Hearing aid 101

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mrc
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by mrc » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:53 pm

LWalker wrote:Careful not to lose track of disc batteries - if one drops, find it.

Yes, like all batteries, dispose in hazardous waste. Sometimes the audiologists' offices have a jar.


Mom's HAs use zinc-air batteries. Newer ones are mercury free and can be discarded in the regular trash.
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by Boglegrappler » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:59 pm

I have one hearing aid. I started out with the completely in the canal (CIC) model that was a Siemans, from the audiologist associated with my ENT. I wore it for about a year and a half, and finally decided that it wasn't amplifying enough. The audiologist was mechanically/technically incompetent, imo, and had trouble getting the programming cable inserted properly in the aid. He also tried to keep me from asking for multiple settings selectable by me using the toggle button on the aid. Claimed that they weren't available with my aid, but I had read the manual and pointed out that he was wrong. Seemed annoyed to have an informed patient with his own view of what he needed.

So I stopped wearing it for a while, and then finally went to Costco, largely because they'll let you try one out in the store and walk around with it before you buy one. That turned out to be much better. The test and adjustment worked well, and the Costco guy did what I asked him to. (It seems they're trained to not turn the gain up very high initially, and then to have your come back if you have a gripe. I told him to turn it up all the way, and let me complain if it was too loud. This is not the way they're trained, but he complied.)

I went with an over the ear model that was more powerful than the first, and I got a remote control that allows me to fiddle with the settings a little bit. (The Costco "receptionist" tried to dissuade me from buying it, and I realized after the fact that it adds complications to programming and linking the remote. ) I like the remote control. They apparently now do it largely with bluetooth from your smart phone.

Your hearing won't be as good as a good ear, but if you need the aid, you'll come to realize it. I certainly do. Good luck. Just be prepared to encounter a business that sells to people who can't hear and often aren't that well educated. Its not that wonderful to deal with. Having said that, Costco is better, IMO.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by S&L1940 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:59 pm

Sometimes, like an end of year car sale, you can find last year's model for less
The bells and whistles do not make major leaps from year to year or may not be as crucial for your needs.
The main drawback could be that the manufacturer will only service the aids for several years as opposed to newer models with a longer warranty
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IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:46 pm

I have a question for those of you with hearing aids. How many visits did you have to make for initial adjustments and how often for maintenance thereafter? I ask because the Costco option is tempting but we live about 45 minutes from the nearest Costco but there are audiologists much closer. If it is just a few trips up front and then very infrequent followups, Costco is probably workable.

clip651
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by clip651 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:24 pm

IowaFarmBoy wrote:I have a question for those of you with hearing aids. How many visits did you have to make for initial adjustments and how often for maintenance thereafter? I ask because the Costco option is tempting but we live about 45 minutes from the nearest Costco but there are audiologists much closer. If it is just a few trips up front and then very infrequent followups, Costco is probably workable.


I have watched/helped a couple of family members adjust to hearing aids in the past few years. Visit were pretty frequent. Every few weeks to a month at first, then every 4-8 weeks or so after that. Even three years into it, for a family member of mine that has adjusted well to the hearing aids, she is still going back every 4-8 weeks to get the aids checked, cleaned, adjusted if needed, have excess wax removed from her ears, etc. On top of that I have driven over to the shop a couple of times without the hearing aid wearer to drop off and pick up aids have them fixed for family members - anything from a minor repair, to diagnostics, to full repair work (one aid was stepped on and smashed).

Because of frequent maintenance and adjustment visits, I wouldn't want to be more than 10-20 minutes from the place that willbe doing that work if you can avoid it.

I will put in recommendation to see multiple audiologists/facilities for hearing tests, evaluations, and recommendations before deciding where to buy the aids. Because of the frequent maintenance, you're going to be dealing with that office/person frequently. One of my family member had three different hearing tests (all with pretty similar results and recommendations for appropriate hearing aids) before deciding on a provider that she was really comfortable with. (The others weren't bad - just not a good fit for her preferences. She ended up in a small independent shop with an audiologist she really liked working with. I think she would have hated going to Costco over and over for these visits, but everyone is different.)

Also as others have mentioned, there is an adjustment period and learning curve when first getting hearing aids. They are very helpful, but they aren't necessarily perfectly enjoyable immediately. Your brain needs to re-adjust to hearing some background noises that may have disappeared from your recent experience (e.g. hearing the fridge run, hearing clocks tick, hearing other people breathe!). Be prepared to be persistent and patient with the process, and to keep getting the things adjusted as you adjust to them. My family members took 3-6 months or so to get nicely adjusted to their hearing aids when they first started wearing them. It's worth getting them for many reasons. Dementia prevention is one reason, simply being able to communicate with other people more easily is another.

