Launching my own practice: Which hearing aids should I carry?

I am working toward launching my own practice, and I’m reaching out to this community to get some information in order to best serve my patients.

What is your favorite hearing aid? I see a lot who love their Kirklands, and the Phonak Marvel seems to have a passionate following. I hope to carry different models from different manufacturers, so I was hoping for some input.

Thanks, everyone. I truly appreciate your attention.

Well…you won’t be selling Kirklands. :slight_smile:
The Marvels have a passionate following due to not being anchored to a single platform for connectivity.
We read more about Oticon around these parts too. Then the rest of the “Big 5”.
I would suggest also offering PSAP’s for the not so rich folks or those that just need a little boost with mild loss.

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I have only tried the KS8 (Rexton/Signia) and a very brief trial with ReSounds. I really don’t think there is any big advantage of one brand over another. As a provider, I guess customer expectations may be a big factor regardless. I think if I was going into practice, my first consideration would be location. I would try to locate as far away as possible from a Costco, and still be near a large population base - ideally of retired older people. Costco is the elephant in the room, and would be very hard to compete with head to head.

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I hate to be sarcastic but it is what ever hearing aid that will give me the best speech understanding and at the same time the best music enjoyment and the best all around natural sounds. To be honest I have not found that hearing aid as of yet. I have worn, Sonic, siemens, and now for the last 10 years Oticon. I have to say that hearing aids are improving and have improved well over 100% in the fifteen years I have been wearing hearing aids but they can be much better.
Now I am going to hit you at home. The real key in hearing aids is the fitter being able to tune the hearing aids to the needs of the wearer. This does not mean that you set the aids to the audiogram and leave them, that audiogram is just a starting point. Everyone of us that have hearing loss and wear hearing aids are very different in the way we hear even when we have the same hearing loss. You have to be willing to listen to your patients and be open minded to their likes and needs.

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PSAPs are definitely on the menu! I know I won’t be selling Kirklands, but the current Kirkland is a rebranded Phonak, if I’m not mistaken.

Personally, as a dispenser, I’m a fan of the instant fit Signias such as the Silk. I’ve had a lot of great feedback on those when I used to fit their Miracle-Ear variant.

I’m not as familiar with Oticon. I’ve adjusted some for people when it was needed, but I’m not as familiar with their tech.

Thank you for the reply. Very much appreciated.

I completely agree. If you happen to read through a number of my responses to threads on this forum you would learn that you are preaching to the choir. My blood pressure spikes when I get a patient who tells me that their previous provider would just set the aids to the audiogram and tell the patient that they just “had to get used to it.” That stuff drives me absolutely outta-my-mind insane.

So you’re not “hitting” me at all. You’re just reinforcing that which I already believe.

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thank you so very much, I have had both types of Audis, I am luck now to have one that is helping me push the limits.

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Costco is definitely a force to be reckoned with, that for sure.

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The patient is always the reason for doing what we do. I wish all audis/specialists remembered that. I’m really happy you found a good one.

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Is the Kirkland 9.0 essentially a Phonak Marvel 90?

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I go to the VA here and I have used the VA for my hearing aids since 2006, my first aids were a disaster they were the Sonics, it wasn’t the hearing aids that was the problem it was the Audi, I have for the most part always worn ITE half shell hearing aids, the biggest issues with any of the aids I have ever worn is poor molding of the aids. I complained about the Sonics not fitting right, being to loose, and I was told to get use to them. I was luck as to get into the VA and to prove that my hearing loss was military related. My next aids were the siemens and they were great aids, they did not fit correctly the first time, and the Audi had them redone with new impressions and new molding, when I get them back wow what a difference. Over the years my hearing changed and I was given the Oticon duals Rite aids I liked them at first I enjoyed to open domes at first but I was having issues with the aids dying on me. I sweat a lot and I am a very active person, even now at 72, the duals were replaced I believe 3 times in the 3 + years I wore them. By the time I was able to get replacements I was wearing power domes due to the feedback issues. New was my Alta Pros, ITE half shells, and again wow what a difference. I had no issues with them over the years just adjustments as needed. I moved here and finally the clinic opened here and I was there as one of the very first patients. My Audi told me even before he tested my hearing which had not been tested for a couple of years, that I was get new hearing aids. My hearing hadn’t changed, and I now wear Oticon OPN1 ITE almost 3/4 shell hearing aids. They are really great but I want my hearing aids to be set to full target and these aids can not do it. I have found out by talking to my Audi, who is one of my hiking partners when he has time, that the VA prescribes hearing aids for pure comfort and not to full prescription. So he is planning to get me new aids this summer, and I am now looking around and research what is there and available. I am leaning to Phonak Virto Marvels at this time. But I will be asking my Audi what he believes is the best for me seeing he knows what I am pushing for, and also what he knows and feels the best at fitting. You see I feel that it is the Audi that can make or break any hearing aid fit.

