Oticon Agil Pro vs. Starkey Wi or Otolens

I’m currently trialing two high-end hearing aids and I need some advice.

For the past two weeks I’ve been alternating between the Oticon Agil Pro mini RITE and the Starkey Wi.

When it comes to comfort, Starkey Wi’s are much more comfortable. The tubes fit snugly against my ear. The Agil Pros make indentations where the tube goes over my ear. The tubes also stick out of my ear a little bit making them more noticeable.

Starkey Wi have ZERO feedback issues. Oticon Agil Pros tend to squeal a bit more in certain situations.

But for actual speech discrimination and the sound quality, Agil Pro’s seem to be much better.

Now, for the Agil Pro’s, I’ve been working with an audi and have really fine-tuned the sound quality (several appointments). For the Starkey’s, the audi pretty much popped them in my ears and let me “try them out for a week.” NOTE that I do have custom ear molds that I switch back and forth between the two.

Questions:

  • Do you think that the sound quality is worse in the Starkey Wi’s simply because we haven’t spent the time fine-tuning the program?

NOTE: The shutting of doors and hand claps are ridiculously loud with the Starkey’s. Yet certain speech is hard to hear (the “-eetza” part of Pizza).

  • Should the Agil Pro’s be dramatically better at speech recognition than the Starkey Wi’s? I figured they’d be somewhat similar.

MY DILEMMA:

I want to like the Starkey Wi’s better because I want to try the ccic Otolens (i was told it’s the same sound technology, so trying the Wi’s is like trying the Otolens). I really like the invisible aspect of the Otolens.

However, the Agil Pro’s seem to be working better. Plus, I’m getting them for $5,300 and with a flexible payment plan. The Starkey Wi’s OR Otolens are going to be $6,000 and I’ll have to do Care Credit.

Any advice is appreciated.

I am trialing 3 HA, my second go around.
I’ve been told it takes 3-4 days for your brain to become adjusted to a new unit.
I an trialing each set for 10 days without switching around.
I trialed the Agil Pro and thought it was good.
I now have Widex and they are better for me. T
he Agils have a smoother sound, but the Widex have a more sharp discrimination which works better for me.

That sound issue sound incredibly easy to fix. Any competent hearing professional should be able to take care of that very quickly.

While the Otolens is basically the same technology as the Wi, there is one key difference; the Otolens aids do not have binaural spacial mapping that allows the aids to talk to each other and decide what to do for you overall. So while they will sound very similar, you lose that little trick, which is a great help in reducing unwanted specific background noise sounds.

Thank you for your responses. Going in today to check on the adjusting the Starkey Wi’s, and possibly getting fitted for the Otolens.

How did you make out pdxpete? Did you try the Otolens/Soundlens? If so, how did they compare to the Wi?

Agil pro are great hearing aid with one flaw… feedback manager.
It just cant be done in my ears for my loss. Any hard mold it squeal because jaw movement (no seal with hard mould when moving my jaw around), and agil just dont have good whistleblock like phonak for that kind of situation where sudden leekage happen.

Number one- fit and sound have nothing to do with the three aids you are trying. for practical purposes, they are they same. The #1 difference is the fit of the earmold. I good and proper earmold should not feedback, no matter what brand of aid you have. I made sure I got accurate earmolds, and even with my sever to profound degree of loss, I don’t really need a feedback manger. Your issue with earmolds can be addressed by having a mold taken with your jaw open to where it is when the aids feed back.

A simple way to test for a bad fit is to put a very thin film of ointment (like an antibiotic) around the barrel of the aid, towards the tip. Keep it away from the tip, and above all, away from the opening where the sound comes out - and do not touch the face plate with dirty fingers. Clean you hands, or use a tissue to cover your fingers when putting in the aids. There are commercial gels for this purpose, like Auragel.

