiologist.

I'll be ringing the hospital on Monday for an earlier appointment. (MUCH earlier!)

Just one more thing - There's nothing on the Phonaks to show which is Left or Right. No Blue or Red label like previous aids. Nothing. Posted Image
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Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:22 AM (#2) User is offline   RWS 

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I feel your frustrations Gary,
I tried to make an appointment to get new Molds & some fine tuning done, but was told I can have the Molds done next week but would need to make a seperate appt just to see if the hearing aids need fine tuning & if they do then come back for the half hour appt but it might be next year.
I said they DO need tuning so please can I have the half hour appt when I have the Molds made?...err no, will do Molds and see if need tuning.

It just seems incredulous to me that do many of us have similar negative experiences in audiology. How can some one else tell us our hearing aids are working properly when they're not listening to what we're wearing? I had one audi tell me my aids are working....I said no they're not, she became sarcastic & pointed at her computer saying LOOK! THE COMPUTER SAYS THEY ARE WORKING!
I asked to see manager who came in made some adjustments looked sheepish and hey presto they worked.
Another pair crackled & rustled like wind going past when they were first set up, when I told them I was told the "party line" of digitally sound different so you need to get used to them & come back in 8 weeks. I was furious at home and was close to giving up hearing aids altogether. I went back the next day and refused to leave till they were sorted. At last I was seen and an Audi actually listened to them and could hear the crackles etc, & apologised and re set them.
Good luck Gary.
All the best,

Richard Webb-Stevens ;-)
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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:20 PM (#3) User is offline   Steve 

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I've had my current aids replaced twice..once when sweat got into them and the second when suddenly they cut out..when I went back after they cut out they tested them via computer and said they were ok, but I insisted they cut out randomly and made things sound like I was in a bucket or tunnel and like sods law the minute you get something checked out its all well :cc_confused:

They went into the sound box and thankfully they cut out, so I was given replacements touch wood they have been ok...but I did say that if I had the same problems I would insist on a change of aid completely, I stressed that I need to rely on good performance due to the work that I do..

Why oh why don't the techs listen to what we say after all its us that has to wear these things and who knows best...really?

Best of luck mate, I know you will insist but I think of the poor buggers who are not as assertive as us and will be fobbed off in some way...in fact wouldn't surprise me if its the main reason why people refuse to wear issued aids and leave them in drawers...
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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:10 AM (#4) User is offline   RWS 

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 Steve, on 18 March 2012 - 09:20 PM, said:

...in fact wouldn't surprise me if its the main reason why people refuse to wear issued aids and leave them in drawers...


I agree. I know there are lots of people who either love digital & loath analogue or love analogue & loath digital....
I wonder if the people that don't like digitals have had bad programming & tuning experiences which have put them off using them?

As a paramedic we're drilled to look at the patient & not always trust the machines. The "Machines/computers" are just a tool...
All the best,

Richard Webb-Stevens ;-)
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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:06 PM (#5) User is offline   Gary 

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Happy to report I have booked an hour appointment this Wednesday. :)

To be continued.........
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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:49 PM (#6) User is offline   Tony 

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Moved to Hearing Aids section (have you forgotten we have this now? LOL)
- Tony Sutton
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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:55 PM (#7) User is offline   Tony 

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Interesting readings... I too had simialr expierence with the local NHS... anything more than ear mould, they ask to book an appt and it's usually weeks away, months even. Sometiems I'm lucky enough to ahve earlier appt if I push them.

I think most of the dept have very little staff dealing with too many users. :(
- Tony Sutton
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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:39 PM (#8) User is offline   Steve 

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Theres a drop in clinic every Wednesday for tube replacements and spare batteries or anything minor at the local hospital, anything else we have to make an appointment for a following Wednesday but as its twinned with another major hospital in Warrington they open every day and an appointment can be made for the following day or two at least.

The problem it seems is that they only supply the one make of aid and that being the oticon range they will continue with this choice as they already have the software for programming. They wouldn't consider other makes due to costing.

So looking at this ...

http://www.nhs.uk/Li...aring-aids.aspx

We should be able to have choice.. what do you think? :cc_confused:

I'd love funky Blue .... :clap2:
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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:49 PM (#9) User is offline   Gary 

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 Tony, on 19 March 2012 - 07:49 PM, said:

Moved to Hearing Aids section (have you forgotten we have this now? LOL)


Yeah, sorry about that. Totally forgot. Posted Image

By the way, if I hadn't taken the Wednesday appointment, the next available appointment would have been a month away, 18th April so I was lucky really.
The reason being they are one hour appointments and they don't have too many of those available.
For 15 minute appointments for moulds, tubes, repairs etc. I can usually get an appointment within the week, often within 3 days.
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Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:48 PM (#10) User is offline   Gary 

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 Gary, on 19 March 2012 - 06:06 PM, said:

Happy to report I have booked an hour appointment this Wednesday. :)

To be continued.........