Good luck with it!
cj

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by mortfree » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:34 pm

IowaFarmBoy wrote:I have a question for those of you with hearing aids. How many visits did you have to make for initial adjustments and how often for maintenance thereafter? I ask because the Costco option is tempting but we live about 45 minutes from the nearest Costco but there are audiologists much closer. If it is just a few trips up front and then very infrequent followups, Costco is probably workable.


I have Costco aids. 1.5 hrs from home

I had:
Hearing exam October 2015
Hearing aid pickup 7-10 days later
Follow up appt 3 days later
Follow up appt 2 weeks later
Follow up appt 4 weeks later

I do all of my own maintenance and haven't gone in for an adjustment since November/December 2015

I've stopped in 3 times to pick up batteries and supplies since then

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by S&L1940 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:40 pm

IowaFarmBoy wrote:I have a question for those of you with hearing aids. How many visits did you have to make for initial adjustments and how often for maintenance thereafter? I ask because the Costco option is tempting but we live about 45 minutes from the nearest Costco but there are audiologists much closer. If it is just a few trips up front and then very infrequent followups, Costco is probably workable.

one of the justifications (?) for the high price of aids is the follow up adjustments and maintenance service. I guess that is why buying website aids can be less expensive.
Price different providers and ask for their suggestions as to models like in the ear and behind the ear and in the canal and what kind of warranty and service they will perform over the years. depending on the complexity of the fit, initially, there can be 2-3 visits within a month. and figure you may be back a couple of times a year (with a return visit for pickups if the aid needs to be sent out for service. make sure you need all the bells and whistles that boost the cost - like, remote control sound adjustment and Bluetooth connectivity. good luck

edit: Costco has the best deal on batteries (unless you can get them free somewhere) you get them at the service desk next to the check registers
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mrc
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by mrc » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:24 am

S&L1940 wrote:edit: Costco has the best deal on batteries (unless you can get them free somewhere) you get them at the service desk next to the check registers


One of the reasons my mom liked her boutique $6K pair so much was the free :oops: batteries.

We bought the latest pair from Costco ($1200). There were four visits (initial evaluation, pickup, and two adjustments). In this case, Costco was a good idea.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

clip651
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by clip651 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:30 am

mrc wrote:
We bought the latest pair from Costco ($1200). There were four visits (initial evaluation, pickup, and two adjustments). In this case, Costco was a good idea.


It sounds like that has worked fine for her.

Watching my family members adjust to wearing hearing aids for the first time the past few years, four visits wouldn't have been enough to get them through more than the first 6 months or less of use. The ongoing followup visits/adjustments have been valuable, IMO (I've attended these sessions with them, and am around the family members enough to see how they are managing day to day living in various sound conditions).

My family members were on the older end of senior (80+, not newly retired), and probably should have gotten aids years earlier. Not sure how much of that is a factor, as the aids themselves seem to need some regular maintenance (deeper cleaning than we can do at home, tubes changed for behind the ear model, etc).

Everyone's MMV, but I would recommend first time users at least make sure additional followup visits for adjustments are readily available, whether included in initial purchase price, or available at an additional fee as needed.

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mrc
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by mrc » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:07 pm

Agreed clip. Mom's 90 now. The Costco purchase wasn't her first pair. These aids don't need the maintenance work that her former ones did (or did they??), that depends a lot on the type. So yes, the pro/con starts with the local audiologist's price. For us, $1200 vs north of $6K, it was an easy decision. For others, it may not be that straight-forward.
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wrongfunds
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by wrongfunds » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:09 pm

This is like anything else which is Made in China. You can buy generic hardware for $300 or pay $3000 for the brand name. I have great hearing in one ear but very poor in the other. For $350 per ear, I took a chance on MDHearingAid. The kit came with tubing and multiple dome sizes for self-fitting. It is fully digital and has 4 modes. It definitely helps.

