Recent upgrade to my hearing with truly amazing results.


As an audiophile for over 40 years I've never given a thought about my hearing. Always thought it has been pretty good or so I thought. I was researching the possibility of purchasing/upgrading to a new amp when my daughter said to me..."Dad, maybe you should look into upgrading your most important component...your EARS !! " Why? Because you may not realize it but you say...'what'  a lot. 

It opened my eyes enough to go off to an audiologist for a free test. Sure enough I had a somewhat typical high frequency loss of moderate severity. Just turned 70 so it's pretty common.  After testing several very expensive hearing aids of well over $5000 I came to some conclusions. I could hear speech better but they sounded artificial and 'thin' sounding. When listening to music I was no longer listening to my stereo. Instead I was listening to a hearing device that was trying to replicate the sound of my stereo. Not good! I'd rather just turn up the volume.

After much research I made an important discovery and tried a pair of Apple Air Pod Pro. These are NOT just music ear pods. Apple has entered the hearing-aid arena. This device uses an audiogram from an app called 'Mimi' to adjust only the frequencies that the user is deficient. BTW... the audiogram from Mimi matched exactly to the one from the audiologist. Apple created a new technology, something called "Transparency mode" that allows all other sounds to pass naturally into the ear. So ONLY the high frequencies where I was deficient were boosted.

This was life changing! I couldn't believe how clear my stereo sounded. Completely natural sounding, plenty of bass and super clear. Unquestionably the best I had ever heard it sound.  Could have spent $50 K on upgrades to my system and it wouldn't equal this upgrade to my hearing. I was shocked to say the least.

Important to note... when you get high cost hearing aids YOU can't adjust them on your phone. Only the audiologist can make any changes.  These Air Pod pro's only cost $249 and were FAR superior to the other much more expensive hearing aids I had tried and I CAN adjust them myself to fit my needs. I now wear them in restaurants and other social settings and I hear perfectly!!

I believe in the near future there will be other alternative hearing devices coming to market using newer technology. Companies like Bose are working on this as well. What changed ?  The FDA is changing their regulations on hearing aids due to the 'Affordable hearing aid Act'. This should open up the flood gates to better, more affordable technologies to enter the market.  Long over due.

Note: To use the available app requires use of an I-phone on the most current IOS 14. Here's a video of exactly how the app works...

http://https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExMjW1nivOA

I tried them with the idea that if they didn't work I had 15 days to return them at no cost to me. They are NOT going back. I love them. Keep your eyes open for new models coming to market soon that will be Android compatible.

Hope this helps someone get great hearing at 1/10 the cost. This was hands down the BEST money spent on an audio upgrade I ever made.  I wasn't aware of how much I was missing.

Hope this helps !!


gdaddy1
Thanks so much for this post. I am sure there are many of us in this boat right now.
I was going to check out the Widex brand but maybe I’ll try Apple first since it is a fraction of the cost.
@gdaddy1, thanks for sharing :-)

Interesting product that I was not aware of, thanks for the post.

We are going to look into hearing aids for my wife at the beginning of June (waiting for our Vac's to be fully effective) and just last week she told me that we (she) needs an iPhone for shopping/returns et cetera. 

I just replaced my 11 year old $10 LG Tracfone with a $30 LG Tracphone and still don't know how to use the text feature (looks like I will be going back to school once we get the iPhone).

DeKay
@gdaddy1, 
I believe that many will benefit from the information you kindly provided. They obviously improved your music listening experience.  How are they with speech recognition compared to the hearing aids? I'm happy for your outcome.
Charles 
charles1dad...
Speech was every bit as good as the $5600 Beltone unit I tried. In fact, I found the Airpod pro superior. Speech clarity comes in upper midrange and upper frequencies where my hearing is deficient. I found the Airpod pro to sound much more natural sounding. The  Beltone unit sounded artificial/thin. Listening to music was terrible. The Transparency mode of the Airpod pro also works off an audiogram just like the Beltone. However, the difference is it only boosts the levels you need and allows for a transparency of other sounds. Conversation in a restaurant was very good. I never said "what?" one time and I could also hear what was going on around me.

