How Does One Know When They Have Chosen The "correct" Hearing Aid


#1

In one week I try my first hearing aids and am excited. It would be nice to hear wind chimes again !

At first I was dead set on IIC but my audi recommended against it. I trust her and will be trying the Starkey Muse.

Simple but perhaps complex question: how long do i give it till i make a decision. ? As I understand it the audi does not typically repeat a hearing test with the new aid as an opthalmologist would repeat a test of visual acuity. “which is clearer, one or two?”

Do i simply allow her to make some general adjustments for say volume and return for tweaking?

As I have a 45 day trial I don’t want to fall into the trap of using up the 45 days returning every 2 weeks and being stuck with an aid which is not the best.

I am intrigued by the Oticon OPN approach and really would like to try those as well as the Linx 3D. It’s my understanding the OPN does not cone in on sound so my brain will have to do some work, not a bad idea but is it just a marketing ploy?

Is a week or 2 a fair trial?

If I use the Muse for even 4 weeks and I’m not happy the 45 day trial starts over with the second trial aids but in all fairness to the audi’s time what is reasonable as far as how many aids I trial?

Maybe I should ask what is fair to me since I am paying big bucks?

I am looking at the above 3 aids I mentioned so possibly 4 months before I am satisfied. Unlike glasses I need to try aids in different environments so I see the need for extended trial times.

Do most folks find satisfaction with the first aid recommended or is it reasonable to try several?

What should I be looking for aside from comfort. Yes I know improved hearing but if audi does not repeat hearing test how do I know when I have reached the pinnacle of improvement? Could I have done better if I asked that X be increased?

BTW: I did speak with an audi at Starkey and was advised that with a "deep fit"and proper venting some people with my type of loss (normal low frequency} can indeed use IIC with no occlusion issues.

Having said that I am more than happy to try a RIC as I do think it affords me “better” correction as a direct result of features not found in IIC e.g multiple mics.


#2

You ask challenging (but common) questions. :smile: You’ll likely get a variety of opinions, but here’s mine. You’ll never know if you’ve got the “best” hearing aids or if they’re adjusted in the best possible way for you. If that is your goal, I think you’re setting yourself up for frustration. I think the better approach is to ask yourself what problems you’re trying to solve with hearing aids and evaluate the aids in terms of their ability to solve the problems. Warning: Speech in noise is a very tough problem to really solve. Two weeks is probably not enough time to evaluate. Things are going to sound way different and it takes awhile to get used to. I would think at least a month unless the aids create some problem early on that the audiologist can’t resolve. I would approach it with the mindset that these aids are going to work. You’ve gone to a professional you like and trust and these are his best recommendation. I suspect satisfaction could actually go down if one starts trying lots of different hearing aids. It’s work getting used to a different hearing aid. However, if your first aids absolutely don’t work for you, it is very reasonable to return and try something different. I haven’t seen any stats on what’s typical for people’s satisfaction. My gut says that the highest number (not necessarily a majority) of people are saitisfied with their first set of aids. A large number are not and just give up. Then I think there’s a fair amount who keep trying and are eventually satisfied. I’m not sure if they eventually found perfection or if they had an attitude adjustment. Good luck!


#3

Unlike getting glasses/contacts, you will continue to adjust to new hearing aids for months, so the return period may well be long gone before you know for sure you have made the right choice. The best you can do is pay close attention to how things are sounding and the situations where you are doing well and not doing well, get some adjustments, and make your own prediction whether you can continue to get improvement. If there are no big problems, and you are seeing good improvements, and you are able to work with your pro, then I would say keep them.


#4

The OPN is successful for many people (me included). So it’s not a marketing ploy. But it is different than many traditional hearing aids in that it doesn’t try to block out sounds around you.

If you want to try the OPN, I don’t think a 2 week trial is enough. A 4 week trial is probably much better to get acclimated before you can deem it to be helpful for you or not.

It’s not just for the OPN, but I’d recommend a minimum of 4 week trial for any hearing aid brand/model to make sure you have enough time to get used to it before you can determine how helpful it is for you.


#5

Great advice in this thread, helping to clear some questions for me. Given what you state @Volusiano about at least 4 week trials, does it make sense to trial two different brands / models at the same time with overlapping trial periods? Can that comparison be valid, say trying one each day or at least half day, or does that just keep the brain off balance trying to readjust?

Thanks to @MDB for your reply above, that really helped as I tend to be one to try to analyze everything and just end up overthinking and muddying the waters so to speak.

This is all new to me and I always research extensively on my choices, which usually works well for me. Because hearing is not like vision, my old tried and true methods need some large adjustment. Getting the thoughts and experience of longer term users is invaluable.


#6

Hearing aids are very frustrating in that they don’t lend themselves to being able to research specifications (which is my typical bent) I’d say all claims from manufacturers are a mix of marketing and reality. The OPNs have a remarkable following. From surveys I’ve seen, audiologists are very happy with them. However looking at the user surveys on the forum, the OPNs do not distinguish themselves. I haven’t tried them so I have no experience but find the data interesting.


#7

I have a question related to choosing the correct hearing aid.

Will there be a problem if I wish to keep two different hearing aids, one as a spare? I am prepared to pay extra to ensure that I am NEVER w/o an aid. With severe to profound hearing loss and not wishing to shun situations where I have to meet people (mostly while holidaying - usually for periods of a month or more) I have been wondering about this option.

