I am trying to navigate what all is going on with hearing aids these days, particularly CostCo’s offerings.
I am likely going to go with costco, as my insurance will reimburse all or most of just about any of their options, as least as far as I can tell from the ‘up to’ prices on their website, vs effectively no discount at all through any of my local audiologists. (They take my insurance, but it’s still several grand after insurance). I verified with my insurance that I can manually apply for reimbursement up to the plan amount with the CPT code that costco is supposed to supply.
I understand that the costco people may or may not be experienced or trained enough to make the best recommendations, so what should I keep in mind in terms of which models might be best for me? One big point against costco, is that they are quite a drive away for me (~5 hours). I don’t mind making necessary trips to get things adjusted right(it is to my old hometown, so it’s nice to have an excuse to visit), but I worry a little over getting the bad luck of a less experienced specialist helping me, and requiring several extra trips. Because of the trip distance, I want to understand as much as I can about what direction to go in ahead of time.
I’ve grown up with hearing aids, the old BTE with earmolds as a kid, and more recently I have had a pair of in the ear aids (Siemens CIE, approx 8-10 years old by now), which I have decided I dislike. Cleaning wax was far too fussy compared to the BTE earmolds. But I did like the directional function.
Both audiologists that I have seen this week seemed to think the RIC type aids would work well for me. I’ve never used this type. I worry a little about wax damage or damage from cleaning wax around a reciever. But I have no experience with them to know if this is as much a problem as I imagine. I did break my in-the-ear aids while cleaning too deeply a time or two, so it is a concern. I also worry a bit about how easily they might fall out. I am very leery of the dome fittings, and I think I’d prefer a custom mold in any case, since it’s what I have used all my life.
I have fairly narrow ear canals if that is an important note. I cannot comfortably wear the dome-type silicone hearing protectors, but I don’t know if these compare to hearing aid domes.
My primary needs are speech recognition, as my job involves a lot of interaction with people, much of which takes place outdoors, so windnoise management is a factor, as is sweat and dust resistance. Listening to music without weird warbles and whistles would be nice as a bonus, though I don’t know if hearing aids can do that well or not. My current aids don’t leave me holding my breath.
How do the bluetooth capabilities affect battery life? Do signals coming in bluetooth have hearing correction applied, or at least have a way to manually lower bass and raise treble?
I’ve heard that feedback suppression is much better these days, with no screaming beeps when something is placed close to the ears, is that the case? As it is right now, I can’t hug anyone comfortably with hearing aids in.
My loss is mild in the low range, moderate in the mid range, and severe in the high range
I’m not 100% sure I am interpreting my hearing chart correctly, but it seems to read like this:
250 500 1000 1500 2000 3000 4000 6000 8000
R 25 25 35 55 55 70 65 85 70
L 35 25 40 55? 55 65 70 75 80
Word recognition is ~80% @ 30dB (i think?)
I’d appreciate any advice you might have to share.