Confusing choices for new Hearing Aids



I agree that CR said a difference of 4 points is not significant. But if you look at the categories that were consumer rated there is a significant difference TO ME. I am not sure how a user can rate a hearing aid unless they have used them all within a short period of time so that the hearing loss is the same. Within those 4 points there are many that have down arrows and some double down arrows. All hearing aids have down arrows for battery life. Phonak has no other down arrows. So it is my personal choice that I like the one that has no other down arrows.
So far I am very pleased with the Phonak hearing aids.


You know, I have the same problems as you and I am not new to wearing hearing aids,speech is a big problem for me,if i adjust the background noise it seems to lower people voices too! i don’t want louder I want clearer,my hope is I will find the right hearing aids someday.


szcas, I am curious what brand you wear? I had the same problem with my Bernafon Junas I currently have been wearing 3+ years and the Phonak Brio3 and the new Bernafon Zerena that I trialed recently. I found the Costco KS8 did a good job keeping the voices clear and the background noise very low. My only concerns about them were the mfi connection was not reliable and background noise was over suppressed to the point I could not determine directional sound source. May be just an adjustment or 2 but it was not comforting not hearing birds, etc when walking my dog. I have a trial scheduled in a week or 2 with the Resound Forte and can give an update afterwards.


Yes, I understand. That’s a reasonable approach but still not foolproof. I agree that a user cannot compare hearing aids without trying them out under similar conditions and close in time to one another. Worse yet, as I’ve tried various brands of hearing aids (over a short period of time), I still find it close to impossible to notice any significant differences. They all help some, but I have never really been satisfied with any of the ones I’ve tried, including the ones I finally ended up buying eight years ago. It’s all very frustrating (and depressing), and now I’m going through the same thing again, trying to find some new technology that will make things better.


I am far from an expert having only tried two different brands those being the Brio 2 and currently the Zerena 9. Personally I like the Zerena better and I think it gives a little better speech in noise than the Brio 2. I say “think” because it has been a year since I trialed the Brio and it wasn’t that it was bad. The Compilot accessory for the Brio 2 was horrible in my opinion and the BT on the Zerena is flawless. The Zerena actually has separate programs for Conversation in Noise, Comfort in Loud Noise and Music but I have not found these to be any better than the “auto” program.

My HA’s work fine for listening to tv news and sports but for movies I still prefer to use wireless headphones. I wear them for music listening and it is satisfactory but I only listen to oldies so listening through a tin can would probably suffice.

My personal opinion is that all of the premium aids are probably about the same despite some of the claims of the manufacturers. I have come to the realization that they are just an “aid” and not meant to be a direct substitution for normal hearing. That may sound obvious but having read many posts I still think some people, especially those who are new to HA’s, have unrealistic expectations, I did.

After wearing the Zerena’s for a few months I have become so used to them that I forget I have them in my ears. I have actually worn them into the shower on occasion only to realize that the water seemed louder than normal.

One final note on the Zerena 9. I mistakenly ordered the model with the t-coil only to discover that it is a little larger, in part because it has two buttons instead of one. I have zero use for the t-coil so I am exchanging them for the smaller model. It is not a big difference but when compared side by side it is very obvious. This is one example of smaller being better.


Every time I open this thread, I receive more worthwhile information and opinions.
As a result, I now have arranged a longer trial of the Bernafon Zerena’s after I complete my trial of the Resound Forte’s. I will provide an update on the trials once they have been completed.
In the meantime, I appreciate hearing any suggestions anyone may have.


My gut feel is that the Zerena is a close cousin to the Sonic Enchant 100 because those two companies are sister companies under the same parent holding group Williams Demant and those two models got released very closely in time frame.

If you don’t find much review of the Zerena here on this forum, there’s a review on the Enchant here. Maybe you’ll find it helpful to draw comparison to the Zerena from the Enchant review.


Volusiano, thanks for the useful info. Based on the literature and other info I got from my audiologist, it looks like they are very similar if not identical, just different nomenclature for features. My trial is scheduled for this coming Friday and believe it will be for at least a week. I have confidence in my audiologist to get the settings close to my existing Junas thus expect I will be able to tell if the newer technology in the Zerenas will benefit me. I still intend to trial the Resound Fortes the following week and afterwards should be able to erase all my confusion. If all this fails, I intend to trial the Oticon opn1 as a last resort but hope I can stay with one of these 2 to save money.


Hearing Amplifier works for some. There are different types of hearing amplifiers you can buy.


Hi thanks for your feed back on your hearing aids, I am now trying out the KS8 I had the KS7 but did not like those,now the KS8 is no better. I have problems with hearing clearly the TV and the Directional is terrible. I have been back to Costco so many times for adjustments,still problems. I dbuto no what you mean about the money,but looks as if I might have to step up to the Resounds. The Resounds were my first hearing aids and they work real well for 6 years,so I think I will go with those when I get back from my trip,all of this has been very upsetting to say the least,


Try the Phonak Brio 3.i had the KS7 and it worked ok. I couldn’t hear very well in the car or large rooms with the KS7.
Even with the initial settings I can hear better with the Brio 3. Can’t quite explain why but I can.
I’m still working on settings for speech in noise, but it’s probably better than the KS7, still testing.
I’m sure you’re millage will vary.


Thank you,I might give those a try,


I just completed a short trial of the Bernafon Zerena at Costco. Here are my impressions of the trial.


