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…