Hearing aids really needed?

Hi all, new member here but have been reading the forums for a while before signing up.

Quick background: have had some constant decrease in my hearing (more so in my left ear) for a while but only affecting my ability to understand speech for the past 5-10 years (coincided with my starting scuba diving, don’t know if related or not), also with tinnitus, progressively worse over the past 5 years, now aware of it almost constantly. I hear speech but (more often now) hard to understand, particularly in noisy situations or when unable to read lips. I finally decided to get my hearing tested, audiogram in my profile, just done at a local Costco.

Surprisingly to me, the tech stated that my hearing was pretty good and I did not need any hearing aids based on the audiogram. After telling him that I have had difficulty understanding speech for years, he kinda reluctantly suggested to try the Philips 9040 in the store see if I notice any difference. There was a subtle but definite improvement in my ability to understand speech, and I suggested him I also try the Jabra Enhance Pro 10 (based on my prior online research). He wasn’t really happy with my asking to try a different HA, stating my allotted appointment time has passed and now he was busy with other clients, but he did make some time to give me and program a demo pair for a few minutes. I didn’t really notice much difference between the two except for the Jabras being slightly smaller and having some static at some point (he said it was because they were at 100%, whatever that means). I asked if there was any way to try them at home for a while, I was told that it wasn’t possible, so I ended up buying the Jabras, now waiting for delivery in about a week or so.

My question now is: The tech did not think a HA would help given my audiogram yet I do know I have had years of hard time understanding speech, made worse by my tinnitus, so am I going to see any improvement with (any) HAs?? Or did I just throw money out the window? And was I wrong to choose Jabra over Philips?

Many thanks, waiting to hear (haha) from you!


You didn’t throw money out the window. Changes you notice will likely be subtle. If anybody you’re close with has complained about your hearing, they’re likely to appreciate your efforts. You’ve got 180 days to sort it out to see if they’re worth it to your. You’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in awhile. Personally, I think starting “early” with hearing aids makes them easier to get used to.


Your high frequency loss is outside of the speech banana chart range. So I think you could benefit with a hearing aid. Google speech banana chart if you want to see it.

Your low frequency range looks good, and you shouldn’t have many problems understanding an adult.

Did they do a word recognition score test?

If you want help with tinnitus, I believe it’s a medical issue and that Costco doesn’t generally have a doctor of audiology on staff.

Note you can always go to another Costco if this one doesn’t work out.


Thank you, I guess you’re right, if there’s no significant benefit, I have 180 days to return them. I was tested on my word recognition ability, I was not told a score though. I had some difficulties with maybe 20% of the words, with maybe half of them just guessing based on what I could hear.

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  1. Do it!
  2. Allow time for your brain to adjust to the new assistance!
  3. Try devices elsewhere! An audi who tells you that you’re out of time at this stage is NOT your friend!

Tinnitus is a specific medical condition which needs specific interventions. Even audiologists are not necessarily good at treating tinnitus unless they specialize in this. You really should seek the services if an audiological specialist.

Costco hearing aids are sold without tinnitus a masking feature, so they are not the intervention of choice.

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You have nothing to lose other than some time and maybe frustration. Give them a good work out and if the improvement seems worth the benefit, you have proved it to yourself. If the improvement does not seem worth the investment, return them and wait until the loss is greater to try again. When I was fitting, about half of the patients with your loss enjoyed the benefit. As for tinnitus, even without the tinnitus management in the Costco aids you may get some relief. About 60% of tinnitus patients get at least some relief while wearing the instruments. I, personally, find wearing my aids just about covers all of my ringing. Good luck on your trial.

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Interestingly, the tinnitus doesn’t bother me that much, except that is making other sounds difficult to hear over it. I’m used to it and actually look at it like a “sound is on” kinda input. I tried some white/pink noise and didn’t find it useful, just exchanging one background noise for the other. And while one common recommendation for tinnitus is to avoid silence, I use ear plugs at nighttime and I fall asleep and sleep thru the night with the crispest purest 5,5 kHz ringing in my ears :slight_smile:

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As others have said, the Costco hearing aids do not have tinnitus programs. If just wearing hearing aids doesn’t help, then I’d suggest seeing an audiologist and ask about what hearing aids are recommended due to the tinnitus (and hearing loss). A friend of mine was recommended Widex, and was amazed that her tinnitus became very attenuated (sounded like it was far away) as soon as she put on the Widex aids. Good luck with your hearing journey!

