As I had mentioned in a previous thread, I learned of Costco offering the Resound Linx 2 RIE (with feature level 9, size 61, 312 battery, and being branded as “Resound Cala 8”) several weeks ago when I went in to return my KS 6.0 and try out the Costco Rexton Trax42 units.
The KS 6.0s were my first ever hearing aids and they were a tremendous improvement with my moderate hearing loss over no hearing aids, but I wanted to see if the audio quality and hearing recognition was better on the more expensive units that Costco carried. I had worn the KS 6.0s for almost the full six months of the return warranty, and as such, this was the time to try another unit. I must note, that the Ph.D Audiologist at my Costco location was wonderful to work with and worked with me to adjust the KS 6.0s to the best of her ability and her vast experience in optimizing the performance of these units.
I decided to purchase the Cala 8 units and return the KS 6.0s when the Cala 8’s arrived and I was able to get a fitting appointment - it took four business days total, purchase to fitting. When I arrived for the Cala 8 fitting this Friday, I first returned the KS 6’s for full refund with no hassle at all.
The Audiologist then went through the same in ear calibration process on the Cala 8’s as with the KS 6.0s and set up the three supplemental profiles on the Cala 8 to my request. The main “All-Around” profile is fully automatic (which includes all of the new spacial recognition features) and is not modifiable. She then downloaded the Linx 2 Resound Smart App into my iPhone which she then paired to my HAs.
My first impressions:
- Packaging - Cala 8's come in Resound packaging vs the Kirkland packaging of the KS 6.0s. However, the hard and soft HA storage cases, and the magnetic battery removal tool are identical to KS 6.
- Physical - the HAs are slightly smaller (large portion of HA size is limited by the 312 battery size) and additionally further improved by nice rounded surfaces as compared to KS 6. More comfortable to wear!
- Battery compartment is more convenient to open, more positive feel for HA's switching on/off, and seems more durable than KS6s.
- Receivers - are different than those of KS 6, supposedly improved in sound quality, but red/blue ear color markings a little more difficult to see, being on the side of receivers vs the KS6's in the receiver ends.
- Domes - new dome design. I wear "open". I perceive a big difference, the new domes staying in place in my ears better and appearing to be more physically comfortable.
- Hearing -"Most Important" - All-Around seems to be more "natural". I perceive that sound is more clear, less "tinny" and appears to have less distortion. Hard to tell difference in spacial recognition but maybe this is why the hearing appears more natural.... Also less squealing with default settings!!
- Restaurant setting - tried last night. Was able to adjust background noise reduction, hearing pattern angle, and wind noise (why???) via the Smart App in this setting. I quickly found that the default Restaurant settings (defaults not modifiable by Audiologist) appeared to be close to the best obtainable, at least the noise reduction, since when I increased noise reduction (and the background noise did decrease), my ability to understand my partner's speech also appeared to decrease! Hard to tell if there is an improvement with Cala 8 over Restaurant setting of KS 6's as this was a different Restaurant than where I have been before.
- Smart App - connectivity to iPhone appears to be the same as the KS6.0 Smart App, which is fine (great!) for me. Adjustability of pattern sensitivity, noise reduction, and wind noise reduction available on the three settings other than "All Around" - as enabled by your Audiologist.
Hope this helps…