Susana’s Hearing Aids

If you prefer you can listen this article by playing the audio above.

Susana got her first hearing aids in early 2015. She has a family history of hearing loss, so it was not totally unexpected. However, it was the missing out on conversations and not hearing the children properly that started to raise questions.

There were also the awkward situations at work. Asking colleagues to repeat something for clarification is fine. If you don’t get it the second time around, it starts to get awkward. As an English as a Foreign Language teacher, hearing what students were saying was also critical.

More pressure arose at work too. Susana was being fast-tracked as a hearing examiner for Cambridge English exams. You can’t ask people to repeat themselves in an exam scenario.

First Hearing Aids

Susana's old hearing aids
Susana’s old hearing aids and remote control

Not really knowing anything about hearing aids, she walked into the first audiologists she came across.

This is not an uncommon scenario at all. We all have a tendency to fear the unknown. To begin with, not knowing if you have hearing loss. Then not knowing what the potential solutions are. Afterwards not knowing what types of hearing aids exists. Lastly not knowing what the technology can and can’t offer. The list is endless for “first-timers”. It’s a pretty intimidating experience all around.

Susana was actually quite lucky. She got a friendly audiologist. What she didn’t know is that she had walked into a place that only sold Widex hearing aids.

The Hearing Test

That hearing test. The one that confirms all your fears, hits like a bombshell. All of a sudden Susana knew she had a significant hearing deficit. On the one hand it’s really good news. Finally you now know that you have a problem that has a known and reliable solution. Hearing loss that can be solved by hearing aids. Nothing “serious”, no ear drum damage, no complications.

Unfortunately, the relief of “finding” the problem and knowing there is a solution was fairly short-lived for Susana. She was then overwhelmed by the audiologist displaying an array of all types, sizes, colours and prices of hearing aids.

Obviously, the exercise was to encourage Susana to try out the top of the range hearing aids. Still in a fairly emotional state after having discovered she had a significant hearing loss; she was given some hearing aids to try. The effect, as you would expect, was dramatic.

She was allowed to leave the audiologists for half an hour or so, with the new hearing aids, to try them out. The experience was amazing, bird song, background chatter, no fear of not hearing anyone. Her hearing had returned!

The “Long Term” Experience

The Widex hearing aids were state-of-the-art for their time. They had a remote volume control. All day batteries and sound balancing between the two ears.

It is very normal that the hearing loss we experience is different in each ear. Additionally, the loss is not just a simple “reduction in volume” type of loss of hearing. What we actually lose is the ability to hear certain frequencies of sound. So high squeaky sounds or lower more bass like sounds.

Susana’s hearing aids were setup to compensate for these frequencies. The loss was different in each ear. The aids compensated and balanced all of the sounds.

Over time, a period of years. There were frequent visits to have them re-tuned. There were a LOT of batteries bought and dutifully disposed of in recycling bins. But there was also a lot of audio feedback when using a phone or wearing a hat. Then the remote control stopped working. It was too expensive to replace.

Both receivers had to be replaced after five years too, that was also expensive.

The time had arrived to replace these now beloved devices.

Enter Leek Hearing and Starkey

Susana had heard about Clare at Leek Hearing via a friend of a friend. She wasn’t as apprehensive as the first time she had been fitted with hearing aids. But like any old habit, it’s still not easy to change. She had become very accustomed to her hearing aids, despite their limitations. It was not going to be easy to change.

The first step was to meet Clare and start talking. This immediately put Susana at ease because Clare inspires confidence and immediately makes you feel at ease. When Clare started explaining about how hearing aid technology had improved over the last few years, things started to get even more interesting.

Rechargeable hearing aids

image of 
Susana's Starkey wireless charging unit and plug adapters
Susana’s Starkey wireless charging unit and plug adapters

No more, “battery low” warnings in the middle of conversations. No more searching the internet for the best price for batteries, no more wasted batteries! Recycling is good, but not using them in the first place is even better!

But what about battery life? Electric cars have “range anxiety” but hearing aid users have “battery anxiety”. Not any more though! They sit neatly on their wireless charging unit overnight. Then they run all day EASILY on that single charge.

The charging unit even has a special adapter so that the UK three pin plug interface can be swapped out for a European 2-pin or even US 3-pin version. No travel-plug convertors required!

Remote control

Susana’s original hearing aids had a nifty mini remote control. These days hearing aids are app-controlled.

The Starkey app is pretty amazing. Not only can you control the volume of your hearing aids. You can control left and right ears independently, if you want. There are also pre-sets for quiet rooms, TV, normal etc. etc.

They also behave like any other blue-tooth connected speakers. This means you can have mobile phone conversations without fear of feedback as your phone doesn’t need to go to you ear. You hear the call directly via your hearing aids, right in your ears. Not only that, you can also listen to your favourite podcasts through your hearing aids. Listen to the TV, radio, or your Apple Fitness instructor, all right into your ears.

Listening to those audio messages you receive has never been easier!

The list of things the app can do goes on and on. How about translation? Someone speaks to you in French, the app on your phone translates, you hear in English, or any other language of course. Don’t fancy reading something? Let the app read it for you and read it to you right in your ear.

Susana’s NEW Hearing Aids

We started by talking about where Susana’s hearing journey started. Whilst the journey hasn’t finished, our hearing, like our eyesight, changes over time. We can share with you where she is on that journey today.

Susana Getting her new hearing aids
Susana’s new Starkey hearing aids

Susana has had her new Starkey hearing aids for a month now. We are happy to report she is ecstatic about them!

Susana summarises her experience like this.

She no longer worries about:

  • Batteries, buying and recycling, not having spares, dropping them whilst changing them
  • Battery life
  • Making or receiving phone calls
  • Trying to hear audio messages
  • Struggling to hear podcasts, the radio, her exercise instructor, her exam students, her colleagues, her family and friends (you know what she means!)
  • Volume, it is no longer too loud or too quiet for her
  • Not hearing properly!
  • Audio feedback

She is enjoying:

  • Not experiencing any of the worries from the list above ?
  • Using the hearing aids like in-ear speakers
  • Listening to everything she used to listen to, but with consummate ease
  • Having complete control over her own hearing experience again
  • The fact that they cost half of what they cost first time around!

Acknowledgements

We’d like to thank Susana for sharing with us her experience with her new hearing aids. We hope that you also found it useful to read about it.

We realise that not everyone’s experience will be the same. But we will certainly try our hardest to make it as positive as Susana’s has been!

Make an appointment with us today and begin the journey to better hearing.

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