I have typical moderate to severe high frequency hearing loss I’m 59 and had to make the jump. It’s been a good, yet frustrating summer - good in that I hear birds chipping again, frustrating in that hearing loss is really hard to correct (it seems) in a way that feels natural.
I started out with Unitron Tempest Moxi - From what I had been able to read they seemed to be the “best” - of course as I quickly learned there in no “best” - only what works for the individual. I really liked the rechargeable/standard battery option - in fact this was a prime motivation along with the small size - at first I was pretty happy. I went back to have the edge taken off sharp woman’s vices and to see if a little more natural bass sounds could be found for music. (I’m a late blooming musician and music is very important to me). This was not a successful adjustment and in fact seemed to cause a riff with my audiologist as I asked for more flexibility and to use the program settings to add music, wind noise, crowd setting - the Untrons did not handle crowds well at all, the bass became distorted, woman’s vices still sounded sharp. At this point I lost confidence in my audiologist, my take was she was not motivated to help me get these working properly and seemed to lack the ability to use the Unitron software and made a switch (within the clinic organization). My new audiologist has been fantastic - very motivated, knowledgeable and pleasant to work with. We set up the programs and tweaked things in a a couple visits. At the end of the day I found the programs to not be very distinguishable other than the wind noise setting worked well. Mostly I did not like the music settings, I found phone conversations very frustrating and crowd settings to be difficult, and they would squeal a bit if something got near my ears. At the end to the trail period I decided to make a switch - I was sure something must be better than this.
I went to the new Starkey Muse - same rechargeable/standard battery option and advertised as a GREAT music aid. Well for me the Starkey Muse was terrible, the feedback and squealing was terrible despite a couple adjustments. - the one thing that I really liked with the Starkey was the Jazz music reproduction, but rock and blues had a lot bass distortion. The Starkey’s where by far the worst when it came to feedback and screeching - I once had them go “ballistic” getting out of my car… on multiple times rip the aids form my ears due to feedback issues. The Starkey’s also had a tinny or echoed quality that did not sound natural. The overall quality feel and comfort was excellent. I really wanted to like the Starkey’s - I live not far form where they are made and have a friend that once was a engineer for them, if they would have been at least equal to the Untron Moxi I likely would have kept them and called it a day. I took the Starkey’s back after about two, maybe three weeks - I quickly became very disappointed in these - overall I’d give these a distant 4th in my rating of the four aids I tried.
I also tried the ReSound LiNX II demo aids that where available. The ReSound where in side by side comparisons with the Starkey a much more natural sounding aid. I also learned that ReSound (in the LiNX III model) had a rechargeable/standard battery option available - in fact it had just come out that week. The fit and finish of the ReSound felt cheap to me, they worked pretty well, and at one point I thought I might go with theses in a LiNX III with the rechargeable/standard battery option however the more I used them the less I liked them with regards to the quality sound - more a general tininess, but again next to the Starkey they compared very well.
When I took the Starky’s back I picked up a pair of Phonak Audéo B R B90
The Phonak Audéo B R B90 right out of the box struck a great balance with all sounds. I was hesitant to go with the “only” rechargeable option as I travel a lot and liked the idea of being able to simply switch over to standard battery’s and not carry a charger. Phonak also had a promotion and I was able to get the streaming remote, a mini charger, and a power pack to power the charger for a week if I could not plug in.
For me the Phonak Audéo B R B90 is by a pretty substantial margin the best overall - the quality of music, wind noise, crowd and background noise are all well balanced and natural sounding. They do not give feedback or squeal even if I touch my hair or brush them with my hand. The only knock I have with the Phonak is they are “kind” of big and when they do an auto-adjustment I notice it - they seem to drop off just a bit as they change…not anything that is a problem, but at first I thought they might be shutting down.
My personal ratings
A distant 4th Starkey Muse - terrible feedback and hollow tin sound. Best fit and finish but a clunky shape.
A close 3rd ReSound LiNX II - adequate, not an overly impressive sound quality, some feedback issues, nice small size - I may have felt differently had I tried the newest technology (LiNX III) but once I tied the Phonak I was satisfied that I had a winner.
2nd - Unitron Tempest Moxi - I wore these the longest (trial) and in Unitrons defense may have lost my way trying to tweak them - music reproduction was frustrating which is what pushed me to try other aids. minor feedback issues. A decent hearing aid in most situations.
1st (for me) by a pretty substantial margin -Phonak Audéo B R B90 - Best sound quality on balance. I have the remote to steam phone conversations and it works well, it has to be close (collar clip). I just hope the internal battery does not haunt me down the road when it needs to be replaced.