Hearing aid help

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CABob
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Hearing aid help

Post by CABob » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:52 pm

There have been a number of conversations about hearing aids over the past few years and I think I have read them all. I got my first hearing aids from Costco a few months ago based on conversations on this forum as well as recommendations by friends. They are the Costco Kirkland brand and I have been told they are made by Rexton.
My hearing problem is probably typical of age related conditions of difficulty in hearing higher frequency voices and general hearing difficulty in noisy atmosphere such as restaurants or other noisy rooms.
I have been back to Costco several times for adjustments, but I am just not convinced that they are helping my hearing condition to the extent I was looking for and am thinking about giving up on their use. I am still within the period to be able to return them and get a refund. The adjustments made have made sounds sound (does that make sense?) different but IMO have not improved my ability to comprehend better. The Costco tech has indicated that there are “better” hearing aids available made by Phonak that “might” be an improvement for an additional $1200 or so. I would probably be willing to pay the additional cost but at this point I’m not sure they would really be an improvement for me.
I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has been down this road. Has a change to hearing aid manufacturer made a significant improvement?
Bob

mortfree
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by mortfree » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:03 pm

What is your word recognition score (WRS)?

If it is a low percentage you are already behind the 8-ball and hearing aids cannot make up for that.

You have to rely on people enunciating and speaking clearly. Which never happens no matter how many times you tell someone.

Age 40 Trax42 HAs since October 2015. Hearing loss since birth but was able to survive without HAs for many years.

Have you visited the hearing aid forum?

mrb09
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by mrb09 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:16 pm

I'm in the same boat, too much rock 'n roll as a kid, now have high-frequency hearing loss and hearing aids.

I recently got some loaners from my audiologist when my current Phonaks were being refurbished. They were a generation or so older than my pair. There was a noticeable difference, they both do compression (moving higher frequencies lower, not just amplified) but the compression was very electronic sounding on the loaners, not very natural. Was super happy to get mine back. So there are differences. As always, the extent of your hearing loss and personal taste apply.

Also my experience was that I went to an audiologist every few weeks for several months while she slowly adjusted them up. If I had my full settings when I first got them, I would have been overwhelmed. I was pretty bad though, I thought something was wrong with my car when I first heard my blinker that I hadn't heard in years :) Still, took quite a while before I had a profile that worked for me.

jbranx
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by jbranx » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:30 pm

Hi Bob, I've been wearing aids in both ears since 1990 and have had pairs from quite a few manufacturers. My wife as well now has aids.

I don't have any personal experience with Costco, except that I have heard many users say they have good luck with them and appreciate the much lower cost. My brother in law has the Kirkland brand and has issues similar to yours.

My current aids, Oticon, are the best I've ever had. My wife likes her Phonaks. I've always used the small audiology shops, ranging from Manhattan to the West. My loss is classified as "severe" in both ears, so I have to have frequent adjustments/cleaning to hear well. Oticons are pretty good for being able to hear in noisy places like restaurants, but I have trouble hearing the TV, and must use a little Bluetooth device to talk on the cell phone.

If you happen to have an I-phone, the Phonaks have a setup that allows you to broadcast the signal directly to your aids. Androids at the moment do not. All the digital manufacturers can program the devices to your specific losses. I've also worn Resound, Widex, and Lyrics. The latter is an analog aid, but are inserted deep into the ear canal, are disposable after a couple months, and cost about $3000 per pair, per year. I found them to be excellent but they require quarterly visits to the audiologist, are not great in noisy environments, and one can wear a very good pair of aids for several years for the price of a couple years.

I guess my recommendation is to try a shop that will give you a good period of trial and see if the best brands work for you. Consumer Reports ranks Phonak the highest, followed very closely by Widex and Oticon. I paid about $6000 for my aids and recently tried out the latest Oticons for $7500 per pair and decided to wait a bit and see if they come out with an upgrade that will improve cell phone and TV listening for me. They were excellent, btw. Mine are behind the ear ones--more powerful--with key elements also inside the ear.

Hate to say it, but the price of good hearing is very high and the cheaper aids just won't work for some people like me. I strongly recommend a local shop that agrees to do regular cleaning and adjustments. My shop also includes three years of free batteries. Moisture, even a little, compromises aids tremendously, so both my wife and I have electronic dryers even for the low humidity out West.

Congress just took up a bill that will allow aids to be sold without going to an audiologist and at a low cost. AARP may have info on that bill. It would not surprise me at all for one of the tech companies to enter the business in the near future. Hope so, because the Europeans have a virtual monopoly on the high-end business currently, Starkey being an exception.