I agree with you in terms of the exorbitant cost. One should be able to buy this for $2.99 each and should be disposable given where the current technology is.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by azurekep » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:23 pm

I have a family member looking at getting a hearing aid and has both a Costco and Sam's club nearby. But getting to Costco is a traffic nightmare. She's willing to do it, but I'm wondering about the differences in price, quality and service between Sam's Club and Costco.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by likegarden » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:01 pm

I have a Siemens hearing aid in each ear, did cost $3300 four years ago. I only wear the hearing aids when needed. I might have gone twice initially to the audiologist, but never every 4 weeks as some here do. After 4 years, I think I should visit again. I buy batteries via the internet. I love it to take the hearing aid out in case people in my car while driving become too noisy.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by MichaelRpdx » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:32 pm

wrongfunds wrote:I agree with you in terms of the exorbitant cost. One should be able to buy this for $2.99 each and should be disposable given where the current technology is.
I disagree about the exorbitant cost. In your ear is not just an amplifier but a signal processing computer that selectively boosts frequency ranges and in some newer ones distinguishes between voice and other sounds, for example, wind noise.
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wrongfunds
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by wrongfunds » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:38 pm

May be I was exaggerating little bit but the hardware inside is not worth more than $19.99 The one I paid $350 already has 4-modes and noise cancelling built in. As you said, it is lot more than a tiny amplifier. It is a digital signal processor. But that is why it can be built so cheaply and the costs will only be going down.

I have no doubt that in few years, that price would be lot less and it will be sold with user configurable frequency response iPhone app.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by hudson » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:47 pm

mortfree wrote:
IowaFarmBoy wrote:I have a question for those of you with hearing aids. How many visits did you have to make for initial adjustments and how often for maintenance thereafter? I ask because the Costco option is tempting but we live about 45 minutes from the nearest Costco but there are audiologists much closer. If it is just a few trips up front and then very infrequent followups, Costco is probably workable.

I have Costco aids. 1.5 hrs from home
I had:
Hearing exam October 2015
Hearing aid pickup 7-10 days later
Follow up appt 3 days later
Follow up appt 2 weeks later
Follow up appt 4 weeks later
I do all of my own maintenance and haven't gone in for an adjustment since November/December 2015
I've stopped in 3 times to pick up batteries and supplies since then


My experience was like Mortfree's. I made several visits to Costco to get adjustments and ask questions. I haven't been back for over a year and probably won't need to go back. I compared prices with a local audiologist. The audiologist would have sold me about the same item that I got from Costco for twice the cost. I'm a satisfied Costco hearing aid buyer.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by S&L1940 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:01 pm

hudson wrote:My experience was like Mortfree's. I made several visits to Costco to get adjustments and ask questions. I haven't been back for over a year and probably won't need to go back. I compared prices with a local audiologist. The audiologist would have sold me about the same item that I got from Costco for twice the cost. I'm a satisfied Costco hearing aid buyer.

not a bad idea to re-test and possibly adjust your settings. presumably that would be at no cost - or at a minimum depending on how long out you are since the original purchase.
over time there could be subtle changes in your hearing and a tune up may be in order. and at least you can pick up a good buy on paper goods while you are there.
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by CULater » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:38 pm

Starting out with hearing aids and was fitted with a pair of ReSound Lynx2 aids by local ENT hearing aid center to the tune of $5K. Right ear is very bad and the sound level keeps automatically dropping very low in that hearing aid (I've had them for just a week). Have been back to the hearing aid center three times already. They reprogrammed it, replaced the behind-the-ear component, and finally replaced the earpiece component. Nothing has worked so far.

Based on many favorable comments by other posters, I decided to wander into the local Costco today and found that they sell a ReSound hearing aid for half what I paid ($2500) and they told me that it is basically equivalent to the Lynx2. So, I'm thinking of returning the ones I have and trying out the Costco ones. Maybe they won't work either, but Costco has a 180 day full refund return policy and services hearing aids for the life of the units, plus you can go to any Costco and aren't limited to a local hearing aid store if you travel or snow-bird. Both the local hearing aid center and Costco recommended the ReSound aids for my particular hearing loss, since it is quite bad in the right ear.
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by Small Law Survivor » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:56 pm

I saw an audiologist and ENT last week, and they urged me, at age 66 , to get hearing aids for both ears. I don't doubt that they are correct - I do need these.

They also urged me to purchase them from the hearing facility that they work for (Harvard Vanguard in Boston). I assume (although I don't know) that there is some financial incentive for the audiologist/ENT to encourage patients to purchase from their organization.

However, I have seen members here recommend Costco (that got a reaction from the Harvard Vanguard people), as well as products like "MDHearingAid" -

https://www.mdhearingaid.com/

MDHearingAid had a full page ad in a recent issue of the New Yorker, and I see that one person on this thread mentioned it (although s/he had not used this product, as of the post date).

