First hearing aid purchase - Costco


#1

Hello. I am about to make my first hearing aid purchase this week and I could use some help. My audiogram should be in my profile, but it is kinda weird- like a reverse slope or cookie bite with some high frequency loss as well (I call it my roller coaster :smile: ) My biggest problem is hearing certain voices, especially if they mumble or look away from me when they speak, whether in noise or not in a varied range of situations (car, restaurant, home etc.) Other listening situations like the TV or phone I do fine with volume or subtitles. I use android. I get an insurance benefit through costco of $1750. My options are:

Kirkland Signature 8.0 - $1599/pr (so no cost, but I lose the extra 150 I don’t use)

or any of the following at $2500/pr (so $750 for me)
Resound Forte 8 (LiNX 3D platform)
Phonak Brio 3
Bernafon Zerena 9
Rexton Legato Li

I’ve demoed in the store the KS8s, the ReSound and the Phonak. I tried the KS8s twice on separate days and I really didn’t like them as much as the other 2 I tried. They sounded noisy and artificial to me and the adaptive noise control kept kicking in and making my left ear feel muffled. The second time I tried them on she turned the noise control programing off and adjusted some of the other settings to make it sound more natural and it fixed the ear muffling problem and helped a bit with the noise but I also had a harder understanding my SO.

The ReSound and the Phonak both sounded much more normal to me, like everything was just easier to hear (although of course it was noisy as well but tolerable) and I could hear the SO pretty easily.

To make my choice more complicated, I’ve consulted with 4 different “experts” (audiologists, hearing aid specialists, ent etc.) and they all seem to have a different opinion about which way I should go. One told me definitely Bernafon b/c of my reverse slope, another told me anything BUT Bernafon b/c it was the hardest to program and most of her customers seemed happiest with resound. The audiologist told me to go with the phonak because it was the only one that an independent audiologist could program in case I was dissatisfied with costco’s adjustments. The last one was pushing the KS8s as the latest and greatest thing to hit the market. I am tempted to go for the KS8s even though I didn’t really like them because I know a lot of issues people have are really due to the programing of the aids rather than the aids themselves and it would save me money, but if I end up trading them in for one of the other ones I will be basically throwing away $150 of my benefit. Any advice would be really appreciated, thanks for letting me talk this through with you guys, even just typing it all out helps.


#2

My understanding is that current Costco KS HAs are no longer locked against adjustment by other dealers’ equipment, as they once were in earlier models.


#3

I would go for one of the ones that sounded best to you. You could ask if Costco could check your speech recognition with the aids you choose just to confirm you are reaching the 100% you expect. It is also hard to know with a quick try which could be set below gain targets to not turn you off aids instantly. You will get a long trial so you can sort things out during that time and switch if needed. Also think about how the aids felt in your ears. Were they comfortable?


#4

Well the phonak and the resound both sounded good to me. I would have to try them side by side to see which one is “better”. Those 2 felt fine in my ears except for making them itch, but I was told that would pass. I’m leaning toward one of those.


#5

I am also considering the KS8. Please keep us all posted on what you finally decide and how they are working out. Thank you.


#6

Thank you for your review so far. Please keep us posted on what you finally decide and how it is working out for you. I am considering the KS8s.


#7

This.

[edit] Although I am really poor, don’t have insurance, and do my own programming, so I’m biased on a lot of counts. And my first decent pair of aids, which were Widex, went from being pretty okay, to absolute rubbish, to pure magic, when I moved around and had them fitted by different people.


#9

Yes, but I wonder if other dealers will touch them. They can definitely be fitted by anyone who can do current Rexton aids.


#10

I have the Ks8 and right now they are just OK I also tried the 7 before and was not please with those at all,so now KS 8 I have only had them for 1 week,so I will give it some time,then decide what to do.


#11

My wife paid $2,800 for a pair of the Resound Forte 8. They’re her first aids, her hearing loss is moderate, and she’s very happy. I accompanied her for her tests and fittings. We found the Costco person VERY sensitive to her desires and very willing to make the setups she requested. Even better, she is able to use a free remote control app running on her Motorola (Android) phone to tweak settings for any situation that she’s run into so far.

As a retired audio professional, I was quite impressed with the Costco people (I took a test myself but didn’t choose to buy aids), and with the equipment and methods they used to adjust her aids. Periodic adjustments are free, and there’s a 6 month return with full refund and no questions asked.

