Any comments or advice on whether the Bernafon Verite 9 would be worse, the same, or better for speech understanding than the Starkey IQ 11 aids?
I’m trying to find the best aids for speech understanding at work meetings where some people I can barely hear that they are speaking, while others are very loud. Other situations are important too, like restaurants, etc. I had 3 yr old BTE Resound Metrix aids. I am currently in the trial period of S-series Starkey IQ 11 aids with RITE. The IQ 11s are comfortable and superior to Metrix aids for speech understanding. I assume the Verite 9 would work similarly to the IQ 11 in other areas, for example, my left ear is sensitive to loud sounds like a barking dog or loud voices The Starkeys compress these sounds nicely. Also, I like the way it compresses fan noise and road noise … although it takes several seconds for these situations to be recognized.
Thanks for your feedback. I already returned the IQ 11s and am going to try the Bernofon Verite. While I was trying the StarKey aids I kept notes on different hearing situations. I was pretty satisfied with them. There were a few times where the mode would change and make hearing more difficult. At times I thought I’d like to have a mode lock. Volume control would have helped too. Anyway, it will be interesting to compare the StarKey and Bernofon aids. The custom acrylic ear molds with the StarKey aids were very comfortable. I could only get silicon molds for the Vertite. Should have them at the end of next week.
I thought the S-Drive IQ 11 with the custom mold uses the RIC technology. Is RIC different than RITE? The WI with volume sounds interesting. How many memory’s are available? The IQ11s had 4 that were available.
I’d really like some more information on the WI - I’m not too fond of their web site - Some Technical Details would be nice. What functions can you control with the remote. Are the Hearing Aids BLUETOOTH compliant, how do they Stream? I may trial them in the next week or two and compare that to the Phonak Ambra and maybe the Agile Pro. Just sounds like SOOO many trips for adjustments and I work a distance from my home/audiologists location. Saturdays are my only real option…
Forgive me, I work for a company that has a private label for Starkey products, so I actually don’t know all the Starkey model names as well as I should.
RIC is the preferred name Starkey use for RITE. Same concept, the receiver or loudspeaker is in the ear.
The Wi can be configured any number of ways. There is a memory button on the back of the aid, and this can be set to cycle through the memories, and yes there are four. But since the aids can talk to each other, it is possible, for example for the left aid to adjust the volume of both aids, first quieter, then louder, then back to normal. The other aid would cycle the memories. But what you do to one aid, will adjust both aids.
And of course if you really love adjusting hearing aids all the time, the Wi can work with a remote, that is about the size of a credit card and about a quarter inch thick. It can cycle the memories, start and end streaming, adjust the volume, mute, and do all these things binaurally or individually. The remote is wireless so you don’t have to point it at the aids or anything, it would work from inside a pocket if you wanted to be discrete.
Well you got to understand, the product was launched in Las Vegas this month. It is so new they have not had a chance to get all the information out to the public yet. It’s cutting edge stuff.
The remote is an interesting animal, in that it can be configured three different ways. One way is designed for someone that is easily confused, and is little more than a volume control. Then there is an intermediate setting, and finally an advanced setting. The dispenser gets the remote, and a rubber control pad that fits on the remote. He or she can select which of the three flavors of remote you get depending on his or her assessment of how smart you are
But the full advanced version has a selector switch for left, right or binaural adjustments. A slider to lock the remote so it can’t change the settings on your hearing aids while in the pocket. Then the buttons can include, volume up and down, memory cycle, streaming on/off, return to default (ie memory one at the recommended volume), and mute/unmute.
The remote is wireless so you can slip your hand inside a pocket and make changes without holding it near the devices. The range is on paper 10 feet, but in tests you can get 20-30 feet pretty easily.
The Bluetooth is a little clumsy right now. There’s some kind of neck loop that Bluetooths to the phone and then relays the signal via telecoil. But they have something far more elegant coming out in the next couple of months.
Many programming adjustments can actually be done over the phone, so you don’t always need to see your hearing professional to have adjustments made.
And the big thing that makes a lot of difference is that when they are not streaming or being programmed, the aids talk to each other, creating a more ‘3D’ sound quality. The aids will exchange notes, so to speak, on what is happening on each side of your head, and use that information to create better background noise suppression. The chip is capable of cutting noise even between the syllables of speech.