I'm hoping to update the thread and learn whether BHs have found any other hearing aid options. The idea of dropping $6,000 for a couple of hearing aids is ... painful.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by S&L1940 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:32 pm

I am sure somewhere in this thread I have posted something like the following:
hearing loss that is mainly diminished sound can be helped by aids to pump up the sound and somewhat select/focus on the desired source of the sound
hearing loss because of not hearing clearly is not helped all that much by aids
you will hear conversations in a crowded restaurant, both at your table and those around you
YET, if clarity is the problem, you may need to ask your friends to speak with closed captions :wink:
thank goodness the dear wife has both good hearing and a good memory so that we can review the evenings' conversations later in the comfort of our (quiet) bedroom...
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Small Law Survivor
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by Small Law Survivor » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:37 pm

hearing loss that is mainly diminished sound can be helped by aids to pump up the sound and somewhat select/focus on the desired source of the sound
hearing loss because of not hearing clearly is not helped all that much by aids


Hmmm ... I really don't know which of these two issues I have (!)

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by S&L1940 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:02 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
hearing loss that is mainly diminished sound can be helped by aids to pump up the sound and somewhat select/focus on the desired source of the sound
hearing loss because of not hearing clearly is not helped all that much by aids


Hmmm ... I really don't know which of these two issues I have (!)

not all that difficult. If you see their lips moving, and hear their voices loud but can not understand what is being said, a more sophisticated aid would help but not totally solve the loss.
see their lips moving and can barely hear what is being said, amplification may be enough.
the hearing tests (and get the test read out) should show where you are. the audio person - many times a tech but not an audiologist - should provide your answer. review this thread and you should find many positive comments about Costco both for service and costs. service is a key point because you may need adjustments over the years.
like buying a car, sometimes last year's model and less bells and whistles (not a pun) could be a good fit at a lesser cost :)
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by CABob » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:10 pm

hearing loss because of not hearing clearly

I believe that this is my problem and I haven't really found a satisfactory solution.
I was out visiting friends recently who were showing me their new Amazon Echo. I had difficulty understanding Alexa even at a fairly high volume level.
A few evenings prior I was at a crowded and noisy restaurant and had trouble understanding the waitress.
In both cases I heard it but had trouble understanding it.
Bob

clip651
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by clip651 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:45 pm

CABob wrote:
hearing loss because of not hearing clearly

I believe that this is my problem and I haven't really found a satisfactory solution.
I was out visiting friends recently who were showing me their new Amazon Echo. I had difficulty understanding Alexa even at a fairly high volume level.
A few evenings prior I was at a crowded and noisy restaurant and had trouble understanding the waitress.
In both cases I heard it but had trouble understanding it.


Good hearing aids that are customized for you based on your hearing loss can probably help with that. Certain pitches contribute to the ability to distinguish consonants, for example. Go get yourself evaluated, the sooner the better. And give yourself time to adjust to the new aids if you need them and get them. The longer you delay the more you lose in the meanwhile.

I have watched family members go through this, and wish they had been evaluated years earlier. But the aids have definitely helped them.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by kolea » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:23 pm

clip651 wrote:
CABob wrote:
hearing loss because of not hearing clearly

I believe that this is my problem and I haven't really found a satisfactory solution.
I was out visiting friends recently who were showing me their new Amazon Echo. I had difficulty understanding Alexa even at a fairly high volume level.
A few evenings prior I was at a crowded and noisy restaurant and had trouble understanding the waitress.
In both cases I heard it but had trouble understanding it.


Good hearing aids that are customized for you based on your hearing loss can probably help with that. Certain pitches contribute to the ability to distinguish consonants, for example. Go get yourself evaluated, the sooner the better. And give yourself time to adjust to the new aids if you need them and get them. The longer you delay the more you lose in the meanwhile.

I have watched family members go through this, and wish they had been evaluated years earlier. But the aids have definitely helped them.


I am in the boat also of needing hearing aids but am worried that they will be effective. I not only have loss of hearing but pretty bad distortion with an overlay of tinnitus that can vary from a whine to a deafening roar. The audiologist I saw commented that my left ear was bad enough that it probably would not benefit much from an aid. I worry that even though there seems to be a 30-day trial period, that it will take longer than that to really see if they are effective. I need to do something as it is frustrating to not hear people but I am having trouble getting over my skepticism.

Has anyone had success with hearing aids overcoming hearing distortion with severe tinnitus?
Kolea (pron. ko-lay-uh). Golden plover.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by InMyDreams » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:42 pm

I mentioned this on another thread about hearing aids:
My father bought his first hearing aids from Costco - they worked well, and the service transferred when he moved.

