Oticon vs ReSound for a complete newbie

Hi All. This will be my first hearing aid. I have a conductive hearing loss due to removal of cholesteatoma, removal of 2 my hearing bones and placement of an implant. However, my ear hears at 15-20%. The audiology department at my ENT offered an Oticon (all I know it’s 64 channels) at $3K per one ( I only need one).
Then I went to Costco and got offered a Resound Forte 8 at 1,200. But I’m looking at the specs and it has only 16 channels. The specialist at Costco said it’s just as good as Oticon…

It that true? Is Costco just as good? Should I go for the cheaper one? What else do I need to know about hearing aids? I have zero experience and zero knowledge here. Thanks!

With only one the OPN3 seems more appropriate. A single OPN1 is hampered in features and needs the second aid to have them.

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What is OPN3? I don’t even know… and OPN1

What is OPN3? I don’t even know… and OPN1

OPN1 is a top-quality Oticon aid, and OPN3 is an almost-as-good Oticon aid in the same Oticon model line that’s a little cheaper. Ken is suggesting that if you’re going to get one Oticon aid, you get the OPN3 because without a second OPN1, you wouldn’t benefit from paying the upcharge to get the additional features in an OPN1. I realize your ENT audiologist may be talking about a different Oticon model, but you didn’t say.

Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about 64 channels vs. 16 channels. I doubt you’d notice the difference. High tech companies like to throw specifications at customers (e.g. “channels” in a hearing aid) that in a real-world test, few would be able to perceive or, even if they did, feel the upcharge was worth it because the difference in performance would normally be small. It’s really more of a marketing thing than a significant performance benefit. If the Oticon audiologist suggests that the Oticon is four times as good as the Resound because it has four times the channels (or because on a per-aid basis, it’s almost four times as expensive), run away! Gains in performance can be very small or even not there whether you spend more or get more channels. It’s more important to try the aid(s) you’re considering and see if they help and are comfortable, and if not, can they be adjusted without too much hassle. Since this is your first foray into the world of hearing aids, I’ll tell you that while eyeglasses, if you already have those, can be pretty much plug ‘n’ play, hearing aids usually need adjustment, especially your first one(s).

I don’t know the Fortes, but Resounds and Costco generally get high marks from their customers, as do Oticons. Some of us like me are a little irritated with Oticon right now because they’ve been clamping down on people selling Oticon accessories and aids online, but as long as you’re going to go with a nearby audiologist that carries Oticon–a luxury some don’t have–this may not matter to you.

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Got it! Thanks!
An audiologist from ENT office offered me 3 price points of Oticon ranging from 2K to 3K. She didn’t say what models they were. I will check on that. She was somewhat selling that 3K model with 64 channels is best for noise reduction and managing the surrounding environment etc. Which is where I have the hardest time hearing.

Costco guy was telling me that their aids are just as good as Oticon. They just buy them at different costs and have less overhead and no commission etc. Which all makes sense.

This is my first aid, I’m afraid I will pay too much for the promises where in reality they are so close in performance that they are not worth another 2K

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The audiologist was in selling mode when she cited the improvements. As mentioned, it takes two aids for all that to work.

Choice is simple. Which sounds the best after several weeks of trial? Your ears and mind are going to help you with that decision.

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On my own ear, I would prefer the Opn 3. But the difference is small. You’ll be fine with the Resound Forte for an extra $800 off, if you think that your services at Costco will be just as good as your services at the Audiologist. Most of the difference is in the fitting, not in the device.

I’ll address your situation from a different direction. How long ago was your surgery and prosthesis implant? (And do you think it was as successful as possible… I certainly hope so.) Has your hearing stabilized since the surgery? If you think your hearing is still changing a bit, then buying from someone who will cheerfully spend substantial time with you after the purchase to re-run audiograms and make indicated hearing aid adjustments is probably more important than Oticon vs. Resound, in my opinion.

KenP, when you’re saying I should give it a few weeks of trial, you mean I need to go actually go buy one, right?

Is there a way to test it out without paying the full price? Or do I have to go buy the 2-3K aid and test it and then return? Is that how it works?

It was last September. My ENT says that it might improve slightly over the next year or so, but it’s pretty much it is what it is. It was a massive cholesteatoma and medically it was a success. But hearing-wise it got way worse unfortunately.

Yes, I might benefit from another surgery to adjust/replace the prosthesis. BUT I am pregnant and won’t be ABLE to have a surgery for another good 6 months, maybe even more. Then, he is saying that the surgery might give me 30-40%, maybe 50% increase, but not a 100% and I would still benefit from a hearing aid. That investment wouldn’t be a complete waste…

They all seem eager to help me and take my money.

I may end up actually buying Costco one and then going back to the ENT Audiology and so I can compare. I don’t know how else I could get them both in the same room.

You need to look at the contract. Clinics can vary greatly including a service fee, often 10%, to return them before the trial ends which can be as little as a month. Costco gives long trial and no return fee but you do pay upfront.

You need the trial period to be as long as possible. It takes time to adopt to the addition sounds and that can run more than a month for some.

Thanks so much for the input!