I'm 40 years old and have worn hearing aids since my late 20s due to a (lucky me) hereditary hearing loss. I'm a working mom with an active lifestyle, so when it was time for a new pair of hearing aids, I immediately gravitated towards the new styles that would pair with my iPhone. I'm on the phone a lot during the day with my job and have numerous conference calls during the week, so having my calls stream directly through my hearing aids sounded ideal to me.
Hearing Health Associates allowed me to demo a pair of AGXO G-Series hearing aids and paired them with the RemoteLink app on my iPhone. After one week of testing these new hearing aids, I asked Dr. Cameron and Dr. Garber if I could share my experience. Hearing aids are a large investment, and I feel it's better to read personal reviews rather than the manufacturers' specs.
Here are my top takeaways for those of you considering this investment:
1. Easy Setup - I was in and out of the office in about 15 minutes. I downloaded the app on my phone. Dr. Garber walked me through the steps of pairing the new hearing aids with the app. I watched a quick tutorial on how to use the app, and then Dr. Garber created two programs - one for every day use, and one that I call the "restaurant" program, which helps minimize noise in a loud space so you can hear the person/people you're talking to. That's it! I was ready to go!
2. My "Aha!" Moment: First Phone Call - I immediately left the office, got in the car, and called my husband. The clarity of his voice was reason enough to purchase these. It's comparable to wearing earbuds while talking on the phone - the sound is streaming through both ears - only there are no wires and no removing and inserting the hearing aids and earbuds. Prior to this, I would have a hard time talking on the phone, never knowing quite where to hold the phone for optimal listening. I often found myself putting it on speaker.
The phone also rings in your ears, so you don't have to miss important calls. Note: I disconnected the Bluetooth on my phone if I didn't want to be disturbed. Also, you can mute the ringing on your hearing aids and on the phone if it's nearby.
Drawback: I have bluetooth in my car, and sometimes my phone would get confused - was it supposed to send calls to my hearing aids or to my car? There were times when a single conversation went back and forth between the two, which drove me a little crazy. After giving this feedback to Dr. Garber, she said you can set your iPhone so it defaults to the hearing aids.
3. No More Earbuds! - I listened to music, podcasts, and my favorite shows on my phone without having to remove my hearing aids to use my earbuds. This also was a huge benefit to me.
Drawback: This took some getting used to when it came to my kids using my phone to play games or watch videos. The noise would suddenly blast through my hearing aids. I once jumped and yelled at dinner with friends because my youngest borrowed my phone and started playing YouTube videos upstairs. I had to remember to disconnect the Bluetooth before I gave my phone to the kids. I also put a password on my phone so they couldn't just grab it and use it without my permission.
4. A Heads Up on Battery Life - Another one of my favorite features was checking the life of my batteries through the app. If I was leaving the house for the day, I could see if I needed to bring backup batteries. I can't tell you how many meetings I've been in where my hearing aids start beeping, giving me a 5-minute warning that the battery was about to die. With this app, I was much better prepared.
5. Separate Volume Adjustment - I loved that I could adjust the volume of each hearing aid through the app. I was recently sitting beside someone VERY soft spoken on my right, so I just increased the volume in that hearing aid to hear her better. This way, you're not distracted by other noises in the room by having to increase the volume in both ears.
I also loved the overall volume feature when watching TV. Usually, I sit with the remote in my hands because I have to turn up the volume when people are conversing and turn it down during music, loud blasts or other noises. With the new hearing aids, I could make these adjustments from my phone and share the remote with my family again! I realize I could do that by pressing the buttons on my old hearing aids, but this was different somehow. Perhaps there is greater control of the volume levels? With my old ones, it just seemed easier to use the remote control. Note: There is a TV adaptor that you can purchase that allows the TV to stream through your hearing aids like your phone. I didn't test this, but it sounds great!
6. Discreet Adjustments - Changes to volume, settings, and more is just a quick swipe on your phone. No more reaching up behind your ear to click on buttons only to find that you clicked the wrong one so you have to reach up again. The app is super easy to use, and people think nothing of you having your phone out.
Overall, I loved just about every aspect and am definitely purchasing these. The biggest learning curve was remembering to turn off the bluetooth during meetings or social settings, in the car (if I just wanted to use my car bluetooth), and when my kids used my phone. It's similar to turning off the ringer on your phone - you just have to train your brain so that it becomes second nature. I'm also hoping the app gets updated so I can make more specific adjustments, like directional adjustments for the microphone or increases in volume for certain difficult-to-hear pitches.
Drs. Garber and Cameron at Hearing Health Associates have been wonderful during this journey. They constantly keep me up to date with the latest technologies since they know that's important to me.
Feel free to leave comments or questions. Hope this helped some of you who have been thinking of updating or making the jump to hearing aids.