A few impressions of the Cala 8 RIC hearing aids I've been using for a couple of months now. Mostly aimed at newbies like myself.
- I use the "Normal" program 95% of the time. The aids help a lot in most situations. Really noticeable with TV voices. Sometimes I mute the aids to get a flavor of what I'm missing without them, and can almost always tell they make a difference for the better.
- Music mode works very well for listening to the stereo or a classical concert. The additional high frequency information makes the music seem louder and clearer.
- Party or "Noise" mode helps in restaurants, but isn't a cure all. It is somewhat better than Normal mode (or muting the aids), but is a subtle improvement, not a big one. My "Noise" mode has maxed out 'Focus' and 'Comfort in Noise', but a restaurant or crowd can still be the most difficult situation to deal with.
- It has taken a while to get used to some sounds - the tinny sound of the microwave door closing, the dog's nails on our hardwood floors.. But much better now than when I started. These unexpected sounds really do normalize as time goes by, you just need to be patient.
- In some situations, with loud talkers or hollow room acoustics, voices can still seem too loud or kind of raspy. I'm still wondering if I need to take the gain down a notch. I do use the phone app to lower or raise the gain in certain situations, but not often - down for loud talkers, up for some TV shows.
- I can sometimes hear the aids adjust themselves - walking into a new environment, there may be high pitched background noise that disappears after a second or two. The aids are filtering out noise as they are supposed to do, but it can be a little disconcerting.
- Every once in a great while I hear a high pitched noise that doesn't sound right, but I can't tell if is a problem with the aids or just something I'm not used to hearing. Hard to explain, and it happens so rarely that I haven't worried about it.
- The Calas have had no effect on my tinnitus as far as I can tell.
- I mostly don't notice them - kinda like my glasses. This took awhile, at first they itched and I was just generally conscious of wearing them.
- One thing I do notice from time to time is noise from my hair rubbing against the aids. Freshly cut hair is worse than longer hair. Also leaning back against a pillow or cushion can make noise.
- No one has yet commented on them. I was very self conscious at first, but apparently no one notices. Or doesn't think it is worth commenting on.
- Changing to a slightly longer wire fixed any comfort issues I had. At first the wire going into my ear canal caused some pain by the end of the day.
- I wear them at the gym, no problems. I can even wear headphones in the normal way. The gym is one of those places where there is a lot more high pitched noise going on than I realized until I got the Calas.
- I mostly change modes and volume using my phone. I find doing so by pressing buttons on the aids a bit awkward.
- I route sounds from my phone - phone calls, videos - through the aids. This is great. For instance, I can watch TV and play a game (with sound) at the same time, without disturbing my wife.
- Music streamed through the aids isn't great, but boosting the bass using the phone app helps.
- When streaming, walking around with my phone in my jeans pocket, sometimes the sound cuts out. With my phone in my jacket pocket, which is just a few inches higher, it never cuts out.
- Phone calls are fine - the sound is in my ears, and I either hold my phone or put it down on a table. And I'm happy to not have to carry around another device to make this happen. I use our landline phone normally, no adjustments necessary - that works with the iPhone too, but at least for now I like the sound in my ears.