Hi, I'm Mel. http://blog.melchua.com/about has the detailed version, but I'm an electrical and computer engineer, open source hacker, and engineering education researcher currently mid-PhD at Purdue University (amazing audiology & speech department!). Audiogram here, though mid-tones have dropped around 15-30 dB since; I've had a severe high-freq bilateral sensorineural loss since age 2 thanks to mycin meds for pneumonia (I can't complain, though; I'm alive), was fitted with my first HAs at 5 but refused to wear them by the time I was 10.
Oral, lipread, have mainstreamed myself into the hearing world my whole life, just now learning about disability resource centers ("wait... CART? wait... this is weird, classes just got way easier") and am trying, in occasional spurts of awkward shyness, to learn more about the Deaf community I spent my entire childhood fighting against being stereotyped into (my family and practically everyone I know is hearing). I play piano (and a couple other instruments, but none as well as piano) and enjoy playing with foreign languages; thankfully I started doing both before they found out about my hearing or I would have believed the folks who are surprised that I can ever talk.
Anyway. I'm now 25, looking at getting my first pair of HAs since childhood. Consequently I've been geeking out about this on my own, and am psyched to find like-minded folks online... I've got six options and am torn between them. Reposting here for conciseness:
- Mid-tier processing: Oticon Acto Power and Phonak Solana Power
- Mid-tier processing (identical to above but with higher volumes): Oticon Chili SP 5 and Phonak Naida S3 SP
- High-end processors: Oticon Agil Pro Power and Phonak Ambra Power
Looking through the past posts here, I see a lot of references to Phonak (including the Naida) and fewer Oticon. Tips? Thoughts? Good ways to think about selection? I'm tempted by the Phonak Solana because it comes with a water-resistant (or -proof, but I'm skeptical) casing and I'm pretty rough-and-tumble, though we're not sure that's going to get me the amplification I need. That's something for me and my audiologist to figure out, but I'm hoping that the folks here might have insight as to which manufacturers are friendlier/more receptive to technical inquiries, which things are more hackable/abusable/poke-around-able and better to learn on and with. I'm a Linux hacker and the sort of person who ran Gentoo in college (and switched to Fedora a few months later for maintenance sanity), if that gives you any indication.