I am now on trial with a pair of most powerful Resound ENZO BTE at a local clinic but have not returned the KS 8 I started trial with about a month back from a Costco outlet, which is about 20 miles’ drive. The reason I started with the BTE aids is the serious wax guard removal problem I had with the KS 8. The Costco Dispenser has ordered a better wax guard removal tool. If I find this removal tool satisfactory I was thinking of keeping the KS 8 as a spare, although the streaming volume with the KS 8 is not as good as that with the ENZO BTE. One reason for keeping the KS 8 is its very low cost ($1600). However because of the distance and, more importantly, the problem of getting an appointment at short notice I prefer not to make the KS8 my only hearing aid even if I accept its limited streaming volume. My local Dispenser is just a few miles from where I live and is not as busy as the Costco dispenser.

I will appreciate comments so I can take a decision before the trial period for the KS 8 is over.


#8

What would the clinic charge for a 2nd pair of Enzos?


#9

It’s best for the trial period to cover as large a sample of your activities as possible. I live in the suburbs but spend 2 days a month in New York City getting around by subway. I’m alone on the subway so conversation isn’t an issue usually. But I need noise management that makes it comfortable without reducing the volume and making me oblivious to what’s around me.


#10

My opinion . . . If you are a first time HA wearer I say you will never know until you have experienced the performance of different settings, brands, and styles. All of these experiences can be good, bad, and indifferent - but they give you ooportunities to evaluate whether your loss can or cannot be corrected.

After going through Unitron (two different pairs), Costco, and finally the VA Med I was fitted with a pair of premium Phonaks.

The real difference is the analysis the VA Med physician made. There was equipment they used that I never saw in any of the Audiologists I had previously used. (Many dollars spent - with nary the detail the VA performed.)

So, doubly ensure you use an outstanding, board certified Audiologist. Use every means to determine the qualifications and reputation of who you ‘hire’ to analyize you situation.

Finally, cross your fingers and hope they get it right the first or second time!


#11

Just so you know you can also get the Resound ENZO BTE from Costco.Costco will order it for you and I believe a lot cheaper than a local clinic. It should run around $2,600 or so for the pair.


#12

You are wise to keep working back up Hearing Aids. I will never be without back ups. I travel with back ups and carry back ups when it is important for me to be able to hear (like a wedding) if one decides to malfunction. I think it is important to stay within the same Brand, not necessarily same level of technology or features, at least the sound environment is similar allowing me to wear my primary (newest) and the backup together. And yes, an old aid has come to my rescue when one died suddenly.
I have 2 sets of backup hearing aids now due to upgrades - all the same Brand. I used to stream TV at night with the oldest pair, because I liked the streaming sound and volume better.
Ask your Audi what lower version would be recommended as a backup at a significantly lower cost.


#13

I’ve been wondering why audiologists don’t have equipment to simulate typical hearing situations. Instead we get sent out to see how they go. I could try 10 different pairs, and still not be sure which worked best because I wouldn’t know if I’d encountered exactly he same conditions. Unless one was obviously better, I’d just be guessing.

Why don’t they do that? Is there some reason why it wouldn’t be helpful? Or would it just take up time and raise inconvenient doubts in the patient’s mind?


#14

I can see wanting backups, but I’d want them to BTEs to be like your primary aids. I think asking your audiologist what he’d recommend for a backup pair and what wouild he recommend. Getting the Costco version is also a decent idea, but I get the feeling you’d prefer to avoid Costco and that’s part of the reason for thinking about keeping the KS8s. I think the cheapest way to do backups would be to buy some used Reound Enzos (perhaps an older model) It shouldn’t be a problem for your audiologist to program them. However if money is of little concern, there’s lots more expensive ways to do it.


#15

For those of you for whom music is a non-issue, what makes a hearing aid better than another? This is assuming they both amplify speech so that you can hear where you were previously not able to…

I’ve been wearing hearing aids for 18 years, digital CIC most of that time. But just for kicks lately, I tried some $49 each non custom molded CIC aids off ebay. IF music were not a critical part of my life, and I simply needed to be able to join in normal conversations or watch the TV without blasting my significant other, for $100 I’d be in business.

Music (performing) is a different story, of course. But other than that, what - to you - makes one hearing aid more “correct” than another?

In other words, how do you know/determine that a hearing aid is doing better than another at restoring your hearing to a good functioning point?


#16

$3790. I also bought a Phone clip + for $180 to use with Samsung Galaxy S8.


#17

Understanding speech is the goal, and depending on hearing loss, sometimes it is achievable and sometimes not. It is not so simple as to just amplify sound enough. The hearing aids I am trialing focus on speech ahead of the wearer, unless you adjust the focus manually. They emphasize what they think is speech, in the cone of sound (my word for it) so their success (and therefore mine) depends on how well they form the cone of sound and how well they recognize speech. Are they the best? I don’t know but they are way ahead of my previous aids, from 2013.

The other thing, for people with a steep sloping loss, like me, is frequency lowering, where sounds in the high frequencies where I don’t hear much, are lowered to frequencies I hear a little better. When they turned that on it was like a door to new sound opening up.


#18

Yes, buying a BTE aid at Costco was the first option I considered when I decided that I cannot depend on the RIC KS 8 as my primary aid. But I did not wish to be dependent on a distant and not-easily-accessible hearing aid dispenser at Costco for my primary aid. However I am thinking that this drawback is acceptable for the back up aid as it is so ‘affordable’.


#19

I have not mentioned my present trial with the KS 8 yet to my local audi lady to avoid possible confusion but will do so after my next visit to Costco when I collect the new wax guard package and discuss the level of streaming I achieve. I am not sure a cheaper Resound will be easy to find if I wish to retain the MFI capability.


#20

Money is not really a concern, but unless I am convinced - maybe after I speak to my local audi - that the back-up use of the KS 8 will create problems and will not serve the purpose I hesitate to give up this economical option. Occasional visits to Costco even if I have to wait for an appointment may be tolerable, if the KS 8 works well as a stop gap.