Kaiser Audiologist exam

I went to get tested at Kaiser today and they dx’d me with MILD TO SEVERE SENSORINEUAL HEARING IN LEFT EAR & MODERATELY SEVERE TO PROFOUND MIXED HEARING LOSS WITH RIGHT EAR. Due to my left ear bone reading, the audi referred me for further inner ear testing with possible surgery as an option. I posted my new test results so hoping someone may be able to take a look at my exam results advise and provide any feedback as to what new aids may be my best option based on my test results. I currently have some older Hansaton aids that are not cutting it. No matter how many times I have had them adjusted I cant get rid of the over amplified background noises. As soon as the background noises are cut to a tolerable level, my speech understanding really struggles. I also need to be able to stream bluetooth from my TV and phone and would like to avoid secondary devises if possible, but willing to forgo that for aids that work well for my type of hearing loss. To keep the peace in the house, I now read the subtitles otherwise I blast everyone else away. Due to the great value, I would prefer to use Costco but I can also get a fair deal at my local HearUSA store that contracts with Kaiser if there might be an aid that would work best for me that Costco doesnt offer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Not sure what to say concerning the bone results but your audiogram appears to be very manageable with modern aids. I am a fan of Costco based on good fittings and great prices. They also have good aids available.
From your audiogram you could probably get by with open fit domes with RIC or BTE type aids.
We have members who are very happy with in the ear type aids too. You have many choices. Staying with the big 5 manufacturers is usually a good idea, Oticon, Phonak, Starkey, Resound, Widex. There other good aids too.

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If you have some question, request a second opinion: another test by a different audiologist, preferably at a different Kaiser facility if you have access. Kaiser is pretty good about second (and third!) opinions. And as people have reported on these threads, hearing tests have variable results from tester to tester and day to day.

So go do it again and see what happens. I don’t know who you see about the potentially more complex issues like sensorineural loss; would that be an ENT?

If you gently but relentlessly push at Kaiser, you can get more out of them. Don’t give up.

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FYI I’ve been a Kaiser subscriber for 25 years. I also spent 3 1/2 years in medical school before deciding I was more of an engineer than doctor. I don’t remember a lot of the diagnosis and treatment stuff but I know the basic physiology and pathology. Moreover, I know a lot about how doctors think and how clinics and hospitals work.

Some thoughts:

It would be a good idea to go ahead with the referral to a specialist just to find out if there is an issue that needs to be addressed. You could also get another test done at Costco as they do not charge for it if you have a membership. If you check around, you may find some that have an audiologist.

Costco would have a number of aids that could be suitable including their recently released KS9 for $1500 a pair which is similar to the Phonak Marvel. It will stream to an Android or iPhone. Most newer hearing aids will stream direct to an iPhone and I would suggest that is the better solution, unless you are against iPhones.

Steaming from a TV is more difficult. I would get hearing aids first before reverting to an intermediary streaming device. My left ear is nearly as bad as yours and I have felt no need for a TV streaming device. If anything my wife turns it up higher than I do now.

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Thanks for the replies. I will go for further testing. Audi explained that due to inner ear bone problem, sounds are amplified by my aids, but those amplified sounds are not making it through those inner ear bones and into my brain. I asked if surgery would be a great improvement, and she said the surgery will allow the aids amplified sounds to reach my brain, but that I would never hear better than my good ear, which isnt very good. The Kaiser word recognition test is lame. Maybe involved 10 words, if that. My hearing aid audi does a 100 word test, which I fail miserably. Also my hearing aid audi’s word test is a female voice while Kaiser’s is a male voice. I struggle with certain female voices and if the person has an accent, im usually lost in the conversation. I think I have picked up lip reading without really being conscious of it, but when an accent is involved, my lip reading struggles on top of my lack of hearing. Thanks again

Costco does a good job of a complete hearing evaluation including word recognition in noise and bone conduction. Worth having it done, and getting another opinion.

Some notes on the Costco selection of aids:

KS9 - Very similar to the Phonak Marvel but options are limited. It comes with a 312 battery, and if you try to stream direct from the TV battery life could be poor. It also uses the microphones on the HA’s when direct streaming to your smart phone. Some like it, and some don’t. It does give you the option of Android as well as iPhone though.

Rexton Adore Li - I believe similar to the now discontinued KS8, but it is rechargeable with a Li battery, which is the better type. Should connect well with an iPhone, but will need a device to stream from a TV. Price may not include the charger, which is a dirty trick!

Resound - I believe the Preza is the latest model. Be careful of the rechargeable battery type. Older ones used silver-zinc which are a problem. Again charger not included in price.

Phonak - Some find the phone app on the Brio to be quite limited. Possibly not MFi enabled. Unless you go with the Phonak Marvel, or KS9 I would suggest going with an MFi HA and an iPhone.

