New Starkey Product: UPDATE

Just a little update I spotted:

http://www.zonhearingaids.com/

Also if you click on the Now Available link you can read about the technical information and a model comparison.

http://www.starkeypro.com/public/products_solutions/hearing_aid_devices/zon_series/index.jsp?utm_source=zon&utm_medium=microsite&utm_campaign=nowavailable

From my understanding the BluWave technology is a new operating system for the nFusion CPU that runs the instrument. Sounds very promising based on a chat with one of their field reps. They are claiming a sound quality improvement and new features with their new 3.0 programming software. And for the first time it sounds like the dispenser will be able to update the firmware in the hearing aid to the latest version.

The fitting range looks a little lower than the Destiny range though?

Guess none of the new models really drive down prices on the older ones :frowning:

The open fit OTE aids they had before were a fitting range of 40dBHL from 250-1KHz, then a drop to 80dBHL for the high frequencies.

The Zōn is claiming a bottom fitting range of 50dB at 1KHz, which is certainly significant. But then with either standard or custom molds can drop down to 70dBHL from 250-1KHz, then a drop to 80dBHL for the high.

That’s definitely more gain than you can put through the existing RIC or OTE products.

But a Destiny BTE or custom in the ear instrument (non-open fit) can do more.

And no, don’t expect to see a massive price drop. It’s not going to happen. It cost $40m to develop Destiny, and they want that money back. I don’t even know how much the Zōn cost or the new BluWave technology cost, but they want the money back for that too.

Even when they get their money back, they now have to work on the next big thing, which will cost millions more.

The problem with hearing aids is that maybe 10% of the population needs them. Perhaps a quarter of those who need them actually get them. And a good system can last ten years.

So you have a small percentage of the population, who need them, an even smaller percentage of people who get them. Once they purchase they may not make another purchase for ten years. That’s why they are not the price of an iPod or cell phone.

Well its always good to hear that HA prices are not going down. The whole process is such a mockery.

Where I live I’ve almost exhausted all audies and fitters. It is incredible to me that they think a person will purchase something for $4 - 5 K (probably at least 6 times cost) that generally do not live up to expectations. Then, if you don’t purchase, try to charge you for an complete audiological exam when it was nowhere near complete and the “patient” is not given a copy.

There is no way IMO that the consumer wins at this game.

Ten years?
Most hearing aid manufacturers claim that parts are no longer available after five years! And yet there are 100 repair services on the Net who can do it!

Phonak AU refused to service my CICs after 5 years!

Simply protecting their turnover, I suspect!

Why am I forced to buy new aids after a time determined by the manufacturers?

Is Starkey different on that point?

Dear Sulla:
Most medical manf. (other areas: Opthalmic, dental, etc)
they keep parts for 5 yrs after the product gets discontinued…
Once that period is done, they offer support based on what they have on inventory… this is the general practice

Yes I understand that Xbulder. Please understand that i could not get parts from Phonak after 5 years from date of purchase!~ Not 5 years from date of the model being discontinued!~

But what I do not understand is ZCT’s claim of a ten year life!

HAs are a major investment and in most situations amount to $20 a week over five years plus non-warranty cost of repairs which can add another $1000 or $2000.

We are a minor consumer overall but we are being financialy challenged by the manufacturers who show us great contempt with their policies!!

I can buy new parts for a 30 year old car which is another major investment, but I cannot get the manufacturer to repair a 5yo HA?

ZCT where does the TEN YEAR statement come from?

If I still worked for my last company, I could go and pull multiple files, of patients who still have aids that are ten years old, and still happy with them.

I can tell you too that in dealing with Starkey since 1994, I once saw an aid that was 15 years old and still worked.

I’m not saying this is the norm, but certainly from what I’ve seen it is hardly a wild exception.

These days with digital aids offering a greater level of adjustment, I am certain that this is not unrealistic if you look after the aids and get them cleaned and serviced regularly (which should generally be free).

What’s more, the Starkey open fit technology doesn’t even have wires inside, so issues of shorting out and dry joints are a thing of the past.

I’ve personally sent aids that are around ten years old back to Starkey for repair and they have not baulked at repairing them for the same guaranteed repair charge they have for a 2 year old aid or a 10 year old aid. Which after my former employer’s mark up was $269. This included a one year warranty.

In fact one time I sent back an aid that was about seven years old. It was one of the early digital aids, and Starkey had found the programming mechanism to be unreliable and prone to problems. They upgraded the patient for free to newer technology, on the basis it was not the patients fault that they didn’t want to support that product any more.

