Buying HAs again: thoughts on source, brand, etc

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resound

#1

Hello! I’m new to this forum; what a great resource! I’m eager to get advice from all the brilliant, experienced HA users who comment here!

My hearing loss: non-progressing, sensorineural hearing loss from birth, diagnosed during my first hearing screen at age 15. “Cookie bite” audiogram, 30-60 dB loss from 500 to 8,000 Hz. I have very small ears and I’m 33 yrs old.

My story: I had ReSound CICs when I was 15 - never wore them, hated them. They had to be custom-made three times for my extremely small ears (ReSound was the only company that could accommodate the issue). My hearing loss bothered me and isolated me, but I’m a solitary person anyway so I didn’t care that much. One of the times I was in grad school (~5 years ago), I had good health insurance and so I revisited the issue. Bought Oticon Intiga 8’s ($5,000 through Emory Audiology, smallest size of the smallest model they make - others were too big) and they completely changed my life. They were my prized possession. Through an unfortunate accident, I lost them. I have struggled financially for over a year while in grad school again (long story, but yes grad school again was a terrible idea),; got a job in January so I’m just getting back on my feet and building my savings while paying down $30k in student loans as fast as I can (it’s the principal of the thing - I’m not giving the gov’t any more of my money in interest than absolutely necessary).

Where I am now: I really need new HAs. It’s very hard to do my job without them. Money is unquestionably a concern; however, I do see this as an investment in my quality of life and I can apply for Care Credit to pay for them in monthly installments. I also have a sort-of health savings account thing through my employer and I have put aside the max amount ($1000), and I plan to buy one hearing aid this year and the next one next year.

My dilemma: I used to have the Cadillac of HAs. I miss them as much as you can miss an inanimate object. They were totally self-regulating and I didn’t have to mess with any controls. I’m afraid if I get something “lesser,” I’ll be saving $1000 only to be much less satisfied. On the flip side, I’ve been through all the screening and the tweaking and I know the Oticons are good for me. When I bought my last ones, I paid $5000 and I went back only twice in 5 years to get the fitting altered. I’m not that picky, and/or my audiologist was stellar (she’s no longer with Emory and I can’t seem to track her down). I’ve also heard of people on this forum programming their own aids…which sounds kind of cool…I am fairly tech-savvy (I’m a data scientist) sooo…yes that’s something I’d like advice about. My uncle has otosclerosis and he just got ReSounds from Costco ($2500 for BOTH!) One thing I’m really interested in is the rechargeable battery option for the Oticon. I don’t know how much that costs, but I still have bags full of dead hearing aid batteries because I couldn’t bear to throw them in the trash…it’s so bad for the environment. So I like that option. However, the Oticon with the rechargeable doesn’t have Telecoil…I’m not sure there are any telecoils installed in Georgia, but they would really help me if I could use them.

Ok, so that is an excessive amount of text. What I hope to get from you all is advice on the following:

  1. Oticon vs ReSound, for people who have owned both
  2. Sources of hearing aids: any way I could get my beloved Oticons for less than $5-6k?
  3. Self-programming HAs
  4. What has changed (technology, sourcing, connectivity, “smart” technology) in the past 5 years and what of that you feel is worth investing in (and why you like it)
  5. Anything else you want to add!

Thank you in advance!


#2

I just bought the Costco house brand, the Kirkland 8.0 and I’m happy with them. I’m listening to a lot more music now, because it sounds so good and I missed that. They are the current Rexton/Signia (used to be Siemens).

Personally, I would not sacrifice anything to get rechargeable. It this an environmental thing? Hearing aid batteries are not really batteries. They are zinc-air fuel cells.

If you are interested in Resound, Costco can save you some money.


