Hearing aids

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
jefmafnl
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:11 am

Hearing aids

Post by jefmafnl » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:23 am

My mother (92) asked me to evaluate a particular brand of hearing aid for her. (She likes research before she actually tries a product, and she does not use the Internet.)

Is there an independent review site, or a (Boglehead-like) forum of hearing aid wearers?

Thanks!

J

mortfree
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:06 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by mortfree » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:01 am


carolinaman
Posts: 3148
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Hearing aids

Post by carolinaman » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:56 am

Costco is the largest hearing aid seller in the US. They have great prices. The ones I bought last were under their Kirkland brand name but I was told they were identical to the Resound brand at about 30% of the cost.

I too like to research major items I will purchase. I found it difficult with hearing aids because there are so many brands and it was hard to find unbiased reviews.

I commend her for her effort and hope it works well for her.

123
Posts: 3505
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by 123 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:29 pm

We have a family friend who is an "expert user" of hearing aids and has been for a very long time. She is very much into the mechanics and principles of how they work. One of the brands she really likes is Resound. From what I've heard talking to others Costco is a very good place to buy a hearing aid, price and service are hard to beat.

An easy way to get started with research is to find out what brands/models are available at your local Costco and then to research those, you may have to do some digging if they are clones of major brands but it will likely be worth it. Costco does a great job generally of carrying the best products in any particular category. When I have researched other products it turns out that most of the time the product/model most highly rated by Consumer Reports is carried by Costco.

The "latest" thing in hearing aids is to have them adjustable (frequencies to boost etc) by an app on a smartphone. If the intended user is not a smartphone user that could reduce the choices, maybe not for the better.

If you're not a member already the ability to get a hearing aid at Costco may well be worth the cost of membership.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

CULater
Posts: 1221
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:59 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by CULater » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:12 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:56 am
Costco is the largest hearing aid seller in the US. They have great prices. The ones I bought last were under their Kirkland brand name but I was told they were identical to the Resound brand at about 30% of the cost.

I too like to research major items I will purchase. I found it difficult with hearing aids because there are so many brands and it was hard to find unbiased reviews.

I commend her for her effort and hope it works well for her.
I think Costco carries the actual ReSound. Not the top model with all the bells. Great thing about Costco is that you can return aids within 6 months, so lots of time to try them out. Usually only get a couple weeks or so from hearing aid vendors.
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

Bs3Bound
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:45 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by Bs3Bound » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:00 pm

Not sure if she has any of the AARP Medicare plans but this company saved my grandma money.

https://www.hihealthinnovations.com

skierrex
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:03 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by skierrex » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:37 pm

I have researched this previously.
My next pair will come from Costco.

User avatar
Sasquatch
Posts: 165
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by Sasquatch » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:31 pm

I just got my first pair of hearing aids yesterday. I wanted to go with Costco but they dont carry CROS systems for single sided deafness so I had to go to an independent local dealer. Insurance paid $1750 and I had about $900 out of pocket.I got Phonak brand and I am shocked at how well they work. Time will tell if they hold up.

CULater
Posts: 1221
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:59 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by CULater » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:12 am

Sasquatch wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:31 pm
I just got my first pair of hearing aids yesterday. I wanted to go with Costco but they dont carry CROS systems for single sided deafness so I had to go to an independent local dealer. Insurance paid $1750 and I had about $900 out of pocket.I got Phonak brand and I am shocked at how well they work. Time will tell if they hold up.
I have Phonak CROS aids as well. The problem I experience with these and also with Siemens I tried is that the dead ear transmitter seems to amp up the high frequencies in the hearing ear considerably. They've been adjusted for this but the problem remains. Also, they are terrible in noisy environments since the dead ear transmitter seems to recruit all the noise and make things worse. How has your experience been?
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

User avatar
Sasquatch
Posts: 165
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by Sasquatch » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:32 am

CULater wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:12 am
Sasquatch wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:31 pm
I just got my first pair of hearing aids yesterday. I wanted to go with Costco but they dont carry CROS systems for single sided deafness so I had to go to an independent local dealer. Insurance paid $1750 and I had about $900 out of pocket.I got Phonak brand and I am shocked at how well they work. Time will tell if they hold up.
I have Phonak CROS aids as well. The problem I experience with these and also with Siemens I tried is that the dead ear transmitter seems to amp up the high frequencies in the hearing ear considerably. They've been adjusted for this but the problem remains. Also, they are terrible in noisy environments since the dead ear transmitter seems to recruit all the noise and make things worse. How has your experience been?
Did the hearing specialist hook them up to the computer to tweak the high frequencies down?

