Introduction and shopping for my first pair of hearing aids

Hello everyone, not sure if I’ve posted this in the right area. But I’ll give it a shot, have had my hearing checked times recently and the first two places seemed like all they wanted to do was make a sell with prices in the $6000-$7000 range for a pair of aids. The test were free of charge, but they would not give me a copy of my report/graph.

So I finally went to the local audio clinic at a close by University and have them tested again. This time I came home with a graph to study. Now it’s time to continue on with my research on HA and go shopping. I have many audiologist in the area and even a costco.

I’d like to find a pair of HA that I can afford under $5000. with apps for my Iphone. Is that possible?
Are there any places online I could purchase them?

Sorry for all the questions
Jeff

2 Likes

I’d check out the Costco where you can get premium aids from $1800-2600. If you want to use a local clinic, you should be able to get entry level aids for about $5200.

More importantly, find a knowledgeable fitter. That is more than half of how well you do with aids. Poor fitting is rampant. Ask if they do REM (Real Ear Measurement) which is part of the good practices standard.

1 Like

Yes, Costco should be able to serve you well for under $3000. Resound Forte 8 and Bernafon Zerena both are made for iPhone. Yes, you could do online, but my leanings for a first timer would be to be fitted in a face to face appointment.

jeler; A nice thing about Costco is the wide open space. You won’t feel like you are captive in their yard.
If you have the time, go have a chat with the counter staff, just to see how friendly they are and how much time they will give you. If the booth is closed you know the tech and a customer will emerge at some point or, there might be a customer waiting to go in. Hover around and observe the exchange between them.

If there is more than one Costco in your area check them all out. Nothing wrong with telling them you were tested at the university and find the whole thing daunting.

You will find the bunch here very knowledgeable and helpful.

Good luck and keep us posted. You may be new to this but your experiences can be very helpful as well.

Thanks for everyone’s advice! It’s very informative for me esp. being a newbie.

I did call Costco to schedule an appt., they are booked until March and do there own
test. They told me that they’re test are much more thorough since they are national and have to
uphold the credibility and laws/guidelines in numerous states. They said the test they perform are
much more thorough than the Univ. of Iowa! I question that, but that’s the response I received from
them today.

So I set up an appt. with a local audiologist next tuesday.

I’ll see how that goes

I would also start with Costco if you don’t have to drive very far to get to one. For $5,000, I would have them order both the Resound and the Zerena and take them home for a more thorough work out.

I would then keep the one you liked the best and then start working with the hearing fitter to fine tune the hearing aid you decide to keep. At this point, a good hearing fitter, your ability to describe what you need and how convenient it is to get the needed adjustments made the device will be key to your success.

If you have not done so yet you should see an ENT surgeon as you have a difference between left and right ears. If nothing else indicated and you just need Aids there are lots to choose from so look for free trials with no money up front, long trial times and multiple brands sold by outfits not paying their staff commissions. Read up on what to expect from new aids so you are not disappointed.

1 Like

Have you checked prices at your local University audiology department? I had my hearing checked and purchased my aids at a local University Medical Center (University of Michigan) and their prices were very competitive. The two entry level aids I trialed (OPN3 & Resound Link 3D) were both $2760/pair.

1 Like

I strongly recommend going to an ENT and getting a full battery of hearing tests. yes it will cost you, maybe even deductible. But you need to have the full story and those quicky hearing tests barely tell you a third of the story. And all they are is a pretense to sell you hearing aids, and, if you ask me, a warning that the dispenser is more interested in a profit than your hearing.

Check and see if the university can do it…

Any reputable provider is going to want to do their own test, but that said - any reputable provider is going to give you a copy of the your graph. If they refuse I’d get the hell out of there. FWIW, I wear Oticon HAs w/a streamer so that my iPhone calls/audio go right into my ears. Good luck! You’re doing the right thing as the increased comprehension of conversation from wearing HAs will amaze you!

So you got the heavy sales pitch, Eh? btw> Demand a copy of your Audiogram. It’s your health records and you are entitled to it. Don’t leave their office until you get a copy. They will eventually give it to you. Make some noise if you have to.

And, now you get the heavy sales pitch again. Hey, Flag that dumbass Spam post.

btw> Is it just me or does anyone else hate those little plastic pull strings with a bulb on the end for pulling devices out of your ears? I think they are so ugly. Like a foreign object sticking out of your ear. Ugggh!

