I think this forum should have a Personal Sound Amplifiers category

Hi All,

I was here in 2009 when I found out I had mild to moderate hi frequency hearing loss in both ears. I knew zilch about hearing aids except for the fact I knew I could not afford them. So for for the next 5+ yrs I have gone without. My hearing has gotten a bit worse since then, I just had a hearing test recently.

A few weeks back I was sitting in a waiting room and looking at a National Geographic and found an ad about these less expensive Personal Sound Amplifiers. When I posted here no one even mentioned that option. I had no idea these existed. If I had known about these back in 2009 I would have tried some of these. Plus I would have had an option where as there was no real option I could utilize in my price range. I think this forum should be a place to find out more options with better price points. Yes they may not be super great but at least I could hear better and could have begun figuring out what works for me inexpensively. I strongly urge this forum to consider adding a PAS type of category to at least let folks know about this.

With that said, I am now hot on the trail of these PSAs and SoundWorld is catching my eye. They sell PSAs and a specific hearing aid for 299.00 each or 479.00 for a pair!!! It has bluetooth too and they have an app for smart phones and computers to adjust the aids. It doesn’t have beeps but actually tells you volume up or down etc. Also they are rechargeable and have an 18 hour battery life. At night you just plug them in. Has anyone used them?

http://www.soundworldsolutions.com/hearing-aids/the-companion

I would love to hear from those of you who have good feedback on these types of inexpensive hearing aids or PSAs. I want to buy a set this year and want to make sure I ferret this out as much as possible since I won’t be able to replace them so quickly.

i looked at personal sound amplifiers. they are sold almost everywhere walmart, sam’s club, costco, ebay, etc. i am not an audiologist but a novice. but also found several programs that provide very good hearing aids for low income folks. have you tried any of these alternatives?

have you ever had an audiogram done? you can get this done for free in many places. its really important to do this even if you use one of these devices.

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Yes I have an audiogram from my recent hearing test. I have been looking at several of these PSAs since I saw an ad for MD Hearing Aids in Nat’l Geographic. I went to Amazon and read the reviews for many of them but I felt these very cheap models lacked the ability to be adjusted. I came across the Companion by SoundWorld that seems to be the only one so far that has the bluetooth ability at a lower price point. It seems that the fancy hearing aids are adjusted by software by audiologists and here this model allows you to do the adjustments yourself with software. I was listening to a NPR show and they said something like there are 300 million folks around the world that need hearing aids and only 7 million a year can afford to get them and most of them are in the U.S. and Europe. So most folks cannot afford these expensive hearing aids. I would like to spend my money where it supports a group that is actually trying to push the envelope here to bring down prices and improve the options. My hearing loss is not severe so I would be a good candidate for a cheaper alternative I think. Something is better than nothing.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/02/197639536/to-make-hearing-aids-affordable-firm-turns-on-bluetooth

So if most folks can’t afford them then this forum really should be having categories for cheaper alternatives here for folks to find the information.

I would like to post my my hearing loss info in a box like many do here and like you have above. Is there a way to do this with this forum or do you just copy and paste it? I looked on my account but nothing jumped out at me.

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go to settings at the top of the page, then go to edit signature on the left side, the type in what you want. i copied someone else’s then changed the numbers.

trillium, by the way if you are looking for low cost aids you can find on ebay devices that have technology better than the site you listed. they are resound products that the technology is eight years old but they were top of the line. you can get two adjusted for your audiogram for $210

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trillium, by the way if you are looking for low cost aids you can find on ebay devices that have technology better than the site you listed. they are resound products that the technology is eight years old but they were top of the line. you can get two adjusted for your audiogram for $210

WOW Gary that 210.00 is an amazing deal. I will check out the Resound and see which one might be best for my hearing loss, not sure yet. You say you can get them adjusted. Does that mean the seller will adjust them or I can or both? Thanks for the signature info. I put it in but it isn’t showing yet. I just pasted it here for now.