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I am very happy with my M-90s but when I asked my ENT/DAud what were the very best HAs for me he said any of the new ones would be fine as long as they were set up correctly.

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Yes that is my understanding. I could have exchanged my KS8’s for it, but passed. I think it is a good aid though. It is a 312 battery model only, no tinnitus masking, and seems to use a lesser version of the app, and does not connect to the Roger devices.

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You are absolutely correct. I’m just a specialist, not an audi. Hearing aids are what I do, and I always believe in doing it well. My patients come only after my family in terms of priority. And that’s the way I think it should be for anyone in the healthcare industry.

That being said, I have run into tech limitations where no matter how much time I put into tweaking the aids, the patient simply needed tech that was more expensive then they were initially willing to pay. It’s always a difficult conversation, and one I hate to have.

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From what I understand, it does not have telecare either. Telecare is going to be a key component of my practice.

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So true, and that is where I feel so extremely lucky in that the VA only prescribes the best of the best of what the hearing aid manufactures offer. And it isn’t just the hearing aids alone, I get all of my supplies, and TV connects, home phone devices, etc. And when I was working the VA covered the added items I needed to be able to preform my job. And as soon as I was not able to continue my chosen field of work then I started getting so disability income.

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As a life long hearing aid wearer who expects a very high level of hearing with amazing sound, I now always buy Widex and currently have the Evokes. You say you like Signia-is this the company they are merged with now? My son wears the Evoke 440 F2s and my Dad who has age related hearing loss has the 440s too. We all love them and people wouldn’t know we have hearing loss. Amazing quality sound is accessed by the set up, which Widex make very logical but it must be followed. We all had custom fit aids, set up with Widex algorithm using the sensogram, vent type selected and feedback calibration. All of us have amazing hearing. Speech in noise with background noise level at 60db was 100% score. Some dispensers missed critical elements such as vent size selection. If you provide the hearing aids following the correct set up you will create very happy customers with minimal effort. I am speaking from years of experience and multiple fittings before getting a dispenser who followed the correct set up-perfect in pretty much one go. Pick your products and learn everything about them. There will always be personal preference with tweaking but I now expect to make no frequency adjustments after redoing the sensogram following shell amendments, and I am a very specific customer. It’s incredibly accurate and takes away all the guesswork.

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Thank you so much for that. I really appreciate all the input.

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So just to give a bit of insight, my practice is going to be home-based and mobile. I don’t plan on paying for an expensive office with the pretentious trappings. I will visit patients in their homes, or at a library, or senior center, wherever they feel comfortable. The audiometer I’m getting is a new model that is rated by ANSI for use with no sound booth. (It’s kind of a new thing.) I hope to lean on telecare for many of my patients so that they (or I) don’t have to travel so much for adjustments. I even have a source for very low-cost tablets that I may give to the patient with purchase of hearing aids (along with counseling on how to use everything.) Marketing will be limited to local newspapers and online. Patients tell me all the time about how they hate all the junk mail from hearing aid companies.

I am lucky enough to be very well networked in my little suburb.

My initial numbers show that I can offer hearing aids at a substantially lower price than my competition simply because I am cutting overhead by so much. (Office space prices are RIDICULOUS!)

I basically want to offer a lower price to my patients, offer amazing service (per cvkemp), and make a living. I’m not trying to become a millionaire. I don’t need that.

Another thing we’re doing is offering PSAPs with service. I am in direct contact with suppliers and can even offer one PSAP that has BlueTooth, rechargeability, an app, and automatic first fit via an audiogram performed by the app for $100 less than Wally World is charging for the same thing. I want to be able to test people and honestly tell them if a PSAP would be a good fit for them. I always tell my patients that I don’t believe in having people spend any money unless they absolutely have to.

I’m pretty excited.

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Also, this old squid thanks you for your service. Welcome home.

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