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This is incorrect, they do, but the fitters won’t set it up for their clients, so this would need to done at another clinic, or better still just do a DIY project, it’s really easy to set up.


All I had to do is read your first sentence to say, YES!

It’s not just that you have hearing loss at the higher frequencies, those higher frequencies add to the quality of the mid frequencies too even if you don’t have loss there. So it will increase your word recognition with both men and women. Music, TV, everything except maybe a sub-woofer.

My belief is that hearing aids don’t improve tinnitus but makes it easier for you to train your brain to ignore it. My tinnitus came on suddenly in 2006 and drove me nuts and made me a bit depressed at first. If you ask me right now “Are your ears rining?” I will stop a second and say hell yes, pretty bad. But ask me if my ears were ringing yesterday and I’ll say I don’t remember, wasn’t aware of it.

Let me agree with everyone else. Audiograms are very imprecise and do not tell the whole story. Hearing is very subjective and can never be measured precisely. I am now pretty hearing impaired and would have a hard time functioning without my hearing aids.

When I first noticed hearing loss more than 20 years ago, it was pretty subtle. Like almost eveyone else, I resisted wearing HAs, and cost was the least of it. Even after I was fitted, I wore then inconsistently. I finally made the commitment to use them full time and it has made a huge difference.

Tinnitus is another difficult and subtle problem. For some reason, many people find that tinnitus seems to abate after you start wearing HAs, with or without a tinnitus masker.

So let me add my voice to encourage you to try a pair. The cost is always refundalbe if it doesn’t help.
But try wearing them all the time during the test period, not just occasionally.


Hearing aids are a bit of a hassle - cleaning, recharging or replacing batteries, adjustments, etc. But I think the bottom line is - do you want to hear better and do you want to understand people more easily? If you do, the hassles are easily accepted. I think sometimes people don’t realize how much less effort it is to hear speech with hearing aids (don’t have to concentrate so much on what someone is saying to understand them). If you answer Yes to the above, give them a shot. If you are okay with your hearing now, kick the can down the road for a while (although most people, myself included, kick the can much longer than they should have :rofl:)


Your audiogram shows you will definitely benefit from hearing aids. You’ve lost a lot of hearing in the upper frequencies. This means you can hear the sounds of voices but are missing some of the higher-pitched lip and tongue sounds that create consonants. I have the Jabra Enhance 200, and they not only help with word recognition in noisy places but also seem to make the tinnitus less noticeable. But the sound quality is not as good as I want. I consider this a quality-of-life issue and this week will be fitted with more advanced (and more expensive) Oticon Real 1 hearing aids.

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Since you’re not bothered by your tinnitus, I don’t think you should feel like you are missing anything by trying these aids from Costco, which will not be programmed for tinnitus control. In my experience those features are software-imposed masking; the software plays new sounds through the aids (e.g. white noise, rain drops, chimes). Some people who are really annoyed by their tinnitus, maybe having a very sudden and recent onset of it, like tinnitus features in hearing aids because they find these new sounds to be a helpful distraction. The feature cannot subtract tinnitus from hearing, only in some cases alter a patient’s awareness of it and annoyance by it.

I have lived with moderate tinnitus for years, am not particularly bothered by it, and find that tinnitus features (which I do have) in my hearing aids add new noise which does not enhance my speech comprehension. I wouldn’t pay anything extra to have this feature. Of course, everyone’s mileage may vary. I’m not a Costco hearing customer; I have an audiologist. But Costco not offering this feature speaks to the fact that it’s not a cure; unfortunately, there is no proven remedy for tinnitus.

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Thank you, all, for your replies!

Quick update: I got my HAs yesterday, the tech spent about 30 minutes setting them up, I have a follow-up appointment in a month, when he will further adjust them to my liking.

I worn them yesterday at home and today at work, they definitely help me hear and understand speech better, I was able to hear my wife talking to me through the closed door at home, something I couldn’t do in years, big plus (or is it?:slight_smile: ) .

My first impressions are very favorable, except for some minor nuisances: I feel the domes in my ear canal (not painful, just annoying at times) and they get caught in the mask (I work in healthcare, still wearing masks), managed to accidentally pull them out several times already. A big issue for me is that it is quite difficult to use a stethoscope now, as it is pushing the domes far into my ear canal, painful. I tried angling the ear tubes to where they press mostly on the tragus, but in doing so they don’t create occlusion and are practically useless (I still look the part though lol).
Any ideas on how to solve it? I don’t want to buy or use one of those over-the-ear electronic stethoscopes. For the mask I can and probably will use one with the straps behind my head rather than my ears, so no big deal there.

