Hi! Anyone help a "Newbie" with questions re hearing aids? Thanks!

This is such a wonderful forum! Hi everyone - so sorry this is long, but I’m new and confused!

I had my first audiology exam done at my ENT’s office in May 2013, and followed up with a second audiologist/ENT office in December as I was fighting the idea of hearing aids at 56. Both exams came out exactly the same. I didn’t know about Costco, so unfortunately I went to the second ENT and came out a little bruised and feeling as if I had been to a used car lot - LOL!

She talked me into $4,000 for the pair resound versa hearing aids, along with an additional $300.00 for the resound+ phone clip. However, whenever I had any questions, she was condescending and acted as if I was bothering her and like my questions were silly. I’m a paralegal during the day, and an organist and pianist part time, with (I believe) most of my hearing loss in the high frequencies.

Needless to say, the hearing aids were a bit of a shock (everything very loud). I fractured the base of my skull at two and have had hyper-acusis and tinnitus all my life, but this is the first time that I’ve been having trouble with hearing loss (specifically word recognition) and constantly sounding like an old woman going “ey . . . ey?” I’m not ready to go gently into this “good night!” Ha ha!

Anyway - I had a LOT of trouble adjusting despite 3-1/2 weeks of wearing the hearing aids constantly. Specifically - loud rushing roaring whenever I drove anywhere, despite the windows in the car being closed, and the recognizing speech in noise was far worse with the hearing aids than without. She just kept telling me it was my own fault; that I needed to retrain my brain. I do understand that concept and realize I’ll have to get used to irritating sounds if I want these to work (which I do), but my word recognition in a restaurant, church, mall is far worse with them. All the background noise is utterly horrible. In choir practice, our director was calling out hymn numbers and out of about 45 numbers called out, I started playing the wrong hymn 36 times! I never did that without them. Granted I might ask her to clarify, but this was just unbelievable. I was having feedback (loud screeching) with elevator bells, and my phone clip kept losing its connection all the time. Most of the time, the left ear would say not connected (despite new batteries, checking Bluetooth, etc.) and the left ear was always about 20% the volume of the right ear, despite them being at the same level in my iphone display/app. When I would stream music or a Netflix movie from my phone, the sound only streamed into the right ear (which drove me crazy) and that was when both ears showed as active and full volume in the display. Sound was tinny (and I know to expect that because I’m hearing higher frequencies than I’m used to?) but playing the piano was brutally horrible. She said I could only have two programs (regular) and she added “restaurant.”

When I told her all the problems, she told me it was in my head.and that there was no way the left ear was softer. I told her if I muted the mic in the right ear, with full volume up in the left, I couldn’t hear speech, the piano, the TV. She said “That’s not possible.” I’m like - really? So I got really frustrated, especially after realizing I could have bought basically the same hearing aids at Costco for $1799 for the pair, so I returned them yesterday. I’m going to be stuck with large restocking fee, and 30-60 days before I even get my refund, so it will be a while before I can go to Costco to get new ones, but there was no way I was paying $4,000 for them when I couldn’t even get her to adjust them.

So - Im sorry this is so long, but I really need help because it’s so much money for me. What do you all think about the hearing aids at Costco (specifically the Kirkland 5S Premier, and the other one? Any ideas for me??? I think the ones I got might have been fine if she had listened to me and helped me adjust them, but we weren’t a good fit (the audiologist and I) at all. She made me feel like a very old woman she didn’t want to be bothered with.

Can anyone give me some tips on where to go from here? My audiology results are in my signature (just a typical ski slope from what I’ve been told).

Thanks so much!

You have done the right thing in returning the HA’s. Your lucky she took them back because NC does not have a regulated trial period mandated by law. I would turn her in to the NC hearing aid board @ info@nchalb.org, they need to hear about how she operates. Good luck at Costco!

Hi funny username :slight_smile:

I’m sorry for your experience thus far- it is the exception. Costco has a great product at a great price, but my advice- take a breather and interview several dispensers. Get a copy of your hearing test and make an appointment with a few providers in town to have a chat. You know what you don’t want in a provider, and I assure you, there are plenty of providers that are the exact opposite of the one you are currently working with, providers that will go way out of their way to help clients. It irks me when providers act like it’s your fault that things don’t sound right- that’s a cop out. Sometimes it is true, but most of the time it’s not. Don’t just settle for Costco because they have great prices, you’ve already seen the most important factor is how empathetic your provider is, so let that be the deciding factor for where you get aids. Good luck!

My audiologist looked at me like I was crazy when I told her the settings memories had changed their settings on my hearing aid as I could hear fine on number 1 and not on number 4. I insisted and to prove me wrong she hooked it up and realized I was right. My audiologist will pretty much do anything for me including blasting music in her office to fine tune my music program. Nobody is perfect, but yours didn’t sound good at all.

Such great advice. Thanks! I’m going to take my time and try to do a lot of research. I’d like to meet with a few different audiologists too. Is it common for them to give you only one choice? She didn’t even have me look at any other brands or types, just basically told me what she felt I needed. When I asked for adjustments I felt as if she deliberately was stretching them out to run me right into the contract 30 day limit. I sure hope they follow through and give me the refund. I’m supposed to only lose $100 per aid. Crossing fingers.

deafdaffodil, i cant be of much help since i am in the same boat as you. I have been to 1 appointment and was offered only 1 type of hearing aid. I was even told that the pair i was offered was the only kind that i could use. When it came to the “that’ll be $3780 please”, I kinda bolted.I figured i need to go learn a few things before i wrote that check. So hang in there and listen to the fine people on the forum. I’m making lists of questions, and notes of things that i need to tell my next audiologist so that maybe i will have a more harmonious outcome next time.
Good luck,
Ken

