As someone who has never worn hearing aids, I have found it certainly takes some getting used to. Hearing aids extend much deeper into the ear canal than a standard earphone, making them difficult to put on, harder to remove, and slightly uncomfortable all the time. After a few hours of sustained use, I found that my ears were starting to itch, requiring a break from wearing them, at least for a while.
With Signia Active Pro hearing aids, and it may seem obvious, everything is louder. This is both a good and a bad thing. Yes, the TV is noisier. Yes, my wife’s voice is louder. But my voice too. So is the rustle of the bag of crisps that I eat, and my crunch too. The scratching of a pencil on a piece of paper can sound deafening, and every little noise echoes. I finally started to feel paranoid, like someone was still behind me, only to realize that the sound I was hearing was the echo of my squeaky office chair. There is also always some background hissing level, sometimes high, sometimes quite low. I guess if you’re super deaf you probably don’t really notice it; maybe in a few years I’ll be there.
After some initial testing, I returned to Signia for an adjustment to the Zoom session, increasing the frequencies that would make the TV sound clearer, lower the volume of my own voice, and reduce the hiss. The changes helped, but I quickly felt like we were reaching a point of diminishing returns and things were going about as well as they were going to be.
It turns out to be pretty good though. The louder everything approach worked quite well in the end, as long as I didn’t move a lot or try to eat while listening. And the more I wore the units, the more comfortable they were, although I still haven’t reached the point where I feel like I can wear them all day. Even after weeks of testing, I only really wanted to wear them when I knew ahead of time that I was going to need them.
Active Pro hearing aids connect to your phone via Bluetooth and can double as streaming audio monitors in a snap, but I can’t recommend them for this purpose. While they do turn down the volume to the outside world a bit while you listen to music or watch a movie, they don’t block it out like a pair of noise-canceling headphones would. What you have left is a strange combination of the entertainment program you are enjoying and everything in between. When I wore the Active Pros to the gym, it was like having an ambient Bon Jovi soundtrack layered over the Netflix movie I was watching, and it made me want my usual headphones. In addition, there is no bass at all.