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hear4u visit for Phonak Bolero V90 fitting

I’ve decided it is time to get rid of my NHS-supplied hearing aids and get a serious upgrade. I’ve been wearing the NHS aids for about two years now and whilst they did a pretty good job for me for a while, I’ve been really struggling to hear at work recently. My ability to hear conversation has been gradually getting worse for a while but it has taken me a long time to realise just how bad it has got.

I’ve spoken to a number of audiologists and dispensers that I’ve got to know through Audiology Engine and almost all of them have recommended Phonak aids – I’ve not worn Phonak before but they said that they have a “more fullsome” sound and that it would match well to the kind of sound I have been accustomed to over the years, having started with analogue aids and kept with that analogue style of sound to some degree with my digital aids.

The -->Phonak Bolero range caught my eye, they have a ton of cool features that would take away some of the pain-points with my current aids, bluetooth connectivity and a bunch of gadgets you can add on. Road-noise whilst driving is a major problem for me at the moment, it is very difficult to hold a conversation in the car, I was actually quite surprised to see Phonak list “Speech In Car” as one of their features as I never considered road noise to be a common problem for hearing aid wearers, turns our we are all struggling on the road. The Bolero also has “Speech In Wind” and “WindBlock” features -the wind is another big problem for me at the moment, the wind blowing across my current aids’ microphones turns even the slightest breeze into a biblical storm.

Bluetooth connectivity isn’t something that I’ve not really bothered about up till now, I’ve just been thinking in terms of everyday hearing ability from the aids, but now I’m thinking that I am missing out, streaming my phone calls from my phone directly into my ears would be much clearer and streaming music would be cool, I don’t know but I assume you can stream the TV as well.

I decided to give the Bolero V90 a go and so I got in touch with Sam Bennett from hear4u in Leicester to see if she could fit me with them. I got to know Sam (and her team) through Audiology Engine (we built this for them) and I knew that she runs a great practice, cares about her patients and would be someone who would get the best out of any hearing aid. Sam agreed and I went to see her for a fitting last week, so I’m a few days into wearing my new aids.

Initial impressions are very positive, all of the features I mentioned above are working well for me. I will write a proper review up on here soon, when I’ve had some time to try them out in different situations. One thing that really struck me straight away was the size of the moulds compared to my NHS ones (pictures to follow) – my NHS ones are full-ear and press quite tightly against the outer ear, they were reasonably comfortable when I got used to them but it was a real pleasure to take them out at the end of the day, whereas the Phonaks have a tiny mould, with a decent-sized air vent, that fits pretty deeply into my canal and feels pretty loose, loose enough that I can pull the aid out of my ear without any friction, these are super-comfortable!

I was genuinely surprised at how small the moulds were, I assumed that with my severe-profound loss a a full-ear shell would be needed to avoid feedback and with the power being output for me and the loose shell there must be feedback occurring but the feedback-suppression in the Phonaks are doing a superb job and I haven’t heard a squeak yet.

You can read about the latest Phonak BTE hearing aids here

More to follow…..