But a few years later, he finally acted on his ongoing problems, and went to the local teaching hospital's audiology department, and bought a new pair. It's still a struggle, but he has had excellent support thru them. As mentioned in other responses, a great audiologist is a huge asset.

The cost of just the hearing aids is only a portion of the price you are paying. Yes, the price is steep - but the support that you get from the audiologist over the lifespan of the aids is a significant portion of that price.

I've appreciated going to our teaching hospital - the audiologist is salaried, not working on commission. I have more faith in her opinion, as I feel it is unbiased.

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by CABob » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:12 pm

clip651 wrote:
CABob wrote:
hearing loss because of not hearing clearly

I believe that this is my problem and I haven't really found a satisfactory solution.
I was out visiting friends recently who were showing me their new Amazon Echo. I had difficulty understanding Alexa even at a fairly high volume level.
A few evenings prior I was at a crowded and noisy restaurant and had trouble understanding the waitress.
In both cases I heard it but had trouble understanding it.


Good hearing aids that are customized for you based on your hearing loss can probably help with that. Certain pitches contribute to the ability to distinguish consonants, for example. Go get yourself evaluated, the sooner the better. And give yourself time to adjust to the new aids if you need them and get them. The longer you delay the more you lose in the meanwhile.

I have watched family members go through this, and wish they had been evaluated years earlier. But the aids have definitely helped them.

I guess I forgot to mention that I already have hearing aids and the problems described are while wearing them. I got them at Costco. I've been back for one adjustment and will probably go back again, but as of now I can't see that they are helping a lot.
Bob

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by mrc » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:32 am

Found out last visit to Costco audiologist that my mom's hearing hadn't changed -- as measured by raising a hand when you hear the different tone frequencies. But that her word comprehension had plummeted -- as measured by "say the word X" tests. This was after a period of the current aids needing service (blocked with earwax). I do not doubt the competency of the Costco audiologist compared to the audiologist at the much more expensive boutique. Costco cleaned the Kirkland HAs, and scheduled a retest in a couple months after mom had a chance to retrain the brain, suspecting she was living in language isolation.
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by JPH » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:19 pm

For me the services of a doctoral level audiologist have been very important. I bought my first hearing aids from a hearing aid fitter, and they never performed adequately. I don't like the business model where a health care professional needs to sell a product to get paid, but that's the way it works for now. I would gladly pay for the professional services of my audiologist, but all services for the life of the hearing aids is built into the purchase price. On my last visit the audiologist noticed that my warranty would expire soon, and there was some scuffing on the case, which suggested possible internal damage as well. She returned both to the maker, and they provided two brand new hearing aides. Costco may provide equivalent service, I have not given them a chance.
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:31 am

Thought I would post my story to add a data point.

Last November, based on DW's observations about how loud I wanted the TV, etc, I went in to an audiologist (recommended by a friend) for a hearing check confident that I would be test ok and that I could then ignore her comments. Silly me. Turns out I do have moderate hearing loss in the 40-50 decible range. Pretty much a normal profile for an almost 60 year old guy with a history of farm equipment and power tools. Loss is mainly at the higher frequencies.

The audiologist let me try a sample pair in the office but they seemed way over-amplified. I was kind of freaked out by all this and didn't sign up for a free trial period. I had also seen relatives struggling with their hearing aids and wasn't confident that they would really help. The audiologist called me faithfully about once a month for several months to see if I was ready. This is probably a good indication of the profits in selling hearing aids.

Based on this thread, Costco interested me because of the price and the 6 month return policy if I didn't like them so after the first of the year, I went into our local Costco for a hearing check. One ear tested about the same as the audiologist had, the other showed losses around 90 db. This seemed strange since I hadn't noticed rapid deterioration and my ears seemed to both function at about the same level. The staff at Costco freaked out and told me to see an ENT asap in case something was really wrong.

My ENT worked me in pretty quickly for a checkup and found nothing really wrong so I think I got a bad test at Costco. He scheduled me for a full hearing test with one of the audiologists in his office and was confident they could help my hearing loss. The second audiologist came up with test results basically the same as the first audiologist and this time I went for the six week trial starting in Mid-May.

I've been satisfied with the results after about 4 months. I bought the high end of what they offered (Siemens) at about $6k for the pair. I would say they function more like an equalizer than an amplifier- they boost the higher frequencies quite a bit and leave the bass sounds at a lower level. I find that I can hear better in meetings- particularly higher pitched voices. And the TV can be kept at a lower volume, which solves the original problem. I am also hearing noises (like fingernails clicking on keyboards) that I wasn't before.