OK, went to my appointment today as arranged. Saw a different audiologist.
She asked what the problem was and what she could do for me today.
I explained how the Phonaks sounded like the sounds were from a tunnel or hollow tube.
She asked how did I know? Posted Image Doh!
So I went on to explain that my wife listened to the sounds from both my old and new hearing aids and said she agreed the sounds from the new one were hollow and the old one was as sounds do sound. The audiologist turned her nose up and said "That's not a very technological way to test it, is it?" I said I disagreed because if my wife thought the sounds from my old aid were true to normal sounds, then I must understand and be used to normal sounds. She said "Ah but! How do YOU know you hear "normal" sounds? What's "normal" for you?" Jeez!
So I said, firmly and politely "If my wife says the sounds from my old aid sounds the same as what she, a normal hearing person, hears from my MP3 player without aids then they MUST be normal sounds. In other words, the amplifier is amplifying the sounds, maintaining the sound quality, pitch and frequencies. Furthermore, if my wife says she thought the new aids made the sounds hollow, which is how I would describe it, then I MUST be hearing similarly to what my wife is hearing then."
She still didn't agree but it was enough to shut her up and change the subject.

"So what can I do for you today then?" she asked.
Well, I asked if the Phonaks could be better tuned. She said that the Phonaks will always sound like that and that there's nothing they can do to alter them. She said I would be better off going back to my previous aids, the Siemens Reflex DSP since they were designed better for my level and flatness of loss plus the fact that I was used to them. She said that the Siemens give a better bass tone than the Phonaks. So I agreed to have the Reflexs back, two brand new ones though.

Sadly, no blue ones so I'm back to the typical old beige but I've decided to get some Spandex Sleeves so I might get blue then.
A quick tune up in five minutes (they keep your old program on record) and I was on my way again.

Until next time they develop a fault and they no longer do the Siemens Reflex. Then what?
LOL
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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:02 PM (#11) User is offline   Gary 

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OK, just placed an order on Connevans for some Royal Blue Eargear spandex sleeves.

Not cheap at £23.95 for a pair, including postage and VAT.
Postage is a bit silly, £4.30 but then, gearsforears.com charge a flat international rate of $10.
And why are they not VAT Exempt?!?! They are for disabled people only, surely? What else are people gonna use them for? Willy Warmers?!?!
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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:20 AM (#12) User is offline   Steve 

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 Gary, on 21 March 2012 - 09:48 PM, said:


Until next time they develop a fault and they no longer do the Siemens Reflex. Then what?
LOL


Probably then you will have to take what they issue and get used to the change in sound or go without my dear fellow and take up the apparently old fashioned sign language of BSL..
Failing that make enquiries going down the CI route, but I'm told sound accuracy is well off and makes Bach and Beethoven sound like clanging dustbin lids.. or pray Siemens come up with something.

It does my head in that we have to put up with what another person says we have to be getting on with, We know what works and what is comfortable..If there is an option to have an improved or desired outcome then there must either be a cost or a means to have that item...is this not a right?

I want to have the best hearing options open to me, I have the right to want that and I need to have that to enable me to function in society. If society wants to disable me and keep me diasabled then give me all the benefits...and the bloody BUS PASS to go with it....
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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:07 PM (#13) User is offline   RWS 

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 Gary, on 21 March 2012 - 11:02 PM, said:

OK, just placed an order on Connevans for some Royal Blue Eargear spandex sleeves.

Not cheap at £23.95 for a pair, including postage and VAT.
Postage is a bit silly, £4.30 but then, gearsforears.com charge a flat international rate of $10.


I always get mine direct from Gear for Ears... Last pair was last year but I'm pretty sure they worked out cheaper than connevans & AoHL. Also if you send the a picture of you wearing them they will send you a free pair....
All the best,

Richard Webb-Stevens ;-)
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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:09 PM (#14) User is offline   Gary 

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 RWS, on 04 April 2012 - 04:07 PM, said:

Last pair was last year but I'm pretty sure they worked out cheaper than connevans & AoHL.


Maybe they did last year but they certainly didn't work out any cheaper (or much cheaper) now. :(

For now, they're confined to my drawer.
Why? They're a pain to use. They're quite a tight fit that they press on the button, holding the button in so the aids always switch to program two instantly upon switching on.
And because the button is held pressed in, I can't press them to change program. Instead, I have to pinch the material to lift it off the button, allowing it to slip into program three, then repeat the process to slip into my desired program one for normal use. And there NO chance of trying to use the volume wheel with the eargears on! :(
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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:44 PM (#15) User is offline   RWS 

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That's a shame Gary. Can only suggest try larger size. Connevans should be able to advise of a size up that should fit.
Mine are a snug fit but not tight & allow me to press programme/volume button. It some times needs a wee pinch of the ear gear to release button but I can live with that of it means I can "Keep Calm & Carry On" in inclement weather.
I guess the savings I made were last years pound & also two for the price of one.
All the best,

Richard Webb-Stevens ;-)
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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:19 PM (#16) User is offline   Gary 

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Sounds to me like you have the same problems but are happy to but up with it.
I'm loathe to pay another 25 quid for a larger pair.
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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:29 AM (#17) User is offline   RWS 

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I don't think I have the same problem Gary as I can access the programme/volume button and only need to pinch say 1 in 10 times. Also I only experience the need to pinch the cover when the Ear hooks are under neath the covers stretching them more than usual.

Why pay again? Surely your entitled to a refund or exchange as your covers are not fit for purpose as they prevent your aids working as intended. Worth trying.

I've had 4 pairs for 2 hearing aid models and all ways been able to use the programme/volume button/wheel.

This post has been edited by RWS: 05 April 2012 - 02:27 PM

All the best,

Richard Webb-Stevens ;-)
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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:09 PM (#18) User is offline   Steve 

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Ive just bought a new pair (Eargear) and wow they've gone down in price :D
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