How to choose a hearing aid? Need advice

I am pretty new here, profound sensorineural h. loss in right ear since 5-6 months ago. Also my left ear is not too good with rapid high freq. fall-off on the graph.

Had all the treatments (two antibiotics, steroids), all the tests (audiometric, CT scan, MRI scan) all show nothing. First ENTspecialist said “too bad, cant do anything”. Went to a second ENT , he says that if auditory nerve was damaged by a virus, it may regenerate to some extent over following 12 months. But so far no improvement. I have been to a hearing aid specialist (Lions- Australia) who recomended a high end HA for left ear, suggests Unitron Moxi, or YUU, or Indigo.

I am interested in ballroom dancing but since my right ear h. loss, I find it hard to pick up the beat on some music. Lions lady recommends Indigo, says it has special program for music.

I also have a lot of difficulty understaanding speech in noisy situations.

I have only been reading this list for a few weeks, and I am totally confused as to how I should proceed. People buying high end ha’s seem to be having lots of problems, and there seems to be major trade-offs between different brands / models.

How should I go about choosing a ha? I am tempted to purchase a cheap one and then do lots of research.

If I buy a high end ha, how many times can I typically return it / swap for different model or brand before they stop cooperating?

Thanks,
Graham

By the way, when dancing (ballroom) it is hard to hear my dance partner as she is closest to my right (deaf!) ear. So I may be interested in a ha in the right ear with FM link to left ear ha. Which brands support this concept? Any that are not too expensive?

Are there any other innovative ways of achieving this?

Thanks again,
Graham

graham:
Not everybody who uses hearing aids benefit in the same way… this is why there is significant variance among users… This is why most Audis and His talk about realistic expectations…

that said, Unitron like most companies in the industry has a high end product, and unbundle mid price and entry level product. In fact many of the products are identical in hardware, and they are mostly software differentiated.
For example, Delta 4000, 6000, 8000 are the same instrument, the manufacturer activates some of the features given the price you pay…

Generally, most high end instrument have all the unique features, wind noise managment, life learning, music programs, integrated blue thootgh, etc etc… However, some companies have excelent mid price instrument whose performance is somewhat similar to those of high end products. If you are willing to make a compromise, ie- im willing to accept compromises (i know my instrument does not have a wind noise managment so when there is a lot
of wind my instrument wouldn not work as well as.) perhaps mid price instrument is a good choice…

My top choice for mid prices are:
GN - Pixel or plus 5
Oticon - Tego or tego pro
Phonak- Extra
Unitron indigo enhance…

of course there are other with good aids like widex, and siemens…

I would pick what your audi prefers to fit. its important to get a good fitting…

BE AWARE most mid price products are almost identical across all brands

Make sure you understand the trial period well. I recommend seeing someone with a no obligation trial period. That way you have can try the hearing aids without having to commit to purchasing them or losing a big chunk of money for something that may not work well for you.

Everyone has to make their own decision on the cost versus the benefit. That is what a trial period is for. You likely will see benefit, how much depends on your residual auditory system function and how well the hearing aids are selected and fit to your loss. I certainly think you will get some help but trying them in the real world is the best way to know.

Hi Graham

Whoever you work with, talk with them about which instruments they offer, and the ones with which they have the most experience. This second part is probably the most important part of the decision. Most providers will offer several brands and models, but if the fitter isn’t experienced with the hearing aid you choose, you will most likely not have a very good experience. Even the mid-level digital instruments offer great performance, if the fitter can adjust and “tweak” them properly. Once they tell you which ones they have the most experience with, you can work with them on price vs features to make your final decision. You should get a 1-2 month trial period, where you can return the instruments, with no (or minimal) cost penalty, and try something else. Don’t be afraid to ask questions - you can’t make an informed decision without all the information. My 2 cents. Good luck.

Dag

Having worn aids for 6 years now, starting with Widex Diva’s, America Hears, and now GN Resound Pulse aids, I agree completely. The Widex and GN Resound aids were purchased from the same audie. All of them were an improvement over the previous aids (or none), but an audie experienced in fitting that particular aid is critical.

And how you buy aids each time will change. The first time, as a brand new user, I just went with the audie’s recommendation (and luckily money wasn’t an issue, as my company health insurance covers a pair every 5 years). The next time, on my dime, I got wrapped up in tech specs, volume controls and programs, etc. The aids are great, but I finally figured out that what I need, for my lifestyle, is aids that I put on in the morning, forget about, then take off in the evening. Hence the GN Resound Pulse aids that just do what they do, and do it well, without me having to switch programs, adjust volume, etc.

And the next time, I’ll be a better user of hearing aids, with this experience and understanding of what they can do for me behind me.

i would agree, knowing how to fit the aids right and how to
change the programing settings is as important to the brand…
because most aids -mid price are almost identical…

knowing how to fit the instrument… becomes more critical…

most audi, sells one or two brands… talk to them about what makes sense for you

Thanks Jay_man2 and xbulder . . . I’m new too and I have my first ‘get a hearing aid’ appointment with my audiologist in the second week of March.

I’m trying to familiarize myself with what to expect of this first appointment and what types of things I should be on the look out for.

So far, I know I should get the numbers on my hearing loss so I can share better on this forum. (I was just diagnosed with ostclerosis).

I am going to try to call the audi ahead of my appointment and enquire as to what manufacturers he deals in and when I meet I will ask what he has the most experience with.

I’ll also get details on trial period obligations, and make a commitment to follow up with appointments in which I describe my limited trial experience to the audi.

Are there any other tips you (or anyone else resding this) can share for the inaugural fitting appointment?

