Panasonic Hearing Aid

I am presently evaluating a Panasonic Receiver in Canal (RIC) Series 4 WH-412LZ pair of hearing aids. They are supposed to have a few “bells & whistles” such as wind noise suppression, noise reduction (crowded environment) and feedback management. Does anyone have any pros or cons to report with this model, perhaps compared with the Panasonic Series 2 or other BTE designs? I do have a little difficulty positioning the Series 4 in the ear because the bulb & wire are so small.

Let us know how it goes.

What hearing aids have you used before and what is the level of your hearing loss?

I should have mentioned my profile:

…250…500…1k…2k…3k…4k…6k…8k
R 50…40…45…60…70…80…80…85
L 55…45…45…60…80…90.100…90

I had been trying a set of Widex FL-19 but became disenchanted with the supplier/audiologist who seemed more interested in $$$ than in helping the patient. (e.g. $400 just about every time I entered their door for an adjustment).

I’ve gotten the Panasonic aids thru a Pharmacy program and have to decide whether to make the down payment to start a 30-day trial. So far the group has been very cooperative – no charge for a 48-hour test.

I’m trying to test the Panasonics in different environments but am looking for suggestions and or people’s experiences.

My “bottom line” after a 4-day test of the Panasonic RIC hearing aids is that they are no better than the Widex BTE that I had as far as understanding a person in a noisy background environment – classroom, restaurant, etc. Are there any aids that can be recommended that are acceptable/superior in such conditions? I suspect that this is an age-old problem, but who has solved it best?

I don’t know anything about Panasonic but the major brands should help with speech in noise. I have the Resound Future (Alera) and they work well in loud restaurants or parties. Previously I tried the Kirkland Signatures from Costco. They are actually Rexton Cobalt’s which are similar to Siemens Pure 701 and they were really amazing in noise. But, after several adjustment sessions the Resounds are almost up to that level.

Once you get a really good hearing aid and you get it fine-tuned as much as possible, it will take a few months for your brain to adjust to the new sounds. Things keep getting better and better for me. I got the Resounds in early April and had a family reunion last weekend where I didn’t miss a thing.

Don, with the aids that you found best in a noisy environment (classroom, restaurant, etc), had you found that the BTE (behind the ear, with ear mold) or the open-fit RIC (receiver in canal) performed differently, and which was better? Which Rexton Cobalt model would be expected to work best in the noisy environment? The Pharmacy people I’m working with also deal with Rexton aids, although they have a $1000-off per pair promotion with Panasonic right now – or at least did until the end of last week. Is it generally true that the more channels the aid has, the better will be the understandning in the noisy environment?

Thanks,

The only styles I’ve tried are the CIC and the RIC. I prefer the RIC over the CIC because of the occlusion. I’m trying to stay in an open fit and I kept having a little feedback with the Rexton Cobalt so that is why we switched to the Resound Future.

At Costco their store brand, the Kirkland Signature, is actually the Rexton Cobalt 16. Their Resound Future is actually the Resound Alera 9.

I also tried the Rexton Insite CIC and it was good except it was just not strong enough in the CIC style, for my loss.

I have had really good performance from both the Cobalt and the Future. The difference was feedback.

I’m not sure about your channels question. Someone more knowledgable will have to answer that one.

In this pharmacy program, how do you get adjustments? I’ve needed about 10 adjustments to get everything fine-tuned.

Don, I’ve been very impressed with the patient-orientation of the person at my Kerr Hearing Aid Center. He will make as many adjustments as necessary. Of course, time will tell (?). Not being completely satisfied with the Panasonic aids (looking for more background noise suppression & there was no volume control, which I had become accustomed to), I turned them in and plan to test a Rexton Cobalt model in the near future – to coincide with a 2-week trip where there will be lots of restaurant & relative conversation exposure. This will be over Labor Day, and I believe it will be a “free trial”.

I tried the Costco version of those, Kirkland Signatures, and the noise supression was really good. I had program 2 set for restaurants and program 5 was just an afterthought, the outdoor or nature setting. The purpose of it was to supress out windnoise so you can hear people even when wind would normally prevent that. Well, I figured out the outdoor/nature setting acted like a super-restaurant noise setting. I used the nature setting when in really tough noise situations.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Don, based on your previous mention of the Costco Kirkland aid, I dropped in at their local store having a hearing center, and saw that the Kirkland 16-channel model has a price of $1999 per pair. If I test the Rexton Cobalt 16-channel model from Kerr Drug, and like it – and have their price confirmed at something like $3600 per pair – I’m going to have a real fight with my conscious. Stay tuned.