I am on day 2 of ownership and very happy thus far. I have not been able to test them thoroughly yet. I mainly got them for riding as a passenger in the car as the left is the dead ear. I have been to a quiet store and they really helped hear the employee that rang up my order. So far they have addressed the two deficiencies that concern me quite well.

CULater
Posts: 1221
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:59 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by CULater » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:02 pm

Sasquatch wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:32 am
CULater wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:12 am
Sasquatch wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:31 pm
I just got my first pair of hearing aids yesterday. I wanted to go with Costco but they dont carry CROS systems for single sided deafness so I had to go to an independent local dealer. Insurance paid $1750 and I had about $900 out of pocket.I got Phonak brand and I am shocked at how well they work. Time will tell if they hold up.
I have Phonak CROS aids as well. The problem I experience with these and also with Siemens I tried is that the dead ear transmitter seems to amp up the high frequencies in the hearing ear considerably. They've been adjusted for this but the problem remains. Also, they are terrible in noisy environments since the dead ear transmitter seems to recruit all the noise and make things worse. How has your experience been?
Did the hearing specialist hook them up to the computer to tweak the high frequencies down?

I am on day 2 of ownership and very happy thus far. I have not been able to test them thoroughly yet. I mainly got them for riding as a passenger in the car as the left is the dead ear. I have been to a quiet store and they really helped hear the employee that rang up my order. So far they have addressed the two deficiencies that concern me quite well.
Yes, I've had that done. Because everything is fed into the good ear I think it multiplies things. About the only time I notice a benefit is when I'm in a relatively quiet environment and someone is speaking to me on the bad ear side. The Phonaks are configured so that I can adjust the relative volume up or down on each side, and sometimes it helps to adjust so that the volume is increased on the good ear side while decreasing it on the bad ear side.
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

spectec
Posts: 1141
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by spectec » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:10 am

My first set of hearing aids were purchased from the audiologist working in my EENT's office back in 2010. Cost was about $6,600, plus a few hundred for a device that loops around my neck for connecting to my iPhone. Now, 8 years later, I need to replace because one of them quit working and is non-repairable.

After lots of research and participation in the Hearing Tracker forum and on Bogleheads, I decided to try Costco this go-round. The experience was eye-opening. Not only was the exam just as thorough, but the audiologist spent considerable time with me evaluating my needs, trying different options, and deciding what works best for me. He also quizzed me extensively to ascertain if I had any indications of a medical problem which might call for a return to the EENT. The devices I am buying connect to my iPhone via bluetooth, both for phone calls and also for adjusting the hearing aids for varying listening situations. They have an incredible 180-day trial period and a generous 3-year warranty. Cost is about $1,700.

I'll still schedule an EENT visit in the future anyhow for medical due diligence, but if these hearing aids work as well as is first indicated, I'll be buying my hearing devices at Costco in the future.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

CULater
Posts: 1221
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:59 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by CULater » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:25 am

spectec wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:10 am
My first set of hearing aids were purchased from the audiologist working in my EENT's office back in 2010. Cost was about $6,600, plus a few hundred for a device that loops around my neck for connecting to my iPhone. Now, 8 years later, I need to replace because one of them quit working and is non-repairable.

After lots of research and participation in the Hearing Tracker forum and on Bogleheads, I decided to try Costco this go-round. The experience was eye-opening. Not only was the exam just as thorough, but the audiologist spent considerable time with me evaluating my needs, trying different options, and deciding what works best for me. He also quizzed me extensively to ascertain if I had any indications of a medical problem which might call for a return to the EENT. The devices I am buying connect to my iPhone via bluetooth, both for phone calls and also for adjusting the hearing aids for varying listening situations. They have an incredible 180-day trial period and a generous 3-year warranty. Cost is about $1,700.

I'll still schedule an EENT visit in the future anyhow for medical due diligence, but if these hearing aids work as well as is first indicated, I'll be buying my hearing devices at Costco in the future.
I agree. I thought my hearing test and fitting procedure at Costco was right up there with the specialty hearing aid offices (which are all over the place, if you noticed) and also a University hearing aid fitting department with very good reputation. It may vary at Costco and I just got lucky, but that happens at the speciality outfits also. If Costco offered CROS aids I'd be using them again but have to use EENT office instead. BTW, I learned that it can be pretty easy to negotiate a lower price with a specialty office. Shop around and then ask for price matching.
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

User avatar
BL
Posts: 8189
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by BL » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:38 am

I just got a "remote" Widex to adjust volume remotely. So far I am very pleased with it. I understand it is also capable of adjusting other "programs" on the hearing aids, but haven't gotten there yet.

