Kirkland Signature 9.0 vs. Rexton Adore Li

New here, trying to help my wife navigate through this new experience, of hearing aids. Have lots of questions but I will post the others later.

After reading/researching for a few months, we went to Costco yesterday for her hearing test and to purchase her first hearing aids. She had a previous one done about a year ago at our ENT’s office which recommended her to get a hearing aid. But because of another medical issue we had to delay til now. The Costco test showed about the same results.

We had decided on their brand, Kirkland 9.0 initially, thinking if they didn’t work out, we still had six months to “upgrade.” They didn’t try to sway us but they did mention the Rexton Li RIC had recently had a price reduction to 1799.00. I really hadn’t looked at that model in my research so I was thrown a bit off guard. Since the Rexton doesn’t recommend the optional dehumidifier the actual cost difference was only about 250.00, with added savings of future batteries to purchase.

Main questions, although the Rexton is more of a name brand, is there any reason besides cost that the Kirland might be considered better? We were anxious to get the process going and I felt we still had the six month window if we change our minds.

She has moderate to severe loss and has tinnitus but isn’t really bothered by it. She likes the fact the Rexton is rechargeable but replacing the batteries isn’t a total deal breaker. We also use android phones and I think that the Kirland can stream the call but the Rexton doesn’t. I don’t think that’s a big issue either. (Other than the convenience of taking a call do HA’s make it difficult using a cell phone?? - She has no problem now)

One of the “specialist” made a comment that the Rexton may sound a bit clearer, saying the processor in the Kirland has a mild hiss to some people.

I guess I just wanted some feedback about our decision.

Thanks

That is a tough choice. If the $1800 for the Rextons is a pair price including the charger, that seems like a big reduction from what it used to be. Seems like a good deal, but the $1500 for the KS9’s is a good deal too.

I have the KS8’s which are very similar to the Rexton Adore Li aids but the KS8’s are not rechargeable. I had a short window to decide whether to keep the KS8’s or go to the KS9’s and save a few dollars. I decided to stay with the KS8’s.

You have identified one of the big differences in the ability to stream phone calls and audio from a smart phone to the aids. The Rexton does it extremely well with an iPhone. But an intermediate hardware device (at extra cost) is required for an android. If you are stuck on using an Android, I think that alone is probably a deal killer for the Rexton. I use a hand me down iPhone 7 from my son, so for me was not an issue. An iPhone 5s and newer should work with the Rexton.

The rechargeable feature has a following both for and against. The bottom line is that batteries are cheap at Costco, about $8 for 48, and not a big cost factor.

There are some features that the Rexton has that the KS9 (Phonak Marvel) does not. One is the use of click sleeves for fitting the hearing aid receiver in the ear. I believe these can be more comfortable and less susceptible to feedback than the regular domes used by Phonak. The Rexton also has Own Voice Processing, which is programmed to recognize the user’s unique voice, and adjust the aids to reduce the negative impact a hearing aid has on one’s own voice. The OVP is also used to identify when the user is speaking in a conversation and it adjusts the Automatic program to suit.

After that there is not all that many significant difference. They are both premium level hearing aids. The Phonak uses a somewhat different automatic program adjustment method. It identifies the situation from audio data, and switches between a limited number of different programs. The Rexton uses the audio data, plus OVP, plus the motion data from a connected iPhone, to identify 24 different situations. They claim to adjust to each, but that could be more sales hype than anything else. The Rexton has more fixed programs which can be set manually, and ideally by a connected iPhone. Three of the programs are specific music programs.

Oh, and one other difference I have gathered from those posting about the KS9’s is that the streaming audio quality may not be as good as the Rexton. The Rexton has a specific setup screen that can be used to add an equalizer curve to the standard curve. Generally lack of bass is a common issue, and the fitter can boost the bass to what you think is right.

That is about it. The Rexton in my bias opinion may be a little better technically, but it strikes me that to get the most out of the Rexton you would need an iPhone though. Without an iPhone the balance would tip toward the KS9.

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One further difference to consider. The Rexton aids when streaming a phone call from an iPhone use the microphone on the iPhone when you are talking. This is not as handy as a hands free arrangement, as you have to hold the phone up to your mouth. However, it does give you more control of the volume, by holding the phone nearer if the person cannot hear you. The Rexton can also be set to suppress the sensitivity of the hearing aid microphones when you are streaming. They also adjust streaming volume based on background noise. As background noise goes up, the streaming volume goes up. Once you figure out you have to hold the phone close, both incoming audio and outgoing is very good.

The KS9 uses the microphones on the hearing aids when you are talking. This allows true hands free calling. However, when there is significant background noise, there can be issues of the other person not hearing or understanding you. Some report it as a significant issue, while others find it works fine.

OK, since we are new to HA’s… What is the issue of needing to use steaming to use your phone? When you put on the HA’s does it block your hearing, so that you would need to remove one to use the phone? I guess I hadn’t thought of that.

Rexton will connect to android so you can use the phone as a remote for the aids. I got a free pair of them through insurance. I keep them as a backup to my Phonak marvel 70r.