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Freq. 250 500 750 1K 1.5K 2K 3k 4k 6k 8k
L 20 15 10 10 12 15 35 45 60 50
R 15 10 10 10 12 15 35 50 60 65

Well Gary I am at a disadvantage with all this since I have never had hearing aids before and do not know what to look for or what to avoid. It feels like an expensive mine field. I don’t have a lot of money to experiment and make a huge mistake with this. I did search Ebay for Resound and there are many older models of Resound for sale there. I think there are 5 pages of items. The ones I do see I have no idea about the track record of these older models. I also won’t be able to return them I would image if they didn’t work out. I also don’t see where these older models have the ability to adjust with software either. I do see the very expensive Linx2 models have the software to adjust but way out of my price range. I guess if I had more personal experiences with these I would be able to hone in on an older model that would work best for me. But right now I am not sure what to expect. I think being able to do fine adjustments to the settings via an app for SoundWorld Companion would be much better than an older Rebound model that doesn’t have bluetooth is what I am thinking right now.

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Not sure why you are concentrating on Resound on eBay. There are a half-dozen major brands. Your problem will be programming. Sites like lloydshearing will adjust from you chart for a reasonable fee – mail out mail back with further adjustments for free.

The difference between old and new isn’t necessarily understanding. Any in decent condition will take care of TV and a conversation at home or one-on-one. Where the newest ones shine are in the noisier situations such as restaurants and parties or a meeting with many talking around you.

Not too impressed with what you are looking at. There are a lot of PSAP devices out there. They are all over the place in quality. If you search on PSAP here, you should see other discussions.

trillium, if your income is less than $17000 and you have very little money there are programs you can get quality new aids for $250. if you have low income and cash assets you can get very good a pair for $1000.
there is a reseller on ebay that you can buy resound azure for $215 for two. i bought some and they work just fine. he offers a 30 day return and he will program them to your audiogram.

you can also buy other brands from other resellers but i don’t have any experience with them
you can also buy PSAP. as ken said you can buy from lloyd.

you say you have limited money to buy. how much can you spend. you will have to be more forth coming with info for me to give you more info. you can search for weeks and weeks as i have done to find all of this info which i will share but i type slow and need more info from you.

Thanks Ken, I did search under PSAP but didn’t really pull up much. I found others who were asking about PSAs and they also didn’t get much feedback. Is there another site that talks more about these PSA’s? Specifically, where folks talk about the pros and cons of each device. there is no category here at this site and folks seem to generally mention. I don’t think it would be so great to have to mail my device to get adjustments. I think it would be better to adjust myself. I am sort of techie and I don’t see why I can’t adjust it based on standard of care guidelines like they would use if I mailed it to them since I am not there to confirm their settings. What exactly are you not impressed with in regards to the SoundWorld Companion hearing aid? What tells you that I will not have a decent hearing experience with noisier situations with the Companion? I would like to understand what I should be looking for in a PSA or hearing aid for my hearing loss?

Hi Gary,
I don’t type that fast either! I am looking to be able to tweak my own HA or PSA to my preferences or when I get into a noisy room etc. I have no experience with HA or PSA so guessing about all of this. I can spend 600.00 for a pair of these at most. I like the idea of being able to adjust my HA or PSA with my smart phone when I am out and about if I do get to a place where it is noisy. I see many have like three settings pre programmed in them but that seems rather limited set of adjustments. I really don’t think that the adjustments should be that hard to do really if you have the standard of care settings chart. I would imagine after you put them in you could still adjust a bit more for your preferences. If SoundWorld allows for this with the software they provide then it really can’t be that hard. I wouldn’t dare try to grind my glasses but I do feel comfortable adjusting for sound settings. I can see why the audiologists are up in arms about all this since it is giving consumers more options and more like me will be able to afford to hear better. I am frankly quite shocked at the way some audiologists are attacking posters here and may have to move on. If in fact they are truly concerned for folks to be able to hear better…then they should be supportive of all price points. Give some tips but I don’t see that. Something is better than nothing. I have gone with nothing since 2009 when I found out about my hearing loss because I could not afford the steep prices. Most folks in the world go without too from the statistics I have read. I just don’t know if you can have a realistic conversation here without the audiologist swooping down on posters here and attacking them for needing cheaper alternatives. This may be my last post here.

Please don’t give up on this forum because of a few discouraging posters. I have found most people, with a few notable exceptions, quite helpful and understanding.

To answer your earlier question about why you “can’t” adjust hearing aids yourself, the reason is that they are regulated medical devices which “have” to be adjusted by a qualified professional. The manufacturers are not allowed (by the FDA) to provide tools for patients to adjust their hearing aids themselves. I use the scare quotes around “can’t” because it is in fact possible to obtain the equipment and software to program your aids yourself, though it involves software piracy and violations of software licenses. There are posters on here who purchase hearing aids second-hand and program them themselves. I’m not sure it’s a good idea, but it can be done.

