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

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#22

I bought the Phonak Audeo B Direct 50. I almost returned them - but kept them after audi installed update. I realize these are first-generation in making use of Bluetooth with a standard android phone, but I didn’t want to wait another year for the kinks to get ironed out. On my end they work perfectly. If/when there are problems it’s on the other end where the sound is not perfect like with the regular over the ear headset.
One problem with all this is that a large percentage of people who wear HA are old and are unable to deal with technology. I deal with the largest HMO in the country and I think I was the first person the two audis I was dealing with expressed a specific interest in having BT capable HA. (I am 79)


#23

Thank you @miket, for the response. I understand the ins and outs of being old and technically capable. Being treated like am am some degree of “deaf, dumb, and blind” just because I am old and wrinkled is frustrating. On the other hand it is fun when I know a salesperson or service person is talking down to me and I answer with a through and technical reply. The “how, wow!” :zipper_mouth_face: look on their face is, as the saying goes, priceless. :+1: Their next statement will be revealing, they will either turn into a great ally in my product search, or they shine me on and I leave, not wasting my time or theirs.

My biggest two issues with getting aids is getting one that meets my wants in terms of hearing in all the places I frequent, and listing to streaming music from my Android phone. Second is find an audi that is a good fit with my personality. I have read here many times that a good relationship with your audi is the single most important aspect of satisfaction with hearing aid purchase and use. I do not doubt that in the least, both of these are equally important.

I know my Android phone is less than optimal with streaming to HAs, but it is a great phone with incredible capability and I am extremely reluctant to switch to an iPhone, though that is possible and I am investigating that as well. I’ve investigated the essential programs I use and most are available on iOS, but three are not and no good alternatives, sadly.

All the replies to my post are incredibly helpful, as are all the posts I have found at Hearing Tracker. Thank you everyone. I have two solid choices on my list to trial.


#24

I tried the Resound 3D thru Costco for a few days before switching to the KS8 with telecoil. I liked the speech understanding better with the KS8s and the battery life was much improved. I also didn’t mind the $1000 savings…


#25

I am 75, but am technologically pretty savvy. I wear KS8s and use Connexx software on an S8 to control them. I am a retired engineer and have 4 patents. The reason I mention this is that I have a fairly simple idea which I think would be very useful to most hearing aid users. I don’t know whether to approach hearing aid manufacturers or someone like Connexx (the feature could be implemented by either them or a manufacturer). My problem is that I don’t know if there would be a financial incentive for someone like Connexx. Of course for a HA manufacturer there could be. Does anyone reading this know how Connexx makes their money?


#26

Pretty sure Connexx is just the name of the software that is used to program Signia/Siemens and Rexton hearing aids (and assorted others, including Kirkland KS7 and KS8. So, you’d likely want to contact Signia.


#27

Good suggestion, thank you. Someone else stated the same. For me, since I need the intermediary device to stream to Android, I like the features of the ReSound Phone Clip+ better than the Connexx Smart Mic so I still think I prefer the ReSound HA over KS8, but I will look at both at the store.


#28

…something’s not right here. If they were loaners I suspect they were 312’s


#29

Maybe Signia is the hearing aid brand. The company behind them is Silvantos?


#30

My audiologist told me they were size 13. Anyway when I changed the battery size 13 went in Ok.


#31

Sivantos is the corporation behind them. Signia has replaced the Siemens brand. Rexton is another brand that shares very similar features. They all run on Connexx software. It’s even more confusing because not only is the programming software that is used to program all of them called Connexx, but so are some of the apps for Rexton hearing aids.


#32

With the Phonak series I have, you can get it to use with the Bluetooth on the phone - or, get it for streaming music for both ears. There does not appear to be a model that performs bold functions.
Anyway, after reading the posts here, it appears that there will be a number of choices available in the coming year from different manufacturers.


#33

I would make a visit to Costco and try their KS8 HAs. Less that $1700 for the pair. If they don’t work for you, give them back within 6 months and get a full refund. They work great for me and I have no intention of returning them.


#34

As posted above, I have been working with an licensed, certified Doctor of Audiology for a month, he recently called and offered me a deal on a Starkey Muse IQ ($6400 now ~$4000 +/-) that has been in the office for some time. I have a fitting appointment in two weeks for 45 day trial with a Surflink Mobile 2 (~$600?) to stream calls and data. I will use it with cellphone, TV, PC, tablet, and laptop. I have an appointment for testing / evaluation with a NBC-HIS at Costco in four weeks and want to trial the ReSound Forte 8 ($2800 - same as the ReSound LINX 3D) with a Phone Clip+ (~$300?).

As a dedicated Android user I am trying not to change to an iPhone, so I will need the intermediary streamer, at least for now (I might switch to an iPhone as a final, pry-my-Android-from-my-clinched-hands-gritted-teeth, last resort). The final beta of the Developer Preview (DP4) for Android “P” / v.9.0 released today, as noted in posts here on Hearing Tracker, it is supposed to have “direct” HA support, but no updated details yet on what has changed over DP3 that did not show useable HA Accessibility functions, just embedded code that is not enabled.

My uncertainty is the difference of working with a trained Audiologist with much experience and a strong background in sound recording and processing (meaningful since I listen to music almost all day) as well as audiology vs a NBC-HIS (National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences) at Costco who I just met briefly as I made the appointment. I will give the HIS a try, given half the cost and she has a good reputation from some who have gotten HAs at Costco. I had one referral from this forum (who thought that HIS was an Audiologist) and one in the senior community where I live.

After four appointments spanning five hours and two demos (Starkey Halo IQ - 2 days & Widex Beyond - 5 days) I’m comfortable working with this audi and trust his knowledge and training to adjust whatever I get to my satisfaction. We have mutual acquaintances in this small town as well. My initial impression of the fitter at Costco was positive (asked good questions, listened and responded with good information) and I will just have to see how well she can listen to my wishes and adjust the HAs as we go through the trial.

