Hearing Aid – day 1

Or hearing aids to be more precise – left and right A4i Starkey iphone conpatible hearing aids

http://www.starkey.com/hearing-aids/made-for-iphone-hearing-aids/receiver-in-canal

After unloading my life savings at the front desk, I walked out into the real world to see if I had made a wise purchase. Immediately, I heard birds singing, and ducks quacking in the distance. I think I heard leaf blowers in the distance or maybe a truck idling.

The most profound thing happened after I hopped in the car. I discovered that when I use the turn signal, it makes a loud clicking sound! OMG! I’ve been the stereotypical old man driving down the road with my blinker flashing for miles (the car eventually warns me).

It was 84 degrees today – when the A/C kicked on with the fans on high, that drowned out all other sound. But not to worry – the iphone app allows creating up to 16 custom settings – create “car” and squelch the high frequency sounds, and play a little with the baffles to direct the air away from the microphones.

I went to the Cookout burger place drive through and had no trouble ordering my chocolate chip mint milkshake. I could make out most of the conversation with the car ahead of me. I checked in with the wife and declared that the hearing aid made the milkshake better and colder. I also heard myself eating the ice cream.

After a brief stop at home, I headed out to K&W for dinner – that was a mixed result – the serving line people couldn’t seem to understand me and the meal itself was mediocre.

The hearing aid is fully integrated with the iphone – when the phone rings, the call can be routed to the hearing aid via bluetooth. You’ve undoubtedly seem people who appear to be talking to themselves until you see the earpiece – but with the hearing aid, there is no visible earpiece.

Anything that would go to the speakers goes right to the ears, so people around me would never know I’m listening to a John Batchelor podcast. The iphone is controlling the volume, not the hearing aid app.

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5 Responses to Hearing Aid – day 1

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Day 2

    Of more interest to the users of the directory, the hearing aids can be paired with up to 5 bluetooth devices. This allows switchng between the iphone and ipad just by turning the bluetooth on and off.

    This will allow me to “test” the streams and programs with nobody except me hearing the audio, and not blasting my neighbors with cranked up speaker volumes. Feeding the digital audio right to the ears confirms what others have noted. There is a serious problem with streaming stations having wildly inappropriate audio levels, probably determined by the hearing loss of the radio engineer setting levels without a meter or baseline reference. Digital audio works very different than analog – increasing or decreasing the audio levels on a compressed stream means decompressing the stream and resampling.

    As everyone has noticed (including the FCC and Congress), commercials get cranked up to maximum volume to make sure you hear the 25 pounds of spackle commerials at 3 am

    It is ☔️ Rainng today in Charlotte, with ⛈. I’m hearing the cars going on the wet pavement through the closed windows several hundred feet away. The distant thunder was clear. Plastic is making crinkly sounds. Life is good.

  2. TheChairman says:

    I’m really glad these are working for you! I know it had been a long time coming.

    This is certainly one of the most appropriate and beneficial uses of new generation digital devices and nanoelectronics… i.e. sensory augmentation and restoration.

    I’m surprised your devices (iphone, etc) or hearing aids don’t have a limiter feature to automatically attenuate or modulate volume to a preset level (e.g. to raise the level of soft sounds/voices and lower loud noises/commercials). Seems to me there should be some software option to control absolute decibel level on the hearing aid output side.

    How is battery life, or is it too soon to ask? Rechargeables or one-time button cells?

    Be careful with the volume… ENJOY!

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Batteries are supposed to last about a week. They are not rechargeable. You open the battery drawer at night when they are not in the case.

      I disobeyed his instructins to not read the manual, which is how I learned I could pair the hearing aids to more than one ios device. The streaming mode seems to be a straight passthrough, with the ios device controlling the gain. A fair bit of the programming is deliberately only changeable by the hearing aid technician. The radio streams are all over the place in terms of volume.

      Stereo audio plays in stereo, although mono was the default for some reason.

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    Day 3

    I’m listening to Pandora playing classical music – admittedly, the earbuds would do the same thing, probably better. But the iPhone/ipad is not a hearing aid replacement – the microphone is highly directional and intended for picking up sounds close by – but the FTC is on the warpath to allow over the counter sales for consumer grade hearing aids. The siemens app already did as much in measuring the hearing loss as a human and an expensive hearing chamber did. I hope when these wear out that the replacements will cost a lot less

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