Is it possible to upgrade to higher performance levels?

That’s one of the myths.

If your SNR is poor, no aid in the world can help you. That’s the fact.

I highly recommend reading this site, they shared a ton of useful information:

Also this

And bunch of others, check menu.


Not sure if you are interested, but a google search shows Costco (the large wholesale chain) has warehouse/s in Melbourne. I didn’t see that mentioned so far in this thread. Costco has very attractive prices compared to audiologist and dispensers in the US. Costco has a 6 month return policy and savings would more than pay for membership.

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It’s not, unfortunately. I think it’s still kicking around in the marketting, but they really can’t get it that small and at least where I am the manufacturer has stopped referring to it as an ITC.

Blacky’s not wrong. It depends on the person and the situation. Opns claim the highest SNR improvement, but 9 dB is in a perfect laboratory situation and it is likely less in the real-world. For users who only have a mild (say, 4 dB) SNR loss, and/or aren’t often in noisy situations that’s great, but many individuals with hearing loss need a much greater signal to noise ratio to understand the target speaker. No hearing aid can compare to the SNR improvement of clipping a microphone directly to another person.


Virto with full bluetooth is available in ITC size. The CIC and IIC are non wireless.

You are correct that Phonak do not market it as an ITC. I was wrong refering to it as ITC.
I do lots of reading these days and it gets confusing after a while
The size is something other manufacturers would call HS - half shell.
It is the smallest Marvel style with full bluetooth. There are two smaller sizes, but those do not have bluetooth for streaming.

Screen Shot 09-28-20 at 02.10 PM

I think the larger size could have an advantage for the distance of the microphones.

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I rang one of the Costco stores in Melbourne. They do sell Phonak, but the models are specially made for them, they are not listed on Phonak websites, there is no technical information they can give me.
Only price - $1,900 something.

Check out first post in this thread Costco Kirkland Signature 9.0 (Product Information)

Thanks, but I am not looking at RIC.

Most of the info applies to Brio 4 also, or you could search for Costco Brio 4 product informatio

I hope it will be the case with my wife, and later with me too.
My wife’s audiogram (posted as my own in my profile) is quite a bit worse than yours.

As I read comments, I look at the poster’s audiograms, and it seems that people who are happy with HAs only have moderate-to-severe impairment.
Those who have problems are the worse categories.

I happened to read your posts from Oct 2017 explaining the Opn philosophy.
It sounds good in theory, but does it work in practice? Or, even if it works, do people appreciate hearing the voices all around them unattenuated between speech. Does the brain comprehend everything the right way.

Maybe this will be the key thing - to try and to compare - the Opn, and also the Phonak or Starkey with their sound class systems.

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My wild guess - those people with lower SNR needs probably appreciate this type of sound processing, while people who have bigger SNR needs probably don’t.

SNR need is done by for example quicksin test, sentence in noise (where noise is speech babble), and that essentially measures / checks ability of your brain to comprehend things.

So, audiogram - yeah you have loss. Wrs - you can expect such results from HAs, SNR - you need external mics / or you don’t and opns could be great for you. (ok, part about oticon is my guess at the moment).

But, point of tests is that fitter sees bigger picture and recommends HAs that could cover your needs about the loss and wants about the features. I mean, that’s why we’re paying them :slight_smile:

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The mic separation is not determined by a larger faceplate. That’s predetermined and calibrated into the SW.
Larger faceplates are caused by more ‘real-estate’ needed for VC/buttons/larger batteries. Other hidden items like telecoils, E2E Aerials and Bluetooth Aerials.

You can make a 312 ‘canal’ sized directional ITE without all the other stuff in it, but the demand for power and BT functions isn’t congruent with that ambition.


I’ve read somewhere that ideally mic separation should be at least 9 mm.
But as you say, if it can’t be, then it is done in sw.
I would not want the CIC or IIC. I think the ITC or HS should be fine. Neither me or my wife would care if it is visible.
The Virto Marvel is somewhere between ITC or HS and has 312 batteries and full BT.
The Starkey Livio is all that, plus rechargeable.

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So why pushing ite types then? :thinking:
I mean, most common reason for people to go ite family of aids is because they don’t want it to be visible.

If that’s not a factor, I’d suggest broaden your horizons.

You have non trivial loss.

Ric models are more versatile, and usually cheaper I think.
And if you get more loss, with ric your fitter just exchange the speaker with wire and voila, stronger aid is here. Cost here in Germany is 50-100 eur for more powerful speaker.

