Pricing recommendation for Phonak Sky B50-P

The Audiologist recommended the Phonak Sky B50-P BTE for my daughter. It seems to be the appropriate hearing aid but I was curious about the price. She quoted $2k for one hearing aid. I was having difficulty finding out if this price is competitive. I called a few places but it seems I need to make an appointment and visit the local facilities to obtain pricing. I thought I can order online if the price was better and use the Audiologist to do the adjustments. Thanks.

If the audiologist is willing to program an aid you purchase some other place you could save a bunch of money.
The B50 Sky is a previous Phonak model and it is also a middle of the road technology aid. The newer Marvel aids are out now as well as the better technology 70 and 90 aids.

Other members will hopefully chime in on this too.

Seems pretty in line with what I’d expect. If you find it online, keep in mind that fitting service costs can run $400-1000 depending on where you are, so you’d have to find it pretty cheap to make it worthwhile. And then you’re probably be paying per service after that, whereas when you get it with the provider services may be bundled in for some period of time. Some adults push their annuals, but children should really be going in yearly for updated hearing tests and to have their hearing aid function verified.

How old is your kid? A lot of the higher end features are turned off for pediatrics anyway, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to move up if she’s not in highschool. If you want to save money, better to drop down in level. Make sure you’re seeing an audiologist who does pediatrics regularly, though. The success of the kid is more dependent on the fit and support provided by the audiologist than the device.

I would ask about the Sky Marvels as Raudrive suggests. They came out recently and usually it isn’t a big jump in price to be in the current line.

1 Like

It sounds reasonable. Hearing aids are normally sold with services bundled into the price so if you buy an unbundled hearing aid, you then have to get someone to agree to set it up. It should be much smoother and with better results to buy the bundle of services, if the pro is someone you can work with.

I thought I saw prices that were two for $2k. But maybe the services are what add to the price since it needs to be set up.

I missed the first two comments.

My daughter is a infant with mild hearing loss in one ear. The marvel model is $400 more, so probably more features than what are needed. My insurance doesn’t cover anything so trying to set up an FSA for 2020. The molds are about $250 (she got two sizes on the last visit). Not sure if it will be $125 for one mold. I probably need about 4 molds a year. Nice feedback on this forum.

The molds will calm down over time, but they are a lot when your child is so little because she will grow so fast. During the first year growth is often fast enough that it is worthwhile to go back to the audiologist right before the remake warranty (if there is one) for the mold runs out (3 months in my area) to have it remade for free. With mild loss, usually you can push an earmold a bit further because the chance of feedback is much lower and so you are mainly concerned with fit and device loss.

The Sky B50 is a good hearing aid, and will be fine for your daughter. The Sky B30 would probably also be fine if you are concerned with costs, or even the Sky V30. I might look at the Sky M30 and see whether you could get a partner mic thrown in; at her age a big concern is incidental language access. Children need to hear language to learn language, and kids with hearing loss tend to hear less of it. You can boost their access by clipping a mic to whomever the main caregiver is so that when they are chatting while doing whatever, the child can hear it. This would be easier with the Marvels because of the direct mic connection (I’d assume you’re not up for purchasing a personal FM system, which is going to be a lot more expensive). But without this your kid will probably still do well. The loss is mild and only in one ear. Whatever hearing aid she gets will need to grow with her as she goes into school in a few years, but the entry level devices will still be fine then. The main concern in school is that the hearing aid is FM compatible, and pretty much all of the Phonak Sky devices are. The newer Marvel line will end up being a bit smaller and lighter on the ear because of the built-in receiver, whereas the B line still needs a school receiver added in the battery door.

But again, at the end of the day you just want a competant pediatric audiologist. If $2000 is doable for you and you like the audiologist, I’d just trust her recommendations and not worry too much about it. If $2000 is hard for you, let the audiologist know that and ask whether there is anything else that they would recommend that is a bit easier on your pocketbook.

3 Likes

Thanks for the thorough information. I appreciate the details. The audiologist recommended the Phonak Sky B50-P BTE ($2k) or the Phonak Sky Marvel M50 BTE ($2.5k). My daughter is one year old.

A ComPilot II/Air II with Remote is included with either hearing aid. I also have access to a Roger system through the county here. I believe the Roger system uses FM/DM (Digital Modulation). If so, does the B50 integrate the FM/DM or is there an attachment that is needed at the bottom of the hearing aid? Thanks.

The B50 will need an attachment. I imagine that the school will provide it, but it will make the hearing aid larger on the ear. The M50 also needs a sort of virtual “attachement”, and again I would expect the school to load this onto the hearing aid, but it won’t change the size. The M50-M (rather than the M50-P) is a smaller device compared to the B50-P and takes a smaller battery, so will require more frequent changing. (I believe that the M50-P is only available as a rechargeable hearing aid, which is putting some pediatric audiologists off.) Sounds like both Power and Moderate receiver levels would be appropriate for your child’s hearing loss. The reason the audiologist is likely recommending the B50-P rather than the B50-M is because in the B line the Moderate strength hearing aid isn’t directly compatible with an FM, whereas in the M line the Moderate level IS compatible with FM. Is that confusing enough?

The M50 won’t come with a compilot because it direct streams to a bluetooth signal (the compilot is an intermediary device for streaming with the B line). You’d probably have a different accessory option and I’d recommend the partner mic. I can’t think of any reason for a remote with a pediatric hearing aid.

At the end of the day, both choices are fine.

I just got the Sky B90 SP and I’m choosing green receivers.

2 Likes

Gorgeous combo Zebras.

1 Like

If I buy the Marvel M50 is there a way to utilize the bluetooth technology in a similar way the Roger system works? I am not sure if there is a mic that uses bluetooth that can be used instead of the Roger system. The county here has Roger systems that are compatible with the B50 but not the M50 at this time.

Also, is the Roger system useful for a 1 year old? I wasn’t sure if this system is targeted toward older children such as when they are in school or at a playground.

@bluemonday2001

https://www.phonak.com/uk/en/hearing-aids/accessories/phonak-partnermic.html

1 Like

The partner mic connects directly without Roger. The same Roger systems are compatible with the M as were compatible with the B, the county just needs training on how to make it work. But by the time your kid is in school they will certainly have figured it out.

Any sort of remote mic is definitely a benefit with a 1-year old to provide better access to the primary care-giver’s speech. But not super critical given your child has normal hearing in one ear, if I recall correctly.

It sounds like the Roger system is compatible to the Phonak Sky Marvel but requires a software license in order to use it ($1k+ ?). The county here has the Roger System but not the license to use it on the Phonak Sky Marvel. They would have to purchase a license, which is in their queue for discussion.

The PartnerMic seems to be a bluetooth device which is paired to the Sky Marvel. The advertising says it is good for one on one speaking but not group environments, which the Roger system is targeted for.

The audiologist typically recommends the later model (Sky Marvel) since the technology may be better or the longevity of the hearing aid is longer. I am not sure when the Sky B50 was introduced, but assume it has been several years.

It’s basically a license, yeah, but you still purchase a little device. County would have to do that to make Roger compatible with any hearing aid (including the Bs) unless they were connecting via telecoil, which the Sky Marvel would also support depending on the power level.