New member, getting first HA, seeking opinions Oticon, ReSound

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#1

This will be my first new post, looking for opinions on a few HA things. My audiogram is in my profile, moderately severe high end hearing loss. Getting my first HAs. I’ve been reading voraciously here for weeks. Now I would love opinions and I know I am going to ramble a bit, forgive me. I know as I seek info, the more I prove the better feedback I get. This forum is wonderful for those of us seeking more knowledge before laying out ~$4-6K for hearing aids. Thank you to the those who built and maintain the site and all those who contribute. My heartfelt thank you to all!

I’m 69 years old, fit and physically active all my life, stayed fit in spite of previous heart issues, cancer and broken femur (hit by car) I’m a techno-geek (some say a technoweenie). Highly computer literate, gadget geek, not intimidated by new tech. Android enthusiast, I volunteer as a Recognized Contributor on XDA Developer Forums, use a Pixel 2 XL phone. I’m a music enthusiast, high quality home stereo usually playing most of the day (helps distract my tinnitus). I usually stream music via Nuheara Boost IQBuds earbuds 4-6 hours a day while outside for hours at a time (I love listening and the tinnitus distraction). I do watch TV in the evenings, usually ball games and / or a movie. I have a streamer from TV or computer that can switch between speakers or BT for headphones / earbuds.

Here is the meat - demoed Starkey Halo IQ 3 days and Widex Beyond 5 days. They had the “normal” profile and a “music” profile, set up for my loss, but no fine tuning. I know many issues below can be addressed by the audi with fine tuning.

Starkey Halo IQ (open domes) observations - no feedback, good wind suppression, worked well for speech in noise like coffee shops, busy BBQ restaurant, and a smoothie blender place (extremely noisy with Vitamix blenders). No real downsides except ability to stream unknown with no intermediary device with no good Android options.

Widex Beyond observations (tulip domes) - excessive feedback anytime a hand or hat or glasses got within a foot, wind noise suppression not near what Starkey could do. They did well in speech in noise and hard to say one brand was better than the other.I found the Widex overall sound better, especially music, even if a bit “crisp” or “harsh”. I understand I need to let my brain adapt to the new hearing sensation that have been missing for years. The Android streaming option is better.

I go a a clinic that has 3 ENT physicians (one handled my cancer treatment and I know as an acquaintance before the cancer go round - we are both MTB enthusiasts). The clinic also has 2 AuD., I’ve worked with one and really like him and feel comfortable and connected. He is a MTB rider as well, years of experience as an audi in a VA clinic, has a background in music audio processing and mixing, now at this clinic.

The options now are Starkey Muse IQ with the Surflink Mobile 2 (no Android app and the Halo has no acceptable Android option) or the Widex Beyond with the Com-Dex. The audi is checking to see if we can order both (pay for one) and let me have them to demo for 45 days, then return one. The clinic carries Phoneak and Oticon also, though I had no demo and the audi says they will not work for my hearing loss, which I find odd. It was the end of the day so we ran out of time to discuss more. Opinions on why he might say that, based on my audiogram?

I’m also interested in the ReSound LINX 3D based on other posts here. It appears that the ReSound HAs might sound better, have good feedback and wind suppression and their combo of Smart 3D app (really like the remote programming ability) and the Phone Clip+ would suit me better than Starkey or Widex options. There is another audi that my (minimal, laughable, but hey!) insurance will cover visits and some costs, however they are a couple hours away which is why the remote programming ability is appealing, with my phone / gadget / app / computer confidence.

Thank you for those who get this far and offer opinions, it is very much appreciated!


#2

I’m trialing ReSound LiNX 3D 961, using a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S7 phone which just got updated to Oreo, and I added a Phone Clip+ recently. I’m happy with the hearing aids, and the control offered by the Smart 3D app, and I expect to buy the aids in a couple of weeks. But when the app loses connection to the aids, I almost always have to force-stop it to make it reconnect. That was annoying before, when I could long-press the app icon to get the app info screen. It’s worse with Oreo since I have to go through settings and the list of apps to get to app info. The Smart 3D app on iPhone supposedly works better.

