Phonak vs. Oticon vs. Others?

I am completely new to hearing aids. My hearing loss is hereditary and my mother has severe hearing loss. I have a precipitous high frequency hearing loss that has remained stable for the last 15 years. I’m 23. Therefore I’ve been told to get hearing aids but resisted doing so in fear of increasing my hearing loss. I am so used to the way things have been that I think I get along well without them. I just completed my B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering so it hasn’t presented too much of a problem there. Anyways, I recently decided due to several reason (mostly because my current insurance will 100% cover the costs of the aids) to get hearing aids and my audiologist suggested either the Oticon (Agil Pro, Agil, Acto Pro, Acto, or Ino) or the Phonak Audeo S (V, VII, or IX). I am really unfamiliar with what qualities to look for in hearing aids. I am also wondering what other aids might be an option. I’m guessing that my audiologists get some sort of kickback for these two brands, and that is why she recommends them. Any sort of advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Audiogram (from what I can tell)
0250 R5 L5
0500 R5 L5
1000 R10 L20
2000 R55 L52
4000 R55 L55
8000 R90 L87

Since your insurance covers 100% of the cost then you should look only on the Premium models. Oticon Agil PRO, Phonak Audeo S IX or Phonak Ambra. Try them both and see which sounds better for you.

Widex (Clear Passion and/or Fusion) have best voice/sound quality and volume in music and speech. I try Phonak Versata and Siemens 500 an 701 an Widex Passion.

I wouldn’t use the word “kickback”. Audiologists sell and fit hearing aids and make a profit. Your audiologist may just prefer working with those brands or may think those models will suit you best. They would profit from the sale of any brand so that’s probably not why she prefers those models.

Those are good brands. Starkey makes some great sounding aids. I have also tried Rexton Cobalts (Rexton is a Siemens brand. The Cobalt is similar to the Siemens Pure), and Resound has the Alera.

But, if you are happy with your audiologist then go with whatever they recommend. The adjustment process is almost as important as which hearing aid to get. You will have an adjustment process over several weeks. Keep notes of what you experience and take your notes in for your regular adjustment sessions. Also, there will be a trial period or a return period. Make sure you understand the details of the return policy and if the first set don’t work, take them back and try another set.

Does anyone have any preference in regards to comfort between oticon and phonak?

I also am a little confused regarding the bluetooth accessory. Does anyone know whether or not any of the models offer the bluetooth capabilities without the use of the accessory?

All the models that offer Bluetooth phone ability do so with a device you clip on or wear around your neck. It’s that device that actually talks to your phone via bluetooth and then talks to your hearing aids via a different standard. That device is also what houses the microphone for the phone call so your phone can stay in your pocket.

Resound advertises no additional devices but that is just for listening to TV. Their TV transmitter transmits directly to the hearing aids. For phone calls there is always the extra device.

I have a new pair of Phonak Naida S’s…functionally equivalent to the Audeo or Ambra but in a larger package…and I think they’re the best hearing aids I’ve used over the past 20+ years. As for the audiologist recommendations, it’s a good idea to go with the brand(s) that your audiologist is familiar with. Your results will be determined to a large extent by how well he/she know the hearing aids and how well you get along with him/her. All of the major hearing aid brands will probably do a good job for you IF the audiologist knows them well enough and you can work together. If you do get hearing aids be prepared for an adjustment period. You’ll hear lots of stuff you haven’t heard for a long time (if ever). You’ll realize that the world is a pretty noisy place. And I agree, go for the top of the line (IX’s), esp. if your insurance cover them.

And congrats on finishing your BSME. That’s quite an accomplishment.

:)The biggest decision you have in getting aids is to picking an audiologist that is good. and one that will work with you until they and you believe you have what you need. Many do not do this, limiting trials to 30 days (prescribed by my state). Mine has a reputation for working with a client and throwing the 30 day limit out the window. Audiologist work with manufactures that will cooperate with them in trials and ones they know are good. They do make considerable profit on the aids.