As far as the sound of the aids go, you should insist on a real ear measurement test. That is, test, and adjust the aids while hooked up to a Real ear measurement machine like a Fonix 35, so the dispenser can actually see what the aids are doing in your ear. Not “well, we’ll try this and see if it helps”. That is unacceptable. The hearing aids should sound at least 80% “there” when you get them. Anything less means they are not coming from the factory adjusted properly for your loss and the factory is expecting your dispenser to “fix” it. That’s not the way to do it, certainly, not on your dime, and your time and stress. Do not leave the office until your are 100% satisfied that the adjustment works properly. Test it - try a phone, listen to music, carry on a conversation, do what ever causes the worst problems with your aids. I am sorry to have to say this, as it tends to tar a lot of dispensers, but, if you start getting the "I have to hurry as I have another appointment, or, "you are expecting too much, or “you’re being unrealistic,” do not accept any of this. You paid for aids that work, demand that you get it. Not all audiologists or dispensers will try to pass you off, most are willing to help, but don’t let anyone try to make you feel guilty about your loss or your dependence on properly set hearing aids.

You are spending a lot of money on aids. Do not accept guesswork, or anything less than expert treatment from your dispenser. If you catch them guessing, or having to call the factory, then my suggestion is to find a better dispenser who knows what to do.

Alright. Well, this has been one long, somewhat illuminating experience. Here’s my story thus far (we still don’t have an ending).

I had Oticon Deltas for about 5 years and wanted an upgrade. My hearing got a bit worse in recent years and I was ready to get something more substantial. So I tried the Oticon Agil Pros.

AID #1: Purchased a pair of Oticon Agil Pros for $5,300 without the streamer and all that. Not a bad deal. At first I really didn’t like them primarily due to improper fit. I didn’t like how the tubes sat out from my head and the custom molds my audi made for me needed to be re-done twice. My audi is awesome and really is dedicated in working with me, but the first few weeks were difficult (I’m a nightmare patient - do my own research, want a perfect fit, amazing performance, etc). We finally got some new molds, and the aids seemed good but not great. For that much money, I wanted to be AMAZED. But there were many instances in noisy surroundings where I just struggled. They were better than the Deltas, but not resoundingly better. So while I kept these aids, I tried another hearing aid at the same time.

AID #2: At the same time I bought the Oticon Agils I also trialed for free the Starkey Wi hearing aids. I really struggled with these. They were very loud (hand claps, door slams), even after I got them adjusted. I thought the Agil Pros were much clearer. MUCH clearer. However, the Wi’s fit better in my ear. But I just had to try the Starkey Soundlens. Wanted to see how the invisible hearing aids worked. At this point I’m working with two audiologists (the Oticon one and the Starkey one)

AID #3: So I went ahead and purchased the Starkey Soundlens - you can’t demo those because they are custom fit of course. Yeah, at this point I had purchased TWO high end hearing aids (with payment plan, so I wasn’t paying full price for both of course). I had 30 days before I got my money back, and man I was excited about the invisible aids.

Reminder: I had had the Oticon Agils for a month or so and wasn’t thrilled. These were gonna be exactly what I needed. I got them, put them in and the left side fit perfectly, the right side hurt a bit as I went in deep. By the way, the deep impressions everyone warns you about were not that bad. A little uncomfortable though. So, I went home with them and the sound once again, like with the Wi’s, just wasn’t what I was needing. The right aid ended up fitting better after a day or so (stopped hurting), but overall, the sound wasn’t near as clear as the Agil Pros.

Yet, the Starkey Soundlens were by far the most comfortable aids I’ve ever worn. They fit deep in the canal and after a few minutes I forgot they were there. Sunglasses fit over the ears without having to fight with over the ear aids. They were great. BUT, the sound quality wasn’t as good as the Agil Pro’s. I’m very interested in deep in the canal hearing aids in the future. They are awesome, if they work.

So, I had to make a call, and I chose the Agil Pros and returned the Soundlens, mainly due to the fact that the price was $1,000 less, and the sound was better. I love the fit and invisible quality, but of course performance is most important. Starkey Soundlens cost was $6,300 in total. The Agil Pros cost, once again, was $5,300.

AID #4: So, I was still lukewarm about the Agil Pros, even though they outperformed the Starkeys. So in a last ditch effort, I went to Costco and trialed Bernafon Verites. They cost less than half as much as the Agil Pros ($2,500), and worked almost as good (Agil Pros were definitely better in noisy situations however). I wore them around the store switching them out with the Agil Pros (hung out in the TV section and listed to different audio systems, tested both out with various workers handing out samples. I’d wear the Verites, then I’d switch them out and try the others. I listened in on other people’s conversations. After about 30 minutes, the Verites had a slight edge over the Agil Pros. I was surprised to say the least.

