Can you help with HA decision process?


#4

Thanks for the tips. We do have the Executive membership and we shop there enough that they pay us, instead of us paying them for a membership. We also have a Capital One travel card that gives us 2% back in travel rewards, which we have no trouble using up.

On price, I have a recollection of the KS 8.0 HA’s being $2000 CDN a few months ago, but when I checked the other day the price was $2150. Perhaps the exchange got factored in at some point…

I have a friend that bought the KS 7.0 model and he has not been entirely happy. Part of it is that he lives a long way from the closest Costco. As a Snowbird he says he gets better service in the US, but they cannot handle the return of a defective HA since they were bought in Canada. His problem is that one hearing aid drops out in volume seemingly somewhat at random later in the day. It returns to normal when he turns it off and back on again. I’m hoping that they have that issue solved in the KS 8.0. Thanks for the tip on 3 months, as I will return it and get my money back if I start having issues like that.


#5

I have the KS7’s. I’m about 2 hours away from my nearest Costco. I moved to self-programming after all the initial set up appointments.
I have had no issues in almost 2 years. The worst enemy is sweat. I’ll become aware that one isn’t working so I wipe out the battery compartment and it goes again. I think there are generic “socks” for HA’s but I don’t use them.


#6

We have 7 Costco stores within a reasonable driving distance. My plan is to do a hearing test and a quiz of their technical capability at the closest one, and then decide if I need to check out more locations. I have found that talking to the staff at the reception desk is a waste of time. They don’t seem to be up to doing more than sell you a package of batteries.


#7

Totally understand and I have hearing loss mainly from hunting in my teens and 20’s. I didn’t get hearing aids until my 50’s.

The problem with waiting to get hearing aids is that it makes it much harder to get used to them, I mean months instead of weeks. But, I love mine now and they are life changing.

Definitely not like getting glasses where you see perfectly right away.

They will sound too loud, crinkly and clanky sounds will be painful, and it will take months to get to the point they are actually helping.

But, the day will come when you realize they are not that bad, in fact, you realize you can hear things much better than when you started.

They are worth it.


#8

Sierra, you are correct about the front desk( or PCC, patient care coordinator) not knowing much about the actual practice procedures. It really would entail a talk with the actual provider. And there is nothing wrong with saving a few bucks at Costco…as long as the provider knows what they are doing and cares. Unfortunately just passing the exam for licensure does not indicate competancy just as getting an AuD does not guarantee competency (although there is a better chance). I have know Hearing Aid Specialists that I would personally go to over and audiologist and I have know audiologists who do a phenomenal job of fitting. It all depends on the practitioner.


#9

Thank you for the tips. I will put your list of points on my list of questions for the Costco practitioner(s). I suspect the audiologists are few and far between.


#10

I posted this a few weeks ago about getting good speech understanding in noise.


#11

No they do not. They show that dementia and hearing loss are correlated, which does not speak to whether hearing aids have any effect on the progression of dementia.

Happily, another difference between Costco US and Costco Canada is that Costco Canada hires primarily audiologists.


#12

I looked at the business cards of the staff at our closest Costco and the two there were both practitioners. Perhaps I should phone around before I make an appointment…


#13

What do you mean by “self programming”? What hardware and software is required to do this? I’m new at this!


#14

There’s a whole DIY sub-category here.
Self-programming is doing all the hearing aid programming yourself rather than going to an office and having an educated/certified person do it. (Although some time ago now someone argued that it’s not really programming per se and more like configuring. I would agree but programming is the generally accepted term around these parts.)
You’ll need a compatible hearing aid connectivity device either wireless or wired, a usb (or serial if an older version) cable to connect that to a Windows computer, if wired then a cable to allow connection to the hearing aids and maybe another connector depending on the aids you have.
And of course the fitting software that I believe only work on Windows machines (or VM/emulators I suppose).


#15

Neville,
Maybe I should have said “may” instead of “can” reduce dementia. But the evidence is getting stronger all the time. The January issue of The Hearing Review has an article on page 10, “Evidence That Hearing Aids Could Slow Cognitive Decline In Later Life” is an interesting read.


#16

Thanks. That is way too deep for me at the present time. I am an unfortunate user of a APAP machine for sleep apnea, and it sounds like a somewhat similar situation. Unless you decide to adjust the machine yourself, which is not really that hard, you are stuck with going back to the provider every time you want a change. In the APAP situation for most machines there is a freeware program available that lets you view all the same data that the provider can see. That makes it possible to do your own adjustments with some knowledge of what you are doing…


#17

Two good sources of information - Hearing Loss Assoc of America has excellent information on the website, www.hearingloss.com. Also check the Doctor Cliff, AudD, U Tube programs. He has one about the advantages and disadvantages of CostCo hearing aids. Also a 10 Best hearing aids in 2019.