As for PSA’s, the problem with them is going to be that they cannot be adjusted to your individual hearing loss. That may be fine if you have a flat loss—that is, if your hearing loss is about the same at all frequencies. But your loss appears to be primarily in the 3K+ range; I think you would find that a PSA over-amplifies the lower frequencies for you.

trillium,
has soundworld responded to your inquiries?

The receiver (ear piece) is a really cheap approach. I’m sure the same are on some under $50 stuff. If they cut corners in the visible stuff, I suspect the rest. Your very high hearing reaches into the moderate to sever range. I doubt any of the PSAP will do much in that area. But, the area through 4K look like reasonable numbers for the less costly aids. For a few bucks more you can take a look at lloydshearing.com. I think they have a R3-400 series that looks like old tech but from a good manufacturer. Additionally, they have audiologist on staff that can advise you just what they can provide for your loss. I have found them to be really reputable and not oversell. You may not see what you want there but I think you’ll get a better idea of things.

What you might also do is start another thread not about PSAP but asking what would be the least expensive approach based on your info. One of the caring audis we have here might added to you knowledge about just what you need to get by. I think even the ebay stuff will be better for you than some of the ones you are looking at. If you are lucky and get a 5 year old aid from a good manufacturer, Lloyds will also program them for a reasonable cost. ($50/ea) There are a number of folks here that buy on ebay that might advise you on a good choice. Send a personal message (need 10 posts) to PVC and ask him what models or sellers he might suggest.

trillium, your audiogram reveals what we have been talking about a sharp increase in loss. while you loss is not as sharp as mine or as much, it is not level as the latinist has said. generally a PSAP would amplify the frequencies equally. there are a few that suggest they are tuned to amplify the higher frequencies specifically such as sam’s club brand and the mdhearing Air on i think setting two. you might try one of these. if you dont think they work then return them and get your money back.

then you can start a thread on PSAP.

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Thanks Gary,

I don’t type so fast either. Would love to know what you have learned about PSAs. I can afford 600.00 for a pair. I would not qualify for the 17k income program. I don’t understand why the audiologists are not more helpful here at this site for those who can not afford high end HAs. They attack posters here which is pretty shocking. Is there another site where there is more help for those of us who cannot afford to spend thousands on HAs? Since most folks in the world cannot afford these high end HAs you would think they would get that there is a large population that need something rather than nothing and be more helpful. I am pretty shocked at some of the posts here from audiologists. I think I need to start learning about the audiogram and pose questions to these manufacturers about the features. Thanks

Thanks Latinist, good advice! I had no idea about my hearing loss and how that translates to the PSAs but at least I now know more to ask better questions of the manufacturers. It seemed like these things could be hacked easily and there has to be some rules to follow when adjusting the settings. I am wondering if the software SoundWorld provides would allow for me to tweak with the lower frequencies so it doesn’t over amplify as you say. Good stuff.

Thanks Ken. Well these are good options you have given. It is strange that both audiologists I saw via healthcare didn’t explain really anything about the hearing loss and what my options were. They just do a ton of tests and that is their focus. So I am having to learn on my own what my hearing loss means and how that translates on what are my options. That is how come it has been hard to navigate all this. As I have aged and had health issues I am now much more skeptical of the advice from doctors and healthcare in general and feel it is important to dig deeper on stuff rather than just comply with the healthcare machine. I really want to understand this much more before pulling the trigger on this.

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Thanks Ken. Well these are good options you have given. It is strange that both audiologists I saw via healthcare didn’t explain really anything about the hearing loss and what my options were. They just do a ton of tests and that is their focus. So I am having to learn on my own what my hearing loss means and how that translates on what are my options. That is how come it has been hard to navigate all this. As I have aged and had health issues I am now much more skeptical of the advice from doctors and healthcare in general and feel it is important to dig deeper on stuff rather than just comply with the healthcare machine. I really want to understand this much more before pulling the trigger on this.

Yes yes yes. MD hearing was the one that first caught my eye and I had kind of honed in on the Pro. I did ask this guy there but he was not that much help. I need to find someone else there and ask about the higher frequencies. OK I will start a thread.

I actually haven’t asked them yet since I didn’t even know the right questions yet and that is why I came here.