Got it from an independent audiologist as Costco is too far away.

User avatar
cinghiale
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:37 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by cinghiale » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:55 am

Not wanting to sidetrack the thread, but has anyone heard any updates about the law passed last year to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter (OTC Hearing Aid Act)?
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

spectec
Posts: 1141
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by spectec » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:22 am

I haven't been following the OTC act, but it seems that the current system functions in very much of an OTC fashion. I suppose it depends upon exactly what one means by "OTC". If it means being able to buy hearing aids without a prescription, that's already a fact.

When I visited Costco yesterday, I had essentially the same hearing evaluation as the one at my last visit to the ENT office. However there was no medical exam, and I was requested to sign a statement that I wanted to purchase the hearing aids without an ENT exam. I was also asked 5 or 6 questions, and if the answer to any of those was "yes", they would not proceed with the transaction. Also had to sign what was essential a HIPAA form. But in the end, I purchased the hearing aids without a doctor's prescription.

Incidentally, when I use the term "hearing aid", I'm referring to an electronic device designed to be programmed and adjusted to address an individual's specific hearing problems, not one of the basic sound amplifiers we often see advertised which just happen to be shaped like true hearing aids.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

RickBoglehead
Posts: 458
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:54 am

spectec wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:10 am
My first set of hearing aids were purchased from the audiologist working in my EENT's office back in 2010. Cost was about $6,600, plus a few hundred for a device that loops around my neck for connecting to my iPhone. Now, 8 years later, I need to replace because one of them quit working and is non-repairable.

After lots of research and participation in the Hearing Tracker forum and on Bogleheads, I decided to try Costco this go-round. The experience was eye-opening. Not only was the exam just as thorough, but the audiologist spent considerable time with me evaluating my needs, trying different options, and deciding what works best for me. He also quizzed me extensively to ascertain if I had any indications of a medical problem which might call for a return to the EENT. The devices I am buying connect to my iPhone via bluetooth, both for phone calls and also for adjusting the hearing aids for varying listening situations. They have an incredible 180-day trial period and a generous 3-year warranty. Cost is about $1,700.

I'll still schedule an EENT visit in the future anyhow for medical due diligence, but if these hearing aids work as well as is first indicated, I'll be buying my hearing devices at Costco in the future.
Using the Costco Visa (or other Citibank cards), that 3 year warranty will become 5 years.

spectec
Posts: 1141
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by spectec » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:03 am

Yes, I got that tip over on the hearing aid forum as well. I applied for the card on Saturday and used it for the purchase on Tuesday. It took a little longer for them to figure out how to process the temporary card, but they got it to work. The only downside is that a warranty claim under the card is handled by paying up front and then applying to the credit card company for reimbursement. But that's not so bad since the benefit is essentially free, plus using the card generates a 2% or 4% credit on all Costco purchases. The other benefit was a $4K - $5K savings on the hearing aids.

The Hearing Tracker Forum is a great place for anyone who uses hearing aids or is contemplating them. Lots of good info and a number of experts participate over there. There's even a place to post your audiogram so others can make recommendations based on their knowledge and experience. (sort of like a "Bogleheads for the Hearing Challenged")

The link was provided earlier on this thread, but I'll repeat it here:
https://forum.hearingtracker.com
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

User avatar
tc101
Posts: 2994
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Re: Hearing aids

Post by tc101 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:22 pm

What about Sam's club hearing aids?
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.

spectec
Posts: 1141
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by spectec » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:56 pm

I just recently bought hearing aids from Costco after extensive research on the Hearing Tracker forum and some other sources. I'm a very loyal Sam's customer for most everything, but with respect to hearing aids, Sam's just doesn't come close to Costco IMO. What I saw at Sams was much more expensive and the selection not nearly as broad as at Costco. Also, my local Sams has a much smaller audiology dept with shorter hours than the Costco where I purchased. Costco is in the hearing aid business, whereas Sams appears to be just doing something to say they're in the game. I don't know if it's the same everywhere, but wouldn't be surprised if that's the case. In my case, I drive past a Sams which is within 5 minutes of my home to get to a Costco another 20 minutes away for my hearing aids and my follow-up appointments.

There are some discussions on Hearing Tracker about Sams hearing aids, but I don't recall any which were particularly favorable. Certainly nothing that would make me consider Sams over Costco for this product.

https://forum.hearingtracker.com
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

wrongfunds
Posts: 1728
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by wrongfunds » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:09 am

Depending upon your insurance and your already met deductible, you might be able to get it cheaper from professional audiologist associated with medical facility. The quote given to me was more than Costco by audiologist but I went with her. Later i got refund check from the insurance company bringing my actual out of pocket cost for more expensive device (Oticon ON1) lot cheaper than lower level Costco device!

