Need help choosing new hearing aids!

Dear Administrator,

My recent audiogram is below and I’m very discouraged in my search for hearing aids to meet the following criteria: hear clearly in quiet, noisy environments and on phone. Prefer cosmetically appealing instruments as well. Have recently tried Audibel’s Virtue 12 CIC and Phonak Micropower BTE without satisfaction. I currently wear CIC’s but would wear small behind the ear instruments. I have narrow and bending ear canals and am very prone to occlusion. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

L/R: 30/30@250
40/45@500
60/75@1K
85/85@2k
110/85@3K
120/105@4K

I would personally recommend the Phonak Micropower for this hearing loss and use, yet am discouraged to hear you tried it with poor results. That is very very odd.

I hate to ask this questions, but does your audi/hearing aid dispenser have a lot of experience with Phonaks?

If you don’t understand the software and the capabilities of the programming, such as the Tri Pilot/autopilot/manual modes, you really can do people a dis-service by programming them less than optimally.

Couple of questions for you:

  1. What is your speech discrimination scores? (Should be a percentage on each ear)

  2. Did you use a remote control of any sort w/ the Micro Powers?

  3. Did you use the Easy Phone option (where you stick the little magnet to your phone receiver and have the hearing aid switch to telecoil mode automatically)?

  4. Were you offered the Smart Link wireless bluetooth option? (See this thread: http://www.hearingaidforums.com/show…ght=smart+link

  5. Do you mind if I post this in the forum without your name, as it could benefit others in the same situation? If it is ok, please paste and post this on the forum.

I really can’t think of a better hearing aid for this type of hearing loss.

I would definitely stay away from any Starkey/Audibel type of hearing aid. If I had to try something else, I would try the Sonic Innovations Innova BTE, but they are kind of bulky and big, but they work quite well.

Hope this helps.

I would personally recommend the Phonak Micropower for this hearing loss and use, yet am discouraged to hear you tried it with poor results. That is very very odd.

I hate to ask this questions, but does your audi/hearing aid dispenser have a lot of experience with Phonaks?

If you don’t understand the software and the capabilities of the programming, such as the Tri Pilot/autopilot/manual modes, you really can do people a dis-service by programming them less than optimally.

Couple of questions for you:

  1. What is your speech discrimination scores? (Should be a percentage on each ear)

  2. Did you use a remote control of any sort w/ the Micro Powers?

  3. Did you use the Easy Phone option (where you stick the little magnet to your phone receiver and have the hearing aid switch to telecoil mode automatically)?

  4. Were you offered the Smart Link wireless bluetooth option? (See this thread: http://www.hearingaidforums.com/show…ght=smart+link

I really can’t think of a better hearing aid for this type of hearing loss.

I would definitely stay away from any Starkey/Audibel type of hearing aid. If I had to try something else, I would try the Sonic Innovations Innova BTE, but they are kind of bulky and big, but they work quite well.

Hope this helps.

My responses to your well thought out reply:

  1. I was not given a speech discrimination test

  2. The remote that came with the Micropowers was for volume control only

  3. I placed magnets on the cordless phones which helped them go into the phone mode, but they came right out within seconds. Using the corded phone didn’t require a magnet, but again, the hearing aids came out of phone mode within seconds of going in.

  4. The Smart Link option was briefly mentioned for future use

I found the sound quality to be tinny and was very bothered by the constant kicking in of a “sound quieting” feature that even activated when I raised my voice. It took about 15 seconds for that feature to deactivate and during that time it was extremely tough to hear. Another problem was the dome type device in my ears caused me to feel very blocked. If I could have ironed out the other difficulties, I would have ordered a custom shell.

My hearing aid dispenser has no prior experience with Phonak’s and this is his first attempt at working with them.

Any further comments or additional feedback would be most appreciated.

(1. I was not given a speech discrimination test)

This is a real no no as far as testing goes…if you skip this test, then you are most likely skipping and cutting corners elsewhere.

(2. The remote that came with the Micropowers was for volume control only)

You probably were provided only with the Keypilot. Suggest using the Smart Link as the remote or the Watchpilot or full size remote.

(3. I placed magnets on the cordless phones which helped them go into the phone mode, but they came right out within seconds. Using the corded phone didn’t require a magnet, but again, the hearing aids came out of phone mode within seconds of going in.)

On this instrument, you have to put the magnet exatly on the phone to position over the hearing aid, which is on top of the ear. But if a proper remote is used, you don’t have to even worry about that.

(4. The Smart Link option was briefly mentioned for future use)

Definitely recommend Smart Link in your case. Solves hearing in noise problems, awesome remote, etc.

(I found the sound quality to be tinny and was very bothered by the constant kicking in of a “sound quieting” feature that even activated when I raised my voice. It took about 15 seconds for that feature to deactivate and during that time it was extremely tough to hear. Another problem was the dome type device in my ears caused me to feel very blocked. If I could have ironed out the other difficulties, I would have ordered a custom shell.)

On the instrument, it automatically switches programs on it’s own, but if it the switching is that noticeable, it was set way too sensitive and it can be programmed to be more seamless. In addition, they probably programmed it with way too much compression and over compensating for your voice.

The custom shell tips are 100X better than those silicone tips.

I would suggest working with a hearing aid dispenser or audiologist who is very familiar with Phonak products and who attends their training sessions regularly. Also, it would be even better if you can have a Phonak rep be there when you are fit, as 2 heads are better than one.

In addition, I think you need to clearly list your priorities and requirements up front and work with someone who isn’t just trying to sell you a hearing aid, but someone who really wants to help you and make a decent living at the same time.

What area are you in?

Thank you again for the benefit of your expertise. The tips that came with the Micropower also hurt my ear canals and were tough to insert and remove, although they certainly stayed in place. I will take your suggestions and look for an audiologist in this area who has experience with Phonak. What is the normal price of the Micropower? Can you purchase the “Smart Link” remote only to manually place the aids in the proper mode to use the phone? I hope you don’t need to purchase the entire $2000 FM Smart Link system!!!

The Micro Powers should be around $4,000-$5,500 depending on your area and the Smart Link should be around $1,500 - $2,000.

This setup is not cheap, but if done properly, can work extremely well and provide years of good use.

I have made an appointment with a local audiologist and will post a message on the final result. Thank you again.