Observations:
1) As several have mentioned, a good audiologist is very important. I suspect the first one I saw was good but I wasn't ready and was a little put off by the insistent marketing. I really like the second one and her approach was not as high pressure.
2) I'm not sure what to say about Costco. Many here are happy and the price difference is huge. But they basically blew the hearing test which doesn't inspire confidence. Was I one in a million or one in 20? I wish I had thought to have them reverse the ear buds to the other ears. That probably would have saved an office visit with my ENT. My ENT didn't like Costco but they are competitors.
3) If you have loss like this, hearing aids can help. I am hearing better and can adjust them based on the situation, like noisy environments or low talkers in meetings. I have a nice phone app that lets me adjust the volume and I can also stream music through the hearing aids.

daveydoo
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by daveydoo » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:59 am

IowaFarmBoy wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:31 am

I've been satisfied with the results after about 4 months. I bought the high end of what they offered (Siemens) at about $6k for the pair. I would say they function more like an equalizer than an amplifier- they boost the higher frequencies quite a bit and leave the bass sounds at a lower level. I find that I can hear better in meetings- particularly higher pitched voices. And the TV can be kept at a lower volume, which solves the original problem. I am also hearing noises (like fingernails clicking on keyboards) that I wasn't before.
I know this is "only" one person's experience, but I found this incredibly helpful! Thanks for sharing!

wrongfunds
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by wrongfunds » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:55 pm

If you need hearing aid for single ear, you should try sites similar to MDHearingAID I used them until I lost it on vacation. The $350 loss hurts but I guess not as much as $3000! This is my way of saying, if the $300 does not work for you, you can purchase the $6K later.

CULater
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by CULater » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:52 pm

I have met with 4 different audiologists at 5 different providers; 4 at professional ENT offices and 1 at Costco. The 4 ENT audiologists were all "doctors" of audiology. In my opinion, none of the 4 professionals have really spent enough time or worked with me enough that I felt I was really receiving thorough and informed consultation. It always seems like they are overbooked and don't have a lot of time. I think it's a marketing business more than a medical business. Actually, I thought that Costco provided the most thorough testing and fitting. They were the only ones that put a little probe into my ear after the hearing aid was fitted that is supposed to measure the actual amplification benefit of the aid objectively. For my money, Costco was as good as the others and the audiologist was not a "doctor", but a hearing aid technician.

Also, I tried 5 different hearing aids: a ReSound Lynx that cost $5500, the Costco ReSound for $2500, two different Siemens sets that cost about $4500, and finally a Phonak set for about $3800. Not really any differences worth writing about. My problem is that I have almost total hearing loss in one ear and diminished hearing in the other. After trying the first two sets (ReSounds), I got tested again and they recommended not trying to aid the dead ear, so I went with CROS hearing aids; the aid in the bad ear is actually a transmitter that beams the sound coming to that ear to the aid in the good ear. This is a sort of half-assed solution. Sometimes I find it useful when I'm in a pretty quiet environment and I want to hear someone better on my dead ear side. But in a noise environment (which is - like - everywhere you go), it actually makes things even worse. I ended up with the Phonak CROS just because I got tired of trying them out. The Siemens CROS was about the same.

Hey, I'd just go with Costco if you need conventional hearing aids and be done with it. You might get lucky and hit a wonderful audiologist somewhere who will work and work with you. I'd be willing to pay for that, but good luck finding one. I'm not sure what advice to offer to narrow you odds.
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

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Sheepdog
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by Sheepdog » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:06 pm

I made a comment last year on this thread. I have something new to contribute. One of my two aids failed a few months ago. It was about 6 years old. So I investigated in getting a replacement through my Medicare Advantage plan (an extra coverage along with dental which I added...not an expensive addition.) My audiologist which I have used the last 6 years is not a preferred provider for hearing aids, but she is as a professional audiologist.) My Advantage plan, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, wished me to go through their national hearing aid firm. They gave to me a local hearing aid provider to assist, not an audiologist, but he provided the same type of tests as the audiologist. He suggested Widex aids to provide me with two aids, and a year's worth of batteries. The quality of sound is wonderful, perhaps a little better than my previous Phonak for clarity of sound, especially children's voices and theater performances. The extra premium for hearing and dental on my insurance policy was about $76 a month. These hearing aids and batteries cost $3000 and was covered completely by the insurance with no co pay. Let me tell you...I was surprised...very. Amazing coverage with good hearing aids. .
People should not say everything they think. They should think about everything they say.

