I have read the mostly glowing experiences with America Hears products and service and am very impressed. I like the idea of the self-control over the product (not really someone who likes visiting doctors, no offense to doctors), the speed of service, and of course THE PRICE!
Before I jump, though, I’d like to hear anything that might not be completely favorable. Anybody here use their products but have since switched because you were unhappy? Alternately, happy, but switched because you found a better product? Or you still use them but found some flaw? If you switched from a more expensive product to AH, how do they compare to brands like Opticon or Seimens in quality and features?
If you ARE happy, your input is obviously welcome as well.
I’m very new to this, although have needed aids for many years, so please be patient with me and pretend you are talking to someone who doesn’t know anything about any of this.
Buster in my reply to you in another thread I covered some of this so I will not restate that but I do know how you feel because I felt that way too.
Beltone offered a “free” hearing test so they could give a “free” sales pitch about a year or so ago so I went and got the “free” test AND sales pitch.
They pitched the new programable digital aids so I came home to Google Beltone and programable digital aids. After I read some about Beltone’s MO I searched on programable digital aids and up popped America Hears and I was impressed at their new technology used, pricing and 60 days 100% refund policy.
Well I was “coping” and broke but a year later I had started to avoid the phone at work and try to do everything by email due to my hearing well my understanding having become worse so I did the Google search again and up came America Hears again and I remembered them and they had the $999 price (like the sale price today) so after reading here and other places about America Hears I decided to bite the bullet.
Now a month later I still love my set of LOF aids and do not leave home without them. What I have found is America Hears not only have the best price on top of the line aids that meet my hearing needs but they are great to work with so far and I do not expect that to change. Being in high tech I researched a lot about the technology and the people behind the technology at America Hears and was and still am very impressed about their leading edge technology.
America Hears may not be for everyone but at this point my direct interest is in my hearing. I have not tested their 100% refund policy nor do I plan to test it but I do feel they would honor it.
The ENT selling Starkey basically told me to shut up and wear his $5200 set of aids home and if after 30 days I did not like them he would refund me $4690.
This is a scam being run by some in the trade. If they can fit just three pair a week and all return them they still can gross over $75K a year if no one ever bought but some are sure to keep them even if they do not wear them.
Best of luck in gaining the best aided hearing that is possible because in the end that is most important of all. I will say the first two weeks were the hardest because I went to hearing well but found I enjoyed missing some of what I was now hearing.
I have had my Freedom LOF’s for a little over a week now and am very happy. I much perfer the sound quality over the Unitron Yuu’s (fairly high end units) I had and returned after 5 weeks of use. The volume was little loud for me when I got the LOF’s and the background sounds were driving me nuts so I went in the program and took the sound down a click or two. I have tried all the programs and found that I just leave them in program one, even for music. Music was a big, big problem with the Yuu’s. I plan on waiting another week to let my feeble brain adjust and then call Susan and talk to her about needed changes, if any.
The only con. I have is the volume control on the units are difficult for me to use while they are on my ears. My fingers just don’t work that well I guess. I have the units on level two volume and leave them there.
While I am a satisfied client, I do think the quality of the hardware itself is a notch (or two) below the big boys. My AH instruments are just under 1 and 2 years old. Between them they have had 6 repairs in this short time. Prior to using AH, I averaged ~3 years between repairs for siemens instruments. I will say I’m ~6 months since my last repair, so could be my bad luck is over. The repairs are generally performed within 1 day, plus a day on either end for shipping, so at least they are very fast.
On the other hand, I had sent one repair in and had it returned as being in good working order. I had done a few experiments prior to sending it in the first time and concluded without question one of the mics was bad. I returned it again and this time with instructions they call me before they return it. The second time they concluded there was a bad mic (duh!), it makes me wonder what kind of competency they have for repairing.
Speaking for the BTEs, I’ve never seen an earhook that was not removable like in the AH unit. Overall the construction of the case does not seem as well made as the siemens units. Granted a battery door can only be so rugged, but gosh, the AH door is about as cheesy as you can get. I already have a crack in the case from one of the screws (probably because it has been taken apart so many times for repair!). Also their BTE is far larger then any other I have used, then again it fits a 675 battery that lasts me a month (<2 weeks for a size 13 in the siemens).
Hopefully you will take all this doom and gloom in perspective. Self programming is a major item for me and I had discussed this with a local audie who would help me do this (a $1K adder for the hipro box from the audie). The item I see mentioned here most often is the much lower price, but not the DSP algorithm, which is called ADRO for AH. I find this algorithm helps me hear better then WDRC used by the Siemens, and when you think about it, this should be first among your considerations for purchasing an instrument.
Buster - I think you have asked a very good question. In my research prior to ordering the America Hears Aids, the comments form Zafdor were about the only negative things I found from an actual America Hears user. Zafdor’s comments are very well balanced, and indicate satisfaction with the technology and how they work overall.
I have the LOF model, which I believe to be a smaller case than Zafdor’s BTE’s. My battery doors don’t look too rugged. I’ve been careful with them, and I have not had any problems so far.
Gale and others have said things that I might have added myself, if they had not already covered them. I am pleased with the performance of the aids. I am very pleased that I paid 1/2 to 1/3 as much as the prices asked for the two other brands I tried. I am especially pleased to have the software and connection hardware to do my own fine adjustments. The latter may be for everyone, but it suits me very well.
