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


#21

You present a good point with MFI capability for your back up aids.
I do not have MFI in my back ups and would have to use the dreaded streamer again. I have 2 functioning streamers also. LOL
But…it is ‘in case of emergency’ use the back up hearing aids.
Local Audi should be faster for appts and repairs for your Primary Aids should they need repair. Ask what part fails the most. I bought extra receivers to have on hand when I only had one pair of hearing aids. That was the part that failed the most often. Easy fix on BTE. I learned how to replace the receiver until I could get to Audi.
It is frustrating enough to purchase 1 set of hearing aids that meet your needs. Deciding on 2 sets at the same time, that are very different is beyond what my brain could handle. I suggest you concentrate on the primary set and get that right.


#22

I have been a hearing aid user for more than 25 years. I still have a 17 year old BTE from Siemens and the “new” pair is a Starkey which is 10 years old. I like the old clunker because its directional microphone is great, and its volume adjustment is much easier to use; these features are very important to me. I believe that buying the latest model is not a guarantee for getting the best help for your hearing problem. I believe that the person who sells it to you has to have credible and reliable experience, has to have the means to do the proper testing and adjustments after the purchase (or during the trial) and has to be willing to follow best practices and go beyond the manufacturer’s recommended settings. Ask the right questions from whomever you are buying to ensure the above. Ask about how will the seller validate that the hearing aid works for you in real world situations. A good audiologist will do real ear testing for audibility (quantity of the sound) and APHAB for understandability (quality of the sound). Make sure that the hearing aid provides “room for growth” in case your hearing deteriorates and that it has a T-coil. Getting what you need is less dependent on the aid than on the professional you work with. Unfortunately it is very hard to find those who care to provide to you the best for the money and go beyond trying to sell. While I love Costco’s prices, I do not know if they do enough to make sure that the device provides the best for your specific needs. If I were to buy a backup, I would buy the same model, as it can be somewhat confusing to use two different brands, programmed differently. Good luck with your decisions.


#23

I’ve had Starkey, Phonak, and now Oticon all BTE. I think I am going to return the Oticon just like I did the others.

Here’s the deal. Hearing loss varies greatly from person to person so no one can offer a “silver bullet” as to which is best.

Many audiologists are nothing more than car salesmen. They get paid when a deal is closed and the trial period expires, and you’re stuck with something that may or may not help. Right now, I’m working with a Dr. from the VA who has no reward from HA companies for closing a deal. She actually cares about improving my hearing. Unfortunately, in my case, I’m coming to terms with the fact that my hearing cannot be improved.

What you should be doing now is learning about hearing loss (your kind in particular), and learning how HAs work, as well as their capabilities and limitations.

So, like buying a car, before you sign up for anything, insist on a long test drive. Walk out of the fitting room, into the waiting room. Speak to the receptionist (though by design, a log of audiologists screen their staff to be people with very clear, accent free voices). Walk outside (preferably on a blustery day). Walk to a restaurant (preferably a family restaurant with a lot of noisy kids). Go to the restroom and urinate (seriously… this was one of the most disturbing sounds the HAs have all over amplified). Rattle your keys, eat a bowl of cereal in a ceramic bowl with a metal spoon. Click your tongue a few times. Open and close a door with a squeaky hinge. Go find that person you know, who is not at all a bad person, but has an irritating voice. Do you hear any hissing (it’s not the Air Conditioner)?

If any of the above checks during your day one, no obligation test drive annoy you, then your fitting is incomplete. No, you won’t get used to it. No, your brain won’t retrain to adapt to the hearing aids - that is the most stupid statement I’ve heard all to frequently.

The bottom line is that if HAs can help your hearing loss, your initial fitting should be just about perfect. Why do I say this? After beginning this HA endeavor of mine, I surveyed other HA wearers as I met them. Every last one of them said their hearing aids worked perfectly from day one. In fairness, I talked to a lot of older, hard of hearing people who asked me about my new hearing aids. Their stories were exactly the same as mine - the stupid things were just annoying, making noise, nothing more.

So, if your initial fitting isn’t nearly perfect just hand the things back, and find another audiologist, or accept your hearing loss.

And, in case you are wondering:

  • No hearing aid will give you 20-20,000 Hz hearing. They work best at about 3,000 - 5,000 Hz (same as your old wired telephone). The target is speech, not music.
  • No hearing aid will make people face you to speak.
  • No hearing aid will stop people from mumbling.
  • No hearing aid will make people form complete sentences.
  • No hearing aid will stop people from speaking to you as either you or they are walking away.
  • No hearing aid will stop the incessant talkers at work.
  • No hearing aid will “fix” tinnitus. They simply play another sound to take your mind off the ringing in your ears. I’ve lived with tinnitus for 31 years now, and have learned to live with it - you can too.

I wish you the best with your fitting, but don’t accept “yeah, it’ll do that” or “yeah, you’ll get used to it”:.


#24

d-dogg

Interesting post. You are the first person who has said you will not adapt to the aids. Either they work from day 1 or they do not.

