Saturday, February 13, 2016

It's a Beautiful Thing

It's a beautiful thing.
I got a new hearing aid on Wednesday.
It's a ReSound Linx2 7 RIE Model 62.
It has more power than the remains of my Phonak Audeo BiCROS aid I'd been wearing for the past three and a half years. It also has more bells and whistles.
I opted for the "mid-range" model rather than the premium model. It has everything I need, and lots of things I'll probably never need. And it was about $500 less than the 9 series. I'm a "put-it-on-and-leave-it" kind of hearing aid user, so I figured the 9 wouldn't be worth the extra cost for me.

I didn't expect to hear THAT much better than I did with my old hearing aid. But the newer features are definitely a welcome addition. I can choose from 4 specific programs that adjust to my environment: Everyday, Restaurant, Performance, and Outdoors. Each one changes the directionality of my microphones and optimizes listening settings.

I had reached the point that hearing on the telephone was getting pretty hard. I cut phone calls short and preferred texting to voice calls. With the Linx2, I can stream phone calls directly to my hearing aid from my iPhone. I can ditch the phone clip now, and I can multitask while taking calls again. And I can listen to videos unaware during faculty meetings!

I can adjust volume and settings from my iPhone -- eliminating the need for another remote control. It also makes it unnecessary for me to memorize how many "soft taps" are needed on which button to change programs or volume. Or was that volume and programs?

I can stream TV directly to my hearing aid. I've had the capacity to stream TV to my cochlear implant for several months. To be able to listen to TV bilaterally is pretty fabulous, I must say. But don't try to talk to me while it's on because I won't be able to hear you!

I ordered a mini-mic with my hearing aid. It is supposed to bring voices nearer and clearer than ever. It, too, will pair with both my new hearing aid and my CI. Unfortunately, the mini-mic wasn't holding a charge and my audi wasn't able to get it to pair to my hearing aid. We had to order a new one. She's not charging me for the mini-mic. I love my audi.

I'm still getting used to the custom mold. I'd only worn dome tips before. The dome tips irritated my ears to no end, and I'd tried a number of versions in an attempt to find one that worked for me. The mold is more difficult to insert and it makes me feel like my ear is plugged (which it is because the mold fills it up!), but it fits like a glove and is very comfortable. It's made of clear material, so when it is inserted, it's virtually invisible -- fitting deep inside my ear canal. My audi assures me that I will get used to it, and it will keep more of the sound in so I don't whistle at people so much.

My first experiences with my Linx2 in the real world have been mostly successful, though I've adjusted the volume down quite a bit. Knowing I'm one who likes a lot of volume, my audi skipped the "new patient" settings and gave me a full setting from the beginning. I know from experience that I will adjust to the volume, so I won't ask her to change the volume when I see her for an adjustment in 2 weeks.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants can be an encumbrance -- remote controls and gadgets and batteries and spare parts and power cords and settings and wireless devices and mappings -- and the technology that comes with them can be overwhelming and distracting. People who use them understand how wonderful these new hearing aid features are. I'm still learning to navigate the technology so I can appreciate them more.

They're a necessary, important, and even wonderful encumbrance for those of us who need them. I can hear. For that, I am eternally grateful.

It's a beautiful thing.

1 comment:

  1. I just love how you educate all of us on the wonders of hearing aids and cochlear implants. I am also pretty much dumbfounded at how quickly the technology for hearing is moving.