Thanks!

pipedown :wink:

i would make sure to

  1. talk about your lifestyle and what you expect from a hearing aids, the more you demand i would say the price would go up…

  2. ask for realistics expectations…

if you are willing to forgo some features, you would be able to save quite a few dollars

I heard my ENT say this too. What does it depend on? How can you tell if you are going to be someone who benefits or not? I am going in 2 weeks to get my first pair of HAs and I am not sure what to expect. Will I be able to hear conversation better? What about the tv? I know HAs dont imporve clarity, but how do you know if you will be someone who benefits from their use or not?
Thanks.

the audi will do a battery of test, including speech recog, perhaps quick sin or hint (speech in noise) based on this along with your lifestyle he will decide
what could make sense …

after the evaluation i always talk about realistic expectations…

hearing aids seldon restore ur hearing 100%

hi xbulder,

Thanks for the advice on realistic expectations and lifestyle hearing needs!

. . . can you please tell me the features that, if foregone, will enable savings of quite a few dollars?

Thanks!

pipedown :slight_smile:

for example
if you can life without life learning, wind noise managment and datalogging, blue tooth compatibility you should be able to save a few dollars…

. . . thanks xbulder!

Can you please explain what life learning is?

also, if I opt for no wind noise management, would it result in amplification of wind sound when outdoors on a windy day?

Oh, and yes, what does datalogging refer to with regards to ha’s?

Lastly, if I may, are pretty much all hearing aids digital now, or is the non-digital (analog?) market still a popular choice?

And are digital hearing aids generally much more costly than non-digital?

Thanks for all of your feedback xbulder; it’s very much appreciated.
It’s nice to have someone you can ask some questions of when you’re new to all of this as I am. I think your help is going to help me go much more knowingly to my first audi fitting appointment. That’s in mid-March 2008. I found out my audiologist is actually a doctor, which sounds like a good sign!
Once I have gone to that appointment, I’ll post back with my experience. In the meantime I hope you can answer the above questions for me and a few more later on as I’m sure I may have . . .

Thanks again, looking forward to your response,

pipedown. :wink:

bumping thread in hopes that xbulder (or anyone else that can help) will see and have chance to respond to my post above . . . thank you! :slight_smile:

Hi Pipedown,

I’m a new user myself, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading and I can answer a couple of your questions, although I’m sure you can get more detail from the audi’s.

I believe that Life Learning refers to the HA remembering how you change the volume and/or program setting in each situation that the HA is programmed to recognize. I believe my aids have 3 programs: speech in quiet, speech in noise, and music. It’s amazing that we pay so much for these things and can’t get the specs in this area. Anyway, I believe that if I used a control that would allow me to change the volume and program setting, the HA would remember this and change it for me the next time I am in this environment. Audi’s, please correct me if I am wrong on this point.

Data logging was not too complex as far as what I could see in my audi’s office on my Phonak Audeo V. It recorded what percentage of the time I was in noise or quiet. It recorded what my average usage was per day. It probably recorded one or two other things that didn’t seem very useful.

Digital will be more costly than analog because a lot of design goes into the programming of the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) which will make some sophisticated attempts to improve your comprehension in noisy environments, cancel feedback and wind noise, etc. I haven’t had an analog aid before (just got my first aid only about 3 weeks ago), so someone who has had both could tell you more. I would guess that you would be more pleased with the results of the digital processing though.

Hope this helps, and perhaps the gurus will answer soon …

Data Logging is pretty much exactly what was explained in the pp. It records how much time the HA is turned on, how long the wearer has been in certain programs or settings, and sometimes how the wearer has been adjusting the volume control and such. It is only recording this info and is passive. Data Learning (or Life Learning), on the other hand, is active. It records the changes that the wearer makes and gradually adjusts the hearing aid to those preferences over time, so ideally the wearer is not having to change the settings on the hearing aid.

Digital hearing aids–as far as I’ve seen-- have come down in price so much that the basic (and some mid-ranges) aren’t any more expensive, and sometimes less so, than the analog HAs. It is cheaper for the manus to mass produce the chips than to individually set analog hearing aids. I think that analog aids make up ~2% of the market.

For wind noise mgmt, you might experience wind noise amplification without the wind noise manager. It is kind of like blowing into a mic–same effect. :slight_smile: I always recommended them for my patients when I was fitting hearing aids.

Thank you davew and coppertop!

I will be going to my first ha appointment in a little over a week and will post back.

I now have a much better idea of the basics, allowing me to go this appointment a little better informed.

Your help is much appreciated,

pipedown :wink:

Pipedown…New at this! Trying to learn how to post, navigate this forum, etc.

I too am about to buy a pair of HA’s and am exploring this forum for as much info as I can find. I live in a small town, but am 50 miles from Atlanta where many choices are available. My local store sells Audibal only, and that’s who will be doing the testing.

Any comments, pro or con, on the Audibel12?? Thanks for any response

I worked for Audibel for four years. The Virtue 12 sounds like the aid you are talking about. It’s the most impressive hearing aid I’ve ever seen. The parent company to Audibel is Starkey and they call the same aid the Destiny 1200.

There is also a 16 available for a shade more money that has some enhancements over the 12.

I don’t see a drawback at all to the 12. It has the most impressive background noise reduction systems I’ve seen, the feedback suppression is outstanding. I’d put it toe to toe with anything on the market today.

Audibel have a factory in Norcross, so you could even take a tour if you want. It’s a very impressive facility.

What could be better than buying locally, the factory just down the road, and some incredible all American technology!

I’m a fan. I’ve fitted close to 200 patients with this kind of technology since it came out, and I am completely sold on it. I fitted my grandfather in law with the 16 and he said he hadn’t heard that well in 20 years. He’s worn just about every brand of aid out there.

As for the downside, I guess it would be cost. What price were you quoted for the 12?