IMO, the audiologists are likely pushing the brand(s) they are franchised to sell,


#12

k9yc01… What type of Motorola phone does she have? Maybe you hold the secret for me to get the App to Work, any help would be appreciated… I to have the Forte 8 (62). Thanks in advance…


#13

I tested at Costco yesterday with the intention of getting Ks8, but decided on Phonak Brio instead. The man who tested me there had also tested me 3 years ago, when I got my second Bernafons. Yesterday he programed both Ks8 and Phonak for me to try. The Phonak was far more comfortable and distinct sound for me. I hope the Phonak serve me well.


#14

She and I both have the XT1575, roughly two years old, running the latest update of Android 7. They’re unlocked phones, and we’re running them on Verizon by way of PagePlus, a “by the month” reseller of Verizon’s network. We do it that way because we live in the mountains with no cell coverage at home, so we can’t make use of the the high bandwidths of a standard “plan.”

I think this model is discontinued, but the current Moto Z Play 2, introduced last summer, is pretty similar. We paid about $330 two years ago. One of the great things about an unlocked phone is that you can take it to any carrier, but it doesn’t have the “bloatware” from those carriers that slow them down. BTW – we like the phones too.

Jim


#15

I received my first pair of HAs two weeks ago, KS 8s. Today I returned for my first follow up visit. I asked about programming to my hearing test and the tech told me they were fine as received from the supplier ( a REMeasurment was done when I picked them up but no adjustments were made).
She said that I was new to HAs and needed to adjust and wouldn’t be able to handle the “maximum” gain. She told me I could come back any time for cleaning but check and adjustment would be done in a year. Costco is a deal but the service is questionable at best.


#16

Full disclosure: I’m a total amateur. But as this total amateur understands it, all the REM test does is make sure that the aids are doing what they’ve been programmed to do – frequency- and gain-wise – in your actual ear.

But it doesn’t have anything to say about how well the fitting is actually working for you. You might have problems hearing, say, the TV, and these problems might be fixed or made better with further adjustment. The REM test isn’t going to say anything at all about this. It seems to me that telling you that everything’s perfect, and don’t come back for a year – well, this doesn’t cut it, IMO.

As for the “maximum gain” issue, if the the KS8s are like the KS7s, then they have a feature for automatic acclimatization. They can be set up to slowly increase the gain over a period of time, so you can get used to them. Maybe this has been set up for you(?)

But overall this seems pretty awful. They should absolutely be willing to work with you with at least one or two return visits in the near future, especially since these are your first hearing aids ever.

There seems to be a lot of variation in the service you get at different Costco outlets. I don’t know if this is a global policy, but where I live – British Columbia – you can go into any Costco clinic for service.

Maybe you could go in and tell them that if they don’t treat you better, you’ll just return the things?


#17

That can’t be right. You should have an adjustment a couple of weeks after starting that addresses you experience. You may have misunderstood. After a year they like to do the full test. Aids are never set as they come from the factory. They are set using “first fit” which set them to the audiogram. Then they are adjusted away from that setting using your experience/concerns.

If that isn’t taking place, consult the regional hearing aid supervisor. Costco standard is to give great service for the life of the aid and not just the 3 years.


#18

I hope you have misunderstood here. The aids have no initial programming other than that initially established to conform to your prescribed loss.


#19

I have the Moto G5+ and I really like the phone, it’s my 1st smart phone. I may have found why I couldn’t get the Smart 3d app to work… I was pairing the HA’s to the phone and that’s a NoNo. The HA’s somehow pair too the App not the Phone… By the way it seems that you have to re pair after every time you turn the Aids off. Do you find this to be true?


#20

Just asked her. She says she’s learned that she needs to wait a while for the app to pair with the HAs, and that usually they pair OK. When they don’t, she reboots the app or the phone, and all is well.


#21

Perhaps the “first fit” was done when I picked up the KS8s two weeks ago. Is this a program that runs automatically? I remember the REmeasurement, it took maybe 3 minutes. After the probes were placed on my ears several words came out of the speaker, in Spanish I think, and it was over. The screen flashed and she said okay and removed the probes.
Yesterday when I pressed to see the results she showed me a screen with two “ski slopes” that were identical in shape.
A month ago I knew next to nothing about HAs, now I know almost next to nothing about HAs. I enjoy Hearing Tracker and appreciate the information I have received. Thank you for your response.