I completed a 3 week trial of the Oticon Agil Pro about a week ago. This aid was good, but did not work well for me. It had too many background sounds and it would not focus well on just a few people in front of me, while blocking out sounds around me. I also tried the streamer (version 1.4) and had very mixed results with it. When it worked, it worked well, but this was only about 25% of the time.

I’m in a trial of the Phonak Ambra and today completes 7 days. I will stay in this trial for another week. I really like these aids. They do everything I want. I have 4 programs in them and they do a great job of automatically analyzing and switching for my listening needs. I work with lots of small groups and need to hear all the words spoken. I will keep these aids. These are my 5th set of aids and replace a 7 year old set of ReSound aids.

One of my big questions was BTE or ITE aids. The Oticons were in the ear by my choice because I’ve worn aids for 20+ years that were ITE and felt these would be the easiest to use for me. I asked about this on this website and the majority told me to go to BTE. They were right! The Phonak Ambra’s are BTE and within 2 days, I hardly knew they were there and almost went to bed with them in. I will go with the Ambra’s. I am paying the full cost myself, no insurance.

My hearing loss is from military duty (gun shots) and I was a pilot for 17 years. I also have some inherited causes because my mother was almost stone deaf several years before she died. :slight_smile:

This part of your post was interesting:
"I am paying the full cost myself, no insurance.

My hearing loss is from military duty (gun shots)"

Seems to me if your loss was caused by military service, they should cough up some benefits.
I’m a veteran of the Canadian Military, and petitioned them after hearing loss affected my quality of life. A friend and my wife both insisted that I make the application, and I’m glad they did. I ended up with a small pension and full coverage for my hearing aids.

Hope your military will help you too.

i just dumped my phonak for the oticon agil pro rite and i’m really satisfied.
i also took the connect line and i love it.
the agil is smaller and easier to wear.
hearing wise i think the clarity is better.

My advice is to try with Oticon… I use it and is the best for me

I had the reverse experience. I trialed the Mini Phonak Audeo S IX and the Mini Oticon Agil Pro. Both are top of the line costing $5000/pair for Phonak and $6000/pair for Oticon. Comfort was a big problem for me. Both are BTE but the Oticon buds were very annoying and uncomfortable in my ears with lots of occlusion. The Phonak did much better with voices in noise, which is most important. The TV streamer and Bluetooth for cell phone, iPod, music, etc were about the same, although the Phonak iCom works at very long distances from the transmitter (TV), probably twice as far. I can hear with the Phonak when I’m in a different room than the TV. I like that the streamer for the Oticon which is also the remote so you only need one instrument for streaming and remote; whereas Phonak requires two, the iCom and the remote, but this difference was less important to me. It all boils down to how well you hear and for me the Phonak is better.

Your hearing loss will not get worse if you wear hearing aids, I remember ZCT, a hearing professional in this forum, told me that hearing will get better (without hearing aids or with) because the brain will then know the actual sounds.

If you don’t wear hearing aids that might be worse than if you do wear hearing aids. I may have said it wrong, but that’s as far as I can remember what I was told.

I’ve had great results using phonak in the past.

There are a number of good hearing aids out there, it all depends on your (and I stress) audiologist. For me the Oticons are by far the best I have had over the past 30 years.

If you get hearing aids, you will get accustomed eventually to hearing much more than you do now. You will also find that when you take the aids out, your hearing will appear to have gotten worse. That is not really the case though … your brain will get a bit lazier and forget how to struggle as hard to hear what you do now. You may find yourself less tired, with more energy, as your brain will not have to work as hard as it does now trying to hear everything. We all think we hear with little or no problem at all … until we try aids … and then wonder how and why we went so long without aids. Use caution, don’t kick yourself too hard after getting aids … it tends to hurt.

And I agree … CONGRATS on the degree!!

PS … I’m a Phonak fan, though the only other ones I’ve tried were Siemens … and they were no match. Each to his own. You have to try different ones until you find what YOU like. I like the fuller, richer sound of the Phonaks.

I greet that the agil is smaller and easier to wear.