I’m not making any of this stuff up. There is a reason I chose to offer Starkey exclusively at my practice.

If you have a different experience, maybe it has something to do with buying imports. Imported aids are far less likely to have that level of service and after care than the largest domestic manufacturer.

I don’t think I’m ever going to convince you of my opinion, but I can assure you that I have never offered any hearing aid system at six times what it costs me. Not even close. It would be sweet if I could. I’d only need to fit a couple of patients a month and I’d be making about $120,000 per year. Four hours of testing, an hour or so of fitting, maybe another hour on admin and paper work. Yeah that would be over $1,000 an hour. Sadly, it’s not what I make.

You are quite right that any office that tests you and if you don’t buy charges you for a test they won’t give you is total nonsense. I’ve never worked anywhere that does that. But then I’m just a lowly HIS.

If you want to talk about markups though, my wife got charged about $12 for a pain killer when she was at the ER. It was just a tablet, generic, and you can buy them for about 50c without insurance at Walgreens.

The entire health care industry in the US is a problem, not just the hearing aid industry. I am the first to agree that reform would be great. But the simple laws of economics would not permit a typical hearing professional to be offering aids for a few hundred bucks for the reasons I already mentioned.

Maybe insurance should be forced to stop denying claims, holding everything up with red tape, and refusing to cover almost anything including hearing aids.

Um, My Oticon DigiFocus hearing aids are 10 to 11 years old this year. If a manufacturer or audi needs to sell
HA every 4 to 5 years I’m probably not the customer they want.

To say I got my money’s worth out of them would be an understatement.

Parts were long not available when I had one repaired last Oct… Repair
facility my dispenser used was, of course, Starkey. But it was sent back
a second time…the repair did not restore it 100%…ie it sounds different now,
feedback has increased. I resolved that I cannot expect the repair to make
it brand new again. I am very thankful for any repair…I would think a lot
of manufacturer’s “repairs” are merely a swap/replacement of the HA with ones
they stock? Perhaps they should keep all those HAs we tried and returned
for parts??

Also, I recently had my perspective changed quite a bit…

I don’t like the HA prices either but my recent research into
the U.S. matrress/bedding industry/scam makes the HA industry look like nothing. One
cannot go to a mattress web site or store and compare models as the
same model will have 12 different names (perfectly legal). Every store will beat the price of the other store
only if you can prove 2 models the same (impossible…manufacturer will even deny two are the same).
Most are covered by the same warranty (10-20 years) but contain a dozen loopholes for the manfucturer to
get out of it (ie…your support beams are made out of pine, the warranty says they must be oak).

Imagine buying a 2000+ HA, having it break after 8 months and the manufacturer telling you they would
not honor the 1 year warranty because you didn’t have a dry and store on your sales receipt.

I will be attending a training session on Zon on the 17th, so will report anything interesting I find out.

Cool. Please do post. I can’t get to one until June because of my location, and my unwillingness to travel too far to see it a couple of weeks early!

For my sins I worked for a mobile home company as a district manager for a couple of years. I hadn’t yet worked out how to get back in the hearing aid industry after I moved from the UK.

Anyway, you want to talk about ripping people off. Don’t even get me started. The entire industry is so corrupt, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. Thank goodness I met a kind soul who showed me how to relicense in the US, and go back to something I enjoy.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I really think that the hearing aid industry is pretty reasonable. While I’ve met a few rogue dispensers and incompetent audiologists in my time, by and large I’ve found the people to be caring and considerate.

My only beef with the US industry is the exams are too easy.

When I licensed in the UK, it was a six hour written exam, with no multiple choice anything. Questions would include, “Draw a cross section diagram of the cochlea and label it in Latin.”

A couple of months after the exam, you would do a practical in front of six different people. A medical doctor, an audiologist with a PhD, a surgeon, and I forget who the other three were, but they all specialized in something and were very knowledgeable. They had also marked your paper and could at any random time aurally re-visit what you had messed up in the exam.

After you passed all that you had to practice for 850 hours with a supervisor to ensure you were doing the job properly.

I think that in America there is an issue with idiots working in the hearing aid industry. They can’t program hearing aids properly, and they don’t act in the best interest of the patients. I think that tougher entry requirements might weed such people out.

I’d also like to see a national license that works in every state.

But anyway, enough off topic rant! :rolleyes: