I have a patient, “David”, who is a 54 year old musician and has hearing aids he has worn from Costco for five years. He came into my clinic to have his hearing tested and to talk about getting new hearing aids. He has a moderate hearing loss out to 2000 Hz then ski slopes down to severe almost profound in the high frequencies. He had done some research on the internet and found out about the “Sound Recover” on the Phonak Audeo S Smart hearing aids. “David” was convinced that this would help him hear better. I normally fit Resound Hearing aids, but since I have done and liked Phonak in the past I thought I would try it out on him. So he ordered the top of the line Audeo S Smart models.
Fitting Day was on a Monday and David came in very excited. I fit the hearing aids and he said they sounded different but thought it was because he was used to his old hearing aids.
Tuesday: David comes in complaining that he can hear soft sounds that are too loud, like the shuffling of his feet. He states it is bothersome. So I make some adjustments. Save the program, have him walk up and down my hall, come back re-hook up to the computer (where is Airlink when you need it?!), re-adjust and continue this process until he feels it is an improvement. He says he will try it out and get back to me.
Wednesday: David comes in saying soft sounds are still bothersome and also voices sound funny, as well as the music when he plays the piano. Frustrated, I get on the phone to Phonak technical support. We change sound recover one direction, which makes it worse, turn it back the other direction, which doesn’t make any change. Finally technical support from Phonak has me turn sound recover off. David says he will try it again and get back to me.
Thursday: a very tired David says he is now having feedback. I re-calibrate the feedback, which ends up cutting high frequency gain. I place a large double dome (up from the medium) on the receiver and re-calibrate again which is better. We have no feedback, and we have our gain back. David hopes this is better and will let me know.
Friday: poor David is back (that’s right, he has been in every day this week). He feels occluded with this large double dome. I give him the options of perhaps a micro mold, or smaller dome with less gain. He opts to go back to the smaller dome and will try it over the weekend.
After David leaves on Friday morning, I call Resound and order the Verso 961’s, with a hunch that I will see David again on Monday and I will only save him if I have another solution.
Monday: Sure enough, Monday afternoon in comes David. He is pissed! He had a holiday party on Friday night, and couldn’t hear anything that was important to him. He could hear the foil wrapper on a chocolate candy bar someone ate and napkins crumpling and the drone of noise, but not speech at all. He said he switched to his old Costco hearing aids at the party and could hear better with those than the new ones. At this point I said let me switch you to this other brand. I have been having real success with them and I think you will like them better.
So I connect them (via Airlink), run the DFS calibration and have the Verso 961 set to experienced user non-linear, with only the one automatic Binaural Dir. program with default settings and removed the other programs. David immediately seemed to like them better and said they sounded so clear!! Since I was booked all week, I set him up an appointment to see me 5 days later so I could check on him.
Friday: I haven’t seen David or heard from him all week. I am so nervous! When he comes in for his appointment, he has a big smile on his face. He tells me he could hear his young piano students talking, that music sounds rich and full, that he could hold a conversation at a company potluck during the week, that he could hear at church with all the people talking in the background. David told me that if anyone else ever again tries to convince me to sell them those other pieces of “junk”, I should tell them not to waste their time or money. He was so happy that I took the initiative to go forward and just order and change him to the “good” hearing aids. He said everyone should hear like this!
David recently was back for a two week check with no complaints. He is one very happy patient. And I am one very happy Audiologist!