Coming to the end of my Costco 90 day trial

So I’ve got about 2 weeks to decide if I want to keep my Bernafon Juna 9s with the Soundgate 3 Bluetooth intermediary. I have a reverse slope loss which makes programming a very trial and error process. Basically the dispenser programs the aids then I give him some feedback after a couple weeks and he makes adjustments. I finally got to the point where I’m getting a good benefit from my hearing aids. Primarily I wear them for work (I am a supervisor in insurance claims so I spend half my time in an office and the other half in the field between boat and motorcycle shops). I take about 10-15 phone calls per week using a work cellphone (not a smart phone). I find the benefit I get streaming the calls via Bluetooth to my hearing aids is tremendous vs just holding the phone to my ear. The connection with my work phone is much more stabile than with my personal phone, iPhone 6. My boss and one of the guys on my team are soft spoken and I had trouble hearing them before. My Costco dispenser adjusted the setting for soft speech and this has helped a lot.

The other primary use for my aids is family functions like bbqs, parties at a restaurant, etc., or just hanging out with my wife and two little kids.

Part of me wants to trial the Kirkland Signature 6 so I can use the phone clip+ with my work cell. I would rather clip the mic to my shirt than wear the neck loop I currently do. It’s not so much vanity because I wear the neck loop under my shirt until I need to use the phone. I just don’t necessarily like the wire touching my skin under a polo shirt. My fear is that if I trial the Kirkland aid then I will lose the ground that has been made so far via 5-6 adjustments on my Junas. I’m not sure if he can just copy the adjustment settings to the Kirkland aid or if we have to start over from scratch. My Costco dispenser is not a fan of any other aids at Costco and pushed the Bernafon very hard. He said the rest were just junk. I know that’s not true, I think he is just a fan of Bernafon because he wears one himself.

The other part of the puzzle is that I was able to make contact with someone who is an electrical engineer and programs hearing aids as a licensed dispenser. He has reverse slope himself and is very aware how to program aids for this type of loss. He recommends me the Resound Lynx2 7 because he realized the top of the line 9 series have featured that would not benefit s reverse sloper thus are not worth the additional money. He would sell me the 7 series for $4200 with mini mic. I would still need to buy the phone clip+ for work purposes since my work cell is not an iPhone.

Sorry for the length of this post. I figured getting the advice of other more experienced hearing aid users would help me make the right decision.

Should I stick with the bernafons because they are currently meeting my needs? Do I try the Costco Kirkland series? I would save about $400 once I buy the phone clip. And I would be able to do more streaming on my personal time via my iPhone 6 for watching Netflix etc.

Or do I forego the convenience and benefits of Costco to deal with a dispenser who specializes in reverse slope hearing loss programming. His practice is an hour from my house and the cost of his aids would mean another $2k out of my pocket. He can remotely program the hearing aids over the Internet so I wouldn’t need to make frequent trips to him if I needed an adjustment. But this could be a pain if something broke,etc. Costco is 5 mins from my house and another one is 20 mins away.

Aren’t the trials 6 months now?

Are you satisfied with the dispenser at Costco? He has experience in programming for your exact loss and you express satisfaction. Why not try the KS6 in store? You should get an idea/comparison. The phone clip + may be the best around for Bluetooth, IMO. I picked up an iPhone and the phone clip does the better job.

It’ll be interesting if you go with the other outfit. I have no idea how he’ll accomplish remote programming your aids. I didn’t know it could be down with full hearing aids.

My contract says 90 days. Maybe Costco updated the trial period after my purchase.

Yeah, I am satisfied with him to be honest. We’ve gone through a bunch of adjustments so far and he has been patient. But he is very opposed to me getting the Kirklands. He keeps saying they are junk and tells me the Bernafons are the best for me. Almost like he has stock in Bernafon. I did do a quick walk through with the Kirklands but that was on day one. I had no idea what to expect and the dispenser kept telling me they are junk. So I think that got in my head and I just went with the Junas. If the Bluetooth with the phone clip+ is very stabile and clear, that would be a big factor for me. Are you able to mute the mics on the hearing aids? That helps me a lot with the Soundgate.

The over guy uses a program called TeleHealth to remotely program the aids. He says I could be in an any environment, connect via Internet on a laptop and he could remotely observe my hearing and then program them right on the spot.

I would recommend returning the Bernafons, and going to the other Costco to try the Kirklands. If they don’t work out as well as you’d like, you can go back to the Bernafons and you’ve lost nothing.

