It’s That Time Again: Getting a New Hearing Aid

It’s That Time Again: Getting a New Hearing Aid

I’d be curious to know how often those that wear a hearing aid upgrade to new ones. I tend to dig my heels in at the prospect, because I don’t like the change. If I’m going to be real frank, I bought my current aid in 2007/2008 and it was my first digital aid. I was still analog into the 2000s, people.

What am I getting?

Well, it’s 2016, so it’s time again. I’ve had a Siemens Acuris P BTE aid (and a backup unit) for at least 8 years, but I go to a different audiology practice now that are experts in different brands. As my new audiologist explained it, there’s about 6 or so big manufacturers. This time around, I’m going with the Oticon Dynamo, getting their top-tier BTE aid. As far as hearing aids go, it looks pretty sleek.

Oticon Dynamo Hearing Aid in BeigeWhy do I hate getting a new aid? Well, for one, it’s never going to sound exactly like your old one as soon as they get you set up. There are so many subtle variations to the programming of frequencies. I’m hoping that going from one digital aid to another, it won’t be as drastic of a change. When I switched to my current one from an ancient analog aid, it was ROUGH. I’ve always been sensitive to what hearing I have being compromised, but I cried pretty hard even with my mom there (I was about 21 years old?). My audiologist said “make a list of everything wrong, and come back in two weeks”. That list was a mile long at first–people’s voices were too soft, the cash register I worked on was ear-splitting, and phone conversations gave me a headache. But, then, my brain essentially re-wired and re-learned how to hear, and all was adjusted by that two-week followup. Incredible.

The Cost

Even though I don’t sign and exist totally within the speaking community, my hearing loss is still pretty significant–essentially deaf in the right ear (no aid), moderate-to-profound in the left (aid). I need all I can get. That means splurging on the top of the line aid. One HUGE development in recent years, though, is that hearing loss is starting to be insured! My insurance, for the first time ever, will pay $1500 towards my new aid. Of course, I still have to pony up about $2000, but hey, it’s something.

We moved back home to the U.S. from three years stationed overseas in Germany this year, bought a house, ended up having to buy a car, and we’re going into the holidays, so money is tight, to say the least. I have a baby coming in spring, though, so I want to get this done before all my free time is gone. Soon, I’ll go in to get the ear mold done and the order placed, and I’m guessing some time early next year, I’ll make the switch! I won’t lie, I’m nervous about it.

Buying a secondary aid?

One thing my husband and I have talked about pretty seriously is getting ANOTHER aid, a waterproof one (the Siemens Aquaris). I joke about it, but honestly, I’m still mad I couldn’t play Marco Polo in the pool as a kid. My husband says it’s not even that fun but I still want to do it. I’d love to go to the pool and still be able to hear, or take a shower when baby’s here and listen for crying when my hair’s wet. I don’t think it’s in the cards this year, as it’s at least $2200 for the mid-level aid, $3k for the highest sound quality. That’s a lot of cash for a secondary, occasional aid.

What are your thoughts on the process of getting a new aid?
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