Importance of Audiologist's familiarity with HA brand

Next week I’m going to get fitted with a Signa NX for a trial period based on my Audiologists recommendation. She says her office deals mainly with Signa and Phonak, which is why she’s recommending the Signa NX, and that’s she’s very familiar with the manufacturer. So my question is for those that have had multiple hearing aid fittings, how important is the audiologist’s familiarity with a specific manufacturer? I also want to try the Oticon OPN and she told me she’d most likely ask the Oticon rep to come in to fit my hearing aid properly since she doesn’t have much experience with them. I also would like to try the Quattro, which she does have experience with Resound, but says she’s neutral about the company. So my concern is that I may not get the best results with the Oticon simply because the person helping me doesn’t have much familiarity with the company or product. Am I thinking to much about this? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

P.S. This is now my second audiologist because the first was extremely unresponsive with help on guidance and differences between HA’s and her office was poor on returning calls too. Needless to say, this audiologist and office really seems to care about their patients.

It took me going to three audiologist who were either not transparent about all aspects of their practice or were unresponsive and very obviously uncaring. My fourth attempt was at Costco and I am extremely satisfied with the ReSound Forte 8 (LINX 3D) that I have. I too am very interested in the Quattro.

So yes, I think the correct audiologist is the single most important aspect of getting hearing aids. Second is their knowledge of the programing and available settings and features of the hearing aids. On a scale of 1-10, the audiologist themselves needs to be a 9-10 and their product knowledge needs to be a 8-9 or they must be very willing to call and get help from the manufacturer rep while you are there.

That audiologist sound like she truly cares and might be willing to learn the products you are interested in along side you. If she has the patience to call the HA manufacturer and is willing to go through multiple adjustment if necessary, then I would let her try.


A superior audiologist can make many kinds of hardware effective. Hardware cannot overcome the shortcoming of an uninterested or ill equipped audiologist. My decade of experience in two sentences. I also chose a teaching hospital based audiologist because they do not work on commission and are pressed to remain current.

The Opn product was an attempt at a magic recipe. I was surprised at how good it was. But I put my faith in the audiologist and the willingness to question and learn.


In 30+ years wearing aids, I’ve been in shops where the audiologist wears a lab coat emblazoned with a SINGLE brand of aids, to clinics that favor several brands, to those willing to get certified in a new brand if that’s what I want, to my current guy, who is quite conversant in a handful of brands. I have no experience in the Costco route, however.

While I very much value an audiologist’s expertise in the programming nuances and software PLUS accessories that come with a particular brand, you just have to use your GUT, too. If you suspect an audiologist is pushing a particular brand that you’ve trialed and is NOT working out, and s/he is NOT willing to work with you on any other brands, it’s time to find another audiologist.

Most vulnerable feeling in the world is to be sold a pair of expensive aids at about $6K, only to feel trapped with them: past trial date, still not working to your satisfaction, technician says it’s the end of the line! Yeah, I’ve had some close calls there, too, but managed to wriggle away with my refund and RUN hella outta there!


As another poster here has mentioned, perhaps you should try a large teaching hospital that has an Audiology department. I have found that they typically offer several of the top brands for trial, and there are always audiologists on staff who are more experienced with one brand or the other.

So it sounds like you want to try out 3 different hearing aids? (NX, OPN and Quattro) I would discourage that. If you like the audiologist you’re seeing well enough, try her recommendation and see if it works for you. There is no nirvana in hearing aids. Thinking you’re going to find it is a great way to be unsatisfied.


While the audiologist may not be personally knowledgeable of the hearing aides, it is very important that they have the ability to contact the manufacturer’s Support organization and be able to communicate with them about any questions or issues. My audiologist had to contact Oticon Support a number of times to help get my connect clip configured and to answer questions I had about the hearing aids. Their support was just great and the relationship that my audiologist has with them more than made up for her lack of direct experience with the model I purchased…

I agree with MDB. The Nx is a great hearing aid and in the hands of an expert in that model you should get great results. I didn’t care for the Bluetooth device but if that is not an issue, the hearing aid is super. I would go all out on one hearing aid trial, until it proves not to work. If it works well, you are done. Don’t think there may be something better out there unless you have specific things that need improvement or are not working well, and the pro just can’t get there after several adjustments.

I have a pair of Kirkland signature ks661s purchased from a woman whose husband died, they were his.
I purchased a pair of the same model two years and one month ago from costco. Lost one a month past my warranty. Costco tells me they won’t program the ones purchased from an individual because they don’t know where they have been or what someone might have done to them (!!!) (yet they do purchase donated ones–)
so far I have reached out to a few local audiologists who appear to just want to sell me there product and don’t program costco.
I don’t find the Kirkland product per se in your programming software list but I believe this particular model is resound’s.
Any suggestions on how to get these aids programmed?

