Are Starkey/Audibel Dependable?

The subject pretty much sums up my question. I just ended a trial of a pair of Siemens Pure 7 and gave them back because they had a distortion the Audi couldn’t seem to get rid of. Now they’re talking about trying a Starkey RIC but I’m thinking of giving Audibel a try. I was talking to my dad tonight and he mentioned a Starkey pair he had that had to go back to the factory three times and that made me seem to remember reading about others saying the same thing.

So…are the newest generation Starkey/Audibel RIC’s dependable?



Wouldn’t be my first thru fourth choice.

Unfortunately, in our town there aren’t a lot of choices. There’s the place I went to that’s tied to an ENT group that has Siemens, Starkey, and Phonak (maybe others), an Audibel, and another independent place that probably carries the same brands as the first place but based on a couple emails with them seems to be one of those tell you anything to get you in the door whether it’s true or not types.

Some reason you have not mentioned your general location?

Nope, not at all. I thought I’d added it so it showed. I’m in Decatur Illinois.

I have used Starkey/Audibel brands for 12 years and have been through several model “updates.” I have tried the latest and best Siemens and it did not work for me, I am a professional musician ♫.

For me, the next time I need aids I am going to do my best to make it to a Costco, even though it may be a little out of the way since there is not currently one in my home town.

From what I have read on this Forum, the Costco generous trial period is a major plus.

I plan on not buying another Starkey/Audibel product whenever I have to make my next purchase.

If you feel inclined to research my previous Posts re: Starkey products, it will give you some additional insight to help you make an informed decision.

I’m sure no brand is perfect…but I think for a $5,000 to $6,000 purchase the Customer deserves a lot more respect/support than what I have received in the past from Starkey/Audibel.

So what would be?

DD will be along to tell you exactly what you need. IMO, go to Costco and try a few. I’m a big Siemens fan. All the brands have their fan-boys.

I’d be all over Costco if it were feasible but the closest one is a three hour round trip away.

What’s crazier - driving 1.5 hrs one way or spending 5-6k on hearing aids?? The Costco I went to is a 3-hour round trip.

I don’t know your exact situation, but it can be done.

I’ve had 4 visits so far and no more planned.

Great point! Plus I don’t think Costco charges a “restocking fee” like I had to pay as high as $450 when I returned a pair of the latest Siemens at a NON Costco Dispenser.

[quote="japple,post:10,topic:24208"] What's crazier - driving 1.5 hrs one way or spending 5-6k on hearing aids?? The Costco I went to is a 3-hour round trip.

I don’t know your exact situation, but it can be done.

I’ve had 4 visits so far and no more planned.

Driving 1.5 hours each way isn’t that bad, since you probably won’t be going that often. I have gotten two sets of aids from Costco over the last 8 years and only needed a few visits the first months I had them. It is well worth the free trial, loss/damage guarantee and no restocking charge to make the trip. Plus, you can save a lot of money while there buying other products they carry. You will probably end up going there just to shop even when you don’t need to go there to adjust your HA’s. Go for it. You will be glad you did.

Slightly OT. I recognized the advantage of a Costco membership five years ago in the photo department. I usually place an order of 200 5X7 whenever I shoot grammar school soccer or basketball. Use to be 39 cents each, now 59 cents, a heck of a lot cheaper than the $1.25 at other places. The savings I get more than makes up for their membership fee.

My reluctance to going somewhere 1.5 hours away is that with the place I trialed the Siemens at I was pretty much there every week for 6 weeks making one change or another. If a three hour round trip that’s a lot of time off work.

I have seen your audiogram before and that’s hard to fit. aids typically can’t fit a 65 dB loss and have a low noise floort at 2-3 kHz.

Why do you think that loss ‘needs’ a BTE fitting?

Dispenses like this aren’t binary: ‘You should be wearing X’.

Consider the curve, consider where the most relevant part of speech is, consider what’s ergonomically, acoustically and what’s cosmetically appropriate. Also consider the client’s expectations as well as the pathology of the canal etc.

There will be very little risk of a noise floor issue when the best hearing levels are 25dB.

Fitting an inverted loss like this without REM has potential to cause problems as you can’t tell the true gain generated as a function of the canal/aid resonance circa 2.6 KHz. If the aid is churning out too much gain here the client will become aware of it really quickly. At the other end of the loss if you fully implement the gain at 250 Hz say 20-25dB you may run into the upward spread of masking even at conversation levels (65dB) you’ll get around 90dB out which will rattle your teeth, due to the energy generated at this frequency.

Really needs somebody who knows what they are doing TBH.

Some have Saturday hours. Have you checked?


I’ll try and describe what I’m calling a distortion as best as I can. You know how traffic makes a kind of hissing noise when you’re a half-block away or so? That sound through the aids sounded like I was listening to it through a hose, or it was the bottom of a well, or in a tunnel. It also happened as I was putting on and taking off my coat that had a nylon shell. Any sound like that, including my wife’s voice sometimes, had that bottom of a well sound.

As to your other questions: She started me out with double domes but I very quickly complained of a “stopped up” feeling so she switched me to the tulip domes. These were more comfortable and sounded better. Like I’ve read most new users do, I also complained that the high frequency sounds were too loud but that mid frequency sounds were still “muffled” by the domes. I felt that I was hearing the mid frequencies sounds through the domes rather than through the aids. Once I finally got her to give me some volume control and “turned them up” the feeling of the mid frequencies being muffled went away.

The trade off was feedback. Because of the way my ear canal is shaped I never felt the domes got a good seal and once the volume was turned up they squealed a lot. She finally decided that I needed custom molds but by the time I got them I was on the last week of my trial and I wasn’t confident enough that we’d get them right to keep them.

I had a medium receiver in the left and a small in the right. I’m sure part of the problem was me being unable to communicate the issue but also the Audi I was assigned seemed to be as new to this as I am. My bad, I know, for not asking for someone else sooner but if I go back to them I’ve already told them I want someone else.


— Updated —

I did, and they do. Along with evening hours until 8:00 three nights.


Um bongo,

bte can provide more gain. but I think I am focusing too much on his bad ear. a rite probably would be better.

Nobody here knows if randyp1234’s audiogram is accurate and I was speculating. but clearly what I am concerned about is not what he meant by distortion. but it remains to be seen if this distortion is masking the issue I am concerned about.


I might be blowing the whole dynamic range issue out of proportion.

The COSTCO in East Peoria, is about an hour away… certainly isnt three hours. I live in EP and know how far Decatur is. You should go check them out…