(I forgot to close the battery compartment on the middle and last aids but whatever)
The hearing aid on the left is the analog behind the ear. I wore this kind from age 2 to age 23. This type of aid amplified all sound to the same level. Everything was just… loud. Just about every situation that was not face to face in a quiet room was a struggle.
The aid in the middle is one of the first generation digital aids. These aids could be plugged into a computer and programmed with the results of my audiogram. In a sense, the aids were custom made for my specific hearing loss. Plus, this aid had a switch specifically for situations with background noise, like a party or restaurant. When I put it on the switch, the aids turned the direction forward and reduced the sounds behind it. Instead of 360 sound, I got 180 sound. The aids were also able to pick up certain unnecessary, non-verbal sounds and mute them, like the drone of the car or a fan.
All of this was a huge help. I was able to follow conversations in environments where I never could before. I wore these for six years. Hearing aids are like a car, after about six years they start to break down and there is no telling how expensive it will be or how long it will take to fix. The technology is amazingly consistent though. I’ve never had to send these away to get fixed. They worked every single day of my life without fail.
The aid on the right I just got today! Of course, health insurance did not cover the cost whatsoever which is fucking appalling. I still have to read the booklet that came with it, but based on what the audiologist told me this thing has a mind of its own. There are no buttons or switches. The aids are programmed by the computer based on my audiogram and constantly working to adapt to the environment and have specific settings for the phone, background noise, and music. The aids sense and switch modes automatically.
Things sound different. I still have to try them out in a variety of situations. It is a big mental and physical adjustment, but it’s exciting too.
May 7th 2007Hearing loss