Somewhere, perhaps on another forum, I heard of someone returning their AH aids during the 60 day period, and they got their full purchase price back. Some of the audiologists and dispensers charge a “restocking fee” or a “trial fee” if you return their aids.
While you can find testimony from those who are opposed to the America Hears way of doing business, and an indirect reference or two to unsatisfied AH customers, I don’t think you will find an actual account in the forums directly from an unsatisfied user of the America Hears aids. I’ll add to the challenge Buster issued. If anyone reading this is an America Hears user who has had bad luck with their hearing aids, or their service, we would like to hear from you! Please tell us your story, to balance those of us who sing the praises of AH.
Buster we (at least me) have nothing to gain by posting either negative or positive things about America Hears. I understand you want a balanced picture and maybe you are getting one.
America Hears is easy to business with if you meet their professional requirements. They are not an E-Bay seller and the higest bid gets shipped to without legal considerations.
They saved me over $3K, the aids let me hear quite well and they are more professional and skilled than the local sources I have spoken with (2).
I am not sure what you are looking for here. It is not rocket science. You send them your current signed hearing test results and they say yes or no or in my case they then required me to provide a copy of my phyical ear exam from an ENT because my hearing lost is very different between my right and left.
I hold an OD degree and my wife is a pharmacist so I know a professional health care product vendor when I see one most of the time. Between the two locals (one chain and one ENT) and America Hears the professionalism of the two locals together did not equal the professionalism of America Hears.
If they WILL sell one hearing aids they give one 60 days to get a 100% refund so dealing with them is a low brainer in my book. I needed aids and did not order with returning them on my mind but as to how to make sure I work so that they meet my needs. The aids work and do what I need to hear quite well vs. catching 75% on good days what others were saying.
Thanks to all for your posts so far. I appreciate all of the input. I have been holding back from responding because sometimes that can kill a thread, and I wanted to make sure I received as much input from as many different perspectives as possible.
zafdor, I appreciate your frankness. With all the negatives you mention, it does make me wonder why you are still satisfied, but I guess that is answered in your last sentence. I would really wonder about a product that received only 100% positive responses. No product is perfect, and there are always tradeoffs. Thank you for listing some. They are some I could probably live with.
It looks like I will be ordering the LOF. I’m concerned about the large size, but the convenience mentioned here and in other threads is a real selling point, plus the idea of a battery lasting two months is pretty cool. I do like the look of the SIE, but was told today that would be a close call with my level of hearing. If it gets any worse, well…
I especially like the price. This is all coming out of my pocket. I’m one of those folks who always pays cash for things, and I just don’t see me plopping down $4,000 to $6000 cash for my first pair of hearing aids.
So, thanks again for all of the responses. I will be ordering my aids tomorrow or the next day for sure. You have been very helpful.
If there are others who have anything at all to add, it would be much appreciated. I will keep an eye on the thread just in case.
I believe that Zafdor’s reference to batteries lasting such a long time was for a larger BTE model with a size 675 battery. I have the LOF’s, with a size 13 battery. I’m getting 6 to 8 days on a set of batteries.
By the way, the SIE takes a smaller battery, size 10. I’ve heard reports that the size 10 battery lasts about 5 days.
Good luck with your new hearing aids. Let us know how you make out.
I think number of days on a set of batteries has little meaning. I get about two weeks but like today I worked from home for the morning and had therapy where access to my ears was required at 1 and 5 PM with a couple hours in the office between and then I went home so I only needed them for about 4 hours of use today. Other days are more like 12 hour days. If I do yard work all day Saturday then I just never put them in. I do not watch TV as a rule but am typing instead.
I do not leave the house without them with me because after using them for a while I know how much I miss in conversation without them on.
We wish you the best with America Hears. Hearing is very subjective and results vary from person to person and I really think if America Hears will work out just fine in your case. I had to go LOF for the same reasons as you and I love mine.
I just faxed my audiogram and measured with their scale for ear tube length and they sent me the aids based on my audiogram. They work fine and the quality seems high.
You can check to see if they ship outside of the US but seem like some post said no so calling them is best. They do not ship to FL either. Two cases one in FL had them shipped to relative in GA and one in MX was planning to use relative in TX.
Yes, the large size is for the full power BTE. My brother in law has the SIEs and they are much smaller. As you pointed out, the battery life is only 5 days, which only goes to show ‘you can’t get something for nothing’.
I have had my my LOF for about six weeks and I would not take 2.5x what I gave for them if I could not get another pair.
The multi level marketing used by some marketing companies like Beltone, etc really leads to high distribution costs. The initial cost of all similar aids are similar in price which means the $3400 more I was looking at paying had nothing to do with the initial cost of the aids but multi level of hands the aids pass through in the marketing process.
The comfort level is high but the first few weeks took some adjusting to hearing sounds that I really had no desire to hear.
My hearing loss it as high as 80 db in the higher frequencies (3K and up).
America Hears LOF aids work for me. Programming them myself has been fun but I am basically back to the orginal settings but as my hearing changes I will be able to tweak them with the software.
Look at the forum www.hohadvocates.com if u want to hear about America Hears… they are pretty biased to the extent they seam to really loath the traditional way of dispensing hearing aids. I left the forum 3 years ago as the main few contributors got quite agressive if someone even tried to make a point that was different to their own re AH.
It would be a shame if this forum were to be hijacked by these same guys.