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:
- Oticon vs ReSound, for people who have owned both
- Sources of hearing aids: any way I could get my beloved Oticons for less than $5-6k?
- Self-programming HAs
- 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)
- Anything else you want to add!
Thank you in advance!