Phillips - Relatively new to Costco, and some who have tried it report good things about it. Possibly may be a Bernafon under a different name. MFi??? At least in Canada the charger is included in the price.

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correction - My bad, II misread that for zinc air and not silver-zinc. I owe @Sierra an apology.

(Lesson - do NOT post before caffeine.)


ReSound Prezas come in 2 configurations. The 861 is Lithium Ion rechargeable, and the 862 has size 13 conventional cells.

Yes they may have discontinued the ZPower Silver Zinc ones due to the poor performance.

Kaiser should give you $1000 off for each HA you require. So $2000 off if you need two. HearUSA should offer you current 2019 HA’s or most recent hearing aids on the market. That’s a big plus. Costco only carries certain HA brands and in most cases HA technology that is a year to two years old. Not the end of the world but again (not today’s latest HA’s).

Both HearUSA and Costco will have high turnover in Audi/hearing specialist. So who ever fits your HA’s today might not be there a year from now. A private hearing aid dealer will charge you more for a HA than both Costco and HearUSA, but you most likely will get someone who has been in the business for a long time and should be around if you have repair issues down the road. But in any case you do want someone testing your hearing and fitting you with a hearing aid that has a doctorate in Audiology
and several years of experience under his or her belt. I’d be leery buying HA’s from someone just out college or under 25 years old.

I’d be curious to find out from you - what HA brands HearUSA offers and the cost they charge you for a 2019 hearing aid model. After Kaiser discount. Remember a HA should last five, six years plus so you want the “newest” aid you can find with a three or four year warranty. Good Luck

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Craig - going the HA route you probably need to trail a “power HA” and weigh the results versus possible surgery - CI. I’d recommend WIdex, Oticon and possibly Resound all being 2019 models. I don’t recommend buying old technology that is two, three old, etc. Things change fast and as I said in my previous post - if you buy new HA’s you’re married to them for several years or until you win your state lotto. Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples and try to link a power aid hearing chart range with your personal hearing audiogram evaluation.

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that’s why I’ll be willing to try Oticon’s new power model soon! (SP, here we come!)
also keeping Widex Evoke’s BTE on the list still

Thanks again for you all sharing your knowledge, really appreciate it.
So a Power HA has more output or able to compensate for more extreme hearing loss? Is a Power HA one that has no receiver in the ear?

It’s a little confusing. There are RICs (Receiver in Canal) hearing aids with Power Receivers, but BTEs (Behind the Ear) hearing aids are generally thought better for profound losses. BTEs have the receiver (speaker) in the body of the hearing aid and the sound is transmitted through a tube to a custom mold.

I believe a good majority of Power HA also have receiver in the ear mold - my Widex does. But my current aids are old. Unless something has changed putting the receiver closer to the ear canal was supposed to be (a hearing improvement) versus receiver located in body of HA. But maybe things are changing now since when I trialed a Marvel I think I was told that the HA would have to go back to phonak when receiver needed to be replaced. Because receiver was in body of HA. All some what confusing.

Replacing a receiver on a Marvel should be a simple, in office event. With simple instructions, it should be doable as DIY. Marvels are RIC. I am certainly no expert, but my understanding of advantages of RIC is mainly reduced size and ease of replacing receiver. BTEs have been the standard if you really need a lot of gain. Also claimed by many to be more reliable as no sensitive electronic parts live in the ear. Looking at your audiogram, unless there’s some specific reason to go to a RIC, I’d think you’d be best served by a BTE.

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What does this mean, is it a discount? Which Kaiser in which state? Are you talking about Kaiser Permanente HMO? Is it a benefit of a certain plan?

I got my Marvel M70-R’s from Kaiser Permanente in northern California and they were $2000 each.

Kaiser Permanente through their Medicare Advantage Plan with Advantage Plus (HMO) offers $1000 off the cost of a hearing aid purchased through HearUSA. If two HA’s purchased then $2000 off. This is for the VA, DC, MD area. Now I have no idea what HearUSA charges for specific HA’s but I assume with the Kaiser discount prices are in the ball park with Costco. And I assume HearUSA offers (today’s) hearing aids versus Costco’s older brands.

So in northern CA did you buy Marvel’s directly from Kaiser or did you have to go through HearUSA for purchase?

I bought them directly from the Kaiser hearing center. Had no coverage for them in my Kaiser plan, so I paid the full $4K total. I’m still a “youngster” so I don’t have a Medicare Advantage plan that assumes HA’s might be a necessity. I’m enjoying the “freedom” of having a medical plan that doesn’t cover what I need. :wink:

I’m still a few years away from potential Medicare involvement. With my luck by then Medicare will have been abolished.