The Phone Clip+ does its job, and is small compared to previous hearing aid streamers, but of course large compared to BT devices I used before hearing aids. It’s made to be clipped, say, on the outside of a shirt pocket, which is rather conspicuous. I’d rather carry it in the pocket, and the microphone works fine that way. But it tends to get accidentally double-clicked which causes it to repeat the last outgoing call. Another annoyance is that if I clip it to the top of the pocket for security, facing in, then the flashing LED’s on the clip face outward, so I look like a walking modem or something.

So I plan to buy an iPhone later this week, which should give me two things: 1) Built-in streaming to aids through the MFi feature; 2) Hopefully a less frustrating experience with the app. I’ve been using Android since 2009, but I wouldn’t call myself an enthusiast anymore.

As for ReSound Assist remote changes, my audiologist and I have tried it twice so far. The first time the request ended up getting closed with no settings, though she says she submitted a setting change. The second time, she submitted a change but I still saw the request as open, and she said she would contact ReSound. At that point I told her I’m perfectly happy to request changes and look for responses and such (it doesn’t appear to notify or send email on a response), but she’d figure out the problems faster if she made change requests on her own phone and a set of test hearing aids. Haven’t heard from her since then, so maybe I pissed her off. I’m her first patient to try ReSound Assist, though a couple of other audiologists in the office have used it.


#4

Thanks @x475aws, great information, I appreciate the comments, especially about the app and the Phone Clip+. I have looked at getting an iPhone, but I subscribe to many Google services such as Project Fi, Music. and others. I am trying to find the best aids that have the best Android streaming solution for me. I’ve read so much in the last week that my eyeballs almost bleed.

I understand the app frustrations, I’ve had plenty of those that I grow to depend upon and then they screw up, very frustrating. I also know that the audi needs to be tech savvy with the idea of remote programming, that is true for in person programming as well That is why I like the audi I have now is that I know he will understand what I will be asking in adjustments, since he is a techno geek too.


#5

Thank you @pvc, I’ve read many things here about Costco aids. That store is not as convenient for me and the same question about audi or fitter capabilities apply. I remember you mentioned in another thread that your son went to Poly, and that sure looks like the SLO store, even with me being a SLO person. :rofl:

Where I go finally and what I spend gets more complicated. I began the test and research a year ago, but when I found costs, that was beyond my means. A few months back I got the broken femur insurance settlement that now gives me some cushion and the ability to address some health issues like teeth after radiation, and ears after chemotherapy. I also made some changes to insurance that helps on many issues I face, even if minimal. I have to choose carefully to satisfy my own needs vs wants. Now I’m a month into my second hearing aid quest and education with earnest.

The other tough part is the ENT who treated me I know quite well from being involved in the local bicycle community, both road and mountain. SLO is not that big and we all know each other at least by sight. She is a great person, and a very tough, assertive woman as a professional and a bike rider. I am fine with that, really like her and her professionalism and toughness. She did refer me to the other audi that has ReSound available a year ago, based on income and insurance at the time, and that audi is on my HMO provider list. If I go to Costco or somewhere else, I have no doubt that she will have my privates on a pole in the village square. :open_mouth:

That is where my thoughts are right now, I can spend $4-6K if I need to, weighing all factors that I know right now. The audi at the ENT / Hearing clinic has spent around 5 hours with me, listening and explaining very thoroughly, and his technical abilities are worth higher costs, believing his training and skills will give me better results, since I tend to be wanting more than many in terms of programming and features in my hearing aids.


#6

Phonak Audeo B Direct and corporate cousin Unitron Moxi All are the available choices for Android streaming hearing aids without an intermediate device. At first I wanted to stay with Android (more out of dislike for Apple than passion for Android), so my audiologist suggested Audeo B Direct. They turned out to be a disappointment both as hearing aids and as a Bluetooth headset. Rather than having a dedicated microphone for picking up your voice during a phone call, they use the regular hearing aid mics on the side configured for phone use. Their noise-filtering algorithm works up to a point, but if it’s too noisy then the person on the other end hears noise and not your voice. If I’m, say, in the city, there may be no quiet place to retreat to. Hearing-aid-wise, they didn’t help with speech in noise as much as I expected, and my expectations weren’t out of line because the ReSounds do a lot better.

The Unitron Moxi All is said to be built using the same special Bluetooth-capable SWORD™chip (Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital), but with different software, so maybe it works better.


