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I feel like the music sounds better with you

August 31, 2009

Welcome to my first blog post.  One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was to express my passion for improving life through technology.  The seminal event from which this passion sprouted occurred many years ago when a medical technology dramatically improved my own life.  This experience deserves a blog entry of its own.  Today I wanted to write about a recent improvement in the way I experience the world through sound.

This summer I decided to try out hearing aids to assist with known hearing loss in the mid- to high-frequency range.  Although I’d known about the hearing loss since seeing my first test results over 5 years ago, I was unaware of the difference hearing aids could make in my daily life (and I still don’t know how long the hearing loss existed prior to these tests).  Following the advice I’d received previously from audiologists, I waited until I felt that my hearing was interfering with daily activities.

Here are some of major improvements I’ve noticed since I’ve started using hearing aids:

  • Sherry repeats herself much less often—especially in the car—greatly reducing our frustration with each other and improving our relationship.
  • I can understand others speaking at dinner despite persistent background noise.  I feel much more comfortable sitting normally rather than constantly leaning in towards the conversation.
  • The music sounds better!  Ever since learning that Sade wasn’t singing about a “Food Operator” in her 1984 single, Smooth Operator, I’ve been incorrectly—albeit creatively—guessing lyrics to my favorite music.

The experience is quite similar to when I first wore glasses, especially since the loss is primarily in the high frequency range (where the fine detail lives).  I’ve already become so accustomed to the hearing aids that when I remove them, it sounds like my head is in a big piece of Styrofoam!

Right now I’m demoing my 3rd pair of hearing aids, and am going in tomorrow to demo the fourth and final set.  Here’s a list of the models I’m trying:

  1. insound Lyric
  2. Starkey S RIC
  3. Oticon Epoq
  4. Phonak Exélia

In a future blog, I’ll write about the model I select and include a comparison with the other three.


(Didn’t get the reference in the title?  It’s a line from this song.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. David W permalink
    September 1, 2009 1:12 am

    I also have a lot of those frustrating experiences you describe, especially having difficulty hearing conversation when there is background noise. How comfortable is it to wear the hearing aid? Does it go into your inner ear?

    • jeremyajohnson permalink*
      September 1, 2009 1:26 am

      #1 is a new design that sits completely inside the ear canal and is replaced only when the battery wears out (~6 weeks). I’m going to go with #2, 3, or 4, which are behind-the-ear designs (Wikipedia has a good overview of the different types). I would agree with the explanation that the comfort is similar to wearing a watch–your body thinks it’s a little weird and it may itch a little for a few days, but then it disappears from conscious awareness.

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