Opticon Nera and Alta vs. Costco offerings

I am in my late 50s, have a severe (55 dB) notch at 2 KHz in my left ear and a similar (but not as bad) 35 dB dip at 2.5 KHz in the right ear. My low/high frequency hearing is still pretty good but I’m struggling with speech clarity because of the dips in this upper-middle range.

My audiologist suggested either the Opticon Nera at ~$4K or Alta at ~$5K.

I know Costco products are roughly half this price. Is there anyone out there who has done a comparison of Nera and Alta to the current Costco product line? What Costco products are closest to these Opticon devices? How did the Costco products compare performance-wise?

I respect and understand the value of a great audiologist but my hearing profile seems pretty straightforward…took the doc 30 seconds to boost 2.5 KHz on a pair of Altas and that was it (tried them in the office and they seemed fine). The one issue was I had some right ear “white noise” which required one last adjustment (I assume dropping the response at a higher frequency?).

Thanks in advance for your patience - I know there are similar threads (I did search).

Bernafon, carried by Costco, is owned by the same company that owns Oticon, and the two manufacturers may share some technology, but there are probably differences as well.

But, every manufacturer that Costco carries will probably work fine for you. If it was me I would start with the house brand, the Kirkland 5.0. It is really a Resound Verso 9 hearing aid. It is a top hearing aid and may be overkill for what you need, but Costco has it for $1899 pair, so why not.

As one who currently trialling the Bernafon from Costco and the Oticon Alta Pro from an audi, they are very different. They don’t sound the same and don’t work the same.

Fantastic - I would appreciate more about your experiences. How are the two products different and which do you prefer?

I find this thread very interesting.

Back in April, I met the Audi associated with my ENT. She had me try the Oticon, just in the office. I loved it! But I could not afford it.

So I went to Costco and I have the one you see in my siggy. I still don’t think it is as good as the Oticon was. So I’m interested in reading what info you get for answers here!

There is another thread with my general comments comparing the two. I trialled the Acriva for two months. Still have them and have not returned them yet. I have just recently started trialling the Oticon Alta pro. My initial reaction is that the sound quality is more nature with the Oticon’s. Also, they are in general, quieter. I still hear normal sounds, but they are not as obtrusive. Background noise is still there but under control and does not appear to interfere with speech in the same way as with the Acriva. Yet, I hear the world around me. Now, this could just be the set up. I have never been convinced that the Costco fitter knew how to fit the Acriva properly. He was a past Resound guy and now mostly suggested that people buy the Kirkland aids. Understandable.

The Oticon has been set up with one program, one, and I don’t miss the programs I had with the Acriva. I attended a loud meeting the other night. I had no problem hearing at all. If I had worn the Acriva, my past experience told me that I would have been trying different programs to try and dial in the voices. I will keep you posted as the trial continues.

I’ve got lots of patients in Alta Pros, and they love them. Many changed over from other manufacturers and say these are the best aids they’ve had, especially for noisy environments. I haven’t fit Bernafon so can’t really comment on the differences between the two, but sounds like jdc1117 can tell a big difference.

My thoughts are that you go with what you think is the best . I’d say the Alta’s should be about $4500 aprox for the pair ? If not I might check a little deeper ? 5 to 8 years of use so $550 to $900 a year . I spend almost $200 a month on phone , TV and computer access bills not counting the cost of the hardware . So be careful on how you make your choices on something that can add so much to you hearing and your quality of life ? More details on the Alta at http://www.hearingaidforums.com/showthread.php?17066-Official-Oticon-Alta-Pro-Thread

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My thoughts are that you go with what you think is the best . I’d say the Alta’s should be about $4500 aprox for the pair ? If not I might check a little deeper ? 5 to 8 years of use so $550 to $900 a year . I spend almost $200 a month on phone , TV and computer access bills not counting the cost of the hardware . So be careful on how you make your choices on something that can add so much to you hearing and your quality of life ? More details on the Alta at http://www.hearingaidforums.com/showthread.php?17066-Official-Oticon-Alta-Pro-Thread

Really interesting thread.

After roughly 6 months of research over 2 years (i.e., started 2 years earlier, stopped, restarted 1.5 years later and researched for 6 months)…I’m 58…I surveyed pretty broadly, started with ENT, thought I’d go with a University setting, and ended up at Costco…I did purchase the Bernafon Acrivas this past January.