The Bernafons are currently meeting your needs and you’re happy with them. However, you have expressed a desire for additional features that the Phone Clip offers. Therefor I think you shouldn’t just settle. That’s the great thing about Costco’s program is that it gives you some outstanding flexibility, so take advantage of that. But I recommend going to the other Costco since the guy you’re seeing now seems uncomfortable with the Kirklands.

As for the remote programming, it sounds neat and high tech, but I prefer face-to-face communications on this sort of thing. I would only resort to that if it was the only option available to you. I remember a recent thread where the guy said the nearest Costco was a four hour drive. That’s a situation where the remote option would be good.

The teleheath program you mention is interesting. This articlesays it works for Resound and Widex in wireless mode. The audiologist installs the software and evidently provides the wireless dongle. He then uses conferencing software to interact with the remote site – you. Throw in Skype.

My one concern about the setup is the conferencing software. It has been cracked and cracked again it seems. This would make your computer susceptible to hacking.

OTOH, you can program on your own. The article suggest leaving the guts of the Adventa or whatver alone but you can do other things like pair without worry. If your are a DYI type, you’ve got the whole setup thrown in with the aids.

Thanks for the advice. I swung by my Costco today and spoke with my dispenser. He seems to think Bernafon is the best aid for me and my reverse slope loss because they are channel free and he claims that allows him to adjust the aids in a way that suits my low frequency loss.

What I have found with low frequency loss is adjusting aids for this type of loss is actually counter-intuitive. If the audi just plugs in your audiogram and autofits the aids, the programming “blows up” and your hearing suffers. I actually learned this by asking the dispenser to increase my low frequencies during one of my initial fittings. The low frequency amplification basically over-powered my other frequencies and speech became impossible to understand.

So called Reverse Slope experts like Dan Schwartz and Neil Bauman state that with a low frequency loss, you actually want an open fit vs. any type of closed fit which many audi’s or dispensers would suggest based on conventional wisdom. You don’t want to seal in the low frequencies because most of us with low frequency loss have dead zones in this portion of the cochlea and sealing in the lows is essentially just trapping in sounds you cannot hear well to begin with. They also suggest no amplification below 500hz and actually some amplification in the mids and highs despite most reverse slopers having good hearing in those frequencies, I guess this is to make up for whatever hearing is lost in the mids/highs by actually having the receiver in your ear.

I can say that personally, having my dispenser making adjustments based on my feedback, i.e. today I had an adjustment to lower the low frequencies because voices sounded too “hollow” and also increase some of the mids/highs because I was having trouble hearing soft speech. My dispenser claims that with the channel-free Bernafons this allows him to increase the intensity of soft speech without actually increasing soft sounds which would probably be annoying to me. I guess long-story short, I’m going to stick with the Bernafons at this point. I think we made some good progress via trial and error and I don’t want to have to go through a half dozen fitting sessions again. I also had my aids REM tested after today’s adjustments. They were hitting all targets with the outlier being the low frequencies were slightly lower than the target range probably because we lowered the lows today to account for the hollowness sound. I can say my aids have never sounded better as of today’s adjustment session – basically I have been having the programming tweaked little by little until the lower frequencies were really minimized and I have some more mid/higher frequency amplification which I know is exactly the opposite of the conventional wisdom when it comes to low frequency aka reverse slope loss… Go figure.

Tony, sounds like you and your Costco fitter are a great fit. :slight_smile:

Hi abersanti,

interesting post I didn´t know half of the things you said. I had thought that low frequency loss should indeed be cured with low frequency amplification.

One thing rang a bell for me: Before wearing aids, I had problems in understanding soft consonants like “b” and “d”. When you look at the speech banana, those are rather low frequency sounds. The bernafon aids were the only ones that really improved those soft consonants. They say in the documentation that the compression ratio is changed so quickly that soft consonants at the beginning of words are amplified more than the vowels afterwards, so maybe that is what your audi means.

Yeah I think all along he was basically trying to cram the Bernafons down my throat because in his mind he feels they were best for my loss but he didn’t think I would understand why. So he just kept saying the other aids were junk when I asked about them. He actually holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and worked in that field until recently so he may have more knowledge than the average retail dispenser.

Actually at one point I went to the other Costco nearby and the dispenser there tried to fit me based on conventional wisdom. Boosted my lows and gave me closed domes. She had good intentions, but I would have been better off not wearing the aids at that point.

Alas low frequency losses are apparently 1 in 12,000 hearing losses so hardly anyone knows how to program them correctly nor are there any hearing aids specifically designed for this type of loss. But with perseverance hearing aids can present a benefit. At least that’s based on the research I’ve done as a hard of hearing consumer with a really rare type of hearing loss.