Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

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Good Listener
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Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by Good Listener » Mon May 14, 2018 11:33 am

I have bitten 5he bullet and realize I actually have to have hearing aids. I know they're a pain. . I will provide some pricing information but prices are not a prime consideration. I saw a private audiologist who gave me a thorough hearing exam last week and deals with items in the $6,000 range per pair with a three-year guaranteed. She let me test Phonak Audeo rechargeable ones for a week and I heard great. I'm overwhelmed with how much I was hearing. I almost would rather hear less. There is a Costco that I walk to nearly every day. They do have one rechargeable model and the others are not rechargeable and all are under $3,000 a pair. I have a few questions

1. Does one go infrequently to get adjustments and cleanings or once you're settled in does that not happen too often?
2. I assume the audiologist at Costco is not as good as the private one (maybe incorrectly) that I saw but are they adequate? The person at the counter said that if I just had a hearing test I would notneed to do another one at Costco, but I could.
3. I know there are pros and cons of both, but is rechargeable preferable to replaceable batteries or is it really individual preference?
4. Am I correct that it's essential to be able to adjust volume on the fly for example if you went from eating dinner with some friends to a stadium or Arena for a sporting event?

It's just such a lifestyle change in routine and functionality that I'd like to try to get this right. Thank you for your help.

samsdad
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by samsdad » Mon May 14, 2018 12:34 pm

Here's my experience:

I know an audiologist who works at a Costco in whom I have complete trust for reasons unrelated to his position/education. He has a doctoral degree in audiology and used to work at a private hearing aid place. He says the hearing aids at Costco are just as good as those you might find at the more expensive places. Based on his advice, I sent my dad to a Costco in another state to get some. I believe that they are the ReSound models.

My dad is a stick in the mud, and he had the money to be able to afford them, but the possibility of buying them with his own money was yet another excuse to him to not get them. So out came my wallet. If I remember correctly they were about $2700. I wouldn't have bought them for him or sent him to Costco had I not trusted this audiologist completely.

My dad can adjust the sensitivity with his iPhone and do other things with them---I don't know the specifics, but it seemed pretty advanced to me. Around 99% of the time I can't see that he has them on from just a few feet away if that's an issue for you.

It took a few adjustments to get them correct, and he does wear them about 50% the time. When he wears them, he can hear my mother and I. When he doesn't, we have to repeat ourselves over and over. Do yourself and everyone around you a big favor: make an appointment and get hearing aids.

mortfree
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by mortfree » Mon May 14, 2018 12:46 pm

3. The batteries at Costco are very inexpensive. Rechargeable batteries aren’t that great.

Go to Costco. Get them to do a hearing test (free). Skip the dr’s office. The trial period at Costco is something like 180 days (or so).

If that doesn’t work after the trial period, then go back to the dr.

I’m 41 and started wearing them 3 years ago (born with a loss). Got them from Costco. Trax 42.

Boglegrappler
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by Boglegrappler » Mon May 14, 2018 12:47 pm

I'm a fan of Costco.

My first hearing aid came from the audiologist associated with the ENT Dr. I saw. It wasn't powerful enough, and the audiologist treated me like I was an uneducated geezer, and then bristled when I said I wanted to have the three choices of sound profile enabled on the hearing aid. Also, she was incompetent at programming it. If someone insists that they're the expert, then they'd better be. She wasn't.

The Costco guy, who I saw a few years later, listened to what I asked for, and complied with what I wanted regarding how the aid was programmed.

I think all audiologists are going to need remedial training since they seem to be used to dealing with people who are nearly deaf, and often just nod and smile in the discussions because they can't hear what they are saying.

My specific request was to make sure the the amplification was set high enough from the beginning, and I'd let him know if we need to lower it. They're trained to start lower and work up, partly because people who haven't been hearing are disturbed by all the extraneous noise they hear when they first wear an aid.

In any case, when I decide I need a new one, I'm going back to Costco. The prices are reasonable, and the warranty is better than most. The newer ones now work with your iPhone as a remote control, which is nice. Mine has a little remote control unit that I carry in my pocket, and it would be good to be able to do without that extra device.

