These high-tech hearing aids were music to his ears

In June 2020, I published this Live video on Facebook about my husband’s hearing loss and our visit to an audiologist for hearing aids.

It was then that I realized how much my husband’s hearing loss, considered moderate, had an impact on his daily life. At work, he had trouble hearing customers. At home he felt isolated from daily conversations with me and our 13 year old son. We were all increasingly frustrated because we could no longer enjoy many of our favorite family activities. We pretty much gave up watching shows together because he couldn’t hear the dialogue, even at the volume high enough to get me out of the room.

Yet we didn’t end up buying the hearing aids the audiologist tried to sell us because we just couldn’t afford them. The audiologist quoted us about $ 8,000 for the pair of hearing aids she recommended. For the 15 months since that appointment, I have lived with lingering guilt because I know his quality of life, and our quality of life as a family, would be so much better if he had hearing aids.

Recently, we were invited to demonstrate Widex Moment artificial intelligence-based hearing aids. With My Sound, Widex leveraged big data to deliver sound profile recommendations to individuals based on the activity and listening intent of thousands of users.

For the demo, my husband did a remote fitting with a Widex audiologist. It is important to note, however, that the average consumer should visit an audiologist in person in order to purchase these hearing aids. One downside to remote mounting is that the cables were slightly shorter than he needed because his ears are longer than average. This is something that could have been adjusted during an in-person fitting. However, this was a relatively minor failure and he was still able to use the devices with relative ease.

We were both impressed with the device’s sleek packaging, and my husband noted that opening it was like opening a new iPhone.

Image by Amanda Pedersen / MD + DI

These hearing aids brought a sense of peace to our home that was lacking

I’ll come back to my husband’s comments on the technology in a moment, but first I want to share my personal observations of this experience. For me, it was an immediate burden on my shoulders. I was happy to know that, even temporarily, my husband could enjoy life again. Really, we could enjoy our life together again.

During the month-long demo, I didn’t feel like I had to constantly yell at him or repeat myself multiple times. I didn’t feel like I was leaving him out of conversations at the table. We even got to enjoy our favorite shows together again. Plus, on a purely selfish level, it was nice that I didn’t have to listen to every video he clicked on as he scrolled through social media at night. Overall, the hearing aids have really improved her quality of life, as well as our quality of life as a family. Relatives even said they could make a difference in their conversations with him during the demonstration period. Below is a recent photo of him visiting family while using Widex Moment hearing aids.

Image by Amanda Pedersen / MD + DIhearing aids

Oh, and did I mention that these hearing aids are rechargeable? That’s a big plus, as anyone who has had to deal with frequent battery replacements in traditional hearing aids can attest. With these, my husband just put them on the charger every night at bedtime, and they were fully charged in the morning. He was able to use the devices for a full day and never had a problem with the low battery midday.

It will certainly be difficult to say goodbye to Widex Moment hearing aids when we return them, now that this product review is complete.

What is special about these hearing aids in particular?

Earlier this year, Widex introduced its new ZeroDelay Accelerator lane in Widex PureSound hearing aids, designed to deliver the purest sound quality. This ZeroDelay accelerator cuts processing time in Widex Moment hearing aids to less than 0.5 milliseconds – by far the lowest system delay and fastest processing in the industry. The industry standard, according to the Widex audiologist who performed the remote adjustment for my husband, is 5.8 milliseconds. This is a really noticeable difference in the quality of sound for the user, and eliminates that “metallic” and artificial sound that hearing aid users often complain about.

Having worked as an on-air radio disc jockey for over 20 years, my husband is very familiar with audio processing delays, and he was extremely impressed with the Widex PureSound programming which almost eliminates this delay and distortion.

“It feels like stepping into the future,” said my husband, Ben Stomberg, during the fit, when the audiologist first introduced him to this ZeroDelay accelerator via the PureSound program setting.

“Looks like you can’t hear through a hearing aid, it looks like your ears have improved”

Although the cable length was a bit too short for his ears, my husband said the devices were comfortable in his ears and it didn’t take long to get used to wearing them. He attributes this in part to his radio career, as he has become so accustomed to using headphones and earphones. He also has credited the Widex PureSound with ZeroDelay Accelerator technology.

