KS9 or Philips HearLink: Which one for me?

I currently wear a pair of Bernafon Chronos 9 Nano Rite hearing aids purchased from Costco. The aids are now 8 years old, and although they still work well, my recent hearing test showed a bit more hearing loss (updated audiogram is in my profile.) That, plus the age of my present hearing aids have me looking at buying a new pair.

Eight years ago, I was fit with the Bernafons to address my mild high frequency hearing loss at the time, which was only in the 6k & 8k frequencies at around 40db loss in both ears. Many people probably wouldn’t have bought aids with that loss, but I am a musician, and hearing the best I can at all frequencies is important to me. The aids also help me hear high frequency consonants better.

My default program with my Bernafons is the “Live Music Plus” program, which is great with music as well as speech in most cases. That program doesn’t work well in noisy situations, so I use a “speech in noise” program, which is OK but not great.

Anyway, since Costco no longer sells the Bernafon brand per se, I’ve studied hearing aid data sheets and have narrowed my choices to either the Philips HearLink 9010 (a rebranded Bernafon of some type) or the Kirkland KS9 (a rebranded Phonak Audeo Marvel, minus a few features). Both seem to have good high-frequency response.

I’m not interested in any kind of connectivity or Bluetooth, as I don’t even own a cell phone (!). I have two hopes: First, to have a music program that is as close to normal hearing as possible that could also help with speech, considering my hearing impairment; and second, to have an effective “speech in noise” program.

My dilemma: The Philips are $2,500 a pair, while the KS9 cost a thousand dollars less at $1,500. I’m willing to pay more for the Philips if they are truly worth $1,000 more than the KS9. But are they?

Which would you choose? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

It basically comes down to a coin toss. If money is a priority, get the KS9. At least some of the forum have been happy with the Marvel/KS9 (they both should be very similar for music) At least initially, I suspect you’d like the Phillips better because I think there’d be more similarities to how the Bernafons handled music. So, a case can be made for either one, and fortunately you can try one and if you don’t like it, you can try the other one.

With Costco it is really hard not to buy their KS9 as it is priced so attractively. If you are not concerned about wireless streaming to a phone, about the only advantage of a HearLink is that they are rechargeable if that is an attraction. To me it is not, but some do like it.

I would suggest looking or better still listening to the Rexton Adore Li. I think the Rexton/Signia aids handle music and sound (based on specifications and design) as well as Widex, who are known to be the best. The Adore has three music programs that you can select from; Listening to Live Music, Listening to Recorded Music, and Playing an Instrument. Rexton/Signia aids have a high dynamic input range, an extended bandwidth, and use a 24 bit A/D processing. At least in Canada they are having a special on these aids, and sell for $2400 CDN, so I would think that in the US they should be around $1800 including the charger. Not quite as good a buy as the KS9, but they may in fact be better than the KS9 for your needs. They are quite similar to the KS8 aids which preceded the KS9’s, but are rechargeable.

My last thought is that since you want a good high frequency response you may be happier with a DSL v5 fitting formula, than the more standard NAL-NL2, or most manufacturer proprietary formulas. Here is what the DSL v5 formula would look like on the Rexton with your loss. DSL can get into trouble when you have a significant high frequency loss, but your loss is modest, so it should work well for you. There are actually three curves on these graphs. The top curve is for soft sounds, the middle heavy one for normal sounds, and the bottom curve for loud sounds. DSL not only tries to preserve the high frequency sounds, it uses less compression. That means the curves are closer together. It also preserves the dynamic range in music.

For comparison this is the more common NAL-NL2 formula. Notice how the curves are distinct and wide spaced. That means lots of compression is being used to squash the loud sounds down, and boost the more quiet sounds. That can help some for speech, but I suspect you do not need much help with speech as your loss is quite modest. But, for music, more compression is not necessarily good.

