Today I was fitted with new hearing aids. We often think that getting something ‘brand new’ is positive. Who could go wrong with a new car, computer, watch, cell phone that contains the most up-to-date technology, right? Not always the case – although my new hearing aids have the most current technology – I’m struggling to like them.
About six years ago I moved from analog to digital hearing aids. Basically the difference (as I understand it) is that analog is primarily amplification of sound; whereas, digital is smarter in terms of controlling and amplifying different noises. Digital amplifies important sound such as speech while depressing unimportant background noise. The goal is a better hearing experience.
My transition from analog to digital was very hard. I tried different hearing instruments but couldn’t find any that worked for me. My Audiologist would fit different hearing aids at levels the manufacturer said was appropriate based on my hearing loss, but I felt like I could not hear anything. Dealing with the transition was much agony and the result of many splitting headaches.
Today I expected the sounds from digital to digital to be roughly the same. I imagined the transition from one to the other would be minimal. However, once again I find that it is difficult. I started to get a headache and my sister commented on how ‘out of it’ I was. I ended up putting my old hearing aids back on and am planning on returning to my audiologist to see if we can figure out how to make the new ones work better for me.
It is amazing how changing something that is fundamental to our existence (in my case -- hearing aids) can affect how we perceive the world. I suppose each headache is a growing experience and the transition from one type of hearing aid to the next will allow me to learn to express how I hear – but, man, it is a challenge I do sometimes wish I didn’t have to bear.