Monday, December 08, 2014

Resound linx hearing aids - user review

I have started to struggle with poor hearing, so took the plunge and went to the audiologist a couple of months ago for a hearing test. Results did not come as a surprise. Moderately severe high frequency neuro-sensory hearing loss in both hears. I suspect its partially genetics as my eighty plus mother is very hard of hearing and when my son started school his hearing lost was picked up. High noise levels while working in bakeries and teaching baking for almost 30 years probably didn’t improve things. Cake mixers and other bakery machinery can run very loud and the sound reverberates through all the hard surfaces in the bakery.

Over the last year or so, I noticed difficulty at meetings and when running workshops with hearing people who were a meter or so away. Also, nearly impossible to hear people talking in the car when I sit in the back seat but recently, also difficult to hear someone seated in the car next to me, due to the noise of traffic and car mechanical noise. Ditto in restaurants and anywhere where there is lots of background noise. Sometimes even difficult to hear someone sitting right next to me when the environment is buzzing with extraneous sounds.

The audiologist recommended a few options, all expensive and all digital. So, decided on the resound linx hearing aid as you are able to connect to an iphone or ipad through Bluetooth - see cnn review and review from uk. The hearing aid can then be adjusted to suit different conditions – outdoors, restaurant etc. Audio from the phone can sent directly to the hearing aid and the phone can also act as a microphone. So the techie in me decided to shell out the $$ and become part of the wearable computer brigade.

There is a $1022 subsidy from the NZ Ministry of Health which is helpful and one is eligible for the subsidy every six years after making the first claim. Technology in the hearing aid field must move quickly as friends of mind who have had hearing aids ‘installed’ all have different models which all claim to be the best at the time. So six years is quite a long time to wait between hearing aids. It will be interesting to observe how the wearable computer trend develops with regards to hearing aids.

During the first two weeks, I found out how much I was missing out on with regards to sound!! However, noisy meetings / places were very intimidating as the hearing aid magnifies all sound and my brain had to try to learn again, how to filter out the things I needed to hear and everything else. I persevered by having the hearing aids on at last 10 to 14 hours a day and only by the end of about a month, did the noise level become manageable. Even then, I turn off my hearing aid at scrabble tournaments where I only need to have one on one conversations and do not need to be distracted by other noise.

Connection of the hearing aids via Bluetooth to an ipad mini was straight forward. Especially handy to have music / audio books etc. beamed directly into the hearing aid as you cannot also use ear buds when the hearing aids are in. Adjustments to the hearing aid can then be made via the resound linx app. So, all in, this aspect works well. Have now listened to a backlog of podcasts and a couple of audio books while gardening or walking the dog. Bluetooth has to be turned off during flights, so still need to bring ear buds to watch videos on the ipad mini.

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