Costco: "No benefit from new aids"

I guess we all know that Costco hearing specialists are not on commission. My experience today reflects that fact.

It’s just past the 3rd anniversary of my KS7 aids so I my health insurance will allow up to $3K for new ones. I had a hearing test today at the Prescott, AZ Costco (results changed only a little) and with a struggle, I updated them for this forum.

The specialist checked my KS7’s cleaning out a wax buildup and she increased the levels at most frequency bands. Noises are now considerably louder and it will take time to get used to them.

She found my hearing comprehension very poor, especially for the L ear and said new aids would provide little benefit. So now I have louder KS7’s. Will have to see whether I can hear better.

My hearing deteriorated considerably 7 years ago when I had chemo for leukemia. I guess I’ll just have to live with the disability.

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I had the same thing happen: my WRS is so bad they said at Costco getting new hearing aids wouldn’t help at all. What I have is very good already and not too old. They also said more volume wouldn’t make it better. I was disappointed because I was hoping new hearing aids would help, versus waiting for a Cochlear Implant, which is a big step.

When you do all you can with hearing aids and the word recognition continues to fall decisions need to be made.
I am pursuing cochlear implants at this time.

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Well, I’ll have to admit I didn’t care if my Rexton Trax 42s could be tweaked for my current hearing last year (they were 4 years old). I wanted the KS9s because they’d allow me to get rid of the medallion around the neck required for phone calls and t.v. sound to go directly to the hearing aids. I disliked the thing so much I only wore it when I was expecting a phone call or about to watch t.v. The fact the KS9s do improve my hearing a little is just icing on the cake.

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Word recognition is a BRAIN job, not ear or hearing aid.

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I’ve heard this, but how do we use our BRAINs to hear?

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I asked my audi office how much it would cost to have my 4-year-old Oticon Opn1 HAs repaired if necessary. They said maybe $250 each BUT they said that once they reach the five-year-old mark Oticon won’t repair them whatsoever.
It seems the HA Manufacturer / Audiology/ Insurance Co. Complex makes it very difficult to keep using the same HAs for more than five years and strongly encourages you to replace every three years regardless of need. Maybe (hopefully) Costco is different

Excellent question :+1:

This is a laymen’s understanding.

The brain plays a big part in word recognition. It gets information from different parts of your ear. This information is taken and turned into words by the brain.

Most of us hard of hearing people have problems with the little hairs that sense sound that is sent to the brain through our nervous system. These little hairs are like the keyboard of a piano. As our hearing gets worse it’s like certain keys of the piano are missing. The worse your hearing gets, more of these piano keys are missing. The brain just doesn’t have enough information coming in to get word recognition out of it. This is when hearing aids just do seem to help anymore. You hear sound no matter how amplified but it just doesn’t have enough information in it to make words out of it.

My simple understanding.

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Thank you, Raudrive.

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Good explanation Raudrive. The ears and the associated nerves in the cochlea are just a transfer mechanism. They send the signals they detect up the auditory nerve to the brain. At that point the brain can interpret electronic signals into something that makes sense or not. Depending on how much the signal is degraded due to nerve loss, the brain “hears” it but it can almost be like listening to a foreign language. You hear it but can’t understand it. Hearing aids amplify the signals for transmission, but the brain has to decipher it . Depending on the severity of loss and how long it has been since the brain got those signals, it may or may not be able to make sense out of it. A good reason not to put off amplification too long.

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So then, could you explain how cochlear implants work with that loss and the brain? Thank you.

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Although I am not an expert on cochlear implants, the basics are that the electrode array is positioned in the cochlea so the electrical impulse reacts in the position of the damaged and/or missing hair cells. It still ends up being electrical signals being sent to the brain for interpretation. I have had patients whose benefit from hearing aids was severely declining and after the CI they could actually communicate much better again, certainly not perfect but a big improvement once hearing aids were no longer doing the trick.

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I lived for decades with hearing loss before deciding to get hearing aids (when I couldn’t understand my grandchildren). The Audi explained about the brain and told me one way to help increase WR is to read aloud to myself. I love to read, but reading aloud slows me down too much so I didn’t stick with it. You’ve reminded me to try again, thanks.

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Something that really helped me with getting word recognition back was closed captioning on TV using the TV connector to stream sounds directly into the ears. Especially the reruns that I knew but heart.

You have another choice.

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My Audi and I have had many talks about speech understanding. And as he put it as long as I can understand speech with aids he will countinue to recommend hearing aids, but if he sees that I am not understanding speech even with my aids he would then recommend a CI or maybe even CIs for both sides. I am so relieved that with my new Oticon OPNS1 aids an my Audi’s patience with me I am now at least with my aids understanding speech better than I have in a very long time.

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Let’s be serious. If you test 20% speech comprehension during your test under ideal conditions, there’s not much a hearing aid can do.

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I was told the same, went to CI evaluation the other day.
WRS with headphones is main indicator for them.
When I started this marvel-or-not saga, my fitter tested me on WRS, and we got 70% on 85db as best result, and increasing the loudness didn’t help, but gave distortion. That was mid June.
However they now measured almost 100% but on 115db for the same ear. In meantime I did LACE training once and stream directly to both ears - TV, youtube, phone calls and whatnot.
I need to recheck with my fitter since I’m not that convinced since with CI they did only few words, whilst my fitter did a bunch for each sound level.
But, if that’s really right, then my brain definitely got much better in pulling the information out of the sounds it receives.

Since I scored that high they didn’t proceed with other CI test, but ensured me that my nerves are good and I’m CI candidate if/when my hearing does deteriorate.

And they said that if with that WRS with loud headphones you can’t get above 50-60%, you’re CI candidate here in Germany.

Because that mean that HA can’t help you enough anymore.
And they basically say that WRS with headphones is what matter to them, not result while wearing HA, since HA should be able to give you the same as very loud headphones. If they don’t, change your fitter. (that’s my conclusion, plus my fitter said that he works and tweaks until he gets at least the same result with HA as he measured it’s possible with headphones alone)

@dmrljes I’ll ping you here as well so that you read this

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Yes I understand what you are saying for me, but fortunately or unfortunately I go to the VA and my hearing loss is military service related so my Audi is my hearing world at this time. Here in the VA area that I live in, I am seeing the Audi that is not only incharge of my hearing issues but is also the Audi that does the CI testing for the whole area. And I also know this if it ever comes down to having the CI surgery I will have to travel to Houston Texas to have the surgery. I also know that the rules here are different for me being a Veteran, and also a senior citizen with Medicare. Unlike @Raudrive who said that for him the surgery is a one time thing, because of his Medicare, with my I can draw on both the VA and the medicare if needed. And also from everything I have read and been told that I would get the devices, and implants that the VA determines is the best for me and not the medicare limits.
But I am hoping it never comes down to that, you see I am now almost 73, I have never been in the hospital, and have never had a broken bone. Which all of my doctors find amazing seeing I have spend 8 years in the military, and I grew up on the farm.

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I have never heard of LACE (Listening And Communication Enhancement). Did this help you score better with your WR test? And, am curious if you wear HA or have a CI?