At this point, I had 1 week left in my 3 month Agil Pro trial. So I said screw and let’s buy another hearing aid. So I bought the Verites. I got them with 3 days left in my trial for the Agil Pros. So i had 2 days to make a decision basically. When I bought the Verites, they were hastily programmed because I was in a hurry, so they aren’t perfect. BUT, I thought they worked quite well. AND they were half as expensive as the Agil Pros. And in a crazy noisy environment like Costco, they performed pretty much the same.

So, on the day before my last trial day for my Agil Pros, after almost 3 months with them, I packed them up and returned the devices to my audi. HE WAS NOT HAPPY WITH ME!!! He did not want to lose me to Costco, and he said he would match the Bernafon Verite price. In other words, he wants me to return those to Costco and let him sell them to me (perhaps he thinks he’s better than the audi’s at Costco). Not sure what my incentive is to stay with him.

However, I do want to say that he’s really good, really helpful, and put up with all my sh*t and shenanigans. I’m simply looking for the best deal. He was looking for a regular client he could serve. I do feel bad about bumming him out, but I don’t feel bad trying out all these options so i can make an informed decision. i was lucky because I had some cash available to “buy” two sets of high end hearing aids so I can switch them out for testing.

So, that’s where I sit now. I tried 3 high end hearing devices and ended up with a Costco hearing aid. Jury is still out. I might end up with the Agil Pro b/c all in all they were pretty good. But right now I’m giving the Bernafon Verites a shot.

One last note: I went to a sketch comedy show on Friday night and the Verites performed like SH*T. they were squealing and I tried different programs and I still missed a lot during the show. I’m hoping they just aren’t set right (remember, when i purchased them they were hastily programmed). We’ll see, going back to get them reprogrammed on Wednesday. Then, the Oticon audi wants to meet with me on Thursday to talk about other options.

So, part of me wants to be done with this and just live with the Verites. Another part of me wants to keep trying until I have a slam dunk!

I’ll keep you all posted…

to be continued…

Excellent report pd. I for one look forward to hearing more about your plight.
Since I have had a hard time getting things the way I want them from the Audi’s that I have been to I find myself running the self programing route…which is not an easy road to travel. Best of luck and do what feels right :slight_smile:

PDXPete - Its been 6 months, what did you end up with and how do you feel? I’m trying aids too but have only tried Agil Pro’s and recently tried the lower priced Acto Pro’s. I found this thread because I am looking for hearing aids that should compete with the Agils as I like them, but want to try all the ones in the same teir. I will probably test out the Wi’s next week, meanwhile the prospect of saving bucketfulls on Costco hearing aids sounds enticing! It looks like at some point those aids fell off your list, what gives? Finally its worth noting I found the Agils to standout against everything I’ve tried because of the “surround sound” effect, or spatiality. Did you find this characteristic in the competition as well?

The issue of the loud clapping- is address by the Speech guard. It does have a system that
prevents loud transient sounds. I believe it is similar to the one used in the siemmens aids.

Some of the issues, of the dome could be resolve using the new Intiga line with has
a better tubing solution. You need to check IF intiga is capable of fit your loss.

Intiga is going to have a new product extension - to be release soon. two weeks
it is call intiga 10 IIC which is a “otolens” with the sound processor of the agil pro.

It will be capable of fitting losses up to 70 dbhl.

I just wanted to address this comment because it made me mad.

If your hearing ‘professional’ does this, take out the hearing aids, throw them at the salesman, and tell him to go forth and multiply.

Seriously.

A proper fit should include multiple types of testing, calibration, verification, crafting the sound to a great starting point for the patient. This should be followed with good advice on the adjustment period and a sensible schedule laid out to check on the progress of the patient.

Taking some aids put on factory default settings and saying, “try 'em for a week” is total nonsense, and not worthy of being in this profession. It is embarrassing to other hearing professionals, and because this idiot is not doing his job the right way he is wasting the resources of the lab who makes his hearing aids by failing to make his patients happy, and then having to return the aids. This in turn contributes to a higher cost of hearing aids, because the lab has to charge enough to recoup the money wasted on returned aids.

In this specific case the patient ended up returning what I believe to be superior hearing aids, and buying them from a non-American company instead.

Okay, rant over :rolleyes:

Why exactly is that bolded bit relevant - would it have mattered if they were Martian? Or are you just deliberately pushing the jingoistic buttons of your intended audience again?