Bonus question: what is the tech expecting to hear from me at the next appointment? I think they work well and I am sure I don’t know what I don’t know in order to report back.

Thanks again!


I totally agree with going to an Audiologist. Specifically an AuD. They have experience with the whole spectrum of hearing disorders. I would also not buy hearing aids (for myself) from Costco or any of the chain hearing aid businesses.
There are different types of aids for different types of hearing loss. Your comment on the coincidental scuba diving leans toward conductive hearing loss. With that said, you would be good to go to an ear, nose and throat specialist and at the very least ask for a try of tubes in your ears. The surgery is not bad, you just won’t be allowed to get water in your ears while the tubes are in. The tubes would drain any fluids in your ear behind the tympanic membrane in addition to the Eustachian tubes. You might wake up from surgery with hearing so loud you have to cover your ears. Or, it might take time because the hair cells in your inner ear need time to heal…unless it has been too long and they are permanently damaged.
If the tubes don’t help, or only slightly, the ENT will send you to the Audiologist. That might also be done prior to deciding on surgery and they will have a baseline to work with.
The tests the audiologist does, some are quite unique, and through these tests, the audiologist can tell where the hearing loss is and what ranges.
If you would need hearing aids, digital hearing aids with Bluetooth- you can’t go wrong.
Each ear is programmed to turn up the “volume” for the sounds you are deficient in, but not the sounds you aren’t deficient in. If some sounds are in different dB levels, those will individually be adjusted as needed.
This all creates a balance of your hearing so one sound doesn’t stand out more than another sound. When all sounds are cranked up with amplified hearing aids, just making everything louder, you will still have difficulty with understanding what people are saying. It will also likely cause you to hate your hearing aids.
Depending on your age, you could also be experiencing age related hearing loss. If you have both Conductive (like from the water trapped) and Sensorineural (age, loud noises, etc) it is called Mixed. There are other reasons for each of these hearing losses, check them out.
I would take the hearing aids back ASAP and say no thank you, before you come to hate them and become convinced all are bad. Then get in to an ENT and go from there.
Good hearing aids are expensive, but with hearing- if you don’t use it, you lose it, and if you have damage going on in there, you might just still have time to save your hearing, at least to an extent. Good luck!!!

Re: feeling the domes in the ear canal. Normal for a new user. A drop of mineral oil spread over the edge of the dome may help. Good chance this passes with experience. Sometimes people need a different type or size of dome to overcome this issue if it persists for weeks.

Re: domes getting caught in mask. Yes, the masks that go around the top and back of the head avoid this issue. When you have to use a mask that straps behind the ears, you can learn to slowly work the strap off the ear while holding the aid in. If you yank off a strap behind the ear without restraining the aid, you are at risk of losing an aid as it can go flying.

Re: the stethoscope. I don’t have a fix for this. Someone else may have a suggestion. When I want to use earbuds or wear earplugs, I always remove the aids first and have specific places I put them down so I don’t lose them.

Re: the next appointment. If you truly have no issues needing adjustment with the tech, you can email or call the tech and possibly cancel the appointment. However it’s too soon to know if you’ll have issues. In the first few weeks with aids, your brain is learning to remap sounds, and your perceptions may change over that time. But commonly what people will say in the next appointment is one or more issues such as: at first it was too loud, too soft, just right, but now it’s different (too loud, too soft, too bright, too dull). Or I’m struggling to make sense of speech in noisy environments. Or music sounds bad. Or any other issue where you think there is still room for improvement. And you try to give them any specific detail you can about any issue. Eyeglasses are plug ‘n’ play, mostly, once they adjust for fit. Aids often need adjustment in settings, especially early on, even if they don’t on day one. So don’t cancel that appointment yet.

Continued good luck. I’m glad your initial experience has been so positive. What you’re saying is consistent with the advice you got here: it was time for hearing assistance.

I agree he shouldn’t cancel the appointment, at least not yet, because as they are his first hearing aids the audiologist has probably set up adaptation for a new user to be on and the gain is likely therefore to increase over the next month. That may or may not be a good thing.

I use a Moldex N95 disposable face mask which has a strap that goes around the back of the head instead of straps that go around the ears.
This means taking the mask off and on does not in any way cause my BTE hearing aids to be caught and pulled off. When I didn’t have the Moldex one day and I resorted to a 3M mask, my hearing aids went flying when I pulled off the mask.
Additionally, the shape and fit of the Moldex mask is very comfortable as they are an industrial worker’s product designed to be worn all day.