Brotherly love

Here’s my story…demo’ing HA’s (Oticon Agil Pro) for “mild hearing loss”. After two weeks, delighted with the results…can hear MUCH more clearly especially in meetings. I don’t have to continually say “say that again”.
I’m 66 years old.
My brother (lives in different city) alerts me he has a practically unused 1 year old pair of Resound Alera that he purchased and does not use (he sez ‘I was talked into them but never felt I really needed them’). He is sending them to me to ‘try out’ (and to keep …though we’d work out some kind of ‘deal’.).
My questions:
Are these HA’s comparable in quality etc to the Oticon AgilPro? (I’m not familiar with the various brands).
Is there any reason an audiologist can’t simply ‘program’/‘customize’ the ‘Aleras’ for my
hearing loss profile?
Will the audiologist likely be negative since she’ll lose sale of HA’s? I want to ‘do right’
by her BUT if this turns out to be a practical alternative it will save a lot of $'s.
What’s a fair price my brother and I should consider? (he sez he paid $5,400 on a ‘Hearing Planet’ deal that he sea a local audiologist had quoted $7,200). Hard for me to imagine there’s a market for used HA’s!.

Appreciate any opinions, thoughts, guidance you’re willing to share with me.

I would talk to your Audi and tell them your brother want’s to give you his HA’s and see if they are willing or even able to program the Alera’s for you( they may not have the programming software for the Resound HA). A letter from your brother saying that he is giving you his HA would probably also help. I believe the Agil Pros are a more advanced HA than the Alera’s but I could be wrong. Good luck!

I’m having a great time with my Resounds. They are pretty advanced with lots of options for the audiologist. Here are a couple of links with technical information so you can compare. The Alera is the top of the line for the Resound and the Agil Pro is the top of the line for the Oticon.

http://www.resound.com/professionals/technologyandinnovation/surroundsoundbyresound/SurroundSound.aspx

One thing to consider…even though the pro might be okay with it and you might end up with a great deal, ReSound most likely will not recognize the transfer of ownership and refuse to repair them if they should need repair. It is possible that they may even refuse to send the hearing aid back if you sent it in, under your name. Now, if your pro is okay sending it in under your brother’s name, well then they’d never know. Some might view that as fraudulent, some might view it as your brother allowing you to “borrow” his hearing aids.

I’d be inclined to find out why your brother never wore them. Perhaps he didn’t give them enough time (wore them 5 minutes and hated them and threw them in a drawer) or perhaps they weren’t adjusted correctly…

DocAudio - are you saying that even with documentation to show a transfer of ownership, the manufacturer might refuse to “recognize” it??? How is that possible? And how could it be remotely ethical for the audiologist to “send it in under [the] bother’s name”??? Why can’t a person sell or give their hearing aids to someone else?

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. You have to check with your state laws, but a hearing aid that is an ITE cannot be transferred since it has sat in another person’s ear. A BTE, according to the FDA, can be sent in and reconditioned/refurbished for the new user but there is a cost associated with that through the manufacturer. I actually called Phonak to ask them about it because I wanted to be sure when I answered. Since the FDA says it’s okay though doesn’t mean all companies will do it. Phonak will, but there is a charge that would be equal to a repair fee, so in my office probably $200 - $350/aid depending on age and tech of the product PLUS any fitting fees that I or some other pro would charge since it’s just like selling a new hearing aid and fitting and follow-ups would be necessary. So, in the end, you might save some money and if the hearing aid is fairly new it might be worth it but it won’t be like getting a “free” pair of hearing aids.

It’s possible because a hearing aid is a medical device and as such falls under different regulations than something like a phone or TV. And no, I don’t think it would be ethical for the pro to send it in under the original owner’s name… I know I wouldn’t do that. I just said it’s something someone might consider doing…not that it’s actually okay to do that. hope that answers some of your questions.

so what happens to all the hearing aids that get donated?

Not sure. I imagine they use some for parts. Recondition some for distribution in charitable endeavors…

Starkey is the only one I know of that accepts donated hearing aids (Hear Now)…maybe ZCT has better knowledge of what they do with all those donated hearing aids???

Brother,

What style is your Brother’s Resound Alera? If it is the RIE (Receiver in the Ear) style (also called RIC), it should not require refurbishing after wearing only a few times. It would be like the demo hearing aids that most audiologists have. The part that goes in the ear has a tip or dome, that comes off, the remaining speaker end is wiped or disinfected, and a new tip slides on for the next demo.

