Reasonable price HA for severe high frequency loss?

Newbie here: After a lifetime of living with high frequency loss, my wife convinced me to get a hearing test. Turns out my high frequency starts dropping rapidly from 1 khz to 3 khz (85db and 100db loss due to unprotected shooting at a very early age).

The audiologist recommended Oticon OPN1 which really impressed me how they opened the hearing landscape. However before a decision could be made, I was forced out of my ACA insurance into Medicare which doesn’t pay anything for HA’s - this means $6K OPN1’s are out of consideration…and I have concerns about their reliability anyway. I’m also a musician and don’t want to distort what little I’m able to enjoy currently. Maybe the KS 8’s?? I’m looking at Costco or equivalent. Anyone with a similar audio profile have any input?

Another concern I have about the OPN 1’s is that my wife, who is very HOH (85 db valley shape), has both a Cala 8 and OPN1 pair, both are brand new. While she likes both, she prefers the more “natural” sound of the OPN. But from my perspective, she asks me to repeat a little more often with the OPN’s than with the Cala’s. This suggests that too much filtering sophistication may come at a price, so maybe simpler is better? I’ve no idea.

Musicians often choose Bernafon. Just about any aid can have a music program which reduces processing for speech.

The OPNs have a different approach. They don’t filter noise like other aids. Seems to be that you either love the approach or don’t.

You might give your wife’s Cala a try by having them fitted to your loss. It would be an easy way to trial them without an investment. The KS8 is a quality aid. With your high frequency loss, Phonak is a good trail.

It really boils down to how your ears work with that brand. There isn’t a golden brand that satisfies everyone – very subjective.

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My bias would be to try the Phonak Brio 3. It has a different frequency lowering mechanism that I have heard good things about. Best might be to see what your hearing aid fitter recommends.
Oops. Reread and missed the reference to being a musician. With that in mind, I’d go with Bernafon.

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Costco is by far the lowest cost for HA. They carry brand names along with the Costco brand.

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Well you could look at it this way. They are all brand names. Costco doesn’t manufacture hearing aids;

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Why do you think the OPN distorts the sound? Processing sound is not the same as distorting the sound.

As a musician, I assume you play some kind of live instruments. Many of those things, especially strings and percussion instruments, tend to have sharp transient attacks. So you should find hearing aids that can support a wide dynamic input range to not distort this transient attack.

The OPN and I think the Widex Beyond have 114 dB SPL input dynamic range, some of the best in the industry. Look for that kind of spec or better if you want your hearing aid to be suitable for live music.

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Thanks to all for your input. I wanted to be educated a bit before I blindly accepted the wisdom of the dispensers at Costco - I’m concerned that I get pressured into buying an expensive Cadillac when a Honda will give me 90% of what I want.

Anyway, from my brief survey of this forum it seems many are happy with their Costco purchase, just as my wife was with hers.

To reply to Volusiano, I didn’t mean to suggest that the OPN distorts the sound as I have no idea, only having worn it for a total of 5 minutes (the radical change in the sonic landscape it provided was my sole and positive experience). I observed that my wife, who is borderline profoundly deaf, seems to understand speech slightly better with her Cala 8’s - she disagrees :slight_smile: Your point about the input dynamic range capability of the HA is excellent - I will review the specs. Do you happen to know the input dynamic range of the more affordable KS8’s?

My hope was that lower cost KS8 would be a good compromise, maybe it will or maybe not. The only way to find out is to take the plunge.

That’s obvious. Private label items are usually made to different specs. Basically the same but with minor changes to bring down the price. That withstanding, Costco private label items are still quality without the brand name pricing.

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COSTCO! Half the price and unbeatable trial period with 100% of your money back if you decide not to keep the HA’s.

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If you get the Costco KS8s, make sure they set up the music programs for you. There are three of them. One is designed for listening to live music, one for listening to recorded music, and one for performers.

All three disable the digital noise reduction features (for better quality). They handle directionality and gain differently, however.

I’m not a musician. I do however use the two programs for listening (on my KS7s, which it looks like are very similar to the KS8s). I like them a lot.

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I have the OPN 1 but if my insurance hadn’t paid for most of that, I would have gone the Costco route. I did go the Costco route 4 times before when I didn’t have hearing aid insurance coverage.

If you’re looking for reasonably priced HA, Costco is the place to go to. Otherwise if you want high end premium HAs without the premium price tag, buying online is the only way to accomplish that.

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Right now, based on my extremely limited experience, I would prefer the OPN 1’s. I was truly amazed at what I could hear, even though my brain was having a hard time dealing with the new inputs. However, their cost, even on-line, is prohibitive and perhaps some of the Costco offerings will provide me 90% of the performance at a 1/3 the cost. I just want “better” to sound good :slight_smile:

I like the Siemens Nx as much as or more than the OPN1’s. Not too unreasonable online (they also have rechargeable version).

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Are the Siemens NX and the Costco KS8 effectively the same, or at least based on the same platform? I think this might be the case.

That’s my take. Similar relationship as Signia Primax to KS7. I’m sure there’s a lot more ability to fine tune software in nx compared to KS8, but I’m not sure how significant it is.


It’s so hard to tell from the brands’ promo materials (i.e. Signia vs. Rexton). The nx looks way more magical! But then, more magic, more money :wink:


I tried the Opn 1 for a 10 day trial period. But at $4700 it was too rich for my wallet. Currently using the KS8’s which were 1/3 the price. As these are my first pair this is all new experience for me. At this point I “think” the Opn 1’s were a little better but no way are they $3,000 better. If money was no object, I certainly would of gone with the Opn’s as the aduiologist that did the initial exam and the loaner was fantastic. Costco did a good job but I do think the KS8’s are a smidge lower in sound reproductions than the Opn’s. But again in my opinion, the Opn’s are not worth the significant additional costs.


Carl101, Thanks for your input. May I ask what kind of hearing loss you suffer from?

High frequency loss. Drops off significantly at 2000 in both ears.

I suspect I’m a little worse than you, but nevertheless your story is encouraging enough that I’ll go ahead and set up a Costco appt. How long have you been wearing the KS8’s and how do you feel about them?