Great forum but have a few questions

Hi all,

I only stumbled on this website last night. Wish I knew about this earlier. It’s a fantastic forum. Thank you to the people who started it and keep it running.

I live in Australia and cannot claim health insurance on any hearing aid purchases yet (waiting periods!) . Here the prices seem quite a bit higher than in the US even with the exchange rate accounted for. Less competition perhaps but not good for a young person such as myself trying to save for a house deposit too! Some places charging well over $10,000 for a pair. And many only fit 1-2 different brands. So it is very hard to get good objective advice.

I also do not have access to any recent audiogram as the audiologist did not give that out! I only know that lower frequencies loss is moderate about 70db with the loss increasing up to 90bd loss in the higher frequencies. My left ear is slightly worse than my right ear max loss being about 90-95bd loss in high frequency range.

My working environment is very challenging at times as I work in a hospital in varied departments (operating theatre, emergency department and on the wards) and it is very important that I understand what my consultants/registrars and patients are saying.

I am currently using Axent III mini ITC with ok satisfaction (fitted May 2006). At times I feel I need back-up HA when one temporarily malfunctions but the cost!!

Questions

  1. Accounting for price, quality, features (bluetooth capabilities a plus) and cosmetics (a big one!) which make and models are most recommended and why? I can’t seem to decide between Oticon, Phonaks, Starkey, Widex or Seimens. The advice on this forum varies so much from one article to the next and one audiologist to the next.

  2. Does anyone know what price should be acceptable in Australia?

  3. Should the audiologist/hearing aid dispenser provide a loan HA whilst the other is being sent off for repairs?

I really appreciate any and all input.

the top 3 companies in the world are
siemens, Oticon and phonak…
All three have good solutions for severe to profund Hearing losses…

If you compare apple with apples, most hearing aids -entry level and mid price instruments, have technical specs that are at par…
Noise reduction, feedback canceler, open acoustics, etc etc etc…

it really boils down to what your audi is proficient at fitting… This is why for example I only dispense 2-3 brands… but mainly 2… However, if you are looking for a top high end instrument each company has a solution which
claims to be better than the other ones… My advice… test some…

I would say that a definite trend is wireless technology, siemens had pioneer it a while ago, Oticon introduce a product almost 1yr ago with blue tooth capability and Phonak has anouce a product that looks impresive…

with a hearing loss with 90 to 95 dbhl your choices are narrow… You need to check the fitting ranges vs your audiogram to see what set of solutions are good…

finally, often time i dispense a lot of mid price instruments, the sound is quite similar to those high end with reasonable cost

Thank you for such a speedy reply Xbulder. It all helps greatly.

A couple follow-up questions.
Phonak
Compare the microPower V and IX
- Do the extra features in IX make a noticable difference to the user?
- What price difference might there be expected?
What will the specifications of the new Nadia and Exelia be? Will Nadia have bluetooth? And will they be powerful enough?

Oticon
When will the powered version of the Epoq be released?

Siemen’s Nitro looks good. How much is the Nitro looking to be compared to the Acuris and Centra?

Apart from adequate power is there any other reason that BTE is preferable over ITE/ITC/CIC from a sound quality perspective?

Thanks a lot.

Is anyone able to comment on the sound quality of Oticon’s Epoq/synchro vs Phonak’s Savia vs Siemen’s Centra/Acuris? Just as examples between the three major brands.

Why aren’t there proper studies to determine whether these hearing aids do measure up to the hype surrounding there release. It really is confusing for the consumer. It might tighten up the competition a bit and empower the consumers further.

I would would much rather have the fee structure broken down. i.e. the HA’s costs y, fitting costs x, fine tuning z, warrenty costs t etc. It would promote healthy competition and drive down the expensive costs and again empower the consumer! And then I would know what I am paying for. And I bet people would then be more likely to purchase them if they knew what they were paying for.

Why is it so hard to do this? Any ideas?

I personally do not like the syncro, the sound is to abrasive…
If you are thinking of going to get them save some money and get the Tego
they are half the price and sound better…
Epoq is an amazing instrument which should be comparable with the exelia and the siemens Centra… Epoq has bluethooth capabilities the sound quality is great but so does the Centra ant the Up coming exelia promise to be
an amazing intrument… so all are great choices

Thank you so much Xbulder. That is very helpful indeed. Really appreciated. The sound quality is pretty important for me as I love to listen to music.

Is anyone able to share what the Phonak’s microPower’s are like at least sound wise?

Thanks guys/gals

to my knowlegd siemens is the only super power wireless in the world…
phonak has stated they will have such solution… in a power - supér power …

so unless Oticon is really willing to loose this clients, they will release @ the AAA, in 1.5 months… I have heard the exelia would be cheaper… their bluetooth device has a screen (ipod like in color) which is simply cool looking…

the nitro does look good, Siemens has just released an Upgraded version with more features… but i do not think it is wireless…

Centra is the top of the line instrument from siemens, to my knowledge it is not bluetooth but it has all the standart features of a high end instrument…
Datalogging, datalearning, advance feedback canceler, Wireless, etc etc

I have a pair that I will receive tomorrow, for my severe to profound loss. I have a lengthy test period, but what are you thoughts on those?

They will replace roughly 7 to 8 year old Widex Senso P-38s.

Thanks

i currently do not dispense siemens aids, however I will acknoledge the quality of their products, one of the things i would ask is about the batery life… with a #10 batery i would think it will not really last long…

Be aware, due to the size constrains, it would problably do not have any
directional micro…

Question: Do you really need directional mikes with a CIC. Does not the Pinna(sp?) take care of directionality together with the binaural time difference (phase angle).

