Pop Goes the Eardrum

It all started last Friday.  I had a headache that just would not get better.  As the days passed, I also started to get body aches.  It felt kind of like having the flu, minus the congestion.

Yesterday, there was a tremendous pressure inside my head.  It felt like there was a monster inside my head that was trying to squeeze me to death.

Then all of sudden, I felt a popping sensation and fluid started to pour out of my left ear.  The pressure had ruptured my eardrum and I felt immediate relief.  The fluid continually poured out of my ear for several hours.

I have antibiotic drops to treat the underlying infection and should be back to normal in just a few days.

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BAHA Implant Update

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I finally got the outer processor for my BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) implant this week.  I am not really sure how I feel about it yet.

I am hearing better, which is great.  However, it sounds a lot different from a typical hearing aid.  I struggle to understand what people are saying, but I guess that will get better as I get used to the device.

The outer processor has a magnet, which attaches to the magnet under my skin, and sends the sound vibrations to the titanium screw in my skull, which then vibrates to send the sound directly to my inner ear.  The two parts are working great together and putting on the outer piece is really simple.  I just hold it up to my head, so the magnets can pull toward each other, and it pops into place.

The downside of the magnet system is the outer processor can be knocked off my head.  It’s a delicate and expensive device, so dropping it is not recommended.

The audiologist did give me a clip with a plastic wire that can attach to the outer processor and then it can be clipped to my shirt.  I am not a fan of this device.  I feel like a preschooler, whose parents clipped stuff to their shirt to prevent them from losing it.

In about a week or so, I am going to write another blog post about the implant.  By then I will be used to it, so some of these problems should be solved.

Hearing Aids – Cost, Customer Service, or Quality

I was born with inner-ear deformities that resulted in hearing loss and I have worn hearing aids since I was 12 years old.

Here is a copy of my latest hearing test.

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Hearing aids are really expensive.  I am talking about thousands of dollars, per aid.  Most people wear hearing aids in both ears, so that could easily cost over five thousand dollars.

When buying hearing aids, there are several things to take into consideration.

  • Cost – I understand it can be difficult spending five to ten thousand dollars every couple of years for a pair of hearing aids.  In America, most insurance companies will not cover hearing aids.  Cost then becomes a critical factor.
  • Customer Service – Hearing aids have to be maintained in order to function properly and prolong the life of the aids.  They should be professionally cleaned every three months.  Also, hearing aids are small and tend to be a bit delicate.  They will need to be repaired occasionally.  It is vital to purchase your hearing aids from a place that will provide the required cleaning and repairs.
  • Quality – Hearing aid brands are not all the same.  When looking at quality, you should consider the sound quality and the structural quality of the hearing aids.

I have worn hearing aids for over thirty years and I have no idea how many audiologist and hearing aid dealers I have seen during that time.  I also have no idea how many hearing aids I have worn over the years.  I have tried numerous brands and types of hearing aids and my favorite has been Beltone.

Beltone is not the cheapest brand I have ever purchased, but the quality has always been good.  I must admit, I am not nice to my hearing aids.  They end up being submerged in water, covered in dirt or mud, dropped from various heights, chewed on by dogs, and even smashed a few times.  However, they usually keep working.  When they do eventually die, I can usually get them fixed within a few days.

The customer service at Beltone has to be what keeps me coming back to purchase hearing aids.  Zach always greets me by name, asks questions about the family or dogs, and even teases me for the crazy things that happen to my hearing aids.  It’s a fun place to get the hearing aids cleaned and purchase new ones when needed.

When it comes to purchasing hearing aids, I think quality and customer service are the most important things to take into consideration.  What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever needed to research the cost of hearing aids or purchase a hearing aid?

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