Not one to put my foot down and make noise. Never has settled any disagreements on a positive note and
I’m not one to burn bridges. Plus I knew I’d finally get an Audiogram from the Univ.!

I’ve been receiving PM’s about buying both new and used HA’s as far away as Norway!
Please !

On to a positive note! I’ve set up an appt. with another Audiologist the Univ suggested. Will see
what happens!

Kim; thanks for the note, I’ve heard/researched alot of great things about Oticon.

You are doing everything right.

Check about return-ability. In California at least there is a mandatory right to return aids if they are not working for you. And in my experience of 40 years and perhaps 10 sets-some wont, ever, despite adjustments
The audiologist you choose is critical. Every set Ive had required between 3-5 appointments to get the adjustment right.

tlevelle, excellent advice! I’ll keep that in mind while shopping!
Thank you

Dear Jeff,

I had good luck at an online source called Buyhear. Their prices are half of what you would pay retail. They do everything online but are always available by phone. I am very happy with my Siemens (Signia) BTEs.

BTW, your audiogram looks very much like mine, although not quite as bad. You’ll be pleased and surprised at how much easier it is to understand conversations when you start wearing your aids on a regular basis.

–Steve

Steve

Thank you! Talked to Buyhear last week after sending them my Audogram. They also recommended
the Siemens BTE for me also. There an online dealer located in Iowa, my home state. The only drawback
was getting a proper fitting and the would not accept BCBS.
Had an appt. with an audiologist the Univ here recommended and his prices were much,much lower than the
previous 2 audiologist, Next week I have an appt. with Speech and Hearing Dept. at the Univ of Iowa.

Jeff

Thanks for the feedback, Jeff. Please let me know how it goes and whether they recommend a standard BTE or a BTE RIC. --Steve

Looks like you’ve got lots of good advice so far. I’ve heard good things about Costco, but haven’t used them yet. One thing I did hear, and don’t know if it’s true, is they are usually distributing the previous iteration of any model that might be new on the market. For example, when the first direct to iPhone aids came out, it took Costco about a 6 months to a year to start selling them, so what you hear from your audiologist about available technology, and what’s available at Costco might not always be in sync.

The other thing to be careful of is some retail chains are fronts for a particular company. For example, in Canada, Hear Canada (I believe it’s Hear USA south of the border) is a retail arm for Signia/Siemens. My audiologists clinic just got bought by Hear Canada, and having a fairly long relationship with her, she gave me the low down. They have strong incentives to sell Signia product. In Canada, every registered audiologist has to provide a patient with any device the patient wants, but these clinics make it hard to choose something else. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just something to be aware of if an audiologist seems to be pushing a particular brand. To my knowledge, most, if not all of the major manufacturers have a national chain that they push their products through. A good run down is here: U.S. Hearing Aid Market| Wayne Staab |hearinghealthmatters.org/waynesworld .

In my case it worked out. They recommended a Signia hearing aid, to replace my 5 year old Siemens aids. The gave a free two week trial, no money up front, and one of their top of the line models Signia Pure 13 BT 7px was on sale for half price, which made it cheaper than the model a step down. The performance of these, in comparison to my previous is amazing, the connection to my iphone is amazing as well.

Also, totally agree with everyone saying to stay away from an audiologist that won’t give you a copy of your test result. Totally shady.

1 Like

Here’s a rough breakdown of the US hearing aid market:

More about this here https://www.hearingtracker.com/blog/hearing-aid-brands-in-2018/

1 Like

Finally had my initial appointment with staff at a local Speech & Hearing Dept. at a near by University.
Absolutely a positive experience with very experienced staff & grad. students. I’ve was sent home with a loaner pair of Widex Beyond 440’s and enjoyed the new hearing sensation I received with them, tried 3 different manufactures models while there in different settings speaking to staff and the 440’s provided the best overall sound for me.
After a couple of weeks I finally made up my mind and went with the Widex Beyond 220’s, rechargeable model. Same as the 440, but with out a few of the bells and whistles, programs. My next appt. will be in 10 days to pick up the 220’s. Very impressed with the entire staff there and the price was hard to beat at $3040 for the pair. Thanks to everyone for all of your support