The big minus I see now is the cost of the HAs from the Audiologist. The aids are normally $6400, but he stated he is trying to get me a discount since the aids were ordered, then shipped back to Starkey because the person who ordered changed their mind and wanted a different color, then failed to pick them up and the aids sat for some months. They were then returned to Starkey, but since it had been longer than the normal trial period, Starkey replaced them with a newer model (current 2018) but would not refund. Then they sat a few more months (Muse IQ is high end low sales volume item at this clinic). When he found them, he is making me the offer, pending final approval. I trust that they are current version and he is not doing a car sales bait and switch on me. He is also trying to get a discount on the Surflink Mobile 2, since they have two live, never used demo units, I will use one so if Starkey states they are not returnable on a trial, and possibly just buy that one at a discount. He needs to get final approval from the owner, as he is an employee.

We also talked about price bundling, and they are unbundled, so after 45 days I can expect to pay $30 - $60 per office visit, adjustments included. I get one yearly cleaning at no cost. So total cost of over $4K to near $5K and more.

I want way more than just improving my hearing loss - am very active outdoors, listen to music much of my day at home and streaming, attend volunteer monthly meetings, advocate at government council meetings, attend live concerts often, and since California has outdoor music, coffee, cafes, I visit those daily. Since I expect great programming and performance from my HAs and who knows how my hearing will change year by year. I do know my hearing dropped from 60 db to 65 db at 3 & 4 kHz from 6/2017 to 5/2018. I hope to use these HAs for years, with some software updates and receiver replacements if needed for hearing changes, plus batteries, domes, etc.

Obviously Costco has the best deal with significantly lower price, longer trials of 180 days vs 45, and unlimited adjustments, as long as I can get a fitter with the skills and patience to meet my courteous but persistent needs and wants. I’ve seen quite a few posts about people who get fitters who want to set HAs up then do a couple adjustments and be done. If people keep returning the fitter gets cranky. I know I will require more visits than the typical HA user.

Thoughts are more than welcome! Thank you all who have replied so far!


#35

My biggest concern is that the audi is trying to sell you something he has rather than what might be best for you.


#36

Thanks for the reply., that is a valid point that I have mostly dismissed myself, though is still in my mind.

I did try the Halo IQ which is basically the same except it is 2.4 GHz Made for iPhone and has no android streamer. The Muse IQ uses 900 MHz linking with quite a few SurfLink accessories that work with android.

He knows money is tight for me, and we only talked about high end devices, required partly from the type of high end loss and partly because of my wanting more functionality than the typical HA wearer. I did like the Starkey better than the Widex in my two brief demos and would have likely moved that way had I not learned about Costco and investigated that option.

From years in sales I know the tactic, and the higher the price of the product, at the same margin, the more money one makes in profit. So a lower sales price means lower margin. Sometimes letting someone sell me long sitting product has more advantages to me than them.

The fact they are unbundled means it is harder to predict my ongoing costs years down the line if my hearing changes and by how much. If the Costco fitter is competent to meet my needs, then the long term costs appear to be substantially less.


#37

I don’t think you can really make a “wrong” decision. Sounds like you’re trying both of them out so if Costco’s comparable, I’m guessing you’ll go that way. Few things. A loss worsening by 5dB is not significant. You could get that kind of variation (or greater) from test to test. I too was skeptical of the “I’ll give you a good deal because I have them in stock.” story about the Starkeys. $600 for the Surflink Mobile 2 seems high. Similar devices from other manufacturers are in the $250 to $300 range (less at Costco) You really sound like you might enjoy self programming. If interested, see DIY section. And lastly, if the audiologist is really good at interpreting your wants and translating them into programming the hearing aids, he could be well worth the cost (and more) If he’s not, well then. Do remember that a lot of liking hearing aids is getting used to them.


#38

I have only found two prices for the Surflink, on eBay $600 to $640, one USA seller for $489 (hearstore.com) but have not confirmed they are available at that price. It is a more complicated streamer than most, with a lot more features, and of course, larger. I like the features, but wonder about size.

I have read quite a bit in the DIY forums, checked some OTA programmers online, marked a few on eBay to watch. I’ve downloaded some software programs already and installed them just to see. Right now seems no one has the current Starkey and seems confirmed that ReSound from Costco is locked. That means if I don’t feel satisfied with the Costco fitter, I have no alternative for programming them.

I’m not focusing too much on the hardware, I know it is the audiologist / fitter that matters most. The difference is a know quite a bit about the audi, the fitter I only have a five minute first impression.

The 45 day Starkey demo starts on 7/18 and the first Costco appointment is 8/09 and I don’t think I will walk out the door with aids, likely a week or two, so 8/16 to 8/23. The first demo is up on 8/31 at 45 days, so not many days to compare and probably only one or two fitter appointments to evaluate the fitter at Costco before I need to decide and 9 to 16 days to compare.

That, in a nutshell, is why I am posting for opinions from those with more experience with hearing aids. The feedback so far is very helpful and appreciated.


#39

Remember aids purchased at Costco have software locked and can only be serviced by Costco. most often even when not a store branded aid.–accessories are not a problem.
Remember if you are a traveler gaining service is an issue.


#40

I don’t think that’s quite entirely true. Only a few are “locked” to Costco-only fitting software. The others can be done by anyone. But if they’d be willing is a whole other matter.
Which brings up a question…if you have full-on Big-5 market aids and you travel…can you just pop into any seller that carries your brand and get service for them?


#41

That is incorrect or only partially correct. The KS5 and 6 were locked by Resound. It isn’t Costco policy to lock aids. In the above it was the vendor’s choice.