After a couple weeks of in depth discussion with my audi and after doing much research from the mfg web sites (not that any of the web sites are that good, too much hype, not enough hard data) I’ve narrowed down my search to the Widex Passion and the Phonak Exelia. I was also considering the Ion 400, and the Delta, and possibly a few others, but the choices can start to get to be a bit much, so I simply decided to narrow my search to these.
Here is my reasoning: First off have ski slope from 20db at 250hz down to 50-60db at 8K (mild to moderate). So I’m good to go for BTE miniature models. I know I can still hear out to 11K if it’s loud enough and in addition, I’m a musician (acoustic and electric guitar) and so sound quality for music is a high priority for me (but not as much as speech!).
Delta was out because I read here it’s an older technology. Gotta get the latest!
I eliminated the Ion 400 because it only goes out to 6300Hz and for me that rolls off too soon and I’ll miss some of the sweetness of cymbals and violin strings, but more importantly, in speech S and F can have components out to 10K, so why cut them off??? Doesn’t make sense to me. The Passion (I’ve heard on this forum) can go out to about 10K, and the Exelia can go to 7000, not as good as the Passion, but better then the Ion.
The other thing that was important to me is the smoothness of the frequency curve (lack of abrupt peaks in the curve) as this leads to more natural sounding music (and everything else). Peaks and possibly some distortion (also very important to me as I suffer from an excess of distortion in my hearing as well) are caused by the tube in aids like the Exelia and Ion and can be improved with RIC (receiver in the ear) types like the Passion and Delta.
So, first I will try the Passion for 1 month and pay attention to the extended bandwidth, the RIC (if the sound is clearer and smoother), and of course the most important thing of all, how well I can hear in noisy restaurants and directionality.
Then I will switch over to the Exelia and see if the non-RIC makes any difference in the “naturalness” of the sound and if it’s acceptable to me. I will also pay attention to the lower bandwidth (7k) and see how that affects music and speech clarity in similar situations. And again how well I can understand speach in noisy situations.
The Exelia also has bluetooth, and ear to ear communication which are very nice touches so i will consider this as well.
They are both the same price.
I’ll keep you all posted with my Passion experience and in about 2 months will report on how the two compare.