Hi. I am brand new here, and I am becoming more confused by the day. I have finally come to terms with the fact that my hearing has deteriorated, and I have begun to look into my options. I have had a medical check with by my ENT – no medical issues. The audiologist in his office did a hearing exam (results of the test are below), and as I suspected, she said I am indeed a candidate for hearing aids.
She immediately recommended the top-of-the line open fit aids that she carries, and essentially said that I should not worry about cost because I will benefit from these. Well, unfortunately, cost is indeed a factor for me, and I cannot spend $7000 for hearing aids.
I do have a small hearing aid benefit through my insurance, but even with that, the cost of these aids is prohibitive. We did not get into a discussion of the specific brand/model that she recommends – she said we can discuss that once I decide to purchase. She said she usually use Oticon, Widex and one other that I cannot recall at the moment. I left there feeling not at all comfortable with her approach.
I was referred to another audiologist by my insurance company. She made some recommendations – again, top of the line. Her suggestions were Oticon Agil Pro, Widex mind 440 or Resound Alera 9. Because she will direct bill my insurer, cost of these would be easier, but still quite expensive. She also made it clear that if she does do the direct bill method, she is just a dispenser, and the service level will not be what I would get if I went to her office as a “private” patient. She said future adjustments, batteries, etc, would end up costing me more than the insurance benefit.
She proposed another option – their private brand – AGX 9, once again the very top of the line. This would cost even more than the other brands.
When I asked about the next level down from these premium units, she basically scoffed and said they are not good.
Here is my question, as I cannot really find objective reviews of these things anywhere – is there a tremendous difference between, for example, Oticon Agil Pro and Oticon Acto Pro, in terms of performance (not necessarily Bluetooth, etc.)? Am I better off getting something that is affordable to me, rather than getting nothing because it is beyond my means? When I made that point, she really made me feel like I was crazy to even consider anything less than these top of the line models.
I am going to call another audiologist and try to get another opinion, but I am getting the impression that these are really just salespeople, out to sell the highest price hearing aids.
For any of you with experience, do you think that with my hearing loss, the mid-level devices would be a benefit? I am 53 years old, and I do fit more of the active lifestyle that the audiologists described. I understand that in an ideal world, the best would be the one to get. But, in the real world, we sometimes have to make do with less than the best. Any advice is welcome. Thanks.
Pure Tone Audiometry
Left Freq Right
25 250 15
25 500 15
30 1000 20
30 1500 30
50 2000 40
55 3000 65
65 4000 75
75 8000 70
Speech Testing: Discrimination 96% both ears
Reception Threshold R-20dB L-25dB
HL- R-55 L-60