Last, it can be hard to find good detailed specs on the Rexton Adore. Here is a link to a Signia document which is a bit hard to read, but has all the details on the Signia 7Nx which is basically the same as the Adore. The Adore does not have the tinnitus feature or telecare, but basically the same.

Signia Nx Detailed Features Chart

That would be my thoughts on the choices currently at Costco.

Edit: The DSL v5 formula should be available on all the aids at Coscto. It is not unique to Rexton. However, they will not likely use it, unless you ask to try it.

Sierra,

Thanks for your detailed reply. I really appreciate it! But I’m puzzled as to why someone flagged it.

Anyway, I’ll look into programming whatever aids I eventually get with the DSL v.5 fitting formula. Sounds interesting!

A few questions:

  1. Are there any technical data sheets for the Rexton Adore which display the frequency graphs showing the full-on gain with a 2cc coupler as well as ear simulator?

  2. The Rexton and KS9 have 20 fine tuning channels/fitting bands while the Philips only has 16. Does that make much of a difference?

  3. Up till now, I haven’t considered rechargeable hearing aids. Any disadvantages to rechargeable aids? How long does the internal battery last before it needs changed by the dispenser?

Thanks.

Unfortunately there seems to be one or more participants here who for reasons unknown are flagging my posts. I had put a lot of time and detail in that post, and if this continues to happen I will certainly leave this forum. Unfortunately there are a lot of good honest well meaning people here, but obviously not all of them.

Here is a thread on the Adore which has a number of resource links. Here is the link you may be looking for:

Adore Data Sheet

I consider the channels and adjustment bands just a sales gimmic, and should not factor into your decision. If a person has a really steep loss curve, and you don’t, then more bands might offer some minor benefits.

There are pros and cons to rechargeable aids. I think as long as the battery is of the Lithium Ion type reliability should be good. There are some aids which used the ZPower silver zinc battery that are not reliable at all. Well perhaps they are, as they fail quite reliably in less than a year. On the other hand I have an Oral B toothbrush that has lasted 20 years or so, and I just replaced it with a new one. Rexton and Signia are today’s version of the Siemens company and they have been around a long time. I would expect they have the technology well figured out. Phillips has been around a long time too, but I am not so sure how long in the HearLink version.

Cost is one issue as they almost always cost more than the aids that use replaceable batteries. Batteries at Costco are so low cost, the replaceables I’m sure cost a bit less in the long run.

As long as you remember to charge them the rechargeables should not run out during the day. Replaceables obviously can and do.

One issue you should ask about at Costco is their recommendations on drying the aids. Is the recharging alone enough to dry the aids? It may be. Does the recharger attempt to dry them at the same time?

Consumer reports did a survey of about 17,000 users of hearing aids, and one of the most popular features that people wanted was rechargeable. So, they are popular I guess. The same survey found Costco was the #1 rated retailer of aids, and the #1 rated brand was Kirkland Signature, which at the time was the KS7 and KS8 made by Rexton. Signia rated #2 which is essentially the same thing, but tend to be much more expensive.

Hope that helps some,

1 Like

Please ignore any flags to your excellent posts. I have gained a lot of great information from this forum, especially your posts. Forgive my ignorance but how can one tell if their post has been flagged?

My current Bernafon Chronos hearing aids use their “channel-free” technology. Does anyone know if the Philips HearLink is also channel-free? If not, how many channels does the Philips have? And does it really matter?! I can’t find this info on the Philips technical data sheets.

.

I can’t find anything official. One source that seemed reasonable said 64 channels, which is the same as the Oticon OPN. Most importantly, no it doesn’t matter.

Thanks, MDB. But why doesn’t it matter?

All I can go by is what I’ve read and heard from others. I’ve read that more than 8-12 channels is superfluous and marketing hype. Bottomline–you won’t be able to tell the difference between 12 channels, 20 chanels and 64 channels. You may be able to tell the difference between hearing aids, but it won’t be because of the number of channels. Do some googling and you can likely find the same sources. On the bright side, you really can’t go wrong. Both are very good hearing aids.