Am I paying too much for digital hearing aids?

I’ve just started after getting a hearing test from an audiologist and it looks like I need hearing aids.

I’ve currently got a package from sonus that is running me about $7000 for exam and aids along with 3 year service, battery, warranty and replacement. Also 75 day trials with some possible restock fees

The aids that I have primarily for choice is the Resound Alera 9 and the Phonak Audeo.

I was wonder if I am overpaying, and if at that price range I should be looking at different brand hearing aids

Yes, HAs are expensive, but they are a game changer. If you like the Resound Alera 9, I would also consider Costco. Their Resound Futures are essentially the same, and come in at less than $3,000 including the remote/bluetooth. Their warranty is good, and you have a 90 day trial period (with no restocking fee if you’re not happy). I ended up with something different because of health insurance coverage, but, if health insurance was not a factor, I would have been very happy with the Resound Futures I demoed at Costco.

If you live near a Costco they carry Resound, Rexton, Bernafon and Kirkland. They have a 90 day trial and 100% return and you will come well under the $7,000 you are paying.

I’m not particularly sold on the Resounds really and was going to go back and possibly try ou the Phonaks(restocking is a minus for this), I was wondering if I should go towards another brand like oticon or something. Like everyone else, looking for latest and greatest if I am paying the upper echelon price range. Also wasn’t sure if other places had similar warranty + loss offers that lasted that long.

I suppose I can stop by Costco and try the futures as well…

for whatever reason, my audiologist was selling my on the top of the line stuff was needed to handle conversations in noisy environments and that they are loads better.

I hope you are at least getting a kiss while they are screwing you… $7k, limited choice, restock fee… find yourself a Costco for the price difference you can afford to fly to Hawii to Costco if there’s not one close. btw, the aids at Costco are top of the line aids from major manufacturers just re-branded.

Hello,

I paid $6,000 for my top-of-the-line Phonak Audeo S aids, so $7,000 is really high. It is a price that I would never consider. Find someone else.

I am in the second month of trying hearing aids. I found the phonac solaras cic’s to be a bit microphone sounding. They were not great in noisy environments, and very poor in large rooms (echo effect and double talk over yourself). I went back for adjustments 3-4 times, which helped a little but the sound quality and clarity diminished. Prior to making the adjustments, they were outstanding for 1-1 conversation and TV watching, but not so much after.

It seems people either love or hate the Phonak from the research I have done on this forum.

I am now on demo with the Oticon Intiga 8 bte’s. Much more natural sound and better in large noisy places, but get more feedback. Especially if you are sitting on a couch with your head back. Also wind noise when driving in the car with an open window is very annoying. This may be more style related, BTE vs CIC.

The highest price I was quoted was $5800 for the top of the line Phonak or Oticon. I am at $4400 for the mid range I have demoed. This included warranties, follow up tuning etc…

I am very happy with my Resound Future (Alera 9). I can highly recommend them.

An audiologist is an important part of hearing aid choice these days. On these pages some Costco audiologists have gotten good reviews, others not so good. (The usual reply is to try another Costco if one is dissatisfied with a particular Costco.) And while Costco brands are made by Resound, etc., on these pages they have been identified usually as close but not exactly the same as the manufacturer’s name brands. Usually, the identification on these pages states that none of the Costco brands equal the extreme high end product. I am not familiar with either specific products you were shown, but it seems to me that $7,000 might be a smidgen high for those specific products. But a hearing test can cost over $200; an extra warranty might come to more than $100. Some high end HAs can cost a little over $6,000. Whether you need all the bells and whistles of the high end product is something to discuss with the audiologist. Recently, when I was making up my mind about new HA’s, I asked the audiologist specifically what the difference was between the high end product she was suggesting and the slightly lower priced one. She was specific in her reply and helped me make a decision. The more you know about the specific models the better off you are when shopping. But that requires time and patience looking at the manufacturers’ blurbs on the internet, rereading some of the material on this website, etc.

My suggestion is see if you like what Costco has and if you like the hands on care that the audiologist there gives you and will seem to give you if you have to go back for minor repairs, etc. Secondly, maybe try another audiologist in your area who has the same products you were shown and compare, contrast, etc. Or find an audiologist who represents other manufacturers and try those hearing aids. Then make up your mind. For example, that 3 year warranty. Is it from the audiologist or from the maker? What does the warranty cover? Find out specifically what the charge is if you return the HA within 75 days. One might even determine which audiologist is more convenient to get to. And so on.

