advice on hi-tech hearing aids

Hi www.
I am posting for some communal internet advice regarding hearing aids.

My wife has finally succumbed to getting her hearing tested (after years of me nagging) and a few weeks ago finally got an NHS hearing aid – a siemans impact pro M.

She is 32 and has now got over the initial “embarrassment” of wearing it and has it on almost all the time. We are now wondering is the hearing aid she has the best for her and what other options are available.

Browsing shops, seeking advice and looking a lots of online sites, hearing aids seem to be heavily linked with stairlifts and walk in baths. This of course is understandable and probably hits the majority of the target market, but can anyone point me in a better direction with the below in mind.

She works with a heavy reliance on her mobile phone and laptop so is Bluetooth something of an option?
She will be using a hearing aid for the rest of her life so we don’t mind spending.
We are happy to upgrade TV phones etc if need be.
We are pretty active spending a lot of time outside (advice regarding the current hearing aid was if it rains take it out!!! :S)
She is not keen on wearing something around her neck.
We have heard apple may be developing something
We have kids - sometimes the off button is used in the car 
We do socialise (pubs/resturants etc) a fair bit – if we can get a baby sitter ;)
She is in the process of getting a second hearing aide (same type) for her other ear
Her hearing loss is pretty bad

All thoughts welcomed
  • DougWitherspoon1 said:

    Hi www.
    I am posting for some communal internet advice regarding hearing aids.
    All thoughts welcomed

    Hi Doug,
    I was prescribed the NHS Siemens Impact Pro aids. I had been using private CIC (complete in canal) Oticons for 10 years which were no longer a technical match for my hearing loss but I still use them because the NHS aids although much more powerful lack the clarity of the CICs so I really don't always here much better with them.

    The Siemens did not perform well for me because they seemed to be easily confused by certain types of background noise which caused them to produce a kind of warbling modulation to the sound. The audio clearly had no idea as to why and eventually after many adjustments with no improvement I was switched to Oticon Spirit Zests.

    Whilst using the Siemens I tried the MiniTek system and found that the sound quality was just awful; this was compared to using my CICs with headphones or just listening to music from the radio. The biggest fault with the MiniTek is the poor battery life as it will not get you through a day without having to recharge it. I sent it back to Siemens.

    So that was my experience with the Siemens Impact Pro which by digital hearing aid standards has a good specification and if your wife has a second then they will communicate with each other so changing volume/program on one will change it on the other.

    Having said all this and getting to the point of your question my experience with the NHS is that you will get a hearing aid that will improve your hearing but may not be convenient for use at work or leisure and may make you feel self conscious. So, if your willing to spend money then my advice is to steer clear of high street chains and go to an independent hearing aid dispenser. They will not be restricted as to which manufacturer/models they can offer you and you may squeeze a better price and trial period (that has been my experience). Just tell them what you want from a hearing aid and let them do the leg work and make the recommendation. I am saving my pennies to buy a new set of CICs because I believe the hearing quality and convenience you get with them is so much better than the BTEs.

  • Doug has the right idea,ask plenty of questions and his wife is fortunate to have a husband supportive enough to do the asking,let no one doubt how difficult it is to come to grips with a hearing loss. There is no best for all answer to this situation but he is going about it in the right way. A good audiologist is the first requirement he can match the need with what is possible and of course cost is a very big factor. I have spent many years with N H aids but have had to resort to the private supplier and what a journey that has been. Have just been fitted with Widex latest aids "Dream 440" and find it hard to believe my own ears! Quiet in all day use,all of the programmes I need,tele coil system that works,built in tinnitus assistance,a remote control,a comfort setting for noisy places and much more. I am quite sure there are other high end aids just as good and this is where a really good Audiologist is worth his weight in Gold. Above all be sure the equipment can be had for a reasonable time on trial,as I say there is no one fit all answer and afraid there are many "know it alls" all too willing to prove that there is!!
    Take it easy and happy hunting for best answered to your questions.
  • Doug,
    This might be a little late but have your wife get the Tek or Mini Tek and she can use the listen to her phone via Bluetooth, listen to the TV, adjust the volume, change programs, mute the aid, etc.

    With everyone wearing something for their cell phones, wearing something around your neck fits right in with the crowd and if someone asks what its for they are usually jealous once they find out what it can do.

    For rain: get Ear Gears or Hearing Aid Sweat Bands and leave the HA's in.

    Rustyfrog: the above comment on Ear Gears and HA Sweat Bands will help your issues too. In addition if you have to put on hood over your aids, turning the volume down will stop the feedback or drastically reduce it.

  • Thanks Rob,
    I will follow up on those suggestions too. This has given me new hope, after having been told for so long that "all high gain hearing aides whistle, there's nothing can be done about it". !!

    For now I don't want to Hijack Doug's discussion any further. Although hopefully this "aside" will have still given Doug and his wife something else to check for.

    Going back to the original questions, I would certainly recommend a loop at home for enhanced access to TV etc. My unit is a AoHL one and just needed me to tuck the single thine loop wire under the edge of the carpet around each room. But do make sure your aides have a combined T-coil + audio setting, otherwise when listening to the TV you are isolated from any other sounds / discussions going on in the room. That might be considered an advantage of course!