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LarryG
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by LarryG » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:31 pm

A number of years ago I purchased an expensive hearing aid from the audiologist in the ENT clinic. I never was sure that I was able to hear better and didn't wear it very often.
Two years ago I was tested at Costco and was assured that I really did have significant hearing loss. I was fitted for behind the ear hearing aids and experienced significant gain in my hearing.
I have my hearing aids cleaned and checked every three months and have a yearly hearing check to see if there is any need to adjust the hearing aids (at no cost).
Possibly the more expensive hearing aids sold in ENT departments might provide additional benefits (I'm not sure what they would be), but I am able to hear well with no distortion and will return to Costco if I need to replace my current hearing aids.
LarryG

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heartwood
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by heartwood » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:09 pm

The 8/26/17 WSJ had an editorial https://www.wsj.com/articles/hearing-ai ... 1503701509

that reported, in part,

"President Trump recently signed a Food and Drug Administration funding bill that includes a directive for the agency to develop standards for over-the-counter hearing aids. These will be sold like cough medicine or reading glasses, and the new category will cover technology for mild or moderate hearing loss. The idea, put forth by Reps. Joseph Kennedy (D., Mass.), Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) and others enjoyed bipartisan support in both chambers."

It also echos comments I've made in the past about how Moore's Law seems to have not been allowed to apply to hearing aids.

"All of this will be great for consumers: Medical devices in many cases have lagged behind other electronics. A person can buy a Fitbit , noise canceling headphones from Bose and other sophisticated devices, yet simple products like hearing aids haven’t improved nearly as much, and government interference is one reason. Few will notice this accomplishment by Congress, but it’s a classic example of a market improvement that will expand choice and benefit public health."

After all I can now buy an iphone x that can recognize me and so much more for $1000.

I also wonder what the hearing aid market is like outside the US and current FDA regulations. Anyone know what you do in the EU or Asia or elsewhere non-US? Any OTC there? Pricing?

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mrc
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by mrc » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:18 pm

Be careful putting off getting hearing aids for too long, or leaving them in a drawer once you get them, or letting them get dirty so they are not working well. I'm told the neural pathways associated with hearing/speech recognition deteriorate without use, and the loss is mostly permanent. A family member recently tested about the same for tone detection, but the word recognition scores plummeted. She complains how people just don't speak clearly. She is aware they are speaking, but she cannot make out the words and cannot carry on a conversation. This change occurred after performance of existing aids fell off for ~12 months because of wax build up.

Get tested. Get your HAs. Wear them. Keep them serviced. It's tragic watching this happen to a loved one. And the permanence of the deterioration surprised me. Family member believes she can still converse fine if the person speaks clearly, but even then, follow up indicates that she misses a lot, and isn't aware of if.

I don't want to get this thread locked, so I mention this because spending $2K or $8K on HAs is a big decision, and waiting too long if/when you need HAs can have a profoundly negative effect on quality of life — no matter how much you spend.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

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runningman19
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by runningman19 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:55 pm

A lot of good answers and thoughts here. I've worn two aids for over 45 years, from on the chest to behind the ear to in the ear. I can't disagree, you have to determine the type of hearing loss you have, so a good audiologist is key. I currently wear two Siemens. I get by. Having hearing problems presents its own challenges, from sweat shortening the life span to bloody ears if a blow is received, to using a headset and never ear buds (unless you like taking out the aids, putting them in your pocket, and actually sitting on them and crushing them, oh, the stories I could tell. :oops: ) I never thought i could use a cell phone but recently purchased foam-eared headsets and they work really well, even better in a loud situation than normal users can handle. But anyways, on my next pair, I'm giving Costco a shot. My current audiologist pushes these fancier aids. I blame the makers, too -- why do you have to get so fancy? bluetooth, multi programmed settings, etc. I long for the days when i could actually press a button and turn them off! Makes for a much happier marriage.

Good luck with your situation.
Cheers!

robertalpert
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by robertalpert » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:59 pm

I got my first pair of hearing aids about two months ago. Initially, I was skeptical of Costco; But when my family doctor said to go there He told me he got his at Costco --- then I knew it was OK.

First went to an ENT doctor for ear cleaning. The ENT office wanted $4000 for a pair of hearing aids.


Then went to Costco. Costco brand hearing aids cost about $1600 for the pair. I needed more amplification so the Costco recommended their higher end (behind ear) hearing aids (Resound). The cost was $2600 for the pair. So far am very satisfied.