It’s hard for any of us to offer advice specific to your situation without seeing your audiogram–and most of us here (me included) are not audiologists anyway.

But most people whose losses are no more than moderate do not need to spend $7,000 on hearing aids to get great results. It can be a red flag if an audiologist starts you off at the top of the line. On the other hand, for a patient with a lot of money who goes in and says, hey, I want the best you’ve got, then I don’t blame the audiologist for starting off at the top. More severe losses than moderate, getting up in the 85-100+ dB range in any part of the audiogram, may see more benefit in spending at this level; this can depend, though, on many factors.

If you like this audiologist but are more price sensitive, you should be able to say, this is my price range… whattya got? What are the compromises given my audiogram? You can’t really expect a private audiologist to match Costco prices because the private audiologist’s costs are much higher, but if they’re within 10-20% on similar products, they can be worth that modest premium if you really like the service you’re getting. A close relationship with a skilled audiologist is Gold, Jerry, Gold. You also have to figure in things like travel time and expense. It’s not unusual to have to go back four to six times in that first year for fittings and adjustments, so it makes most sense to have an audiologist close by.

Keep in mind that the life expectancy of a pair of hearing aids is commonly in the 6-10 year range… provided you don’t lose or damage an aid which is very easy to do… another reason the klutzy or disorganized among us may prefer to keep the cost down, because such folks are unlikely to get even six years out of a pair of aids. I have a friend who loses or breaks several pairs of reading glasses each year. I would not recommend $7K of far-tinier and more delicate hearing aids for him.

I need to get the audiogram, but its around 20-30 loss in low frequency, and up to 100 on the high end with a linearish climb.

My Audiologist recommended the two highest price points for HA’s at $6k and $7k, and told me the main feature that I would gain from that difference is be able to hear well in noisier situations. She said she would not recommend at all the $5k or $4k price point to anyone unless it was extremely necessary.

Asides from brands, I had to ask specifically at the end of the meeting for each model for a comparison I can look online.

I guess I will be giving her a call for some details. I’ll stop by Costco since that seems to be a big response.

Thanks everyone.

Wait. What?

Do you mean that she would not recommend the $4-5K price point to ANYONE regardless of their level of loss, or that she would not recommend it to anyone with YOUR level of loss?

With your level of loss, it’s arguable. I could see an audiologist taking that stand. Not every audiologist might agree, but as I said, you at least are in the range where it may be more necessary or beneficial to step up to that level in cost than it is for me.

But if she’s saying that she would not recommend a $4-5K pair of aids to anyone with MY level of loss unless it was extremely necessary, that is not reasonable. That would be someone looking out for her own financial interests ahead of her patients’, and I would suggest getting a second opinion.

The noisy-room environment is the hardest thing for hearing aids to do well. Remember that people with normal hearing have some trouble there too. The problem is that if the aid just amplifies sound, the other voices may drown out the one voice you’re trying to listen to. Aid makers are improving the technology for isolating one voice in a sea of voices, but it’s a work in progress. You CAN get some extra benefit from top-end aids in this environment, but it may not be as much as you would like or hope, and the bang for the buck may or may not be there for you in that one particular regard. You just have to try them in a noisy environment and see.

Not a good sign.

Mid levels fine for most

But less$$$$$

An absurd notion. There were very satisfied HA users before 2-3 years ago, and the mid-level tech more or less represents what would have been considered premium tech a few years back. Premium tech has its advatanges to be sure, but this reasoning bothers me.

Re Costco - no harm in checking with them. 90 day free trial (no restocking fees) + 2 year or higher warranty + 3 year damage insurance + 2 year loss insurance. Use your costco AMEX card to pay and they add 1 year to all of those.

YES, you are overpaying.

Go to Costco where you will find Resound hearing aids at much better prices. You receive a 90 day trial, 3 year warranty, 4 year if you pay with AE, and their refund policy is un matched.

I was very happy with the Resound Forza that I trialed there. You should get out of there with a Resound Aid for under $3000.00

Here’s my thread on them. I still miss them: :frowning:http://www.hearingaidforums.com/showthread.php?t=14797

People look at the date of the last reply prior to elijah’s yesterday, it was June 23, 2012. and I’m sure murdocs has gotten his new HA’s by now since he hasn’t posted anything on the Forum since June 22, 2012.

and we’re hungry for more. LOL:D