Any opinions on this because now i am really wondering what to expect ???


#25

drjay44, let me clarify. Every person with whom I have spoken who wears hearing aids and is happy with them has said they worked from day 1.

I gave $7,500 Starkeys 3 months, and 6 adjustments - no help. This either says I had an inept audiologist or they just aren’t going to help me.

I gave the free premium Phonaks (they had bluetooth, AND an Android app, by golly), a month and they were but an annoyance.

Now I have free Oticons and either my audiologist turns them up which makes them “rip them out of my ear and throw them out the window” annoying, or we turn them down so that they really do nothing.

Bottom line is that no one hears like you do. No one knows your tolerences.

If in fact you are so darn deaf that you can barely function, then maybe hearing a microphone hiss constantly is a fair trade which you are willing to make.

If inf act you are so tired of asking people who are standing in front of you “what did you say”, then maybe the sound of crinkling tin foil amplified to the level of a head-banger concert, every time you tinkle or wash your hands is a fair trade which you are willing to make.

Everything you read on forums is opinion, personal experience, or bunk someone read in marketing material. All I’m telling you is not to accept a poor solution to your hearing issues.

If your aids have a 3 month return policy, then ensure you have an appointment scheduled for 2 months and 2 weeks from the date you sign your contract. Return the things if they haven’t helped, and don’t accept “well, we need to adjust them a little more”.


#26

My first one had distortion and was way too loud, and everything was annoying (clanking, rustling paper, water running, etc.). I had hearing loss for 30+ years so hearing aids were harder for me to get used to, but I kept at it. Your brain does get used to the new sounds and learns to properly interpret the new sounds. This is well known and not arguable.

All those things that annoyed me initially sound completely normal and comfortable now.

I suspect you are either not wearing them all day or you are turning them down so much there is no benefit? If you wear them, turned up near target, all day (18 hours), every day, for 10 weeks, and sounds are not comfortable, send them to me and I will eat them, and video it. :grin:


#27

I’m with Don on this one. All that racket everywhere??..umm…it’s everywhere and completely normal. It’s YOUR hearing that is not “normal”. Sure it can be useful to not have aids and live in quiet bliss but the social interaction would have to be limited. But vastly more people here say that eventually all that racket fades to the background as normal.

Yup…everything you just said is on a forum and is an opinion from personal experience. Including your claim of 3,000 - 5,000 Hz.


#28

Thanks for all your suggestions.
To close the discussion, I have decided to keep the KS 8 at least for a few more weeks and consider replacing it by the more powerful of the two Costco’s ReSound Forte 8 BTE model # 1194296, ‘Starting at $1,249.99*+ Each’ (per Costco website). This is to have the same model for the primary and b/u aids as many here suggested.

I have up to the end on November to take this decision when the trial period ends.


#29

I’d like to bring this question back up, my apologies, it got lost in the all the posts. :smiley:

Given what @Volusiano stated 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? Or better to trial one for 45 days and then other other in serial, keeping copious notes?


#30

I have not used conventional hearing aids (air conduction) before like the ones we are discussing here, so I am not sure what results to look for apart from whether I can hear streamed audio without straining of my ears, whether I can understand spoken words in everyday casual situations without asking the speaker to repeat or managing phone conversations (using my iPod) without any problem whatsoever etc. Previously I managed my affairs with (bone conduction) spectacle aids but my hearing was not as bad a few years ago as now; telephone conversations were a problem/nightmare even using voice amplification on the headphone as there was no way to utilize the bone conduction aid for hearing conversations. With these MFI aids the situation is altogether different.

How my hearing reception differs from one H/aid to another is difficult to quantify. Generally speaking I have better room for amplification with the BTE model than with the KS 8, although both have similar upper limit of the fitting range. Is it because the Costco HAS guy (quite pleasant) is not as good as my local HAS lady in fitting the aid? I don’t know.


#31

About six years ago now, I did what you’re talking about, two different trials of two different makes of aids, four weeks apart. ReSound Aleras, and Oticon Agil Pros. And the performance difference was small. Both helped a lot. One was better for me in terms of Bluetooth TV sound–ReSound was a little ahead of Oticon in developing Bluetooth back then, an advantage that has passed–and Oticon was better for me in noisy restaurants back then (all current aids do better at this), but the difference was small. When my ReSounds needed replacement five years later, I picked up an inexpensive lightly used pair of Agil Pros for budget reasons, and they’ve been fine too.

You remind me of me! back when I was looking for my first pair of hearing aids. You like to research a lot, which the web allows you to do, before making a buying decision. You’ve gotten great advice from a number of people here, including MDB, whom you found helpful.

You aren’t going to find The Perfect Solution, so don’t make yourself crazy trying. If you try a pair of aids and they help you hear speech better, and you have no major complaints that might not be fixed with minor tweaking, you can stop looking. That (better speech comprehension) more than the latest and greatest in high technology, is the most important factor to look for. (It’s very expensive, and a very short-term thrill, to be at the top of the tech curve. Think the computer you had circa 2005. Think the cell phone you had circa 2010. Were they long-term “investments” that paid off in long-term top-of-the-curve best performance? NOPE. There’s always something better coming. Don’t wait for it. Get a good solution now.)

