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hearing aid purchase

abcd johnt at kcco.com
Wed Dec 10 18:33:54 EST 1997

Hello all:
I need to purchase a pair of hearing aids for my 3 1/2 year
old son. These are his first hearing aids.
His audiogram is
500 Hz     55 db
1000 Hz    45 db
2000 Hz    35 db
4000 Hz    20 db
This is sometimes termed "reverse" loss (greater
in the low frequencies).
The audiologist discussed as being "good" aids
Widex Senso
Oticon Digifocus
Phonak (with audio zoom)
Resound (BT4)
Sonar MultiPro
(not necesarily recommended in this order).
I have heard a lot of good things about the Senso, but I have reservations.
Some of these stem from the fact that the fitting seems to be more
subjective in this than in analogs.  For example, the audiologist
said no aided audiogram is possible for the Senso (I guess
because the logic circuits are designed to filter constant frequency
long duration sounds). She said the digitals were designed mainly to
aid speech reception  and the main criterion for evaluating
their effectiveness was how the user's speech understanding
improved.  My son won't be able to give the same level
of feedback about this that an adult can, and thus there will have to be
more subjective evaluations as to how the aids are working like does
he seem more attentive.  I am uncomfortable with this.  I have 
also read the posts discussing the volume hunting and the clamping 
after loud noises.  To me, these seem like they could be significant 
drawbacks (maybe even more so for a child). I also don't see the audio zoom
for him since he won't be able to change programs. The zoom
feature is supposed to be for his later years, but by then
there may be better aids on the market.  Is some other feature
of the Phonaks that make them very good aids?
The Resound, Oticon, and Sonar I heve not heard much about.  I have heard the
Oticon digitization scheme is not technically as advanced as the Widex and
that the Oticon does not try to go as far in signal processing and removing
background noise as the Widex.
I have heard (again, hearsay) thet *most* aids are designed to more
naturally fit a loss that slopes the other way, since this is a bigger
market. Are the digitals the most flexible? If it were not
for the clamping and volume hunting problems, and the less complete
post - fitting examination, I would really like him to try the Senso.
I would appreciate comments from anyone, especially professionals
and hearing aid users who have experience with reverse loss.  What aids
fit this well?  What should I stay away from?  What about the earmold
for this? I would also appreciate comparisons between the aids I listed,
or any others that may be suitable for this loss.
What objective (sound booth) measurements are possible post - fitting
with the digitals? Are the Senso and Digifocus the same? Is there any
important information lost (especially for a child) by being able to do 
less post - fitting measurements?
Thank you all very much for your comments.

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