I just had that same thing happen to me. I got a great deal on some NuEar IIC from a dealer. He (who is the owner) was trying to keep me from going somewhere else, do to a problem too long to mention here. Anyway, I went to pick them up and he put them in my ears. They squealed like crazy. I asked about fixing the feedback. He assured me that they are set at the factory and that nothing needed to be done. I thought it sounded weird, but I’d never tried this kind of hearing aid so I left with them.
I couldn’t even touch my ear with out them going off. It was so bad I finally had to have someone else, in the office, adjust them. My next appointment I tried to go to the second person again and he found out and highjacked my appointment.
I ended up returning them for a refund. I hated to because of the great deal, but couldn’t imagine working with him for the next while trying to get them right and for two years during warranty. So they lost the sale and now I’m back out looking again.
So, it does happen.

Well let’s see. America is currently recovering from the worst recession since before WWII. I believe that Americans would be well served to support American companies that create jobs in America, rather than supporting foreign companies.

America has some great innovative companies, like Apple, Facebook, Google, Starkey, and the American car manufacturers have really addressed a lot of their quality issues.

If there is a time to buy American and push American products, now’s the time. One of the big problems with America is outsourcing, importing, relying too much on foreign oil and foreign stuff.

So while I accept that there are some great hearing aids out there, and that foreign hearing aid companies do create American jobs, there is nothing wrong with Americans supporting American companies, especially when they have great competitive products. That certainly isn’t an example of jingoism.

you forgot to add… and I only sell the ones that claim to be made in the USA. :slight_smile:

Well I’ve visited the factory many times and I can assure you that they only perform the basic settings on the aids most of the time. And on their BTE/RIC products, they are often just sent out at full on gain, ready for the hearing professional to calibrate them and fit them.

Feedback cancellation HAS to be done in the patient’s ear. Real Ear Measurement has to be done in the patient’s ear. Insitu-audiograms, need to be done in the ear. Self receiver check calibration is done in the patient’s ear. And finally, the odds of a ‘best fit’ algorithm perfectly matching a patient’s loss with no fine tuning is pretty slim, and one should always take a patient’s lifestyle into consideration when deciding which multi memory options to add.

On the bright side, Starkey also is sold as MicroTech and Audibel, so you might be able to find that Nu-Ear technology you like from one of the above named companies from someone who is professional and who cares.

One of the big problems with America foreigner’s who think they know it all?

just checked Starkey has just over 50 jobs available in the US. Siemens has 75 jobs available in just their accounting depts in the US. I didn’t bother to count all the rest.

I always buy them foreign Honda’s made about 40 miles up the road. There are more US made parts in them then a Chevy.

You can dress it up anyway you like, but you’re coming across like a reformed smoker.

The time to buy local product is when it’s better than what’s being imported, which is probably why Toyota sell so much there. Unless this happens the manufacturers never revise their production techniques to deliver what customers want. It’s the same reason why Dyson is flying here but Hoover died on it’s backside.

Okay. It was just a statement of fact that America would do well to support American companies in a time when our unemployment rates are still around 10%ish. I’m not suggesting a fanatical jump towards crappy American products or blind faith in companies that happen to be American. Nor am I suggesting an irrational fear of imported products. I am after all an import myself.

Well duh. But Starkey is no Hoover. It is in fact the largest hearing aid company in America, and they make some of the best hearing aids in the world. That’s not to say that no one else has great hearing aids, but given that Americans have access to great aids from a great company, why not take a look at them? It would be hard to argue that Starkey is Hoover versus another hearing aid company that is the equivalent of Dyson. No one is that far ahead of Starkey in this industry to make that claim. Unless you’d like to explain why that is true with evidence.

Finally, I’d suggest with respect that since you didn’t just spend the last 12 years living in America, you perhaps don’t understand the culture here as I do. Americans are by and large quite patriotic. There are more American flags flying in a typical American city than you’d see Union Jacks flying on the Queen’s Jubilee. People have bumpers stickers asking others to support the troops. And there is a genuine feel among Americans that outsourcing jobs and relying too heavily on foreign imports has hurt the American economy. So given that Americans have a wonderful option to support a very large and successful American hearing aid company, I do not see why that should not be at least some factor in their decision as to who to do business with.