Do check out your insurance benefits and don't blindly assume that Costco will be cheaper.

User avatar
BL
Posts: 8189
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by BL » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:12 pm

Medicare does not cover hearing aids, but may cover some hearing tests by professionals.

User avatar
Sheepdog
Posts: 5113
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm
Location: Indiana, retired 1998 at age 65

Re: Hearing aids

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:43 pm

BL wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:12 pm
Medicare does not cover hearing aids, but may cover some hearing tests by professionals.
Medicare does not cover hearing aids, If you obtain hearing examinations by an otolaryngologist, you may have some Medicare coverage, but not the aids, Some Advantage plans may give coverage. My Anthem BCBS Mediblue Access Advantage plan does. For an extra $41 monthly premium, I am able to receive some dental coverage plus a hearing examination (not from an audiologist) and 2 hearing aids with a years worth of batteries annually. Crazy. I obtained my first pair last August paid for by the insurance. Previously my aids through an audiologist cost me $2000 each plus batteries. No, these new aids are not as good as those, but are adequate.
People should not say everything they think. They should think about everything they say.

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2095
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:47 am

My audiologist recently explained to me that Medicare not only does not cover hearing aids but "anything hearing aid related." I suppose coverage will depend entirely upon how the visit is coded.

User avatar
catdude
Posts: 1524
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:11 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: Hearing aids

Post by catdude » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:57 pm

I'm not the OP, but regardless, I want to thank y'all for this discussion. I've recently made the decision, after years of procrastination, to get hearing aids. This thread is very helpful to me... I've decided to go with Costco. It sounds like I can save a lot of money by doing so. Thanks again...
catdude | | The only thing between North Dakota and the North Pole is a barbed-wire fence.

spectec
Posts: 1141
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Hearing aids

Post by spectec » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:56 am

catdude wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:57 pm
I'm not the OP, but regardless, I want to thank y'all for this discussion. I've recently made the decision, after years of procrastination, to get hearing aids. This thread is very helpful to me... I've decided to go with Costco. It sounds like I can save a lot of money by doing so. Thanks again...
You should definitely check out the Hearing Tracker forum and participate in its discussions. It is a valuable resource for anyone using hearing aids or contemplating them for the first time. You can even post your audiogram and sometimes get discussions about your specific hearing issues.

https://forum.hearingtracker.com
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

veggivet
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:07 pm
Location: New England

Re: Hearing aids

Post by veggivet » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:08 am

Can HSA funds be used to pay for hearing aids?

wrongfunds
Posts: 1728
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by wrongfunds » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:25 am

veggivet wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:08 am
Can HSA funds be used to pay for hearing aids?
Absolutely! As a matter of fact, when I got refund from the provider (as I said in my previous reply), I was able to put that money back in to HSA with some paperwork. I do NOT know if Costco is allowed under HSA but the audiologist shops are.

User avatar
catdude
Posts: 1524
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:11 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: Hearing aids

Post by catdude » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:05 pm

spectec wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:56 am
catdude wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:57 pm
I'm not the OP, but regardless, I want to thank y'all for this discussion. I've recently made the decision, after years of procrastination, to get hearing aids. This thread is very helpful to me... I've decided to go with Costco. It sounds like I can save a lot of money by doing so. Thanks again...
You should definitely check out the Hearing Tracker forum and participate in its discussions. It is a valuable resource for anyone using hearing aids or contemplating them for the first time. You can even post your audiogram and sometimes get discussions about your specific hearing issues.

https://forum.hearingtracker.com
Thanks for the link, it looks like an interesting and helpful site.
catdude | | The only thing between North Dakota and the North Pole is a barbed-wire fence.

chazas
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:22 pm

Re: Hearing aids

Post by chazas » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:27 pm

That't the best hearing aid forum, I learned a lot before I recently got my first aids.

I wanted Oticon OPN1s, and the sister Bernafon aids sold by Costco don't have the same sound processing paradigm. I was quoted $6500 by the first audiologist I visited. Instead I went through hearingrevolution.com, which refers you to a local audiologist and then sells you the aids for a drastically lower price. I got the OPN1s for $3700, including a year of followup audiologist visits, a supply of batteries and a three year warranty. Not as inexpensive as Costco aids, but still a good deal for the right person.

There are other referral services out there with similar business models. Just another option.

Post Reply