Yes, of course you can use any phone in regular mode. You have to learn to hold it up higher so that the incoming audio goes to the hearing aid, instead of to your ear. However, the quality of that method leaves something to be desired after you have used the direct streaming to the ears. It is much more clear and it goes to both ears so if you one ear that is not as good, the other one makes up for it. To me it is a very significant feature. My home land line is a VOIP phone, and I have an app for that on my iPhone. It lets me dial out on the iPhone while using VOIP. This is my much preferred method to talk on the phone.

The Rexton also has an optional program called XPhone. When you turn it on and use the phone with a land line holding it up to your ear, the hearing aid will send the audio over to your other hearing aid so you can hear in both ears. However, I find it inconvenient to make the switch into that program, and if it is not going to be along call I don’t bother with it. I used it so little that I asked the fitter to replace it with another one.

With an iPhone you can download an app that is similar to myControl from Signia. It has a few extra bells and whistles. The most useful one is the ability to adjust the microphone focus.

But, with an iPhone MFi, a number of features including the ability to stream, change volume, and change programs are built right in. It is always available with a triple touch on the home button.

Yes, there is a more limited app called Smart Direct, but it does not allow streaming direct to the phone if it is an android.

Well, I’m a bit overwhelmed by some of the articles I’ve read the past day. But I’m still debating brands of HA’s, so I’ll post a few generic questions here.

I was under perhaps a mistaken idea, that once my wife gets her new HA, it will function with most situations. As I understand the newer ones are more advanced and handle more situations than earlier or less advanced HA.s,

Such things like remote mics that the spouse might wear, streaming TV content, hearing lectures etc. were things that I assumed wouldn’t be an issue with HA’s (other than tweaking the settings). Would the HA’s would do much of the above without additional equipment but the added accessories would simply make the experience better? Or as the HA’s have advanced, the accessories wouldn’t be as necessary?

There are some things I have concluded about the hearing aid business. One is that they use a major amount of marketing hype. They describe it in terms that are intended to amaze you and think that their aids are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And, they really do not want you to actually understand how their technology works. They just want you to be impressed and buy their brand of aids. Just like cars users develop loyalties to certain brands, and the manufacturers like to groom those thoughts. The fact is that these are just Ford vs Chevy issues, and there are probably 6 main manufacturers and their premium level products are pretty much all the same. There are some differences now in how well they connect and stream from smartphones, but in the core hearing aid features, not so much difference.

Hearing aids just aid hearing, and do not correct to a near perfect 20/20 level like eyeglasses can do. You may get back 40% of your hearing loss, but not 100%. This can cause issues, as well as solve issues. Background noise can be one of the big ones. Being able to hear in noisy restaurants is a very difficult one. I guess what I am saying is that they are not a cure all device. Worth it, but far from perfect.

Talking on the phone, listening to TV can be particularly difficult issues with hearing aids. I am not sure what your wife’s loss is, and if you can post an audiogram that would make for more helpful comments. But, the worse the hearing is, the more likely you are to need more than just the aids. So far, I manage quite well with no additions aids like remote microphones or direct streaming from the TV, but those with higher losses may not. I really appreciate the direct streaming of phone calls, but I can also manage without it. In a pinch, a speaker phone is quite helpful. That is probably second best to direct streaming.

Hope that helps,

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I understand the issues between IPhones / Androids between the two brands of HA’s but the other issue is with our “landline” (actually a voip). We have a Panasonic portable/cordless system. She would be using it much more than her cell phone. I believe it is T-Coil compliant, special shielding etc.

I believe the Rexton Adore has a TCoil and the KS9.0 doesn’t. How effective is using T-Coil technology? I know it’s old technology but simple. I have also heard there may be static at times but I wonder if that’s more from using it with non-compliant phones?

We also use a VOIP phone system, OOMA. They have an app that runs on an iPhone (not sure about Android), and allows me to use OOMA to make outgoing phone calls with my iPhone, and not burn up phone plan minutes. I only have the basic level of OOMA so can’t do that with incoming calls. I believe their premium plan does allow it. You have got me on the T-Coil compliant phone system. Have not heard of it. We use a Panasonic wireless system within our house, but was never aware it may be T-Coil compliant.

I believe the T-Coil system is something primarily intended for churches and permanent concert halls. It requires a pretty expensive investment on their part to install it. I have never considered it as I am not aware of anywhere I could/would use the T-Coil system. Until you asked about it, I have never heard about it being used with landline phones.

My wife is ordering her first HA, so I am trying to get up to speed on some issues. We were going to but the KS9.0 but Costco has reduced the price of Rexton Adore to 1799, so we ordered those but have some time to change if warranted.

I understand the streaming issues between IPhones / Androids between the two brands of HA’s but the other issue is with our “landline” (actually a voip) phone. We have a Panasonic portable/cordless system. She would be using it much more (10:1) than her cell phone. I believe it is T-Coil compliant, special shielding etc.