Best wishes
jbranx

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celia
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by celia » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:47 pm

Even if you have the "best" hearing aids there are, you need to clean them every so often as ear wax can get in them.

If you are not confident your Costco has the right audiologist and equipment for you, return them and go elsewhere. We like the ConnectHearing chain as their computer systems seem superior to other places we've been. Our current audiologist did a lot more testing and evaluation than other places before recommending a particular brand.

Some companies only carry one brand, so what do you think they will recommend?

sksbog
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by sksbog » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:50 pm

I have been using hearing aid from costco for 7 years now.
A year ago, I tried to switch to an good audiologist nearby. Let me tell, you, my experience.

Most Private audiologists would charge for adjustments and cleaning/consultation. They would give a visit or two free, but not follow-ups and aid-domes etc.

At costco, i have seen pretty much each of the 3 audiologists and i work with the one i like. All adjustments, consultations are free.

Apart from this, I have realized that I bought a hearing aid, not a new ear :)
It will be near as good as a replacement of my ear. Whenever I am in doubt about the aid, I just turn it off from my smartphone, and the t.v goes mute to me. Yeah, my hearing from that ear is that bad. and when I turn it on, I can hear from that ear again.

I am on my 3rd aid , rexton, which I like the best. As long as my ear is not sore and its comfortable, I am happy with it.

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CABob
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by CABob » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:30 pm

Thanks all for your responses. They have been helpful.
What is your word recognition score (WRS)?
I’m not sure but if this is the test to repeat words spoken by the tester I think I got most or perhaps all of them correct
You have to rely on people enunciating and speaking clearly. Which never happens no matter how many times you tell someone.
This I can relate to! :?: :confused
Even if you have the "best" hearing aids there are, you need to clean them every so often as ear wax can get in them.
I have been cleaning mine every night and taken them in to Costco for their cleaning about monthly.
Some companies only carry one brand, so what do you think they will recommend?
The first place I went to to discuss hearing aids recommended the “best” ones (I think they were Siemens) but they happened to be the only one that place sold. :annoyed
Apart from this, I have realized that I bought a hearing aid, not a new ear
It will be near as good as a replacement of my ear. Whenever I am in doubt about the aid, I just turn it off from my smartphone, and the t.v goes mute to me. Yeah, my hearing from that ear is that bad. and when I turn it on, I can hear from that ear again.
Interesting experience. In my case I can hear the TV without aids almost as well as with them. I guess that means my hearing is not as bad and/or the aids are just not doing the job.
Bob

mortfree
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by mortfree » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:51 pm

Do you have domes or an ear mold?

What is your main program - auto or something else?

Is there another Costco nearby (or within driving distance) that you could try to see if a different person can do better?

Have you requested or been given a Real Ear Test? I think this is an exam done with the hearing aids in your ears.

Hopefully you have also asked this on the forum I recommended. They are of great help there.

jhd1945
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by jhd1945 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:04 pm

Phonak has been the best setup for me. I have worn aids for the last 30 years and tried most brands. At this stage in life, I have a profound hearing loss. For about 4 years, I have had two of their best behind the ear instruments as well as the ComPilot and Roger Pen.
ComPilot allows me to connect to my IPhone as well as adjusting the volume and setting to my environment. It also connects to the Roger Pen.
The Roger Pen connects to the TV and sends the volume directly to my aids and I can control the volume independently. Other people listening can set the volume to suit them. It is portable and about the size of a fountain pen. I attend a lot of meetings around a conference table where one or more persons talk in a soft voice. I can lay the pen on the table an hear all. It seems like the table acts as a resonator to collect everyone's voice. You can also give it to a speaker to wear in their shirt pocket and it will transmit their voice to you but I have not had the need to do so. It is essentially a remote microphone.
No aid will restore natural hearing. No matter what, you will still miss things in a crowded environment i.e. a room full of people talking at once.
I would think Opticon and other quality suppliers would be able to replicate this setup.
I would get best that you can afford.
Regards

dongrussell
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by dongrussell » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:33 pm

I have had a number of hearing aids, and none have been completely satisfactory. Therefore, I am reluctant to spend thousands on something I am dubious about. I am insured with BCBS of Texas Medicare Advantage, which provides $1500 every three years for a pair of hearing aids, and uses the TruHearing network for further savings on hearing aids. I've been waiting for them to carry the new Resound Linx 3D 5, which advertises extreme clarity. They are finally in stock, and I'll get my fitting on Thursday.