I do agree with the comment above, that if it’s bad out of the gate, and the first adjustment doesn’t get you closer to the mark, it’s probably time to make a change. But it does take several weeks to remap your brain to a pair of hearing aids, and by then, you won’t remember exactly how the earlier pair sounded. So trying to assess improvement after a change in the first few days when you remember how the earlier pair sounded, if both help, is a fool’s errand, IMO.

There are other aids that will do as well, maybe slightly better overall, than the first pair you try, but you can drive yourself and your audiologist NUTS trying to find The Perfect Solution.


#32

I’d say that if you’re an experienced user already, then it’d be OK to trial two models in parallel. But if it’s your first time ever, it can be very confusing and not recommended.

If you have four weeks to trial both in parallel, I’d do one for a full week, the other for another full week. Then the last two weeks maybe alternate daily initially then later maybe half a day of desired. But that’s just what I would personally do myself. Everyone is different.

If I get a chance to go to a noisy restaurant, it’s bring both with to do A/B comparison right on the spot.


#33

Just my opinion, but I would not do two at a time. I would make the initial decision on features, reviews, pro attributes, etc., then buy those and try to make them work. Then, at the end of the trial period, make another decision to either keep them and continue adjusting to them, or return and go to the next candidate.

I don’t see how my brain could fully adjust by going back and forth.


#34

This will be my first HAs, I trialed one for 2 days and another for 5 days is all, I just know how much I’ve been missing. I have the opportunity to do a 45 day Starkey trial on July 18 and then a Costco appointment on Aug. 11. Assuming two weeks to get the Costco aids to arrive, that woulld be Aug. 23 and the 45 Starkey trial ends Sept 1. That means only a 7-10 day overlap between the two.

That sounds like a better way to do this one after the other. I had contemplated changing the 45 day Starkey trial to let me do them in parallel, but understand why that is not a good idea now. Thanks for the input on this as well @Don.


#35

I have a similar situation in terms of dual testing. On Monday, I see one Aud who sells resound and Widex. But I have to go back for a fitting. On Tuesday, I see a aud who carries opticon plus many more. They said I will be fitted and walk out of the office that day with a trial hearing aid. Why do they have a different approach in terms of the fitting? Could it be an inventory issue?

I was going to try two in the same 30 day period. I have worn both Phonak and Starkey halo so am familiar with the adjustment to sound.


#36

Probably not a good idea to trial two brands “simultaneously”. Your brain needs time (weeks) to adjust to the set you’re trying; if you move back and forth between brands, your brain never settles into the learning curve needed to optimize itself for either brand.


#37

I wish it was like buying a magic wand in the Harry Potter world. Unfortunately, it isn’t. What you can do is make sure the audiologist is competent. Make sure they use the test where they have the little tube in the ear when they fit you. This test compares what the hearing aid is doing with what it ought to be doing. Then you can make comparisons. Keep notes. You probably can immediately tell if something is way off…or it won’t take long. I am in day 4 of a trial. It is very very bad. So I will either be getting my previous trials back or we will do something different.


#38

Not to insult anyone, but Starkey does not impress me at all. This is sad. They are an American company and they used to be the best. I had a set of ITE units from them. They were good for me from 1978 to 1987.
Starkeys leadership got involved in some things they ought not have. The customer went by the wayside. Their website is stale as is their line of hearing aids. I hope this changes for the better.

Right now, I would look warily upon anyone pushing Starkey. If they work for you, they work. Then that is good. Just know, that at this time, they are a step behind.


#39

Efigalaxie

Please elaborate on your Starkey comment. being new I am looking strongly at Starkey.

While they don’t offer the OPN concept as does Oticon (nor does anybody else) they certainly have their own proprietary technology such as Acuity Immersion Technology.

They offer 900 mhz and 2.4 GH for both Iphone and android, they offer BTE, RIC, CIC,IIC etc.

Where exactly are they lacking. i understand there are Chevy fans and Ford fans but I’d appreciate some hard facts to sway me toward a different company. the choices are already overwhelming and your generalization does little to make my decision any easier.

Are there more consumer complaints with Starkey, are there serious streaming issues, is the support lacking.

Please provide some concrete information for me. i’d appreciate it

The only negative I have found is a serious one but does not reflect on the quality of the products rather the integrity of the major players.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelatindera/2018/06/12/starkey-hearing-bill-austin/#27b740e73090

BTW: i don’t need a fancy website . i do need quality hearing aids !!

Thanks


#40

I’ll chime in too. Hard data for hearing aids is rare. This survey is interesting. Audiologist Survey - Updated for 2018 The thing that would give me pause is that Starkey’s had the highest return rate. But ultimately your audiologist is likely the most important factor in your satisfaction so if you really like him/her, go for it.

And to add, I think the 900 mhz band is for ear to ear and programming. Starkey, like everybody else except Phonak doesn’t do Android directly.