Of the hearing aid veterans I’ve fitted with this ‘binaural spacial mapping’ they find the effect to be amazing and say it is like hearing naturally, as opposed to hearing with two different aids.
Oh and the streaming device is called the SurfLink Media, it is about the size of a burrito, and looks nicer It can take RCA, digital, digital optical, and jack inputs. It streams without the need to pair, set up is about 2 minutes. The aids can either auto select the stream with use of the mics, or without the mics. Or you can use the remote or a memory option to switch the streaming on and off manually.
You can set the range of the SurfLink Media, the volume, and it is in stereo, which makes a lot of difference. I’ve listened to this device head to head with the other major streamers on the market and the Starkey version is the fastest (no audio delay), is in stereo (many are mono, but in both ears, which of course is not stereo), and is the highest sound quality of any streamer I have listened to. I got to listen to a head to head comparison last time I was at Starkey HQ.
Hope that helps.
I’ve been a hearing professional since 1994, and I’ve never seen a hearing aid that creates excitement as a demo aid like this. And I’ve even done demos on people who are well versed in other high end aids from European manufacturers.
Be careful where you place your blame. Few members of the public send stuff directly to the lab themselves.
Starkey provide snail mail pre-paid boxes to send in repairs, and if the company you are dealing with elects to use those, you are at the mercy of the US mail service in both directions, plus however long it takes to do the repair, along with however long it takes the dispenser to put the aid in the mail, and then add to that how long he or she waits to tell you that it is back.
I can promise you right now, if I overnight a hearing aid to Starkey today, they could have it back to me within 48 hours. The problem is, some dispensers don’t want to spend the money on FedEx. And some of them don’t send aids off until they have several to send in one batch.
To warn people to beware of Starkey just because you had a repair that took three weeks, is pretty unreasonable, especially given that Starkey only had actual control of a small portion of the process, and you don’t know for certain that their part caused the delay.
I’ve been sending aids to Starkey, and ordering new hearing aids from them since 1994, and I don’t recall EVER seeing a delay of three weeks. Most of the time any work they do is handled inside of 48 hours, quicker if you request a rush. And I’ve been to their facilities in two countries and everything that arrives in the lab is tracked with a bar code system at every station, so if an aid was just floating around for three weeks, they would certainly be aware of it.
Now I’m not saying they have never made mistakes, but to imply that they are more likely to delay a repair than any other hearing aid company is simply unreasonable and has no basis in fact.
There you will find more articles than you can shake a stick at.
Starkey don’t just make wild marketing claims, they back them up with facts. As a hearing professional I am not going to just believe what they tell me, or see in their marketing. I have substantial hands on practical experience working with patients, and the new stuff that Starkey have is creating reactions in patients that I have never seen in my career.
At the end of the day, I could really care less what you believe. I am making a difference in people’s lives, and they are very very pleased with their experience. There’s nothing in it for me to brag about microchips on this forum, I am just relaying my personal experience. You take it or leave it.
Greatly appreciate the detail. Well, then I will be excited to trial the Starkey aid! Any clues on cost of the remote and streamer? Ball park of course… Markups are different from one block to the other!!
I have Startkey Destiny 1200’s now (CIC) and they work! However the fit is to be desired as they are a few years old and provide feedback at any given moment. Looking for some true Stereo improvements. The remove (advanced) sounds nice.
Now, what about binaural abilities on the phone? (Duophone in the Phonak world)? – Other options that others promote – Wind block, feedback control, ZOOM control. That feature alone provides hope. I have not heard bad things about any of these features…
So, I suspect I will trial the WI first - Ambra 2nd - and time permitting the Agile Pro or similar Oticon animal…
Concerns I have:
I have NOT worn BTE before but I don’t think I’m too concerned. I do have a headset at work (plantronics) that hangs on my ear that I cannot do without. Lots of conference calls and such. So, either I stream that (company expense?) or figure out something else.
Sweat - If I say it 5 times in a row - it can happen. Just my makeup. Humidity and me - not best friends - However, I do LOVE to be immersed under water Scuba Diving!!
Music! I LOVE Music and that’s one of the best things about hearing aids - I can hear music so much better and I think it will get even better as the aids I have not are maxed out in the high frequencies. So looking for even more improvements. How are the WI’s for music? Can we eliminate compression and have a great music program?
How does the over the phone programming work? Interested to hear that one!!