Re: battery life. I was under the impression that CIC’s because of the greater transfer of sound energy possible, used much less battery power than the equivalent BTE. Ed

There is a pinna effect, yes you are correct - I think you gain 2 or 3 db more of gain (some one correct me please)…

i would expect that the nitro would consume a lot of battery…

Thanks again. I now feel a lot more aware of my options. Apart from the new Siemen’s Nitro only Starkey have CIC available with super power options to the level I need.

Since the bluetooth stethoscope is taking a while to be released (may not be until late this year or next year by the looks of it) I really don’t need bluetooth capabilities. So for a backup set of HA I think I might opt for a cheaper mid range instrument, maybe microPowers. They appear to be fairly cosmetically designed.

I’m just curious about the sound quality of the microPowers say compared to some of the later ones being released. Anyone know?

Cheers

if you refer to the new upcoming exelia

i would expect the exelia to be a considerable better hearing instrument…

if you want a mid price instrument … the extra is a good choice

"I also do not have access to any recent audiogram as the audiologist did not give that out! I "

I too live in Australa, I agree, prices seem higher here. Also HBF here are miserly about HA’s, they will only pay up to $600 on my med insurance. I still havent bought an aid, finding it all confusing.

Did they charge you to do the audiogram? If so, you have a right to have it! They dont own it, same as if you get an X-ray done, it is yours. If they didnt charge you, they may be able to claim that they own it. I would then go somewhere else and pay for another audiogram, so you can shop around.

Let me know how you go.
Graham Daniell

I have been very reluctant to buy hearing aids , as I am one of the many fringe dwellers with ski jump issues.
I get by most of the time but have intermittent issues that can be very debilitating.

I had another recent audiology test to update some older results.
Decided to change to another audio practice that advertised ha specialties.
$134 aud for the test was fair enough … but the $100 for the ha assesment was a complete rip off and waste of time.
I knew heaps more about what was available, the audio didn’t even know that anyone had wireless ha’s… sheesh.
Telling me that I could have superseded phonaks as latest and greatest for $10000aud less $1500 was underwhelming to say the least.

There is a VERY fertile opportunity for some professional marketing of ha’s in Australia atm.

Finally just confirming that the audiology report is the property of the subject. (full stop)

Hi Graham,
Well I had the audiogram done in Townsville by an Audiometrist as the Audiologist up there would not fit anything under about $6,000 (most ranging between $8,000 and $10,000!) such a rip-off! And well I got the hearing aids fitted and she didn’t give me the audiogram. I was not aware of my rights to the audiogram. As I now live in Toowoomba it is kind of difficult to access that audiogram.

On Monday I will hopefully be getting my left HA back from the repairers and be getting another audiogram done to fine-tune my HAs. So I will update you guys on my progress.

Did you mean HCF? I’m with HCF who also only give $600 refund for the first 5-10yrs I think. Then they increase the refund up to $1600 after 20yrs with the fund. The best private insurance I can find for hearing aids is MBF who offer $2,000 dollars on HA every 3yrs. The downside is that dollar for dollar spent when you get the additional hospital coverage I found that if I were to put aside that difference (Hospital + Extras HCF vs MBF difference of about $40-50) aside into a savings account I could save over $3,000 every 3 years which for me makes more sense sticking with HCF and save that difference to contribute towards purchasing a set of hearing aids. But of course everyone needs to find the best policy for them.

Hi tgh,
Yes the costs over here in Australia are a complete disgrace. Something I am exploring is finding a suitable Audiologist who is willing to fit a set of HA that I purchase (that are suitable for type of hearing loss of course) directly from the US at a much cheaper price and pay for the services I need to the audiologist directly (i.e. the fitting and adjustments and follow-ups) which would be a huge saving. The site I am exploring is a place called www.aidright.com. But I don’t know how reliable this place is. There maybe better places out there. The only big down side to this is that you need a back-up set of hearing aids yourself (something I am planning to do) and if the HA needs to be sent back to the USA for the warranty for repairs you can do so without a big disadvantage to yourself (given they may take 2-3 weeks or more to be returned). Overall I suspect that I could save myself up to $3,000 to $4,000 savings in the initial outlay costs. Of course the ongoing costs would add up but I will still have made a big savings in my HA purchase and maintenance. My good excuse I can offer is that given I may have to move fairly regularly I am not getting the service I pay one audiologist for as I end up having to pay another audiologist for what I should have gotten free from the first audiologist.

Thanks Xbulder,
The Phonak eXtra looks great. I think that is probably my next set to purchase. Do you think www.aidright.com is a reasonable place to purchase these and have a local audiologist fit them? It just seems to be the most reasonable thing to do as I will be moving again at the end of this year so no point paying the audiologist for services that I not be able to use.
Thanks mate

I would totaly discart online retail, at those prices- i would take a plain ticket and get them else where where they are cheap…

perhaps you could take a vacation plus get the aids, some manf… have world wide warranty so this shouldnt be the issue…

can you get cheaper instruments through nal?

I finally found a place in Brisbane that seems unbelievably cheap compared to every other place I enquired. All Ears in Hearing, quoted me $3,200 for 2 Phonak eXtra HA. So I will be checking that place out for sure. I have scheduled an appointment this Saturday. It seems that the smaller outlying cities market up their HA to an extraordinary level. It’s seems shocking that they can do this as they should have a reasonable client base in a city of 90,000 plus with a catchment of over 150,000 people. Oh well at least I can travel to Brisbane now being only 1.5 hrs away now.

Thanks for your advise

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