Search for Hearing Aid Lists Costco.
The Kirkland Signature 6 is locked to the Costco version of ReSound’s Aventa fitting software.

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I have experience only with one pair of aids but two providers.

My Oticon OPN1s came from one of the many regional sales offices for Starkey. They really wanted to sell me Starkey’s top of the line, but I insisted on the Oticons. They can sell and service numerous brands by having an expert for each brand that logs in on skype-like session to help the local fitter and wearer fit the aids.

Sounds like a great idea, but in practice it did not work well for me. I had numerous appointments for nearly a year and was never satisfied until I abandoned them and went to a med school audiology department that did specialize in Oticon and Widex high-end aids. They were astonished at the poor fitting I had and corrected it in two appointments with proper in-the-ear measurements. I would have gone to the med school to begin with, but they would not process my insurance.

During my disappointment period, I also bought a Minipro and learned how to adjust my aids, myself— somewhat. If I had had the courage to make big adjustments, I might have found a good fitting alone, but there is a lot of trial and error in self fitting, and with very little of the underlying knowledge it’s not easy. I now just use my Minipro for small experiments and to build programs similar to my good general fitting.

I concluded that it is more important for the fitter to be very familiar with the aid than I had originally assumed.

I 1st got hearing aids in 1976 when I was almost 6. I stayed with that audiologist until he retired. I went to another audiologist on my own and was displeased. So I got hold of my old audiologist and asked for some recommendations. He gave me a couple names and I tried the first one and he was perfect for me. He is an independent audiologist as was my 1st audiologist. So I had my original audiologist from 1976 to 2013. Then my current one from 2013 to present. I have been very fortunate.

In my 40+ years, I have had or tried
Phonic Ear

So…my audiologists really are independent.

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Thanks for all the replies. I think I’m going to give this audiologist my business and see what happens since she really seemed to have an earnest interest in ensuring I’m fitted properly and satisfied. I’m going to try the Signia NX first, since she’s the most familiar with it and she has a tester pair in her office that I can use for a couple weeks, then I’ll try the Oticon OPN 1, and then maybe the Quattro’s. Unfortunately Dr. Cliffs youtube video of the Quattro now leads me to believe it might be an uncomfortable fit for my ear space given it’s width. We’ll see though. This all leads me to another question about programs, which I’ll start a new thread to keep issues separate.

In my experience buying new hearing aids I was glad my audiologist helped me as I compared several until I found what I was looking for.

I think most would find the size issues with the Quattro to be nonexistent.

This is becoming very common just about everywhere. Farmer’s are having a real problem because farm equipment manufactures are locking their equipment so only their repair techs can work on them. Farmers can no longer work on their own machinery.

The farm equipment is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Car gear heads had to sue at one point

Apple is showing signs of doing this with some of their computers, as reported this week:

If they’re successful, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started doing it with phones as well.

Not a good trend for consumer choice. What happens, for instance, when the company goes out of business?

OP, you may find trying to compare more than a couple of models of hearing aid to be more confusing than helpful. I tried three pairs before choosing my first pair but would never do it again, because it is confusing. Rather than setting out with a goal of trying three pairs or more, I’d rely on the audiologist to recommend two pairs to try (or in this case, ask the audi to recommend her best for you, with you independently trying either the OPN or the Quattro).

There are several issues with what you’re proposing to do. Differences across current models (OPN vs. Quattro) are often not huge or clear-cut. Rather it’s the expertise of the audiologist in deploying the aids you have that make the biggest difference. Aids are not plug-n-play like eyeglasses. The brain typically needs a week or two to remap sound processing when aids or settings change dramatically, before you can really dial the sound in and evaluate how well the aids are working for you. And one pair may need several adjustments with time in between to get to that point. By the time you reach that point where those aids are set optimally, it’s no longer a clear and easy A-B comparison with you remembering how things sounded two trials or more ago. Chances are you’ll react by saying well, some things are better with Pair A, and others were better with the Pair B, and Pair C, I don’t remember anymore, and now, I really don’t know what to do. It’s like looking for the perfect house. Every audiologist and realtor can tell you about indecisive “buyers” who can never make up their minds and just miss out all around.

Perfection in finding the One Best Pair For You is a tough goal to nail when you keep switching things up, and perfection would require trying everything out there which no one has done and would just waste a lot of time even if it were possible. Relying on audiologist expertise to narrow things down for you and find a very good pair that really help you hear better may be a better goal.

Oh and to add to the noise answering your original question, yes, audi familiarity with the brand, knowing how to get the software settings right, and being able to get on the phone with the company when there’s an issue and get some good resolution are all very important, in my opinion.