I’m sure your audiologist (if they handle Resound) could make the transfer or change of ownership. In the very unlikely event that Resound does not cooperate, there are many places that repair all makes of hearing aids, should it be needed in the future.

If your audiologist is fine with you getting the Alera and will set it up for you, that is a valid option.

No, according to the FDA the audiologist/HIS alone cannot make the transfer of ownership. The hearing aid must be essentially refurbished for the new owner and there would be a cost involved. If the op follows your advice,thus being in violation of the FDA regulations, and then needs the hearing aids to be serviced by ReSound at some later date, when it goes into the manufacturer and is sent in under a different owners name then ReSound could consider the hearing aids stolen and theoretically keep them and not send them back.

Using his brother’s hearing aids, if they are BTEs, is absolutely an option but he needs to go through the correct process to make sure that they are registered as now belonging to him and not his brother at the manufacturer level.

Doc Audio: Don’t mean to be rude but if you have time could you point me to the FDA reg covering used hearing aid transfers? I looked and couldn’t find any mention of transfers.

Usually governments don’t regulate used merchandise sales between private parties. Thanks, Ed :confused:

They are like the demo Oticon…a small device fits behind your ear and the ‘tube’ has a replaceable ‘open dome’ (I think this is the terminology I’ve seen). You can/are supposed to replace the dome occasionally and you can also replace the little piece that the dome attaches (such as if/when clogged with earwax).

When I said the audiologist makes the transfer, obviously I meant the OP takes the hearing aids, along with a bill of sale, to the audiologist and the audiologist initiates the transfer with Resound (a form, a phone call, website, or whatever). We are talking about changing Resound’s records, right? The only one who can do that is the audiologist because Resound will not work with the end consumer.

The FDA regulations you are talking about are for commercial sales? They probably wouldn’t apply to a private sale of a used item.

I don’t have it ed. I called Phonak to ask them and that was what they told me. And yes, I believed them because it fit with pretty much every single thing I’ve ever learned about hearing aids and what you can/cannot do with them when you are done using them for whatever reason. In the past, you couldn’t transfer hearing aids AT ALL between people so this is actually a more lenient policy. The hearing aid is classified as a medical device and not a personal amplifier and I am fairly certain that with it being classified as such that means the same rules don’t apply as those that would apply for general merchandise.

I know you aren’t trying to be rude but I contribute to this forum in my spare time and I, frankly, don’t have the time to go scouring through the FDA regulations about hearing aid transfer requirements…I am sure they are there. I called my rep, whom I trust, and spoke to her about it and that’s what she told me. You can choose to believe it or not, but if someone chooses not to believe it and then gets stuck with a company who kept their hearing aid because they had it listed to someone else, well then that’s the consequences of their decision I suppose.

Yes, the audiologist would handle the transaction but the manufacturer will treat them as a refurbished hearing aid and there will be a cost associated…that is if the manufacturer agrees to do this at all…they don’t have to as far as I know. The owner will be changed because they will be “sold” to the new user as a reconditioned/refurbished hearing aid and appropriate warranties and services will apply for the new user. In order for the audiologist/HIS to send the hearing aid in to transfer ownership a sale must occur and the pro will incur a charge. So you will have to not only pay the person you are buying the hearing aid from but you will also have to pay the pro for them to complete the transfer of sale and the fees associated with fitting and adjusting of the hearing aids you purchased or were given. So depending on who you work with you could be looking at anywhere between probably $750 - $1500. Plus fees for follow-up appointments…having never handled a transaction like this I’m not really sure what the end cost would be but it would hardly be “free”.

They apply to the “private” sale because eventually you will have to send that privately paid for item into the company for repair. Now you can send it to an off-label company for repairs and avoid the issue entirely but if it goes back to the company that made it and it’s registered to someone else, be prepared to not get it back.

There are very murky waters when buying hearing aids sold by other users and it’s naive to think it’s just as simple as doing X, Y and Z when we all know that there is NOTHING in the bureaucracy of this industry that is simple.

Thanks for all the feedback/advice/counsel on my questions.
Definitely leaves me a little perplexed …reminds me of a Lyndon Johnson quote…‘doing what’s right isn’t the problem; it’s knowing what’s right’.
A friend told me I should ‘check out’ this forum and ask the question because I’d get a lot of good input from professional audiologists as well as experienced, well meaning posters.
I think he was right.
Thank you.