This is an interesting thread. More providers are speaking about things than in other threads. I think we still aren’t listening fully about what has been said.
I’ve read, with interest, the views expressed by both AUDs/clinicians and Users/clients. One thing remains obvious: HA’s are manufactured by several firms and have high to lower price tags; Users come in all ages and need-ranges, and with varying pocketbooks; and satisfaction is more likely to be less than 100% or the users wouldn’t be posting. My first concern, when I was switched to Hearing Tracker and did the initial appraisal, was that my AUD here was not in your database—but then I live in Winnipeg, Canada—however, I have to assume the right to use AUD signifies meeting some level of testing, so I’m satisfied she’s qualified.
I agree that I have a hearing deficiency (more so in my left ear) and have lived with it for many years—initially with a HA for my left ear (about 25 years ago) and currently only for my right ear. I admit that, had I not lost (while gardening) my old HA, I wouldn’t have needed to return to an AUD. As a pensioner, I have no financial offset and just Canada Pension to live on; so I dare not go into debt. Mostly, I sit and watch TV (with my ConnectLine/Streamer combination) and with my Oticon Alta2. Thanks to this forum, I’m planning to add a ConnectLine phone adapter—so I’ll be able to answer my landline with some expectation of hearing at least who’s calling—although it will likely be a recording warning of my outstanding credit debt (which is fictitious).
I would love to feel confident (not just be assured verbally and be polite and accept it) that I have wisely chosen to obey my wallet and accept the compromise. At almost 80, and about to sell my house, I’m tempted to waste/spend $$ on paired HAs that will be serve no one when I do pack it in. Do I try another AUD, simply because he/she has a different sponsor company?
This is an interesting thread, and I agree with what many have said about the need for a good audiologist. HOWEVER, in my own experience, I think the degree of satisfaction is relative. I own two pair (Oticon Agil pro, and Kirkland KS7). On its own, I would say that I am not really happy with the Agils. I still don’t hear like I want to be able to hear. Similarly, I would also say that I am not happy with the KS7s - same reason. Comparing the two, the Agils perform much better (i.e. I am not as annoying to my spouse in asking her to repeat herself), and relative to each other, the Agils are much better than the KS7s. If I only had the KS7s, or only had the Agils, I would rate each of them as just “OK”. But compared to one another, there is a noticeable difference. So, I think that technologies (and expense) do matter, and a more informative survey would evaluate one model verses other brands/models.
Well that brings up the thought of (and I can well imagine it’s not a new thought) of all the places where one can buy HA’s…how many are fully independent? We know from this site’s great “Big Six” corporate chart that the manufacturers have their own stores or as you say “sponsor company”. I would imagine they would probably hire fitters rather than full-on audiologists that can also fit. But I wonder. I wonder if it would be the full-on audiologist that would have their own independent store.
Agree with these points. I would like to ad reliability.
My last pair of Starkey aids were back for repairs at the factory more than they were in my ears. They worked well bust just broke down a lot.
My Audiologist at the VA suggested I try Phonak which I did. I have been pleased with them ever since and reliability has been great with them.
Here is my history with aids:
VA Service Connected; USAF 24 years, HAs since 1980
Current VA HAs:
Phonak Audeo B90-R RIC, ComPilot II, TVLink II
Phonak Naida S IX xP CRT w/ ComPilot & TVLink S
Starkey S Series iQ Directional RIC AP 312
Starkey AXENTII PDI DIGITAL HC
Starkey SA T9 CICs
Starkey SA C8 Full Shell (1st VA aids)
Widex SENSOs (Company Ins)
Zenith BTEs (AF Issued)
Supplementing my earlier post, my original hearing tests (both ears) were done almost 30 years ago and that Audiologist does not operate now. His business closed when Eaton’s did. About 20 years ago, I had a new set of tests done, discovering that my left ear had deteriorated and instead fitted my right ear with a Widex SD 9M6 with a molded earpiece (that had to be taken in for cleaning periodically). After that, I graduated to an Oticon E38P that was almost 2 inches long. Again, when it worked no more, I changed to my current Audiologist…who kept the storefront but replaced the Aud who retired. She, of course, retested me and tried a set of new Oticon’s with new moulds; then upgraded me to the latest set, but couldn’t get sufficient power through the left ear for me to buy it. Thus my Alta2 on just the right.
I presume elsewhere in US & Canada, testing is also free (but included in the price of the HA), but it took me 6 visits (change the setting, try it for 10 days, return with comments). I really don’t enjoy it enough to start with another AUD. I didn’t renew my Costco membership two years ago, or I might have tried there.
My options are still a new AUD (for no real reason, if they’re all technically competent), or aim higher and dig deeper with the same firm.
I have never been told if my hearing loss can be best characterized as “moderate,” “mild” or “severe” (or some other characterization). I just know that I can’t hear someone talking in front of me without either my hearing aids or them shouting. My hearing aids also don’t do a thing to help my tinnitus, but that’s an entirely different problem and discussion.
I wear Starkey Halo i110 HAs. They were probably among the most expensive available when I bought them in 2013 or 2014 (I forget which), and I hadn’t done any homework on my own. I tried Resound LInx (sp?) and didn’t like them but for a reason that no longer matters - the disconnect click at the end of a phone call was horribly loud and disconcerting. I don’t use my hearing aids with my iPhone at all anymore. If I have to make a phone call, I either use my cordless Beats earbuds or the speaker phone.
All this to say that I am very happy with my hearing aids. I am happy with them because I can carry on a conversation with someone in most circumstances. My audiologist worked very hard to get my HAs programmed so that they work best for me, got me ear molds instead of the standard earplugs, etc.