“It’s just instantaneous. It sounds like you hear better, it doesn’t feel like hearing through a hearing aid, it looks like your ears have improved,” he said. “And honestly, I feel like my ears have improved. I feel like even when the devices are off, I can hear better.”

The audiologist we saw last year told us that Ben is on the verge of losing certain sounds that will eventually make it impossible to hear certain words in everyday conversation. He now wonders if Widex Moment hearing aids have actually helped delay this loss to some extent.

My husband also pointed out that the cartwheel design of the Widex domes or ear tips made a significant difference in sound quality, as it allowed air to flow through his ear canal, rather than blocking his ears.

By far the best part of my husband’s experience with Widex Moment hearing aids has come from tuning the PureSound program.

Throughout the demo period, he tried experimenting with the other settings of the device through the companion app, but found himself always coming back to PureSound. The exception to this is if he made a phone call or listened to the audio from an online video, in which case the devices would automatically go into streaming mode, so that the audio would be streamed directly from his iPhone to the helpers. hearing. The Universal setting, shown below, is designed as a comprehensive program for multiple environments. My husband didn’t use this mode much as he preferred the faster processing of PureSound.

Image courtesy of WidexWidex hearing aid app

Processing isn’t as fast in these situations, but he said it was still pretty close. Talking on the phone with these devices is like being in the same room as the person you’re talking to, he said.

As a huge music fan, my husband often expressed his concerns that he could no longer enjoy music like he once did due to his hearing loss. For the past year or so he has used noise canceling headphones which have helped with this, so I asked him how Widex Moment hearing aids stacked up against listening to music through his headphones.

“These are the opposite of noise cancellation,” he said. “It’s the idea that you should be able to hear everything that’s going on in the room while you’re listening to anything, so that didn’t appeal to me. When I want to listen to music, or if I want to watch a program where I pay attention to the dialogue, I still prefer to put on my noise canceling headphones.

That said, my husband liked that the Widex Moment app lets you fine-tune the EQ, it’s just not the same listening experience he gets with his headphones. He also liked the streaming aspect for incidental listening, for example when scrolling through social networks and wanting to watch a video.

A picky complaint my husband had when using Widex Moment hearing aids is that when he scrolled through social media, the hearing aids tended to change settings because the devices tried to anticipate his intention to go. listen. So even if he was just scrolling through a video or audio file that he didn’t intend to listen to, the hearing aids would try to toggle between settings.

“Sometimes it’s a lot of clicks and beeps, or even a little feedback, as it’s trying to switch between settings,” he said. “As much as I enjoy what they’re trying to do, which is to make the devices as intuitive as possible, in situations like that it’s almost too intuitive.

The idea of ​​coming back to life without hearing aids is a bit scary. Our son tends to mumble when he talks, and my stepfather recently had a stroke, which affected his speech. Without these hearing aids my husband probably wouldn’t have been able to understand his father at all last month.

“Not being able to hear my father or my son is terrifying,” he admitted.

The hearing aids have also improved his ability to understand clients and colleagues in his current work environment, and he is not eager to get back to work without them.

There is still a little sticker shock, but it’s not as bad as expected

Because of how much Widex Moment hearing aids have improved my husband’s quality of life and because of their much more advanced appearance compared to other hearing aids we have reviewed, I was almost afraid to ask for the price.

The company told me that a Widex Moment hearing aid goes from $ 1,500 to $ 3,500 depending on the discretion of the hearing care professional and the region of the user. The services provided by these hearing care professionals are extensive, the company noted, as they include the initial consultation, audiogram, fitting, creation of bespoke programs, adjustments and aftercare settings to ensure efficient performance, remote follow-up consultations via the Widex Application, and more.

This price is per device, not per pair. Still, it’s comparable to what we’ve been quoted in the past for another brand of hearing aids, if not better.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the following states require insurance to cover hearing aids for everyone: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. This is great news for us, as we live in Illinois, and something we are sure to study further.

Additionally, Medicare and Medicaid cover hearing aids in many states. Some private health plans have supplements that cover hearing aids, and specialty hearing aid insurance is becoming more common in the market, a Widex representative told me.

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