You might go to find the other comments from JDC1117. I’m not with any regret particularly with the Acrivas. I had trialed the Altas at the University shop, and since I let them know I was also shopping at Costo, the audi there was insistent on letting me know these were Altas Pros, and not just Altas. She was reluctant to try to compare what she offered, against what I would be trialing at Costco.

The audi I worked with at Costco favored the Bernafons, based on her experience. I had a positive sense about this manufacturer pair, so was inclined to go this way. Overall, as I read through this thread, Don’s comments are overall consistent with my thought.

Still, when you buy glasses, the eye doctor lets you do a quick direct comparison (if you’ve been to the eye doctor, you know what I mean)…how’s this…compared to that. This. That. Maybe JDC1117 is doing this real time in a practical way. Still, they are just one person.

I’d say see what Consumer Reports tells you, but despite the fact that they have a good reputation for assessment…they seem to give up on product evaluation altogether on hearing aids, and are willing to say…go with customer satisfaction statistics…in which case, they report you’ll be most satisfied by going to a combo ENT practice, where, incidentally, the same product group you’ll get is offered, but at the highest cost.

I could believe there may be a qualitative difference between an alta and bernafon. Agree too that it could be worth paying the premium. I don’t find right now I’m highly motivated to compare. Then again, I’m also well past the 90 days I have to return mine.

But, I am a pretty happy camper, relatively. That is…it is not particularly comfortable to wear hearing aids. Not a huge discomfort, either. When with family, I’m motivated to wear them. They’re why I bought them.

Best,

Ira Z.

Though Costco fitters claim that the Acriva is similar to the Oticon Alta’s, because the two companies are owned by the same holding company, they produce very different products. Take their programming software, for example, while the Bernafon Oasis software emphasizes environments in their programs, the Oticon Genie program deals with multi-environment programs, which they label for the type of user, ‘lively’, ‘exact’, ‘balanced’, ‘comfort’, etc. These are not programs meant to be used in specific environments, but are based on the type of hearing environment the user wants to experience. The software, also, has a completely different user interface. They both program the aids, but there the similarity ends. For more information, do a search online, and you will find documentation that details how they work. As someone who has now used both, I can attest that they sound quite different. My suggestion is to try them both, if you can, to see which one you prefer. I would say that the Oticon Alta Pro’s are superior, by far, but we all have very different hearing deficits and needs. Your experience may be very different.

And then , there is the issue of sound quality. People ask, which one sounds better? While that is a subjective issue and very personal, I think it is reasonable to give my opinion. I find the Oticon Alta Pro to produce a very life-like natural sound. If I take my hearing aids off and listen and then put them back on, the sound is the same, only the amplification is different. In other words, it is a normal sounding aid. I don’t have to relearn what sound is like. It is as it is supposed to be. The Acriva 9 on the other hand, despite its advertising as a “natural sounding” hearing aid, it is not. The sound is very thin and squaky with a slight tremble to it. It does amplify sound. It does make hearing better, but I found that I had to try and relearn what hearing sound meant. I just am unable to get along with it. And why should I when there is an aid such as the Oticon Alta Pro available. I also find that the noise reduction in the Alta is more subtle than the Acriva’s. You hardly know it is there. Where as the Acriva is constantly shifting gears and adjusting the background noise level. It too works, it is just not as subtle.

So, in summary, the two companies may be owned by the same holding company, but the two products are very different. Of course, they are also priced very differently, also. Through Costco, the Acriva is half the price of the Oticon.

I do wish that consumer oriented companies such as Consumer Reports would take on hearing aids, but they have not done so to this point. Too bad, because objective comparisons can be made and should be available to the millions of potential hearing aid users. Repair frequency is another issue where they could easily be compared. But this is another issue!

I believe I have to agree that based on 2 weeks with the Alta Pro and just over one week with the Acriva, the sound quality on the Acriva is not as natural, but it’s a big price difference. I did see Rakuten.com selling the Alta Pro at $2399 each but the you need the audie…

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I believe I have to agree that based on 2 weeks with the Alta Pro and just over one week with the Acriva, the sound quality on the Acriva is not as natural, but it’s a big price difference. I did see Rakuten.com selling the Alta Pro at $2399 each but the you need the audie…