I know so much more about hearing aids than I thought I ever would and I knew I was going to have to wear them one day by the time I was 12 years old. I just don’t have enough time in my life to worry about getting the sound “perfect.”
Click your avatar; then mouse hover over different sections of your audiogram for more info.
You’re absolutely correct. Why the DOJ and the FTC have not investigated the HA manufacturer/audiologist cabal for antitrust violations is simply further testimony to our having the best government money can buy.
I thought that I had replied to the poster bewailing the unjustified, excessive price of HAs. I’m not a frequent user of this forum, and it seems that I’m not aware of the posting process.
Yeah replying seems a little awkward on this site.
To reply to an individual post you need to click on Reply to the lower right of the post. The one with the little arrow (going up and to the left).
Edit: The next sentence below needs another step -> Click on the userid just above the edit window to point to that post.
After sending, then there will be a link along the top of the post showing who you replied to.
The recipient (if logged in) will also get something to notify them that a reply was addressed to them.
To just post to the thread you need to click on the blue box that says Reply (also) at the end of the thread along the toolbar with Bookmark etc.
This will not show a specific reply like the other reply. It’ll just add to the thread.
Maybe that blue reply button should instead say something like Post or something along those lines.
I’ll often add the userid as though to address them as well if it’s not entirely obvious who I’m replying to even though I’ve replied to their post specifically.
But hey do whatever you want.
Found the Widex to be a more natural sound than others I demoed. I am a performing musician.
Not meaning to pry, but if you are a firefighter, tell me your aids are covered by insurance? and in your profession, I would SO hope you’d be covered for a backup pair, too?
If not, I will be disheartened.
Of course I’ve already yelled it from the rooftops, but I am still VERY satisfied with my Phonak Audeo B-Direct aids. No, it isn’t a perfect world yet, but yes, I think I am satisfied independent of any audiologist recommendation or even previous brand having been worn.
Each time I go in for a new pair of aids (typically every 4 years, hoping there have been some tech improvements), it is a total QUESTION MARK as to whether the aid will work for me. I’ve tried Widex, Oticon and now the Phonaks in the past 1.5 years. It was a voyage of discovery with a verrrrrry patient aud-guy, who has always given me unlimited, FREE follow-ups for fine-tuning and grousing. I’m super articulate, come armed with a laundry list of issues and goals, and he kids me that HE learns even as I (the squeaky wheel) get my issues addressed. I am VERY lucky to have such a caring professional for 11 years now.
Every time I buy aids, they are programmed per my recent hearing test and WR score. And every time, I have the aids adjusted to fit my own listening preferences. I have the default volume and bass boosted, and sometimes the higher frequencies turned down. MUSIC is a big factor: it has to sound “natural” to my defective ears (i.e., rich, full sound - not flat and tinny).
With my level of loss, NO aids are going to turn me into the Bionic Woman, but without them? I simply have zero margin.
In sum, I found my current Phonak Audeo-B Direct aids an order of magnitude improvement over the old Oticon Alta Pros. Do I wish these new aids streamed to BOTH ears on the phone? Yes! Do I wish they were water resistant so I could at least kayak (and pray never to be dunked)? YES! But it is not a perfect world.
I am grateful for what I have now: TV streaming (hallelujia!) and single-ear phone streaming with my Samsung cell phone. Life is good.
But GAWD do I wish some HA manufacturer had me on its user board. My guess is I’d be so articulate, demanding and relentless they’d rue the day they invited me.
I am a Volunteer Firefighter not paid. I am a Ford Automobile and truck repair technician by trade. I purchased my hearing aids at Costco.
Phone call in one ear was a big deception for me. It feels odd to me. They strongly recommended us to wear 2 stereo sound Ha but why should we talk on the phone mono sound. My brain didn’t like it. Plus it sounds like a old cheap phone. Crispy lin effect. I’m back to plain audeo B. Love my compilot neck loop and air.
I’m always curious about this kind of response. The phone has always been mono. From the old antique of holding the speaker up to your ear and talk to the base all the way up to a cell phone…one ear…mono.
I would think that my brain would find it weird to hear a phone call in both ears after a lifetime of hearing a phone call in one ear.
Sound quality is a different matter.
I’m really looking forward to more manufacturers and more options around this new Made For Anything concept and not needing to speak into the phone mic.
But by your own example we have needed to hold the phone up to use it’s microphone for a long time.
Personally I found streaming calls to both HAs was great once it was adjusted well for volume and reduced environmental sound. You cannot have that if you use the HA microphone for your call.
Regarding hearing aid satisfaction per OPs title: I think HA users’ satisfaction depends very much on their expectations. And HA manufacturers’ and AUDs’ advertising obviously affects new (and sometimes experienced) users’ expectations. In my opinion, HA and AUD advertising is usually unrealistic (and sometimes silly), this results in unrealistic expectations, and that often results in dissatisfaction once the customer discovers how HAs really work.
What do I mean by unrealistic advertising? Examples are: Photos of new wearers in restaurants with friends; they are smiling because they can hear them so clearly now. Folks can now talk with and understand all their grandchildren. Claims that software now eliminates that background noise that makes it hard you to understand what people are saying. Moreover, directionality algorithms make their voices much louder and distinct if you look at them. Many AUD ads tout a free video of what’s in your ear, and they have a special promotion that lets you test HAs for free (required by law, of course).
Well meaning relatives who think HAs are analogous to eyeglasses also contribute to unrealistic expectations and disappointments.
My comments above apply primarily to new users. But some folks like myself that have worn HAs for decades still feel some degree of disappointment because we keep hoping that someday HAs might have 10% of the sophistication of smartphones and not cost 10X as much as smartphones.