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CABob
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by CABob » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:15 pm

I guess I forgot to mention that I already have hearing aids and the problems described are while wearing them. I got them at Costco. I've been back for one adjustment and will probably go back again, but as of now I can't see that they are helping a lot.
Since this thread was brought back again I thought I would update my story. After almost 6 months with Costco HA and several adjustments I decided they were not doing much for me and returned them. I tried a more expensive pair in the store (Phonak I think) and didn't see any improvement. So I am back to no HA and complaining about my original (and continued) problems about hearing in noisy environments, distinguishing certain voices and words, etc. This was compounded by itchy ears.
Perhaps my next stop should be with a new audiologist.
Bob

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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by S&L1940 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:37 am

Support and service is what we pay for. Aids may need a series of adjustments. If they fail to provide the service I would look for another provider. One issue may be that your hearing loss is not strictly volume. Hearing everything but without clarity is a brain processing issue that I think aids will not be the solution. The hearing test they give you in the booth is basically judging at what level you can still hear sound. But what good is that if you can not understand the conversation.
I hate it when the girl says "take me I am yours" I am hearing 'nice weather we are having'...
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

Rupert
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by Rupert » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:20 am

runningman19 wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:55 pm
Having hearing problems presents its own challenges, from sweat shortening the life span to bloody ears if a blow is received, to using a headset and never ear buds (unless you like taking out the aids, putting them in your pocket, and actually sitting on them and crushing them, oh, the stories I could tell. :oops: )
Don't feel bad. I know a guy who accidentally ate one of his in-ear hearing aids in the middle of the night. Feeling around in the dark for his middle-of-the-night snack, he thought it was a peanut M&M. :oops: :oops:

S&L1940
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by S&L1940 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:35 am

Rupert wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:20 am
Don't feel bad. I know a guy who accidentally ate one of his in-ear hearing aids in the middle of the night. Feeling around in the dark for his middle-of-the-night snack, he thought it was a peanut M&M. :oops: :oops:
I think sometime back I posted the Eddie Fisher story as related by his daughter Carrie Fisher (yes, the princess) and how he ate his $5,000 per aids and his efforts to recapture them - which I believe he did :mrgreen:
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

Merrilee
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by Merrilee » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:48 am

a few comments from the spouse who can hear

If you keep the hearing aids in a dryer overnight, they can last longer. And you won't mistake them as a snack..

"I often hear a whistling sound coming from them"
That said, I can hear "feedback" from DH's hearing aids. At one point it seemed to get a lot worse, I sent him back to the audiologist who added the "pigtails" back to keep the aids seated securely in the ear. I'm not sure why they got taken off, but apparently those little plastic pieces were doing an important job.

If there's any amount of tinnitus involved, then a more customized approach has a lot of value. Start with an ENT visit and then a find a conveniently located audiologist as many visits can be needed.

I love my spouse's hearing aids and I get a lot of value from them. The cost can be considerable but don't underestimate how many people are benefitting from being able to converse with you.

InMyDreams
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by InMyDreams » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:53 pm

S&L1940 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:37 am
...Hearing everything but without clarity is a brain processing issue that I think aids will not be the solution. The hearing test they give you in the booth is basically judging at what level you can still hear sound. But what good is that if you can not understand the conversation.
I hate it when the girl says "take me I am yours" I am hearing 'nice weather we are having'...
The audiologist that my father goes to (in a University setting) tests for word comprehension, too.

An NPR story that explores developing treatment for this:
'Like Brain Boot Camp': Using Music To Ease Hearing Loss
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shot ... aring-loss

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CABob
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Re: Hearing aid 101

Post by CABob » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:19 pm

InMyDreams wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:53 pm
S&L1940 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:37 am
...Hearing everything but without clarity is a brain processing issue that I think aids will not be the solution. The hearing test they give you in the booth is basically judging at what level you can still hear sound. But what good is that if you can not understand the conversation.
I hate it when the girl says "take me I am yours" I am hearing 'nice weather we are having'...
The audiologist that my father goes to (in a University setting) tests for word comprehension, too.
I have had the word comprehension test a number of times and have not had a problem, but I know that is at least part of my problem. I know that I have had a problem sometimes with a single word and have had it repeated a number of times and it still gave me a problem. Recently I was having a telephone conversation with my daughter discussing a cell phone problem and I asked her what cell service she had. She told me a number of times that it was "Sprint" and I could not distinguish the word even after her repeating it a number of times.
I am having a problem in understanding whether an audiologist can really identify problems and provide solutions that work.
Bob

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