There is one caveat and it applies to all hearing aids. The sound of your own voice is much more pronounced. Called the 'occlusion effect'. Took some getting used to. I speak softer now (good thing). Crunching on some croutons sounded like I was chewing rocks. If it bothers you take them out while you eat then pop them back in.

When you remove the device from your ears you will realize how much sound you have been missing. The world goes quiet again.

As I pointed out, if you don't like them, send them back in 15 days. I got used to them in week. Had to learn how to tweak them.  I now won't go out without them. 

My stereo sounds incredible using them. Super detailed. I can't believe the difference to the point that some albums sound completely different. Sounds I had never heard now coming through. The only problem is I can now hear the refrigerator running in the kitchen. I can also hear the air blowing out of the air conditioner vents. I guess that's a good problem to have :-)


 


@gdaddy1, 
I find your results very interesting.  In previous threads discussing hearing aids one consistent complaint from users is an "artificial " sound when listening to audio systems reproducing music. Just as you, it's often described as "thin" sounding. ,  it strikes me as near remarkable the much cheaper Apple product is superior to the expensive hearing aids. This will be good news for those folks.

It also surprises me that you find listening to speech actually better than utilizing the hearing aid. This seems backwards to me. Apple's app/technology is on to something that the hearing aid manufacturers are missing. Your posts are quite a revelation.
Charles 
charles1dad...
When I walked out of the audiologist office the first comment I made to my daughter standing in the parking lot was..."how can these little things possibly be THAT expensive?"  Ranged from $5600 down to $2500 for the crappy ones. This is when I started the research and I suggest strongly that you do the same.

The new rising category of affordable hearing aid devices called..."Hearables". (the FDA won't allow the term 'hearing aid' to be used unless they approve it.) The rules are changing with the 'Affordable Hearing Act' passed three years ago.

Apple has set a standard that has Audiologists shaking in their boots. The most disruptive part is the software that the user can control from the phone and eliminates the need for an audiologist. It's basically an adaptive EQ that fits an audiogram to each ear. No more fees associated with visits or phone calls to the audiologist.  A little too much treble/brightness? No problem to tone it down or increase and decrease loudness levels. It's all on the App.

Apple isn't the only player in the space. Take a look at the Olive Pro. It looks like an Apple clone and appears to work with Android. Has a longer battery life than Apple and seems reasonably priced. (Apple battery lasts for 5 hours these are supposedly 18 hours?) Not sure about that.

Olive Union  (Olive Pro) Take a look...

http://https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=eijCP7WU2RE

I have a smart TV and my units connect quickly via Bluetooth. Phone calls and a built in microphone gives hands free operation. Noise cancellation mode also works extremely well in a noisy environment. Kids having a party in the house and I want to watch TV no problem.

I agree with your assessment. How could these Apple devices possibly outperform a much more expensive hearing aid? My opinion is the "expensive hearing aid" really isn't that expensive and Apple saw the opportunity opening up to offer affordable, state of the art hearing device to millions of people who couldn't afford these enormously inflated prices. Others will follow so keep an eye out for them.

@gdaddy1,
Amazing developments. You've done a terrific service for many on this forum with your comments and observations. Higher frequency hearing loss is fairly common and progressive for a lot of folks north of 50 years of ago.
Charles 
gdaddy1, could you clarify how you tune the EQ? My iPhone can adjust EQ, but you seem to imply you can do it in the app. I tried the app (got results I expected - big loss over 2khz). but I did not see a way to adjust boost, etc on the app itself. 
mcondo...

I use the recommended audiogram from Mimi. You can also use the program without using Mimi. Watch this video for the steps to take... Be aware that once using the audiogram from Mimi you can still fine tune the sound to be ’brighter or darker’ very slight but effective fine tuning slide bar of the brightness level.

Watch this excellent video for clarification of exactly what you need to do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqEx1BJPQX4