As someone who has never worn a hearing aid, I find that they do need some time to adjust. Hearing aids extend deeper into the ear canal than standard earplugs, which makes them difficult to put in, more difficult to take out, and always a little uncomfortable. After a few hours of continuous use, I found that my ears would start to itch and I needed to stop wearing it temporarily, at least for a while.
With the Signia Active Pro hearing aid, it sounds obvious and everything becomes louder. This is both good and bad. Yes, the TV is louder. Yes, my wife’s voice is louder. But so is my voice. The rustling of the potato chip bag I was eating was the same, and so was my crunch. The scratch of a pencil on a piece of paper sounds deafening, and every tiny noise produces an echo. I finally started to feel paranoid, as if someone had been behind me-only to realize that the sound I heard was the squeaky echo of my desk and chair. There is always a certain level of background hissing, sometimes very high and sometimes very low. I think if you are super deaf, you may not really notice it; maybe I will be at that time in a few years.
After some preliminary tests, I went back to Signia to adjust the Zoom session, increasing the frequency to make the TV audio clearer, lowering my own volume, and reducing hiss. These changes helped, but I soon felt that we were reaching the point of diminishing returns and things were almost as good as they were going to get.
It turns out that this is not bad. The “Everything is louder” approach works well in the end, provided I don’t walk around or eat while listening often. And the more I wear them, the more comfortable they are, even though I have not yet reached the point where I can wear them all day. Even after weeks of testing, I really only want to wear them when I know in advance that I need them.
Active Pro hearing aids connect to your phone via Bluetooth and can double as a streaming audio monitor in a pinch, but I cannot recommend them for this purpose. When you are listening to music or watching a movie, they will slightly lower the volume of the outside world, but they will not block it like a pair of noise-reducing earplugs. The rest is a strange combination of entertainment and everything else you are enjoying. When wearing Active Pros in the gym, it felt like a Bon Jovi soundtrack with ambient music superimposed on the Netflix movie I was watching, which made me crave for the earplugs I often use. In addition, there is no bass at all.