I fought (denied) my need for hearing aids for 20 years before I finally realized that the quality of my work depended entirely on my ability to hear and understand the needs of my clients, so I gave in at 52 and spent my first five grand to join the HA club. I’m now 56 and just spent six more grand on a new and improved set. So congratulations on finally allowing yourself to deal with your daily struggles. Hearing aids won’t make you 100% again, but with the right combination of features and audiologist efforts, you can function quite well in your daily life, and will enjoy the added benefit of being able to turn them OFF when you want your world QUIET again!! :wink:

Now, at this point, you’ve already learned that the single most important factor when it comes to hearing aids is not price, but competency of the audiologist. They are like any other sales business…SOME will slink into an easy routine, leaning most of their patients to one brand or model, or try to fit most of their clients into a category. The GOOD audies will look at the unique needs of each individual customer and come up with a plan or a model that will suit him or her the best. In your case, I would think at the very least, you’d be far better suited with an aid with four programs, so you can enjoy a MUSIC setting while you are playing, and a focus setting while at restaurants or parties and a background reduction setting for use in cars or areas with constant noise, and a normal setting for getting the best speech clarity (sometimes background reduction can actually reduce the clarity of speech).

Programming hearing aids for individual specific needs is very important when it comes to varying surroundings (we are not all sitting in a rocking chair listening to TV). For example, if your hearing aids are programmed for what makes you hear speech better (those upper frequencies), your piano music is going to sound like crap through your hearing aids. You will need a program that richens up the low tones as well as the high, so you hear the music more naturally.

Whether it’s Costco (I don’t have the good fortune of living near one) or a private audiologist, I might suggest that you print off the post you made here and take it with you when you interview your potential Audies, and ask them if they have a recommendation to address all of the concerns that you’ve had (squealing, dropping out, etc). You are about to drop 3 to 6 grand in somebody’s pocket. You need references!! Talk to as many hearing aid users as you can spot in your church or other locales. You can learn a lot about customer service by talking with the actual customers!

Best of luck to you!

deafdaffodil,

It’s not that uncommon to be given only one choice- a lot of providers do this simply because sometimes giving too many options can really overwhelm a person and turn them off. Also, keeping inventory of different parts for different manufacturers, forms, learning software, is a huge hassle when carrying more than one brand, so I can’t say I blame her for offering only one brand. Sorry you feel like they are trying to stretch you out to 30 days, I would ask for an extension. If they aren’t willing to do that, they’re not someone you want to work with in the long run IMO.

Mine is owned by siemens so that is 99% of what they sell but they will get anything you want. I told her what I wanted and she called starkey to make sure they would do it or she would have referred me to someone else that could. She showed me the siemens product and what she recommended but she was never pushy in any way.

Good deal, what Starkey aid are you going to try? And what Siemens aid did you try and what were your problems with it. Just curious

I think she showed me the pure bte with recharger but I really wanted iic. We talked about the Siemens Addis and she called Siemens and Starkey to confirm like I was pretty sure that Starkey soundlens goes deeper then any Siemens product.

I’m not sure if he’ll get back to you, but I think he was just responding in my thread. I don’t know a lot about Starkey or Siemens hearing aids. The one I’m thinking about is the Costo one that is made by resound. I liked the resound hearing aid - I just didn’t have good rapore with the audiologist. I needed someone that understood I wasn’t necessarily a “techie,” but that would understand if I asked dumb questions - ha ha! It took me a while to realize that I was using up my batteries living the bluetooth and phone clip running 24/7, and until I realized I needed to open the battery door at night to save juice. That’s how literally “not up” on hearing aids I was. LOL!

Just run across this thread. You already know this now, but I feel the need to reiterate: that was a lousy, lousy audiologist. Good luck going forward.

he aids you were using were simply not set properly for you. You should never perceive any normal (in respect of loudness) sounds as too loud. All hearing aids have a feature called MPO (maximum power output) that can be used to attenuate any loud sounds before you hear them. This makes sounds much easier to tolerate particularly for a newbie.

Open fit (or RIC) would be the best for you. Any amplification below 500 Hz should be turned off. Use automated h/a that can adjust according to sound environments as you need strong noise reduction in noisy places.

Thank you so much! I will say some of this is like Greek to someone first learning about hearing aids! I sure appreciate all the help!

I’m with others here, find a good audiologist first. You’re a paralegal, ask around the office and see if anyone else, or a co-worker’s relative has a good local audi they can suggest.

Also, it has been my experience that even audiologists that are familiar with more than one brand will still only favor, and suggest a single brand.

Best of luck!

I feel your pain. I also have “ski slope” hearing loss, although a bit worse than yours. Your hearing, and especially speech discrimination are being served almost exclusively by your residual lows, and anything that masks the low frequencies (road noise, back ground noises, other people talking) will make life very difficult.

i am new to the site, and looking for people that have found a good solution as well. In 15 years of using different hearing aids, I have not found much success. So far the best options using hearing aids seem to be ones that adopt a frequency shift of your mids and highs to your residual lows.

I expect you find that you function well in a one on one setting, but have great difficulty in crowds. I hope you find help here, and wish you the best.

I went to my ENT and she sent me to her audiologist in her office. They only offered the Opticon to me and they only dispensed 1 for $1,700. Everything I have read says you should have 2 HAs and not one as it is better on your brain. I saw the KS 5.0 at Costco with a price of 2 for $1,899 plus remote. It looks pretty good. I need some response from someone with more experience in this. I am a newbee. Since I am still in my trial period for the Opticon and the KS 5 units have many more features, I am thinking about returning my Opticon and getting the KS 5 units. Any advice? Is this a smart move?

The only solution I have found for crowds is to remove my hearing aid.