By Greg Miller
That’s how it all started. My wife would say something and that would be my response. As time went on, one “huh” became a series. Then a constant barrage. You can guess where this is going. It was strongly suggested to me that I check into hearing aids. So, off I went.
After the test (painless and fairly quick) I was told I was experiencing some hearing loss. I didn’t need a test to tell me that. But, OK. Then the neat part came. By pairing the test results with some space-age equipment, the audiologist adjusted a set of hearing aids to my particular specs. I was then given a high-end, high-tech model to try for a couple weeks. Wow! When I first put them in I heard what I had been missing. My world became full of sounds that were crisper and cleaner. The volume of the TV went down, as did the frustration level of family, friends and co-workers.
So, did I buy that set? Nah.
I asked to try a mid-level technology for comparison. It was still way better than no hearing aid at all. And in my mind, not all that different than the high-end device. Although the fact that it was several hundred dollars less may have clouded my judgement somewhat. In any case, the mid-level won the day.
Recently, I was offered the opportunity to try another high-end model with the newest technology. Although I didn’t expect much, I gave it a try. Amazing. The difference between the new device and my current one was like night and day. It reminded me of going from nothing to my current mid-level aid. With the new technology, I could hear clearly in noisy situations such as restaurants. Co-workers noticed that I wasn’t leaning in to hear in meeting environments. Voices on the phone were no longer muffled. Soft voices were legible (or whatever the word is for easier to hear).
Bottom line? Listen to your audiologist. They know how to read test results, adjust the hearing aids to your specific needs, and recommend what will be best for you. Importantly, get the highest-level technology available. Not almost the highest. The highest. The difference is real. Just like a computer or a smartphone, you’ll still be appreciating the difference all that technology brings long after you’ve forgotten the incremental cost difference.