Wednesday, August 29, 2018


As we age the challenges of hearing it can be daunting.   Getting a resolution can be your full-time job for a time.

A good place to start researching is the National Institute of Health site as follows:

The important point is that most of us have hearing loss by 75.

The most important thing to do is live in  a place where the problems of aging and hearing are addressed.

Here at Happy Valley we have state of art facilities in our auditoriums and heaters.   No effort or expense has been spared so that we can hear speakers and music.

In one of our oldest dining rooms we also have remarkable design and engineering dedicated to all facets of aging, safety, and efficiency.

A newer dining room has very bad design.  It is loaded with hard reflective surfaces to an extreme.   Even those with the best of hearing must shout. In a large facility like this there's always somebody who doesn't get the message that this facility is for the aging.

We also have on staff here a highly competent audiologist.  This audiologist is not bound by any particular brand, but cannot support proprietary devices which are locked to be maintained only by the seller.    It is best to avoid such sellers.

Having an audiologist is vitally important, but in all aspects of healthcare we must also make it our job to do what we can do.

For example, I had a health care issue which local doctor emphatically insisted could not be resolved.   I worked for many months to find a resolution. When I got to the right doctor it was only a 12 days to wait for a six-hour operation to cure my problem permanently, to the point where I never need to go back to a cardiologist again for it.

So it is up to you to do the spade work.

So here's what we need to know to address such problems.

A really important point is that all hardware to address hearing issues is dirt cheap.     Almost all microphones inside hearing aids are made by the same source.

What costs is the digital logic of the device, plus also the skill and programming of using a hearing aid.   It takes a while and some work to use a hearing aid properly.

Without a hearing aid, a cheap bluetooth headphone from Five and Under can provide wonderful wireless sound from TV, iPad and smartphones.  I found bluetooth earbuds from China for a well under $5, plus adapters to use with your existing headphones.

For the fun of it, I bought two hearing amplifiers from China for $25 each, which were then reduced in price to $14.99 and then to $13.99 and then with a 20% off special.

They do work almost as well as some earlier hearing aids that I have had. They use pre-programmed audio curves which may or may fit any individual,s hearing curve (audiogram).

They do not work well in enabling me to hear the group at a dinner table clearly in a bad environment such as the one indicated above.

Also, it is possible to use a smartphone with a microphone app to connect someone else with our Bluetooth headphones.

The point, though, is that the hardware is dirt cheap. The digital software expertise is not.

And, with hearing aids there is no one place, like Consumer Reports, to compare the specific capabilities of various hearing aids.  Shame on Consumer Reports.

There is however a useful book called the “Consumer Report on Hearing Aids”, which I obtained free from Beltone.  

From AARP is this:

Generally, the Rexton/Signia lines, and Phonak appear to be the most advanced hearing aid designers.

The Rexton and Signia lines are available at least cost from Costco.

Do cheaper aids work?

Studies from Johns Hopkins indicate that they do.   This is also corroborated by Consumer Reports.

Unfortunately the only way to find out is to try them.   That is really not practical.

However, there are some initiatives to address the issues.

One of these is called iHear, which gives you the ability to obtain a good low-cost hearing aid, which either they or YOU can program, if we are up to it.

Otherwise you're left to deal with the multiple hearing aid sellers you will find in any area.  The idea is to pick one which will be there conveniently when you need them, at a reasonable cost.

Whatever hearing aid you choose it needs to be unlocked so that you are not tied to one particular source of support.

There is always the possibility that no hearing aid will work for you.   Alternatively, with a lot of learning on your part, working with a good audiologist, remarkable results may occur.

My otolaryngologist found that I had a moderate to severe hearing loss,  but no physical limitations which would preclude a hearing aid from working for me.     It is just a jungle to find the right one.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Fix Your Nexus 7 1st and 2nd

The Nexus 7 2nd Gen 2013 is the nicest table I have used.   Here is a tech way to fix a lot of problems when it quits.

The previous generation 2012 was effectively "destroyed" by upgrading to 5.01.    Here is how to fix that, too!!    Not for the faint of heart.

Tap or Click for How to Fix Your Nexus 7

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Hearing and Hearing Aids

Bedeviled with problems with my old hearing aids, I needed to inform myself better about hearing loss and hearing aids. 

That process started as I was standing in a CVS drugstore and looking at a hearing amplifier at $20.

Shortly, as I stood there, an an older gentleman came by and volunteered that he had been successful in using this simple device.

The first point he made was that it is too easy to turn it off or leave it on the battery runs out.

He then indicated that it is best to replace the receiver loosely in the ear and not tightly so as to avoid interfering noise and occlusion.   But try the smallest, too.

He also volunteered that then lowest volume setting was enough.  (Consumer Reports warns against setting such a device too loud.)

He made a special point that it needs to be kept clean.   The device may seem to be working well when only dirty.

I bought the $20 device.   Trying this inexpensive amplifier, I then found it most useful in a quiet environment, but of no benefit in a noisy environment.

Far more expressive aids are able to shut out sounds which interfere with voice. That process is essential.   That capability drives up the cost.

Otherwise the hardware is pretty much the same. 

So, then, how to choose the best hearing aid?

Get an audiogram, of course, just to find out if anything will work with your particular hearing.

Then, the only thing you can do is try before you buy from an entity whch has them available to try.