I believe the Rexton Adore has a TCoil (Error - the RIC model doesn’t) and the KS9.0 doesn’t. How effective is using T-Coil technology? I know it’s old technology but more simple. I have also heard there may be static at times but I wonder if that’s more from using it with non-compliant phones/equipment?

I thought maybe since the Rexton can’t directly stream to Android, that might be a negative but the Rexton with T-Coil might be a bigger positive, at least for us.

Welcome your thoughts

I might be wrong but I thought the KS9 can stream to android?

The Rexton Adore Li does not contain a t-coil.

Ks9’s CAN stream directly to android. I am in my 4th month of trial period.

My mistake, you are right about the RIC model, I was looking at the specs of another Adore LI model. It says it has a T-Coil integrated in the battery door.

I meant the Adore. I corrected my post.

I figured out how to enter her audiogram. We are scheduled to return to Costco 12/10/19 for her fitting and programming. They are about 90 miles from us, so I would like to try to ask them pertinent questions. I know we will be going back numerous times but would like the process to be as efficient as possible. I realize she and her brain will have some learning to do and it will be an ongoing process.

Hopefully the initial set up/programming will go smooth. I have seen REM tests and have a reasonably good idea what the optimum might look like. If it appears to vary quite a bit from her audiogram, should I encourage them to “fine tune” it more? I really have no reason to doubt their skills but to be honest I would feel the same way using an audiologist locally. And yes, I am a bit OCD as far as details go and a believer in Murphy’s law.

Assuming you are going with the Rexton Adore, here is what I see as the First Fit in the Rexton software (the KS9 is not going to be any different though).

The lowest power S (standard) receiver is sufficient for the loss, but if you want to allow for further deterioration in hearing it may be worth going with the M receiver. Something to discuss with the fitter. If you go back and need a more powerful receiver a couple of years from now, I am not sure if Costco will give you one or ask you to pay for it.

The second issue is the fitting type. Signia/Rexton make what they call click sleeves. They come in four sizes and can be open or closed. If you look at the graph below you will see three gain curves for each ear. The top lighter one is the gain for soft sounds. They are amplified the most. The middle is the gain for normal sounds, and the bottom lighter one is the gain for loud sounds. They are amplified the least. This is based on the theory that we lose our sensitivity to soft sounds more than loud sounds. Doing gain this way is what is called compression. In any case for this simulation I used open click sleeves as they tend to be the most comfortable especially for new users. I think your wife will do fine with them for the right ear. The red shaded area needs to be avoid for the gain curve to avoid feedback. It should be OK. The left ear is not so certain that an open sleeve will work. It probably is worth trying, if she wants to go for maximum initial comfort. But, that is an area where you may have to go back and go to closed.

Here is what the same curves would look like using closed click sleeves. They really are not totally closed and have a 1.6 mm vent. There are some advantages to using a more closed fitting. They allow the hearing aids to reject noise better, and allow the directionality features of the aids work better. If you do not want to take the chance of needing to go back for refitting, it would be safer to go with the closed click sleeves. Here is what closed sleeves look like. Note that there is more room between the gain curves and the potential feedback zones. Also note that the left aid in particular is getting close to the maximum output grey zone at higher frequencies. An M receiver would give more margin.

Some other tips:

Ask them to do the Own Voice Processing training and turn it on. It helps with the sound of your own voice, and also enables some other features. It has three settings of strength. Default is medium. Ask to try each.

When you decide on the fitting type ask them to give you a couple of the size smaller and larger than the ones you pick. They are easy to switch at home, and you may want to experiment on which one fits best at home rather than in the rushed appointment time. If you decide on something different in size it may make a small change in the REM, so that should be redone at the next appointment.

You should also go prepared to tell them which programs you want turned on. Here is a link to the similar KS8 Kirkland model quick start guide which gives the main options. There are sub options to the music program depending on what you want to do with it.

KS8 Quick Start Guide

If you are going to use a smart phone bring it with you so they can help you pair it the first time. These aids will work better with an iPhone, but they can pair with an Android. You should download the suitable app ahead of time and go there with it installed.

The buttons on the aids can be programmed to do different things. I find it handy to have a long hold on any button to mute the aids. There are times in a noisy environment you just want to shut them off without taking them out of your ears.

Bottom line, if you want to minimize the number of fitting trips, go prepared with a list of what you want done.

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Regarding whether or not to involve yourself if you don’t think the REM is done adequately. A couple of things come to mind: 1) How does your wife react to such interventions? If she doesn’t tend to appreciate it, you might want to back off a bit. If she does appreciate it, you likely do it in a pretty acceptable way, so sure, why not? 2) Something else to keep in mind is how your wife adjusts to new things. If she tends to say “ooh, ick. I don’t like this. Forget it.” I wouldn’t encourage going to full REM immediately. Starting off low and gradually working up might be a better approach. On the other hand if she’s more of the mindset of “it’s a bit strange, but I’ll get used to it” then she’d likely accomodate quickly.
A lot of things are judgement calls. You just have to see how it goes .