#7

I too am not an Apple person. But I think those B-Directs are only phone calls (and mono). I don’t think they stream from the phone. You can get an intermediate device of course.
So I’m still waiting.


#8

Me too, kind of, but skeptically. I know Google has shown that the next Android OS release, “P” / version 9 will have BT HA support. Final release is Q3 2018. One reason I prefer Google phones is quick monthly updates.

The next developer preview #4 is scheduled to drop next week, and should have all API’s present, so we will know more soon, and we can bet all HA design engineers are watching this closely. It it takes a new HA chip, the the wait will be much longer, 1-2 years at least, and will mean new HAs. If it is a protocol in a software stack, it could be sooner, at least for those HAs that are designed to take firmware updates. That is why I am still considering an intermediary device with Android, since I don’t want to wait months to years. My two brief demos showed me how much I am missing in my day to day life. I’m ready now.

@z10user2 I’ve seen your posts about your dinosaur device. :grin: I know how those attachments go. I spent almost 20 years in cellphone tech and later sales, so I remember BB devices well. They were really tough competition to the salespeople while I was a tech. I have a friend who will not give hers up either, in spite of my ribbing.

Also, @x475aws I think @z10user2 is correct about the mono and only phone calls on the Phonak Audio B Direct. I suspect that is why my audi ruled them our for me. I’m going to call him tomorrow with some questions.

Thank you all again for the responses!


#9

That’s nice optimism. We’ll see. I’m not really an Android kind of person either (way too ad-oriented and tracking for my liking) but really…they won. Android is EVERYWHERE. They’re closing in on Windows itself and they’re twice the share of Apple handheld devices. But kudos to Apple for having awareness of other-abled people and doing things first on that front.

Still rockin’ my BB :slight_smile: Until it’s time for new HA’s and they answer my current wishlist and then some.


#10

That is precisely why the HA engineers are watching closely, as is every HA manufacturer. Potentially double the number of MFI users is a huge additional chunk of market and a huge amount of money to be had.


#11

We can only hope. I would like to see the HA makers kill off their intermediate devices as no longer necessary if they can connect to any standard btle. (stereo audio, phone sound on both sides and the existing mics in the HA’s) Carry some around for a few more years to drop out the older HA’s and then that’s that. Wide open to any and all modern standard bluetooth. No more of this proprietary nonsense. That’s why I don’t like Apple to begin with.


#12

If you have profound hearing loss the Beltone Boost Max is excellent. The Accessories are real easy to use. Remote-Phone clip-TV Link2-MyPal.Beltone and ReSound are basically the same


#13

Now that there is funny :rofl:. I hope she is not the same professional bike-race-trainer that I knew who could sling a Frisbee from one end of Red Rock beach to the other end (which is quite a feat)!

btw> Red Rock beach is just south of Stinson Beach, Also, just south south of Red Rock is a submerged hot springs that you only get access during the extreme low tides of November/December because it is usually buried under the Pacific ocean. The hot springs location is a secret! Well maybe it’s a secret, except why do 50 to 100 ppl show up for low tide at 4:00 am in the morning??

Back on topic (or maybe worse), I usually pay $500 or so for hearing aids that are generally one generation back and then I program them myself.


#14

I noticed that you trialed the Starkeys with open domes and the Widexes with tulip domes. Domes make a big difference. I would want to use the same dome type (and of course the appropriate programming for that dome type) on each pair of HAs I was comparing, to get more of an apples-to-apples comparison.

Also, I think it’s very important to know which brands of HA’s the practice specializes in. The expertise the practice and individual audi has in a particular brand is very important, IMO.


#15

Thank you @ziploc, I understand what you are saying.The audi did explain that he did no setup on either the Starkey or the Widex aids except for domes for sanitary reasons and used what was open for each aid. Since this was just a short demo / trial to determine how each manufacturer processes sounds. The receiver wire length was off on both as well. I understood that going in. During our initial consultation after he explained my hearing loss, then he asked me about my lifestyle and if I knew anyone who wore aids, or if I had preferences in styles, etc.

Based on my criteria at the time (has since changed after the two demos) he explained they carry Starkey, Widex, Phonak, and Oticon. From previous experience he also stated that Sygnia might be a good choice, that they were in process to carry them soon. Turns out that that Signia will not be able to visit them until August he found out last week. I’m not sure if I want to wait another 2-3 months.

