Phonak Trial aids

#1

Returned my trial aids and walked out with my new Marvels.
Perception is reality and mine is that the trial aids were noticeably sharper in terms of fidelity.
We did soften the initial setup sharpness just a tad with the new aids and this may be the key, time will tell.
This is a new practitioner and he avoids technical detail so I do not know the difference between the trial setting and my current settings.
I can and will find out though…. :slight_smile:
I asked him if the trial aids were different tom the for sale product and he agreed that they were.
They have software profiles such that the same aid can emulate every price point AND he mentioned that they have a suicide provision if they are stolen ( which I though quite amusing ).
I am wondering if trial aids have superior sensitivity/ fidelity and how one might find out.
Do manufacturers fit higher quality receivers or software to get sales ?
Any comments from the practitioners here ?

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#2

Are you saying that your practitioner sent you out on trial with a top-of-the-line pair of Marvel aids that were “programmed” to sound like a cheaper model with fewer settings? If so … that’s not exactly a trial as I know it.

Your new Marvels have a different serial number, so technically, THEY are now on trial. If your practitioner saved the settings for the trial pair, it should be easy to compare that profile to your current Marvels and find out what’s lacking, where. It could also be that “softening” the sharpness explains the fidelity change. That’s an easy fix - just tweak the frequencies till you get the sound & clarity you want.

Don’t be shy to ASK! You’ve paid good money for these aids. You need to get right back in to get them fine-tuned or find out if these new ones are now on trial. I’ve bought aids for 35 years, and ALWAYS the pair I got was the pair I was on trial with. Same serial number, same programs/features/settings that were set up initially.

Isn’t that the whole point of a trial? Why go test drive a BMW when you’re sold a Mini Cooper? They are not the same car.

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#3

I thought someone said in another thread that you can program top-of-the-line Marvels to have only the features of a lower-level model. That is, M90s can be programmed to behave like M50s. There’s some benefit in that in that one can test out several levels and pick the one that seems best for him/her for the price one is willing to pay.

I would have liked to have had something like that when I got my first HAs 7 years ago. I coughed up for the top of the line, merely because I felt that if the lower-level ones didn’t make me happy, I’d never know if it was because I was being a cheap skate or because HAs in general wouldn’t work for me. I’d run into enough folks by that time who wouldn’t do HAs because they had this mystical belief that HAs wouldn’t work for them. At the time, I thought they might have had a valid point. Now, I think they visited an inept audiologist.

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#4

^^^ If it is the case that a top-of-the-line Marvel can be programmed to mirror the features of a lower-cost model it would make me wonder two things: 1.) did the practitioner actually SET the trials to the CORRECT lower-cost model being tested? (I’d hate to think it was a subtle case of “bait and switch”!) and 2.) could it possibly be the case that the top-of-the-line Marvel aids actually have better hardware than the lower-cost models? That would seem like shaving a fraction of a cent off the cost of things - but you never know!

I hope tgh gets to the bottom of it. I agree with your last line: “… they visited an inept audiologist.”!!!

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#5

Phonak provides clinics with trial devices they can use for patients wanting to do a test drive before purchase. These aids, as tgh mentions, are different than those for general sale in that they can easily be programmed to run at the desired technology level (i.e. they can be set to M-90, M-70 or M-50 - class devices). After six weeks of use, the devices begin beeping to ensure that they are brought back to the provider vs. being kept.

Other than this flexibility, the sound should be exactly the same as those ultimately purchased by the patient, assuming the technology level trialed and purchased are the same.

Chris

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#6

Thanks Chris, I will compare the trial setting with my current settings at the first follow up in a couple of weeks.
The trial aids were set as M-90 which is what I purchased.

Televisions for sale in shops tend to run special very high definition content and the most vivid colour settings to elicit a buying response, would a ha manufacturer do the same ?

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#7

Is hearing aid theft a thing?

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#8

It’s the Phonak implementation of Unitron’s ‘Flex-trial’ mechanism that’s been happening for a couple of years. These aids work for six weeks then start beeping.

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#9

Yes it is - by the customer.
There are guys who are on trial with their new HA and “accidentally” lost the trialed hardware. There exist hearing aid dispensers who won’t charge for the lost HA.

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#10

There have been a couple of news stories about people left in dire straits because a burglar stole their hearing aids and they can’t afford new ones. I don’t know if the robbers needed them or just grabbed them along with everything else they stole.

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#11

My suspicion is that the so called quality levels of HA’s that are similar except for bells and whistles features use the same basic hardware, and the only thing that changes is the firmware which makes the features available or not available. That means that the cost to the manufacturer of the various “quality” levels is the same. They just make more on the so called premium models. So making a trial version that can be programmed to the various quality levels would seem to be an easy thing for them to do.

This is not unlike processors for computers. The actual processor in many cases is identical at the various levels, and the power is just derated to allow sale at a lower price. Same cost to the manufacturer, but it allows them to compete at various price points. You are paying for performance, not the cost of manufacture.

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#12

I’ve never even considered them quality levels. I’ve always thought they were feature levels.

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#13

As far as I know Oticon OPN1 and OPN2 use the same hardware whereas OPN3 uses another chip. On the other hand, OPN is the only HA I know of different hardware in different feature-levels.

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