Kirkland Signature 8.0 vs. Bernafon Zerena

Back in May, I went to Costco and compared the KS8 to Resound Forte. The Fortes didn’t sound much different than my KS6s. Makes sense as KS6 is actually Resound Linx. I told the Costco Technician that I was a musician. She said I should come back with an instrument and compare the KS8 to the Zerena 9. This weekend, I brought a mandolin to my appointment for comparison. My existing KS6s will distort even in music mode. I think that the feedback circuitry kicks in with higher notes. The KS8s did not do this. Overall, the KS8s seemed similar to my KS6s but brighter and slightly clearer overall? I listened to Costco store sounds. I could hear the buggy wheels and sounds that I usually miss without aids. The microphone directional thing on the app seems to work. Music played through the app from my iPhone SE sounded better than the KS6.

I then tried the Zerenas. I was expecting wonderful things. I had to ask the Technician if they were on. They didn’t seem to be working. She spoke to me just a few feet away and I had trouble understanding her as the sound was dull. I asked her to increase the overall volume. With more volume, I could tell that the Zerenas were working. I played the mandolin with the Zerenas. They didn’t distort, but they didn’t really help bring out the missing high frequencies either. I stepped out of the booth to listen to sounds within the store. The Zerenas seemed to be boosting everything. I could hear a/c fan noise and overall store background noise. I tried to concentrate on a nearby conversation, but the Zerenas didn’t seem to be helping there either. The Zerena control app is very basic. No treble or bass control. Music played from my phone sounded ok; better than the KS6, but not as good as the KS8.

I’ve read several Zerena reviews. I understand that they are using a different approach to sound than most aids. It’s hard to make conclusions based on the limited store trial time but the Zerenas did not seem to be working for me. Possibly, my brain isn’t “wired” for them without more wear time. I have an appointment next week to get set up with the KS8s.

I don’t have this impression myself. Perhaps the reviews you read imply (probably incorrectly) that the Zerena, with its manufacturer Bernafon being a sister company with Oticon, shares the same design with the Oticon OPN. The OPN does have a different approach to sound than most aids, so you might have concluded that the Zerena is the same.

However I don’t believe this is true. At least from the perspective that the Zerena is the same or similar to the OPN. If anything, my guess is that the Zerena is similar to the Sonic Enchant 100. And having trialed and reviewed the Sonic Enchant 100, I can say that it’s nothing like the OPN.

Thanks for the clarification.