Very natural sound outdoors
Good speech understanding and clarity in restaurants
Very good soft speech understanding in all conditions
Great music sound, very smooth, low distoftion
Able to determine location and direction of sound easily
If I cough or clear my throat, they cut out for a second or two and then resume prior setting
A bit shrill watching television
Overall volume too low, original in MFI setting is 77%
Increase to 88% was far closer to comfortable level
Too much feedback at 77% and increased even more at 88%
Clock chime reverbs, very annoying

Good voice clarity overall but too bright for my taste
Background noise seemed a bit louder than I like, less natural overall

Handoff from iPhone X to iPad Pro 10.5” unreliable so not a viable substitute for earphones or the older Soundgate 3
Overrides the Bluetooth connection (Ford Sync) in my car so I have to answer an incoming call on the phone rather than my car screen or steering wheel button unless I disable MFI every time I enter the car. However, once answered, calls automatically connect to car system.

Not very robust, can only change volume, programs and see battery life.

Color choices are great, quality materials
Battery life is ok in view of the connectivity, averaged 5-6 days
Receiver length excellent for RIC using 60db receivers
Comfortable in ears with #10 open domes.
Difficult opening battery door while wearing HAs without unintentionally changing volume or programs
Volume/program Switch is often hard to locate while wearing

The bottom line is whether I would buy the Bernafon Zeranas at this time.
Although I find the overall sound quality very pleasant, I will defer my decision to see if the following concerns can be corrected.

1.  The cut off and delay when I cough is disturbing and unpleasant. I realize it is just a reaction to a loud sound but the transition is not a smooth one. May be adjustment
2.   I was unhappy with the feedback but that may just be adjustment.
3.  The low volume may be another adjustment or replacement with a 85db receiver in place of the 60db receiver.
4.  The  “Made for iPhone” implementation does not provide me the functionality I require.
    5.  The shrill and bright sound in the “Conversation in Noise” Program may be corrected by adjustment.

I will work with my very skillful and accommodating audiologist to see if these deficiencies can be corrected through adjustments, etc.

I will provide my evaluation of the Resound Fortes once I complete my current trial with them.


Please excuse the omissions in the above post. I was having some formatting problems as you can see.

The most significant omission is my concern over MFI implementation. After further research and testing of other brands, these deficiencies are the same for all “Made for iPhone” hearing aids and not unique to the Zerenas.

For my purposes, iPhone connectivity is less important to me than iPad connectivity so this issue would not be a big deal in my decision making.


On number 1, did you have the audi reduce the transient noise management setting? That should help with this issue.

On number 2, did your audi enable the feedback manager for you?

On number 3, the overall volume can be increased easily.

On number 4, you’d need to turn off the Bluetooth for the device you need to disconnect the Zerena from first before attempting to connect it with the new device.

On number five, there should be a tonal control of the overall sound to adjust it to either brighter or fuller.


Hi Volusiano, thanks for all of your suggestions. I have an appointment tomorrow evening to have the audiologist make all of those adjustments. As for the Bluetooth, since Ford Sync is my preference for hands free phone calls when in my car, connecting directly to my iPhone doesn’t matter to me. Fortunately, I have no difficulty hearing phone calls on my iPhone X when not in my car. I have connected to my iPad so that is no longer a problem for me. For me, the overall sound I get from the hearing aids along with better speech recognition in noisy situations are more important than iPhone connectivity.
I will give update here after these changes are made.


I would love to hear what you think of the resound Fortes,I had a pair about 6 years ago and liked them very much,now have lots of problems with a good fit with both ks7’s and 8s lot of feed back but can’t figure out where the sounds are coming from,could be the behind the ear controls!


My Costco guy has been very helpful in trying to help me figure this problem out,have changed sozes many size and different domes.


Szcas3, Here are the things I liked best about the Resound Forte 8.
Feedback was very good.
MFI pairing was solid, no drops at all.
Outstanding directional sound detection, I could always pinpoint where a sound came from.
Volume excellent, easy gain and tone.
Loved the ability to save different locations and my personalized setting.
Background noise suppression was outstanding.

Things I didn’t like:
For me, the domes were not comfortable in my ears, tried several sizes and types.
Music sounded distorted, some highs just shrieked, some tones were distorted both highs and lows, I felt overall it was uncomfortable listening to most music. I am certain additional fiddling with settings by my audiologist should smooth lots of this out.
Not as good hearing soft voices as others I have trialed. This is very important to me since my wife is a very soft talker.
Not sure how to describe this but watching tv and in person, some voices would almost whistle, almost the sound of when you are trying to get someone’s attention quietly as a whisper. Another way to describe this is a spitting sound or lisp.
Some reverb when clock chime rings.

I am certain most of these things could be adjusted out by my audiologist but overall I found these were just too bright and not as full as I like. However, I am thinking about re-trialing these to see if adjustments can correct the aforementioned issues.


I have had the Zerena 9’s for a couple of months and having first tried a pair of the Brio 2’s I much prefer the Zerena 9’s. I was having a problem in the auto program with the sound going in and out in a fairly quiet setting just as hpres describes with his cough. I followed Vousiano’s suggestion to have the fitter set the Zerena equivalent of the Sonic Enchant SPIN Engage to the low value. That fixed it. I tried the cough test and it still lowers the sound, something I never noticed before but maybe it is supposed to. I do find the sound a little sharp so I will have the fitter work on that. I am a first time wearer so I don’t have much to compare to but they meet my expectations and improve my hearing experience so all is good.

I have yet to figure out what the Conversation in Noise or the Comfort in Noise does. I just let the auto program do its thing and that seems to work for me.