I recently found out that I need bilateral hearing aids for both ears. I am currently shopping around for different brands. My audiologist only has phonak products. I feel like this brand isn’t very reliable and they seem frustrating to work with from other posts I’ve read. I need hearing aids with good Bluetooth connection for my phone and etc. I also need to hear clearly over a headset for my job. What other brands should I consider? I will work with my audiologist on the best type, fit etc…
I’d be less concerned about brand and more concerned about the person selling you and adjusting the hearing aids. Any of the major brands are fine: Phonak, Oticon, Resound, Starkey, Signia or Widex (or offshoots) If you’ve found an audiologist you like and have confidence in, stick with them. If not, and cost is at all an issue, I’d highly encourage checking out Costco. BT with phone works decently. Headset may be a challenge. Not sure where you got impression about Phonak not being reliable, but I don’t think that’s accurate.
I agree 100% with what @MDB said. All of the top tier hearing aids from Phonak, Oticon, Resound are excellent and provide very reliable bluetooth connectivity. Biggest issue people have is that the audiologist they initially go to for a fitting doesn’t know what they are doing or doesn’t take the time to fit you properly. The audiologist is key. The other thing you will find is that different hearing aids work better than others for different types of hearing loss. Very important to go to an audiologist who is familiar with a number of the top tier brands so that you can test different hearing aids to find what is best for you.
Welcome @Ace3184 !
It’s not been so long that I can’t recall how bewildering it can be as a newbie to hearing aids. You’ve come to a great place for support.
I will echo @MDB and @JordanK that finding an audiology practice that can let you trial a few brands is nice and they’re all very good, with individual strengths, but an experienced audiologist makes a big difference. If you need to, you can trial brands at different practices. And there always Costco Hearing Centers. Definitely give Phonak a trial.
Hearing clearly with an over-ear headset shouldn’t present any issue, with any brand of HA. I’ve tried a few types of headphones and they’ve all worked with my BTE. If your talking about using HA to replace in-ear headsets, things are more complicated, and probably not worth the effort based on what I’ve read in forums - primarily as hearing aid microphones are less reliable than a dedicated pickup mic for your own voice.
The more widespread ‘Bluetooth LE’ in the HA industry is limited to some Android phones, but most all iPhones. Phonak has BT Classic which is very versatile at the cost of using notable amount of battery use. I haven’t had connection issues with Phonak’s Classic or another brands LE Bluetooth connections.
Hope some of this helps!
I am talking about a headset that I use at work daily. I am in healthcare scheduling. I am just trying to avoid potential feedback from hearing aids.
A reminder that ReSound is now called Jabra. It is a dependable brand that I’ve worn for some years. Costco sells them at a v. good price with excellent service.
Only at Costco, elsewhere they are still ReSound.
Feedback from having the headset on? With the hearing aids, feedback can be resolved with levels, dome/molds, and various anti-feedback algorthms. This an example of where the audiologists experience matters.
Though personally, I never had feedback from wearing a headphones, on or over-ear types. I trialed Phonak Paradise models for a few weeks and never, not once, had feedback, and that was with open domes which would be the most susceptible type.
During a trial, you get to see what works and resolve problems… before you buy. Less a typical retail experience, the audiologist provides service to fine tune, customize, and maximize the hearing aid. Any feedback issue would be included under that.
You do not say where you live. If you are in the USA, the ADA protections allow you to have your employer provide reasonable accommodations. There are devices, generally tied to whatever HA brand you choose, that will interface with the phone to put the sound into your HAs. Some VOIP systems are easy to route to your cell phone and, hence, your HAs. Talk with your boss, HR & IT to see what they can do for you.
Thanks. But it’s confusing. Jabra GN has a complex website of its own, from GN, which doesn’t mention Costco. There is also the ReSound webpage. Both seem current. Jabras are sold more widely than just at Costco. Maybe ReSounds are restricted to sales through professional audiologist practices?
Just the OTC versions tho I believe.
Definitely, same with the other non OTC from Jabra, ReSound is a very popular manufacturer of HAs, one of my favourites.
Phonak’s bluetooth is different from other brands’. They connect like normal bluetooth device and Phonak actually deliberately made it in that way. It does not mean their BT are not good. Most hearing aids now provide Bluetooth streaming. Depending on your phone - IOS uses MFA (Made for Apple) while Android uses ASHA - you just need to check if the hearing aids you choose are compatible with your iPhone or Android phone.
If you hope to use a headset over the hearing aids, you will probably choose in-the-ear or in-the-canal aids. BTE may be uncomfortable and will create electrical noise and feedback. Please talk to your audiologists with your concerns and hopefully he/she can provide a great solution.
I have never been comfortable wearing headsets over my HAs, using either BTE or CIC devices from different brands- the problems were always feedback and horribly distorted sound. HAs are just not very good at handling sound from speakers, imho, just barely good enough when used for car radios.
One solution I use to increase the volume of my headset (connecting to an iPad) is to split the iPad speaker/microphone outputs, route the speaker signal through an amplifier (cheap Lepy devices will do), and to combine the signals again before connecting them to the headset. A somewhat clumsy setup, but what I would use for professional use.
Working from a PC is easier; you use e.g. a webcam as microphone, and send the PC output audio again to a small amplifier and regular headphones.
Third option (if you need to also hear what happens around you) is, ofc, using BT- and Phonaks excel in this capability. However if you use BT all day, rechargeable batteries won’t hold juice long enough- use disposables.
That’s the case of fitting and good programming. Nothing to do with brand of hearing aid.
Apart from early analog days, I’ve only ever worn Phonaks (20 + years) and have never needed a repair, not even when bought second hand.
I do have a pair of Oticon now but they seem more fragile than Phonak in my opinion.
Just need to look after them well.
4 sets of Phonaks since 2015. All still work fine (all with disposable batteries).
There are many options for connecting your work phone system directly to hearing aids (DECT, telecoil, bluetooth, adapters etc), you’ll need to check this out with your IT dept so you know what options you need in your hearing aids. For example, would the telecoil help you? If you can get your calls directly to your HA’s, it’s a real game changer.
Yes, agreed that the Jabra name must be generally restricted to OTC/Costco. I’m wearing them now and like them. I wore ReSound for many years. Both can use the Multi-Mic. The term ‘OTC’ can be confusing, because although Jabra’s ear buds are certainly “ready to go” off the shelf, the Jabras I’m now wearing from Costco require fitting and programming just like traditional hearing aids.
Yes, I think a simple way to think of it is Jabras sold through Costco are Resound equivalents (or very similar) Other Jabras are OTC.
Yes definitely, they also use SmartFit for programming.
More general newbie advice… Consider carefully whether you want rechargeable or disposable batteries. It seems that for each user here who loves their rechargeable aids, there’s another user who regrets getting rechargeables and comes here to learn how to cope with the downsides.
Here’s a rebuttal of some claimed advantages of rechargeables:
Rechargeables won’t save you money, because zinc-air batteries don’t cost a lot when bought in advance, and with rechargeables you might get into buying a spare charger or other extra charging gear. Not to mention the cost of replacing the rechargeable battery outside of warranty. Environmental comparison between the two kinds is unclear, given that a year’s worth of spent zinc-air batteries is just a few ounces of waste for the batteries themselves, and chargers and other charging gear also have an environmental cost. Zinc-air powered aids do lack a linear and predictable battery gauge, but you can learn how to manage them so they don’t die unexpectedly.