CULater
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by CULater » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:41 pm

I'm a new user also, having experienced complete hearing loss in one ear recently. Hearing tests also revealed the infamous high-frequency hearing loss in the the good ear that is typical as we age. Initially, I got a pair of normal hearing aids from Costco (Resound) and was quite satisfied with the thoroughness of their hearing test and fitting. However, the total hearing loss in one ear requires that I use a type of hearing aid called a bi-Cros, which is a normal hearing aid in the "good" ear with an identical-looking device in the dead ear that actually transmits sound from the bad ear side to the good ear device. Costco does not provide these, so I returned the ones I had gotten from them. They have a great no-pain return policy.

I've now visited five different audio clinics in the last few months and been fit with two different hearing aid brands by three of them. Each time, I've gotten a week or two to try them out for "free". If you decide to purchase, you then have a 30 - 45 day trial period during which you can return the aids, usually minus a fitting fee that can be from $100-$250. I'd recommend trying out some higher-end hearing aids at several audio shops, and trying different brands. I've found that the audiologist doing the fitting and fine-tuning is probably more important than the actual hearing aid. Make sure they take the time to explain things in detail and that they have a lot of experience fitting the brand you are interested in. Don't be shy about asking to try out different brands for a week or so before committing to anything. Prices can vary all over the place too on the expensive brands, so don't be shy about comparison shopping. It is quite common to be able to negotiate a lower price, using the lowest price you get from different providers. It is a little bit like buying a new car -- there is probably a huge markup on these things. I routinely would get a quoted price with a large "courtesy discount", or "monthly special". Unfortunately, I'm finding that hearing aid fitting is probably more of an art than a science and that you need to keep slogging through different providers until you get the result you want. It is a journey and not a destination.
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

OnTrack
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by OnTrack » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:55 pm

Can a person buy hearing aids at Costco without a membership? I understand that the pharmacy must sell to people without memberships so maybe it is similar for heating aids.

mhalley
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by mhalley » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:12 am

My understanding is you can see the optometrist and audiologist for an exam, but must be member to buy glasses, contacts and hearing aids.
http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-non-m ... -eye-exams

carolinaman
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by carolinaman » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:57 am

CABob wrote:There have been a number of conversations about hearing aids over the past few years and I think I have read them all. I got my first hearing aids from Costco a few months ago based on conversations on this forum as well as recommendations by friends. They are the Costco Kirkland brand and I have been told they are made by Rexton.
My hearing problem is probably typical of age related conditions of difficulty in hearing higher frequency voices and general hearing difficulty in noisy atmosphere such as restaurants or other noisy rooms.
I have been back to Costco several times for adjustments, but I am just not convinced that they are helping my hearing condition to the extent I was looking for and am thinking about giving up on their use. I am still within the period to be able to return them and get a refund. The adjustments made have made sounds sound (does that make sense?) different but IMO have not improved my ability to comprehend better. The Costco tech has indicated that there are “better” hearing aids available made by Phonak that “might” be an improvement for an additional $1200 or so. I would probably be willing to pay the additional cost but at this point I’m not sure they would really be an improvement for me.
I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has been down this road. Has a change to hearing aid manufacturer made a significant improvement?
I have the same challenges as you. I am on my second set of HAs. The first was Resound from an audiologist at an ENT. HA died after 5 years and I tried Costco. After hearing test conducted by an audiologist, I was told my hearing loss was moderate to severe depending upon the sound. I was fitted with their Kirkland Signature, which I am told is Resound. I have had this set for 2 years, and they have helped in most situations but I still have trouble in noisy environments, especially with female voice. Fortunately, now that I am retired, that is not as much a hindrance as it was when working.

I have found Costco more helpful and just as competent as the doctor of audiology at the ENT, and their price is definitely much better. Based upon the comments on this post, it sounds like I should explore more options.

You may know this, but both audiologists have told me that you should use HAs once you have a hearing loss, or otherwise you may suffer permanent hearing loss, even with HAs.

CULater
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by CULater » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:33 am

carolinaman -

I agree with you that Costco seemed as professional, if not more so, than the audiologists I've dealt with hearing aid shops. I suppose it's because the people at HA shops have incentives to sell product and are not just healthcare providers; whereas, the Costco staff do not. The other time I felt that the audiologist took more time was at a University HA clinic. Seems like most of the time I didn't get as much time with the audiologists in HA shops, either in the selection of aids or the fitting process. The fitting process was over in 5 minutes. If there is a University HA clinic in your area, I'd recommend trying them. Two of my fittings were at shops affiliated with an ENT practice, but that was no guarantee of quality. It all depends on the individual audiologist you wind up with in HA clinics and how patient-centered they are. Probably the best audiologist I've dealt with worked for a "chain" of HA shops in the Phoenix area, but even then she seemed overbooked and I felt somewhat rushed. I think this is the reason you might want to consider visiting more than one shop to increase the odds of finding a good audi to work with.

The tricky part of wearing hearing aids is that they say your brain must "adapt" to the sound they produce. So when you are experiencing sound you don't like that's often the explanation. With high frequency loss, the volume of the sound at high frequencies seemed cranked up too high for me and unpleasant. Noticeable when watching TV with female voices, kid's screaming, etc. Makes background noise in restaurants worse. It's very difficult to determine if it's your brain or the hearing aids causing the problem. You might ask the Costco people to drop the boost at high frequencies, or even the overall volume to see if that helps. They can always do that and then slowly ramp the high frequencies up to your prescription over time if needed to understand speech. My current audi did that just yesterday with the Phonaks I was going to return, and I've been pleasantly surprised so far at the change. I might actually keep these if they continue to be good.

Another thing you can try is the Rexton hearing aids at Costco. They are made by Siemens and there is an app you can download to your smartphone that lets you control the volume and the balance between bass (low freq) and treble (high freq). Siemens also makes a brand called Signia, which is like the Rextons. I am trying these and they are pretty good. Miracle Ear uses the Siemens technology in their hearing aids. The audi can also set up a second program for noisy environments on the Sextons that you can use the app to select, and it might help. You can experiment a bit with this to see if you can find settings that help. Noisy environments are a bear, however, and will never be easy. Many people just pull out their hearing aids in noisy places. In my case, I only have to pull out ONE, since the other ear is dead. :x
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

carolinaman
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by carolinaman » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:59 am

CULater wrote:carolinaman -

I agree with you that Costco seemed as professional, if not more so, than the audiologists I've dealt with hearing aid shops. I suppose it's because the people at HA shops have incentives to sell product and are not just healthcare providers; whereas, the Costco staff do not. The other time I felt that the audiologist took more time was at a University HA clinic. Seems like most of the time I didn't get as much time with the audiologists in HA shops, either in the selection of aids or the fitting process. The fitting process was over in 5 minutes. If there is a University HA clinic in your area, I'd recommend trying them. Two of my fittings were at shops affiliated with an ENT practice, but that was no guarantee of quality. It all depends on the individual audiologist you wind up with in HA clinics and how patient-centered they are. Probably the best audiologist I've dealt with worked for a "chain" of HA shops in the Phoenix area, but even then she seemed overbooked and I felt somewhat rushed. I think this is the reason you might want to consider visiting more than one shop to increase the odds of finding a good audi to work with.

The tricky part of wearing hearing aids is that they say your brain must "adapt" to the sound they produce. So when you are experiencing sound you don't like that's often the explanation. With high frequency loss, the volume of the sound at high frequencies seemed cranked up too high for me and unpleasant. Noticeable when watching TV with female voices, kid's screaming, etc. Makes background noise in restaurants worse. It's very difficult to determine if it's your brain or the hearing aids causing the problem. You might ask the Costco people to drop the boost at high frequencies, or even the overall volume to see if that helps. They can always do that and then slowly ramp the high frequencies up to your prescription over time if needed to understand speech. My current audi did that just yesterday with the Phonaks I was going to return, and I've been pleasantly surprised so far at the change. I might actually keep these if they continue to be good.

Another thing you can try is the Rexton hearing aids at Costco. They are made by Siemens and there is an app you can download to your smartphone that lets you control the volume and the balance between bass (low freq) and treble (high freq). Siemens also makes a brand called Signia, which is like the Rextons. I am trying these and they are pretty good. Miracle Ear uses the Siemens technology in their hearing aids. The audi can also set up a second program for noisy environments on the Sextons that you can use the app to select, and it might help. You can experiment a bit with this to see if you can find settings that help. Noisy environments are a bear, however, and will never be easy. Many people just pull out their hearing aids in noisy places. In my case, I only have to pull out ONE, since the other ear is dead. :x
Thanks CULater. I plan to visit Costco soon to see what adjustments they can make. I do adjust my HAs with iphone app provided by Costco. It has a restaurant option that is very handy in noisy environments. It helps but is not a total solution to my problem.

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Hearing aid help

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:12 pm

heard about this (no pun intended) on Clark Howard:

https://www.ihearmedical.com/

$499 per device

You can test your hearing at home for $69:

https://www.ihearmedical.com/ihear-test/
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