So based on my being an Android phone user, the two choices now are the Starkey Muse IQ with the SurfLink Mobile 2 or the Widex Beyond with the Com-Dex. He is checking to see if I can trial both for 45 days, set up properly with ongoing adjustments, and then return one set of HA and streamer.

I know he is one of two audi’s there and it appears that the three ENT’s make the final business decisions based on input from the audi’s. That might or might not be the best for the patient. I’m expecting to hear more from him on this later this week and plan to call the other clinic that has the ReSound LINX 3D tomorrow when they open, they are closed Mondays.


#16

If I had seen that by the end of the year the next version of android will have HA support, I would have waited to buy the new Phonaks w. BT. My return period was up a few weeks ago.
When I first got them - they did not work for the purpose intended. I could hear phone calls fine, but the person on the other end just heard a lot of distorted sound. So after three days, I decided to take them back and keep using my old ones. The audi said a software update had come in and installed it. I now rank the quality that about 85% as compared with the over the ear headset I have warn for over 10 years - long before I got HA. I am on the phone a lot during the day. I have my phone set to answer automatically on the third ring so I don’t have to push any buttons to answer a call.
They do make a similar line that does streaming for music to both ears.


#17

Thanks for your response @miket. Just to be clear, which aids are you using now and which aids did you return? I ask because I have read so much on various HAs in the last two weeks, my eyeballs are about to bleed. I’m waiting for info on the new Android release that should have an beta 4 with al final API to release in the next few days.


#18

Remember that there’re two sides to the tech. It’s all very well and promising for Android to put the capability in their OS using standards. But then the HA manufacturers have to build products to work with those standards. The only one doing that part way is Phonak…so far. It’s not as complete a solution as I’d like to see but at least they’re using standards.


#19

I used the Resound 3ds for about 5 days (loaner from Costco). The size 13 batteries only lasted 3 days. I then switched to the KS8 with tcoil. I am much happier with them and the batteries lasted about 9 days. I also saved about $1000…


#20

Sounds like you need to try Signia’s Pure 312NX RIC
ReSound has hot receivers (10db) and can be a little overwhelming.
Starkey is good, but constant issues with connectivity make it my #3 choice
Widex is fit more by AuD’s and is a very technical fit. Their new product looks promising however.
Nothing should be too crisp and a good provider will ask what changes you have made to find a comfortable level. He should also check on your DATA LOGGER to see what you have been doing with your volume, mic directionality and program usage.
Your phone app is your best friend, higher priced models have more control features on the app…so pick wisely, demo the manufacturer apps out in demo mode and see which one offers you the tools you need to hear better…and then go test that hearing aid out with that app…


#21

Thank you for the reply, @motoearhp My audi and I discussed Signia. from previous experience he also stated that Sygnia might be a good choice, that they were in process to carry them soon. Turns out that that Signia will not be able to visit them until August he found out last week. I’m not sure if I want to wait 2-3 or more months for something that ultimately might not happen. That is the downside to a small area with limited choice in Audiologist and those that are covered by my strict Medicate Advantage HMO!

The audi I visited is very technical and I have complete trust in his ability from a technical, experience, and training standpoint. He did check the data loggers of both Starkey and Widex demos I used for those few days. That fact that you state Widex is a more technical fit is a strong point in my opinion since I am demanding and technical myself, and this audi is as well. After the second demo of the Widex, using the app, I had two page typed of comparisons with it and the Starkey aids. He was very happy with that and we spent 30 minutes alone discussing those.

I’ve installed and gone though the demo mode of every HA app I can find, even some not on the my list of candidates! That is how I learn and compare. Now you see why friends call me a technoweenie. The downside to the Starkey Muse IQ plus Surflink Mobile 2 is there is no Android app, the other Starkey I actually demoed was a Halo IQ, that has a great app, but no intermediary device to work with Android.

Looks like Widex is the primary choice from that clinic, thanks to your response. I need to see about the Resound LINX 3d and the Costco version, the Forte 8. I’m not worried about “hot” receivers and overwhelmed, I am adaptable and understand that the high end sounds where my loss is can be very crisp or harsh. I’ve experienced that and understand I need to let my brain adapt to what it has not been fed for years.