I'm looking forward to someday being able to program my own device without having to rely on someone else. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to do that. I believe that day will come, as baby boomers age into the hearing loss era.

jbranx
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by jbranx » Mon May 14, 2018 12:50 pm

I suggest a trial with Costco if they do that since they are much cheaper and--while they take out some of the features of Resounds--are quite adequate for most hearing loss. I've worn aids for 28 years now, all major brands and all types, and I far prefer the private audiologists because adjustments/cleaning are needed often by me anyway; same for my wife. My BIL has Costco's and complains he doesn't hear very well. Other reviews here rate them outstanding, so that's why a Costco trial could save you a lot of money. My aids for "severe" hearing loss cost nearly $7000 but are highly adjustable, come with excellent cell phone/bluetooth connections, same for the TV, and allow me to hear well in noisy enviros. Phonaks have been consistently best for me, and I need the receiver to be deep in my ear/BTE models. You may be able to get by with a less powerful, in the ear model as well. Just make sure you have a good way to "dry" the aids as moisture/humidity are the prime culprits in reducing functioning. Amazon has several models you can research and audiologists also sell them. Aids last at least five or more years for me. I've never tried rechargeable; most private audios give one to three years of batteries as part of their deal, espc. if you negotiate. My impression is that you always have 30 days to return an aid, so check on that. Good luck.

JohnFiscal
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by JohnFiscal » Mon May 14, 2018 12:57 pm

Bought aids from this web-based store for my FIL about 2-3 years ago: https://www.audicus.com/

(ETA2: Audicus is based in New York City. And my experience with customer service has always been great)

FIL lives in a far foreign country and what was available to him there was pretty cruddy, not even as good as the free aid he'd gotten under his Canadian health care (he no longer lives in Canada). The aids Audicus sells are good, from major manufacturers. I was very impressed with the set we got for FIL.

With aids you have to have them fine-tuned and that's a lot of what you're paying for at the local audiologist, the on-going service. (I was impressed watching the audiologist adjusting my mom's custom aids.) As I recall, Audicus provides free adjustments but that entails sending the aids back to them, so it's inconvenient (and in FIL's case a problem since he's in SE Asia). FIL had his adjusted once and seems to be working fine ever since. For someone in the US this should be a good resource. If nothing else, they have good information.

If hearing aids would cure my own hearing problem I would definitely be ordering from them (but my type of loss requires other hardware).

ETA: FIL's set has several (5?) programs, and a remote control for volume, etc. Pretty sophisticated. They're 3 years old come June.

likegarden
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by likegarden » Mon May 14, 2018 1:15 pm

I have hearing aids (each ear) now for 5 years, bought Siemens at $3,900, my insurance gave $300. I should have gone every 1 or 2 years for cleaning and readjustments. I went recently, asked for more volume, and now they are great again.

$6000 seems you give the outfit a very nice profit. My insurance provides now a service which would give me the best aids for about $2500 (2 ears).
I am using non-rechargeable batteries, they are inexpensive via the internet. I am not wearing them all the time, just when I need them, that's why they possibly lasted for 5 years so far.

CULater
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by CULater » Mon May 14, 2018 1:16 pm

I've gotten hearing aids at Costco and from three different private firms. I've also been seen and evaluated at two other private firms. I'd also recommend giving Costco a try first since you can use the aides for 6 months and still return them if you don't like them or find something you like better in the meantime. Nothing to lose. I thought that the audiology exam I got at Costco was actually more thorough than the ones I've gotten at private firms or even at a University hospital. It might depend on the store you go to and who does the hearing evaluation, don't know. As far as price goes, I found that it's possible to haggle with the private firms. I'm now wearing Phonaks from a private firm that they discounted by $1,000 or so because I told them another firm had quoted me a lower price (which was true). They must have a huge markup on those things. I had to go with a private firm because I need a CROS hearing aid for deafness in one ear, and Costco doesn't carry those. The one thing that might be better at some private firms is the sense of personalized service. That depends on the firm and the audiologist you're dealing with. If you DON'T have that sense, it's not worth the extra cost of dealing with a private firm IMO unless you need a specialized type of hearing aid as I do.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Mine use replaceable batteries and they've been fine. Don't see the need for rechargeable. The Siemens aid that I tried had a longer battery life than the Phonaks. Lasted more than a week.
Last edited by CULater on Mon May 14, 2018 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

Grasshopper
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by Grasshopper » Mon May 14, 2018 1:18 pm

Ms G and I are both starting our second year with Costco Resound aids. Make sure you get the executive membership. I think I am still on my first set of $17 batteries. Their audiologist are first class, it is all done by technology anyway. I go to them about every 3 months for a free cleaning and new domes and filters. I did have a problem with one aid when a nurse was trying to put it in my ear after a colonoscopy, the wire in came disconnected when she tried to put the aid in the wrong ear. :oops: The trial period 180 days is nice 3 year manufacturer's warranty, 2 year damage or loss replacement I would certainly give Costco the first shot :beer