Evidence from Starkey about Starkey using research sponsored by Starkey: that’s going to be completely free from bias, isn’t it!
Look; I’ve had mixed dealings with them - sometimes they can be brilliant, other times shit. In your last thirty posts you’ve basically said that they are beyond reproach - now, as admirable as that is; anyone who believes that dogma is going to have difficulty in taking an objective view of the market at large. Like any good company, they are going to have their strengths AND weaknesses - looking at that with myopia isn’t going to get you very far in a serious discussion.
It’s your choice whether to apply a bit of critical reasoning to what you see before you or not.
Clearly you have not read it, nor read what I actually wrote. What I said is that the articles contained on that web site are from independent reviews, tests by universities, scientific tests, information from peer reviewed medical journal articles. The site isn’t just a bunch of marketing from Starkey saying; look we’re good.
Well that’s true of any company in the world, isn’t it? I mean look at Toyota, rose to be the biggest car company in the world, and then suddenly, whoops, the brakes don’t work. But I am rating them based on my personal experience, and real feedback given to me from thousands of patients since 1994.
When I ran a couple of Audibel (made by Starkey) stores, in the last year I did that (2008), my return rate was 2.53%. I think that’s pretty good, and below the industry average. Whenever I ran into problems, Starkey always did their very best to help me and therefore my patients.
I remember one time a patient brought in a set of aids that was fairly old, and early and not good attempt at digital. She liked them, but wanted some minor adjustments. Starkey had sold so few of that specific model, and wasn’t really supporting it any more. So I called them up and told them about my patient. Most manufacturers would have simply said, ‘tell her to buy some new ones.’ Starkey said, “We feel bad that she’s wearing aids you can no longer adjust, just send them in and we’ll replace them for free with a current model.”
I know that’s not standard practice, but that was a real example of how they helped me out, among many real examples. Heck the rep I used to work with when I worked in the UK is still there, over 30 years now. That’s consistent customer service.
Again, I am not blindly following the company rhetoric here. When I first qualified in 1994, I worked for the next seven years for two completely independent national hearing aid companies in the UK. The price list they gave me listed up to eight different manufacturers on it. There was no incentives for any particular model or brand, other than the personal incentive that if the patient returned the aids, we’d get less bonus.
And over those years, I tried most of the major brands talked about on this forum. The fact is, over hundreds and hundreds of patients, I personally got consistently better fittings from Starkey. This is where my loyalty comes from. I didn’t just qualify and sign up with a company that only sells Starkey and then regurgitate the hype.
On top of loving their products, and amazing innovations over the last five years (especially, but not discounting some of their other innovations), I also like the soul of the company.
I met Bill Austin (the founder of the company) just last year, for the first time. We had a brief chat at a party he was holding at his house for employees of the company. We talked for about 20 minutes. Mostly he was talking about the charity wing of the company (http://starkeyhearingfoundation.org/). They have given away over 460,000 hearing aids to disadvantaged children in third world countries. And Mr. Austin is passionate about their great work. Despite his advancing years he still works tirelessly at the factory, fitting people with hearing aids, and is very active in the Foundation attending missions all over the world to help hard of hearing kids.
When I met him again in Las Vegas at the Wi product launch, I approached him and told him that I had some demo hearing aids I owned that I’d like to donate to the Foundation and asked him what the best way to do it was. He thanked me for my donation, such that it was, and said, “Oh, just send them in, mark them for my attention, and I’ll see they get to the right place.”
This is a multi-millionaire CEO of a major corporation that supplies hearing aids all over the world, and he doesn’t hand me over to an assistant, secretary or underling. And I’m just some random hearing aid dude in his world.
So you ask me why I am passionate about the company, and there’s my answer. They have great technology, they are American, not some foreign import, and the CEO who could be living on a yacht squandering his kids inheritance in numerous obscene ways, chooses to devote his life to helping children to hear in impoverished countries.
For my part I also know that on top of the time I have personally donated to the Foundation to help poor people here in America, I know that the work I do not only helps people to hear and restores quality of life, but I am in a small way empowering Bill Austin to keep doing the amazing things his Foundation does.
I reached these conclusions through personal experience, critical thinking, personal comparison of brands, and interaction with real people, every day.
So with the greatest respect, I reject your analysis that I am just some brainwashed idiot who believes everything his company tells him. I work with Starkey products because I believe that they are the best method of helping my patients.