#18

Thanks, I hadn’t seen the AGS article before.

It has a lot of strengths compared to previous studies, but the big confounder that jumps out at me is that they are using a memory test where the investigator reads a list of words out loud that the participant later has to recall. The number that gets thrown around for how long the average individual with hearing loss waits between when they would benefit from hearing aids and when they would get them is what, seven years? Prior to the participants getting hearing aids, are the investigators measuring cognitive decline alone? Or are they also measuring hearing loss? Hard to correctly recall a word that they did not hear in the first place. It would be interesting to see what sort of errors are made during recall. A quick fix would be to have the participants repeat the words as they are initially said and discard any words from analysis that are not correct at that time, but I don’t think that is the task. I’m still not ready to reject the common cause hypothesis, and certainly not ready to press my patients to get hearing aids by raising this emotional issue.


#19

I am in my 70’s and have a profound loss in my right ear and severe loss in my left ear (yep, I killed one duck too many). I purchased a pair of hearing aids from Costco about a year ago, and after a two week trial, returned them. Because of the severity of my hearing loss, I required ear molds to capture all of the sound. Ear molds are manufactured from impressions made from your ear canal, and can be made from either hard or soft material. At any rate, when the ear molds came back from the manufacturer, they were poorly made, the receiver didn’t fit all the way into the mold and didn’t seal well. I have been wearing hearing aids for many year, and have owned several brands. What I would recommend that you visit a Doctor of Audiology (Audiologist) for your first fitting. They can give you the best analysis of your needs. They will also charge the highest prices, however, the cost of ear molds (about $250.00) is usually included. There is a big difference between an Audiologist and a Technician, but I am not sure what the classifications are in Canada. Costco doesn’t use Audiologists, they have Technicians, and their skill levels vary. In the USA, the companies that sell hearing aids must allow a 30 day trial period. This is regulated by state law, and may vary from state-to-state. You can also ask for a copy of your audiology report. The person who has taken the test will perhaps balk a bit, but should provide it. Although the audiology practices in the USA can’t sell at a discount because none of the manufacturers will allow them to, you can still tell the audiologist you are going to shop. I am not sure of your financial situation, and although Costco does sell at about half the price of traditional audiology practices, a Doctor of Audiology would be my first choice for the best analysis of your needs.


#20

I will use an audiologist if I find out I have significant issues that are not going to be addressed by a basic hearing aid. My thought is to get a test done first and then make a decision as to the next step. I checked and they do the speech in noise testing, as well as the real ear measurement when fitting.

As far as affordability goes, I suppose I could afford pretty much anything on the market. But, that said I have never liked over paying for something. Perhaps that is why I can afford to pay what it takes. I have never been a believer that you get what you pay for. I believe you get what you get, and sometimes you can pay way to much for it. My experience with CPAP machines has been that you can pay $2400 for a machine at a clinic, or pay $850 for it on line. That is exactly the same machine. And you get very little for service out of a clinic.

It is good to hear your advice and I will keep it in mind when I go for my test at Costco. It is not going to cost me anything, and for sure I will ask for a copy of the results. They play the same game with CPAPs and sleep tests by trying to withhold your test results so you can’t shop around.

Perhaps it will become either clearer or more confusing when I get tested, but so far in my comparison of HA’s I have not found major advantages between top of the line HA’s in the various brands. Yes, perhaps the fitting service could vary. We will see…


#21

I wouldn’t compare fitting a CPAP to fitting a hearing aid.


#22

You are correct. I would say fitting an APAP is much easier than a HA. In fact a good APAP right out of the box will work for most people in a basic fashion. They almost always can be improved after data is collected and the machine tuned for the user’s particular condition and needs. It is quite reasonable to buy an APAP on line and set it up yourself. Many do.

The HA looks far more complex and I see that some actually do set up their own. Without specialized measurement equipment that would seem difficult to do well. My point was that the amount you pay for the service does not always get reflected in what you get. I suspect some get great after sale service, and others do not. I am not too worried about Costco because if worst comes to worst, I will just return the thing, and start over somewhere else, perhaps a bit wiser…

I have not dug very deep into the DIY side of HA’s, but from my initial look there seems to be an obvious gap in adjustment ability to suit the user. Adjusting the frequency response curve seems very specialized and should not be messed with by someone without the precise measurement equipment. But, other things seem to be just basic setup of options; on/off, level 1, 3, or 3, or combining features to make a program. It would seem to be that there is a need for a user to be able to do that sort of thing only, without getting into the frequency response part. Perhaps there is?


#23

Some hearing aid apps offer a great deal of adjustment–others much less so. Resound is known to have a great app and I think Widex’s app is pretty good. Phonak and Oticon do not offer much control with their apps (but they both offer great hearing aids)