CULater
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by CULater » Mon May 14, 2018 1:22 pm

Just don't make the mistake one guy did. He had to go to see his audiologist complaining that one of his hearing aids wasn't working. The audiologist checked and told him "you've got a suppository stuck in your ear." The guy then replied: "Oh, I guess I know where my hearing aid is then." :oops:
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

Scrapr
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by Scrapr » Mon May 14, 2018 1:29 pm

as a near geezer I am interested about hearing aids. Anyone have experience with tinnitus? I have had low level tinnitus (construction & truck driving. I don't know if aids can mask the tinnitus. Also how long do aids last. It's one thing id $6k appliances last 15 years. Whole nother thing if it's 3-4 years

I may have to stop by Costco. Having to put the closed caption more and more on the TV. And asking Mrs to repeat

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CABob
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by CABob » Mon May 14, 2018 1:51 pm

I have some hearing loss primarily having difficulty hearing high frequency voices (DW and DD) and problems in areas with a lot of interfering sounds such as restaurants, gathering of a number of people, multiple conversations, etc.
I went to a HA dispenser (not an audiologist) and had hearing tested. I was told that HA would help and the price would be about $2500. I didn’t like the technician and decided not to order the HA.
I have a number of friends that have gotten HA from Costco and have been very satisfied so sometime later I went there and had a hearing test (I think not from an audiologist) and received similar results as previous test and ordered HA for about $1600. They could be returned if not satisfied for up to 6 months. I went back for adjustments and cleaning several times but after 5 months I was just not convinced they solved my problem and I returned them for credit. After adjustments they always seemed better but when I went into a noisier environment they didn’t improve things. They did have a T-coil setting which I liked when in a location that used it. But when in a location with a lot of background sound or high frequency sound I still have the problem irritating my DW constantly. So I am back to wondering if another try would be worthwhile perhaps with an audiologist.
Bob

likegarden
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by likegarden » Mon May 14, 2018 2:02 pm

I think I have tinnitis. That came from participating in a technical university lab and 'experiencing' a certain pressure wave during testing of part of a jet engine afterburner. A long time ago there was no suing colleges. I have ringing in my ears when not wearing hearing aids, but that goes away while wearing them.

CULater
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by CULater » Mon May 14, 2018 2:03 pm

As far as on-the-fly adjustability is concerned, the Siemens I had used an app on your smartphone so you could do that. I think the ReSound did too. Initially, I thought that would be great but after wearing aids not so much. Main problem with aids is that they are terrible in noisy environments like restaurants. Trying to adjust volume is a waste of time; you really need to not wear them or remove them in such settings or they'll drive you nuts. Phonaks I have now don't have an app. You can adjust volume by pressing little button on the aid but I don't ever do it because of what I said above.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

KCjoe
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by KCjoe » Tue May 15, 2018 10:35 am

I started wearing Resounds three weeks ago. I went to a private ENT and had a hearing test with a very knowledgeable audiologist. Diagnosed with large hearing loss in high pitched frequencies and tinnitus. I have been very happy with them, the interface with the I Phone is excellent, phone calls ring directly to the HAs, and I can also listen to anything on my I Phone. I have been sorely tempted to listen to music or sports in Church or in boring meetings, but have not gone down that path yet.

I paid 6K and undoubtedly should have gone to Costco, but I felt my audiologist was top notch. Have the rechargeable batteries, and they seem great so far. Overall very happy, and wish I had broken down a few years ago and admitted I needed them. Plus they are almost impossible for a cusual observor to notice.

Merrilee
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by Merrilee » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:10 am

The American Tinnitus Association suggests hearing aids as one of the first things to try for tinnitus. https://www.ata.org/managing-your-tinni ... -navigator

For tinnitus, the hearing aids are helping to mask the tinnitus by improving hearing. Some also have "masking" programs with soothing tones. This is very a individual thing and tends to involve even more adjusting/programming, so a convenient and skilled audiologist is important.

The BTE hearing aids can last up to 8 years especially if the aids are in a dryer each night, but the technology improves more often than that.

tmhudg
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by tmhudg » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:27 am

Late to this thread but anyway...

