Can most audiologists properly do an initial fitting and ongoing adjustment of Oticon OPN S HA's?

I’m a 76 year old male. I have never worn HA’s. I put my audiogram numbers in my profile. My Aud recommended Oticon OPN S. Her price for the 2 model is $5,600 (for 2 HA’s). My advantage plan will pay only $500. So I looked around for options. (Costco is not an option for me.)

I found Hearing Care Solutions (HCS). Their price for the OPN S 2 is $3,100 (44%/$2500 less). They include the fitting and 1 year of follow-up service and 3 year warranty covering loss, damage and repair.

My Aud is not in the HCS network. So HCS made an appointment for me with a local Aud. When I look at that Aud’s website I don;t see Oticon and the local aud’s company is not on Oticon’s list of providers. The local Aud gets good comments on Yelp etc But can she fit me and adjust the Oticon HA’s properly? I have sent her a copy of my hearing test that was performed last August. My appointment is not until December 3.
Thank you for any comments.

I would expect the audiologist to be able to fit Oticons. However, is there any reason, other than an initial recommendation to want the Oticons? You might want to consider the new audiologist’s recommendations.

Yes, I will consider other brands. No good (technical) reason for currently choosing Oticon. I have 3 friends with HA. The two with Oticon’s are satisfied the one with Belltone is not.

Personal bias, but I would not consider Beltone. For your hearing loss (not dissimilar to mine), I’d certainly consider Oticon, but would also seriously look at Phonak and would consider Signia. Be patient with the hearing aids. Things are going to sound a lot different and improvements in understanding people will be subtle.

MDB, Thank you again. I don’t plan to consider Beltone and will keep an open mind about the other two.

I plan to be patient about getting used to the HA’s because my main reason for getting them is not so much to be able to hear better in crowds. I intend to wear them because of the studies that indicate they MAY help delay dementia. I think that if they really did delay dementia and alzheimers, then the federal government/medicare would be providing them for free or a very small cost.

That’s a great point about medical issues and Medicare. We can only hope.
Your high frequency lose is a possible candidate for frequency lowering technology. Modern aids can lower the higher frequencies into lower frequencies that you can hear better. Some manufacturers are better at it than others. Phonak tends to be know for the best frequency lowering but Oticon does well too.
The aids that tend to have the better reputation here on this forum are Phonak, Oticon, Resound, Starkey, Widex and Signia. These are all good aids along with others I have not mentioned.
The important part is finding a hearing aid fitter you are happy with, that makes all the difference in the world.
Good luck.

That’s certainly the main message I have picked up on this forum. Thanks for reinforcing it.

My Medicare Advantage plan reduces my cost for Oticon OPN S down to $1000 each. If your other requirements for selecting your Advantage plan are not too confining, you might want to consider different plan or adding hearing aid coverage.

Your timing is excellent, as we are in the middle of open enrollment.

BTW - I am a strong believer in hearing well enough to engage with others in significant conversations as a method of delaying dementia. Of course there is no clinical study backing that assumption, but when I see older people who cannot communicate easily, I see rapid decline. JMO

The basic process for fitting hearing aids is the same for all aids. I’m sure the local audi will know the process. However, each manufacturer has different software to do the fitting, as it is all computer driven today. The question would be as to how familiar the local audi is in using the Oticon software, and how familiar they are with the various bells and whistles that Oticon offers. You may want to start a new thread ask about what features work the best with the Oticon OPN S, and how they should be set up. That will arm you with a bit of information on what questions to ask the Audi (to see if they know what they are doing).

Another thought is a smart phone. The smart phone you use can influence which hearing aids may be the best suited to you. A smart phone that can stream wirelessly to the aids is a real help in phone conversations.

Thank you, Sierra. I do have an iphone 5s. I have been laughing to myself since I learned that the HA’s act as bluetooth receivers. I have been too cheap to spent $100 on a bluetooth earpiece and now I will be spending $ thousands for one.
And good idea for me to learn more about the OPN S models and maybe more about Phonak.

Apple gives some information on MFi Made for iPhone, hearing aids at this link. You may want to look for hearing aids that are MFi compatible. Phonak is not MFi, but their latest Marvel models have a work around that allows them to work with both Android and Apple phones.

I have a 5s phone and a 7. They both work with MFi. The 5s is limited to iOS 12, which is not a bad thing. It avoids all the issues involved with the new iOS 13 operating system.

It certainly is a pleasure to talk on the phone with audio going direct to your ears, compared to a regular land line phone. My aids can be set to attenuated the background noise (currently set to 70%) when you are talking on the phone. That helps too.

Your loss is not an easy one to fit satisfactorily. Some patients with your loss would not be without their hearing aids, others do not notice enough difference to make the expenditure worth while. Make sure whom ever you choose uses speech mapping and speech in noise testing. Also make sure you have a trial period, if you happen to be one of the “not enough difference to be worth while” group you do not want to spend a bunch of money and let them sit in the dresser drawer. It will not be perfect, but with the proper fitting and adjustments you should notice a nice positive improvement.

The key is to keep going back for adjustments on a monthly bases until you can hear the best you can possibly hear with the aids. I got my aids in December of 2018 and I was taking notes and going back to the Audi monthly until August of this year but it paid off and I can not just put my aids in my ears and forget them all day long. Am I say it will work for you? Maybe, maybe not, it depends on your hearing issues, it also depends on your patients and attitude. You have to be very positive that you are going to get them the best possible for your issues. You have to be very much into getting them right by talking to your Audi and explaining what is working and what isn’t working. You also have to remember to only make one change at a time. That makes it easier to remember what was changed last. Each appointment as to build on the last one. And yes you have to have an Audi that is willing to learn with you what you need to make your hearing experience work the very best it can.
You have to keep your feet to the fire to get it correct, and at the same time keep the feet of your Audi to the fire to get it correct. You have to build that partnership to get it done.

Sierra, George & EV, thank you for the very valuable information.

So I will not seek out the Phonak but will consider it if it becomes the best choice for hearing.

I do not know if my first Audi used speech mapping and/or speech in noise testing but below I pasted the rest of the one page she gave me. The rest of the page is the audiogram chart. I will ask my second audi about speech mapping and speech in noise testing.

Your loss is a real ski jump type. Here is what the gain curves would look like with an M receiver, and closed click sleeves in a Rexton or Signia aid. You have very little gain, and then a really steep climb in gain. For most people having a high number of channels to fit is not necessary, but with your steep loss having more channels may be of some benefit. It looks like with closed sleeves you could avoid feedback - the shaded red and blue zones in the 2-4kHz range. The software is however suggesting you would benefit from frequency compression. This is something that can be adjusted but as a first cut the software is suggesting that the 5-12 kHz frequencies should be squashed down into the 5-7 kHz range. This should help you recover some of the higher frequencies that cannot be amplified enough to be of benefit. So you may want to look for aids that do frequency compression well.