My HA journey and request for recommendation for audiologist in Seattle area

#1

I got my first HAs 6 years ago and went to Hearing rehab center. I chose them really not knowing very much about what a good audiologist meant. I went to PAC Audiology before choosing Hearing Rehab Center but had an awful time. hAs didn’t fit tell comfort wise, she didn’t tune many things and just didn’t seem to want to spend time with me to tweak things.

My experience with hearing rehab center was fine but then the owner retired and the business changed hands. The new owner and Audi was terrible at following up, couldn’t answer basic questions etc. the place over the years kept changing hands and various audiologists would work there then leave.

I then realized the bad thing about small private practices. You pay so much for HAs which bakes in the price of service, but if the place goes out of business you are out of luck.

So I decided to go to a bigger business To prioritize longer term service reliability. I chose to go to the Listen for Life Center at Virginia Mason Hospital.

The audiologist (Colin wong) was ok. He knew more about newer HAs including streaming, MFi etc and spent more time tuning stuff. They also did RealEar measurements so these were all good signs. Unfortunately I then learned the other lesson of audiologists: they don’t carry all brands so you then are limited to choose what they carry. I wanted to try the Resound Linx or Starkey but they only carried Widex and Oticon. After trialing the Widex Beyond 440 and Oticon OPN 3, I went with the latter.

During fitment I ended up getting molds (see following photo) since I couldn’t get the wire to stay in place. It would always wiggle out so they recommended molds as a way for better fitment. After struggling with occlusion for first week I got used to them. But I do miss my open domes from my Starkey as stuff just sounded more natural.

To this day I still am not sure I should’ve gone to custom molds just because the receiver wouldn’t wiggle out of my ear. In retrospect it seems like a pretty big change to fix this problem at the expense of more occlusion and less natural hearing.

Most recently I’ve tried to get my over the ear headphones working to wear with my Oticon. When I wear them with my HAs on, I get a ringing feedback noise that I never got with my old Starkey Xino i110.

The Audi has tried to fix it by giving me a headphones profile but he basically gave up saying that’s the problem with wearing headphones.

This makes me think I need a new audiologist that is willing to make more tuning adjustments and just more knowledgeable in general.

So I’m looking for an audiologist recommendation in seattle. I live downtown but am willing to drive for a good audiologist (although not too far, probably 20-30 mins max). Ideally someone who can service my existing Oticon, but also someone who carries Resound, Phonak and Widex since those 3 brands are on my next list to buy. I know it’s unlikely the same AuD will sell all 3 of those and service my OPNs, but who knows, maybe i’ll luck out? :slight_smile:

0 Likes

#2

I thought you can have vents inserted in custom molds, no? Mine have vent holes.

1 Like

#3

You could always try what I did. I went with TruHearing.com. Initially, I wanted to get Oticon Opn 1’s. But the TruHearing service rep that I got connected with, either because I asked too many questions or he just couldn’t find an audiologist in my area who would take a contract with TruHearing, the guy never got back to me. Then the ReSound Quattro’s came out. Decided with the promise of MFA to try those and had better luck with TruHearing - got a different rep every time I called but the reps I spoke to said other customers had spoken highly of the local audiologist they hooked me up with. She was an older person who has been practicing for many years and gets rave reviews from her customers but is not up with the latest - she had never tried Remote Assist with any ReSound users but was willing to learn how to use it to work with me, for example, and said she’d prefer whenever possible to see me in person. Although the TruHearing contract only provides for 3 audi visits for the very low purchase cost, she said she wouldn’t hold me to that but that I could come back to see her as necessary. She is very good and quick at answering questions. Just giving you this detail to show that if you’re lucky, you can find a pretty competent audiologist through TruHearing.com and it might be worth giving it a try. You get a 45-day trial but there is a modest “restocking” fee for returning the HA’s if you’re not satisfied with them. Don’t know how it would work with TruHearing if you just wanted to visit the audi and chat with that person to see if they could meet your needs before you decide to trial with them. That was essentially what I did. I went for an appointment with no commitment, we talked about what I wanted, I liked the audi, told her I wanted to try the rechargeable Quattro 9 61’s, and right on the spot paid 50% of the cost to me, something like $1,370 with $2,000 paid by my Blue Cross Blue Shield supplementary insurance). Then on my receipt of the HA’s and initial fitting, I paid the remaining $1,370 ($180 was for a Phone Clip+, $175 was for the Quattro charger/storage case, which is not included in the base price of the 9 61’s!!!). I had one further fitting to do a REM but I told her that I was so happy with my initial fitting and my ability to tune the HA’s in the ReSound Smart 3D app that I didn’t want to change a thing from my initial fitting. So I managed to find an audi that I want to continue seeing and got everything done to my satisfaction in a total of three visits to the audi - initital discussion and two fitting visits. My Blue Cross/Blue Shield will cover an annual audiogram and biannual ear cleanings as medical expenses and I can visit the audi if she’ll accept my Medicare/BCBS coverage and not charge a ton extra beyond that coverage or else go to my local state medical center, which accepts only that payment and doesn’t charge me more as an ex-state employee. The audi only charges $40 for REM’s, so I’ll have that done annually with her, too. She had me sign a contract or an acknowledgement that under warranty replacment for loss or damage that I would pay a total fee of $300 per HA for providing and fitting a replacement, split between ReSound and her (forget breakdown) - which seemed at odds with the TruHearing 3-yr loss/damage warranty but I figured I’d worry about how to cross that bridge with her or someone else if I ever came to it.

So perhaps I’m gambling that I’m never going to have a serious problem that requires the extensive service built into the high up-front retail fees. But if TruHearing is big in the Seattle area (seems to be from the map on their home page), you might find a good audi through them. In Texas, TruHearing is established enough that Texas Blue Cross/Blue Shield officially has a contract with them to provide HA service. Here is a link to their catalog of the HA’s they claim to be able to provide. They don’t sell accessories so the purchase of any accessories would be between you and the audi you get hooked up with or you could so as I did for a ReSound accessory - go to Costco for the ReSound Multi-Mic but then Costco told me that to get warranty service on that special order item, I’d have to work through Costco and they don’t provide any HA service unless you’ve bought the HA’s at Costco. Good Luck!

0 Likes

#4

I found my current (and the best of the four I met with) audiologist by using the “Find A Pro” search on the Home Page for this website. I first went to Costco and was less than impressed although they did a decent job on my hearing test and gave me the audiogram. Next I went with a local person I met while swimming at the local YMCA and he was very good but then he told me he was retiring in 2019 and he recommended I find another qualified audiologist. So I found this forum/website and used the “Find A Pro” search function. Two came up locally. One was a technician at a chain operation and I was able to get an immediate appointment with him but again I was less than impressed with his very small office in a strip mall but he did do a decent job and his audiogram was consistent with the Costco and my friend’s and he recommended the Phonak Marvels. My current audiologist is a doctor of audiology and she was booked solid for three weeks, but I did get in earlier on a last minute cancellation. Bottom line is her office was very professional and she spent 90 minutes with me on the first appointment. She had just attended the Phonak corporate training earlier the same week and she ordered me a pair which she fitted me with the following week. Sorry for the long post but the fact is I have this site to thank for my excellent results.

2 Likes