I got my aids about a year ago and they have been a tremendous help in understanding the dialog in TV and movies especially, as well as conversations that are not directed specifically at me (like people talking in the back seat of the car for example). It's not perfect but it's much better than it was. For me, it's not a volume thing, it's a frequency thing - losing the highs makes everything muddy. Turning the volume up on the TV doesn't help - it just makes the muddy sounds louder. The hearing aids boost the proper frequencies and that's what helps (for me).

My aids also have bluetooth to my phone and calls are pumped (seemingly) straight into my brain. This helps *tremendously*. The brand is Oticon and I've been happy with them. The only time I adjust the volume is when I'm watching TV and the dialog is low. The phone app has three different frequency models and I had the tech program different ones (noisy restaurants, TV, etc.) but I've never really noticed any differences so I mainly just play with the volume.

I got mine from a local audiologist for close to $5,000 for the pair. Luckily, my insurance paid a significant part of that. I get free batteries and domes as well. I've since lost that generous insurance coverage so for my next pair, I'll likely look at Costco.

I also have tinnitus and I'm not sure I notice much difference with the aids in or out - maybe slightly less noticeable with them in.

Cheyenne
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by Cheyenne » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:32 am

DW got hers at Costco <> 5 years ago and is happy with them.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:24 pm

tmhudg wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:27 am
Late to this thread but anyway...

I got my aids about a year ago and they have been a tremendous help in understanding the dialog in TV and movies especially, as well as conversations that are not directed specifically at me (like people talking in the back seat of the car for example). It's not perfect but it's much better than it was. For me, it's not a volume thing, it's a frequency thing - losing the highs makes everything muddy. Turning the volume up on the TV doesn't help - it just makes the muddy sounds louder. The hearing aids boost the proper frequencies and that's what helps (for me).

My aids also have bluetooth to my phone and calls are pumped (seemingly) straight into my brain. This helps *tremendously*. The brand is Oticon and I've been happy with them. The only time I adjust the volume is when I'm watching TV and the dialog is low. The phone app has three different frequency models and I had the tech program different ones (noisy restaurants, TV, etc.) but I've never really noticed any differences so I mainly just play with the volume.

I got mine from a local audiologist for close to $5,000 for the pair. Luckily, my insurance paid a significant part of that. I get free batteries and domes as well. I've since lost that generous insurance coverage so for my next pair, I'll likely look at Costco.

I also have tinnitus and I'm not sure I notice much difference with the aids in or out - maybe slightly less noticeable with them in.
Thank you for this post. This is exactly where my hearing is as I contemplate when (rather than if) to proceed on the hearing aid path.

I am not sure I am missing $5k worth of conversations, but if I am going to have to pay the price eventually, why not take the plunge now? It would probably be worth the price just not to have to listen to DW complain about what I didn't hear. That is becoming a too frequent topic of our conversations :oops:

tmhudg
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by tmhudg » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:16 am

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:24 pm

I am not sure I am missing $5k worth of conversations, but if I am going to have to pay the price eventually, why not take the plunge now? It would probably be worth the price just not to have to listen to DW complain about what I didn't hear. That is becoming a too frequent topic of our conversations :oops:
Yep, it's hard to part with that kind of money for a subjective benefit but I know I will never go back. Once in a while I forget to put my "ears" in and I'll find myself wondering why I can't quite make out what someone is saying.

The other thing is that I have to be careful about taking them out before getting into the shower. I really do forget they are there and nobody realizes I'm wearing them.

Good luck.

likegarden
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by likegarden » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:53 am

I wear Siemens hearing aids for 5 years now. It was a great improvement, though I think I should upgrade now. My medical insurance has a program which lets me buy the best for not much more than $2k for 2 ears.
One great thing about hearing aids is that you can take them off, i.e. when a teenager in the back of a car talks too much hindering your driving.

zeppy
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Re: Considerations in selecting a hearing aid

Post by zeppy » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:06 am

I have been wearing the Phonak Audio B-R70 rechargeable aids for about a year and find there are pluses as well as minuses to wearing hearing aids. On the plus side - I DO hear much better in one-on-one conversations. I DO like the ability to recharge them at night, thus doing away with constantly changing batteries. My vision is also deteriorating so not having to deal with those tiny batteries is a plus.

In windy outdoor conditions, or in a large group of chattering people, I find the noise much too loud. I can turn the volume down, but it still seems too loud. I have unusually small ear canals and find that one of the aids seems to be constantly slipping out, which makes me nervous about losing them. The one has actually fallen out of my ear a few times.

Most folks say they do not notice/feel them in their ear but to me, if feels like I have a marble stuck in there. Some folks more sensitive than others, I guess.

Zeppy

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