Not to mention all possibilities for playing with the acoustics when you have options between domes, custom molds vents and so on. So, a ton of things can be adjusted to fit your needs.

And rics are definitely easier to trial. Battery life is better since they can fit even bigger one. T coil is easier to fit in. And they’re less prone to die bc of moist, yes receivers can die, but cost is minimal compared to whole aid dying.

And then you definitely have option for costco and ks9 which are awesome aids (they’re phonak marvels m90 afaik, currently only difference is that they don’t have remote fitting, yet, but it’s in the process afaik), and costco is dirty cheap compared to other places.

If your insurance coverage will do costco, I’d say go there, trial ks9, make notes, you have 6 months probably as folks in USA to change your mind. In two you’ll know where you stand.

You’re trying to do all guesswork without even trying them or hearing what’s feasible (after getting the test). I’d recommend spending energy on trial, invent situations to test them throughly and research when you have own issues to resolve, and not worry about bunch of us with our issues and trying to find the best aid. There isn’t one. There might be the best one for you, but you have to trial to find that out.

And trial with proper fit. Costco in USA does it, I hope in Australia they do it also


I had a look at the Unitron Insera Tempus technology range. Looks similar to Phonak Marvel AutoSense, but different feature names.
They have a type that looks similar to the Phonak Virto Marvel, but it DOES NOT have bluetooth. (the picture here is wrong. The device looks similar to the Virto.)
And surprise surprise, it is slightly more expensive than the Phonak Virto M. Prices are from the same clinic -

So the Unitron Pro level is almost twice as dear as the 700 level.
And when I look at the spec sheet, the difference is manly in the speech recognition area. It is a very expensive feature.

From the point of view of upgrading it would be ideal - starting say with the 700 and stepping up if required.
But is it as good as Phonak Virto with BT?
Phonak would not need any accessories to stream TV. Unitron would. Not expensive as Phonak, but messy.

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You can kick around ideas on the internet all day long but until you actually go to an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist it’s all just noise in the wind…


No, it’s not that it can’t be done, it’s just that there will be a ‘standard’ separation of about 5-6mm in the SW, so even if you wanted to move the mics further apart on a one off basis, you couldn’t as that’s the way the faceplates arrive from China in your local shell shop, predetermined by your SW expected gap/inbuilt delay separation.

The other problem with increasing the mic gap is that you increase the definition of the directional sensitivity in the vertical plane too. If your horizontal is out by 15 degrees, on both sides in different directions, you’ll lose the benefits of Binaural Summation in the directional field (Stereo Effect).


Especially from the perspective that whatever we others write, hearing some issue is different than reading about it. We all focus on different things.

I decided to live with distorted sound in both ears because even that give me better clarity than anything else.

But what I describe as distorted someone describes as natural. Eg I’ve read people saying that marvels sound so great, they’d wear them as headsets. I have one good ear. Sound isn’t marvelous for streams. I guess it depends on the source, Youtube Videos probably don’t have highest quality of it. But tinny speaker just doesn’t give clear sound, no matter the dome or plugging, I hear vibration at the end of every word.
But I’m still buying it. Because I get with two of them so not natural really good results.

Yes, I was disappointed at first, judging by those stellar reviews. Then I talked with myself about reasons. If I want natural sound in good ear, I’ll just remove the aid and use headphones. But if I want synced input and speech comprehension, I’ll stick my HAs in both ears.

Internet info is cool and useful, but real decisions should be done with testing through your lifestyle and needs.

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OPN is a popular choice for many, so apparently the “open” paradigm works for a lot of people, me included. But it doesn’t work for everybody, depending on their hearing loss. I’ve seen some forum members not being successful with the OPN despite giving it a good try, and switch to Phonak Marvels and love them.


True, but I don’t think prior knowledge can hurt anybody, or anything.
My friend in Brisbane - 2,000 km from where I am - is going to his audiologist to tell her that he is not happy with his new Signia HA. He knows absolutely nothing about HAs, uses his PC, but doesn’t bother finding out. He is 88 yo.
He told me that he has to switch his HA off when he goes to the local mall. The noise is overpowering. But he accepted it without questioning it.
I told him that it should be possible to do something about it, and request it, or walk away. Luckily he hasn’t paid for the HAs yet. Unluckily, that audio only sells Signia. But Signia is one of the top brands, so hopefully he will get satisfactory results.