#3
  1. Have not owned either.
  2. Online sources. Others have mentioned prices as low as $3700
  3. Look in the DIY section, or search PVC and click on his avatar. Lots of info on self programming
  4. Bluetooth connectivity with smart phones, increasingly sophisticated smart phone apps, ways with dealing with speech in noise (both directionality and Oticon’s OPN platform)
  5. You can definitely get decent aids for considerably less than $5-6k If you’re convinced that Oticon has some magic sauce, get them and don’t waste yours and others time. If you are more open, try out Costco.

#4

Oticon is VERY consumer-unfriendly IMHO; don’t rule out other brands. I personally have never liked how Resound aids sound, but Widex, Signia, and Phonak are worth trying (as are the Costco brands).


#5

I’ve heard from members on this forum who got Oticon OPN 1 for $3700/pair through online sources that refer you to a local provider for fittings. Do a search through the forum to find out. I remember hearingrevolution.com.

There are also online sources that will fit you remotely as well by sending you the programming device to do at home under their direction. These are like buyhear.com or factorydirecthearing.com or audiometrix.com, etc.

Self programming of the OPN is actually not that complicated nor expensive. The hardware can cost you around $250-$300 and the software is free to download. If you’re tech savvy, I highly recommend exploring this option.

I don’t wear Resound hearing aids. Only OPN.


#6

Try TruHearing. They might be able to save you some money. If you have any health insurance, call the insurance company. It’s possible they will provide some benefit or discounts on new HA’s.

See if a local audiologist will offer financing on new HAs. IMO it’s worth paying interest to maximize your hearing. Look into getting a Costco-branded credit card and then buying Costco HAs on that card.

If your last HA experience was 5 years ago I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much the technology has improved. Everybody really is different in what brand or model of HAs sound best to them. You just have to try different ones.

Also remember that if you fail to aid your ears your auditory processing will get lazy. Your brain thinks, “ I haven’t heard those frequencies in years. I might as well stop devoting any brain power to trying to process those sounds.” That’s not good.

I hope some of these suggestions might help. Good luck.


#7

been with Oticon since I was 10, I actually prefer the BTE than the so called trendy one LOL
if you look at the chart on my profile, you’d be surprised how bad it is :wink:

FYI, I have the Nera Ps right now, might try the OPN PP one day.


#8

You mentioned Care Credit. Be very careful with that option. They are interested free for a period of time. But, once past that time or if you miss a payment by one day, they will back charge all interest from the beginning. Their interest rate is in usury level, unbelievably high. Read the contract. If you do go with that option be very sure to pay timely and complete the payments prior to the expiration of the promotional period.

v/r
Jeff


#9

I will just put in a plug for Bernafon Zerena 9 owned by the same parent as Oticon but they are not the same HA. The have great BT connectivity and sound very good compared to others that I tried. I had the t-coil feature but sent the HA’s back to get a pair without t-coil. The t-coil adds size to the HA and I could not find any place that supported it.


#10

Thank you all! I have an appointment scheduled through Hearing Revolution, and I may also try the Bernafon and ReSound through Costco if I can find the time. One thing I like about the Oticon is that - unless something has changed with the OPNs - they are more “set it and forget it”. That is, my Intiga HAs just became like an extension of my ears. I never had to change any settings for meetings or noisy environments, etc. I would pay more for hearing aids that are more “hands off” because my environment is frequently changing and I have a more active lifestyle. Rechargeable battery was partially an environment thing - I don’t really know what zinc-air fuel cells means in terms of being “nice” to the environment or how to recycle them - LOL! But the T-coil does make the aids bigger and I have yet to see any place in Georgia that offers that technology so I think in the rechargeable vs. T-coil battle, the former wins for me personally.

Thank you!


#11

I haven’t found one venue of any type that has a teleloop. I use Bluetooth for hours every day.


#12

I bought Costco Phonak Brio3 V90 675 battery about a month ago. So far I like them… The HIS I worked with was very good. I had some issues and he took care of them. Even called factory rep. for some help. I live 120 miles from Costco and I would buy from them again.