Let Us Discuss What Device is Best the Best Suited for my Loss


I am a healthy, active 77 YO male who has been wearing HAs for about 35 years. Grew up shooting, working around, playing with aircraft, been exposed to many noisy environments. I am honorably discharged military but VA assistance is not an option. My insurance does not provide any coverage.

I recently saw a Dr of audiology through Hearing Planet and the recommendation was a Halo Starkly set at almost $6.K. I was impressed with the Audi but not so with the hearing planet plan. I did not demo these nor did I order them.

I tried a set of Rexton Strata 2c RIC through a local independent but I really don’t think they were much better than my present Siemens. She is getting a more advanced set of Rexton for me to try. She is talking ~ $5K. I did like the RIC.

So, my question becomes, what will be the best and cost effective option to replace my nine YO Siemens BTH? Is it time to make and appointment and drive almost 100 miles one way to Costco? Comments, discussion welcome and I thank those who take the time for meaningful input.

Edit: BTW, my Siemens are still functional. .


I am honorably discharged military but VA assistance is not an option



If you have an honorable discharge military and your loss of hearing is not service related and your income is at a certain level you are not entitled to VA assistance.


There is a means test.
Back to meaningful discussion about the hearing aid subject. What HAs do I require to help me hear in noisy environments?


You don’t necessarily have to purchase premium-level hearing aids for $5K or more. You can get a pair of basic-level hearing aids for about $2400. Today’s basic-level instruments are more advanced than anything from 9 years ago, and you might find them to be perfectly adequate for your needs.


Thanks. Brand, model suggestions, please?


Since you’re currently wearing Siemens, consider the new Orion 2 RIC:


Oldogy, you seem primarily interested in brands, and I don’t want to knock that, but I’m a big fan of focusing as much on the provider as the aid. 100 miles to Costco is a pretty far drive, but if it works out it could be worth it. Perhaps you could call Costco and try to engage the HIS in a lengthy discussion. Try to get a good sense of him before making the long drive.


There is no means test in you were in RVN to include blue or brown water. There is also a list of other conditions that will exclude you from a means test. Anyone working around aircraft has a good chance of a hearing disability rating quick would exclude a means test. But, let’s get back to meaningful discussion of why a smart guy like you that’s been wearing aids for 35 years would need help with a decision.


try both brands against each other and let us know.


The guy asked about hearing aid brands. Why the beat down over VA benefits?


Lots of Vet’s don’t realize what they are leaving on the table… they heard from friend that their uncle was treated badly 20 years ago… wonder why he felt the need to post his vet status if he was sure it didn’t matter?


I’m an eight year Navy veteran who worked in engineering spaces and was told unless my hearing loss is service related to get at least a 10% disability rating when discharged then it is a means test. This is first hand knowledge.


If you haven’t been to the VA in the last 10 years regarding your hearing, you might want to give them a try again. I have several friends who were initially turned down for HA’s and on their second or third trip they walked out several weeks later wearing new HA’s courtesy of the VA. Free HA’s is hard to turn down.


Specifically to avoid this distraction to the conversation. I took it as “I can’t get VA Benefits, and I don’t have insurance coverage. I’m paying for this myself, so let’s discuss it from that angle.” If there is a benefit he is leaving on the table, that’s his business, he attempted to make it clear that he didn’t want to discuss it. You should just shrug your shoulders and move on rather than belittling him. You can’t be benevolent with a 2x4.


Oldogy, I see several people here have remarked that you could get by with a basic level aid. My question is, are there any specific features, outside of hearing better, that you need or want?

For instance, my Siemens 5bx has the ability, through my smartphone app, to focus the “hearing zone” directly in front of me. And I can adjust that to be as narrow or wide as I like. I often use that in restaurants rather than having a separate program. I focus directly in front so that I can hear my wife over the background noise. 20 minutes later it automatically switches back.

Now, if I had gotten the 7bx, I would have the ability to use that same feature on the sides. For instance, when driving I could focus on the right side to better hear the passenger. The 5bx will not do that.

So, do you have any connectivity needs? Smartphone, TV, computer, etc.? Are there any specific features you are looking for?


Thanks for this meaningful discussion, BC and a few others.
First of all, if I am honest about the means test, I can not get VA benefits as I stated earlier. I have been to the VA site recently. It may sound picky being able to afford high end HAs but not spending the premium $$. I’ve never made it a practice to spend money freely. Always tried to get what I needed and no more. To Doc Jake, I learned long ago that there was much to be learned from discussion forums such as this when it came to ferreting out fact from fiction on many subjects. I had to learn what was meaningful and what was not. Who was contributing and who was not.

BC, I consider Android control very high on my requirement. I, too want to be flexible, have some control about programming. The differences between 7bx and 5bx is the kind of input discussion I am looking for. My main concerns are noisy environments, restaurants, understanding a conversation anywhere there is background noise, TV, radio, etc in the background.


I connect to my android via the EasyTek necklace. I have sung the praises of this device on various threads here, but I am slowly starting to have some doubts. It does have trouble from time to time with the aids disconnecting when I turn my head. I can usually fiddle with the wire and get it to work, but it makes me doubt the long term durability of this product. Planning on discussing this with my HIS on the next visit.

KenP has the KS6 with the Phone Clip+. From what I have read that may be a more reliable solution.

For noisy environments, you could go with the focus feature I discussed, or get a noise program set in your aids. I work in a room full of several hundred machines, each with anywhere from one to a dozen cooling fans. The noise can run as high as 86dB. My HIS created a noise program for me that has very aggressive noise suppression, and focuses directly in front of me. I have to face directly towards someone to talk with them. It works very well for me.



I have a similar audiogram, and I am almost as old as you. Unlike you, I am a complete noobie to HAs. I have just completed 2 weeks with Rexton Trax 42s from Costco, and I am very surprised and pleased with the improvement in hearing. These are roughly equivalent to the Siemens Pure Binax 7-series. The performance with speech is very good. When driving the road noise is diminished and my wife’s voice has become loud and understandable. (Not always a good thing. :))

I have no interest in adding Bluetooth connectivity or plastic dangles around my neck, so I opted to use the simple Android application called Smart Remote. This appears to be the same as the Siemens branded Touch Control. With this app and my Samsung phone I can control the programs, the Bass-Treble balance, the volume, and muting. If you need more control you probably would need the added doo-dads.

It is good that you are doing research on this forum. It has been very helpful to me and many others. The only caution is that quite a few of the most prolific posters are very new to HAs themselves. Other than their own (limited) personal experience, most of what they say is simply gleaned from the internet. I have gleaned a tremendous amount from the internet as well, but I won’t repeat it as some sort of expert advice.


This is very good advice. I do try to let people know that I am a newbie myself. I have also gone as far to put it right in my signature. I do hope I’m not coming off as some psuedo-expert. I participate here because I feel we can all learn from each other, and I enjoy helping people in whatever limited way I can. I try to avoid participating in any thread that seems over my head.