Resound Cala 8 RIE: First Impressions

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.
Will provide update as appropriate - probably in a week or so after my return visit with Audiologist so that any adjustments can be evaluated and reported.

Hope this helps…

You just might try ramping up soft speech in the restaurant program to see if that help. Otherwise, I am a bit envious. They sound super. I’m 2 to 4 years from really seeking an upgrade from my KS6. But, who know what will be around then, right? :slight_smile:

Hi Ken,
I guess the Audiologist would need to ramp up the soft speech setting in the Restaurant program? I don’t think I could do that at my end…

And yes, I believe that there is a quite noticeable improvement over the KS6’s. However, I am sure that in 2-4 years from now, the Costco KS “x” offering will be a world better than the Cala 8’s due to technology improvements;)

Excellent first impressions so far. From the info you shared I think RIC with size 13 battery will also be supported. that should make a good combo for people with more streaming needs.
Now I need to wait till they are available up north in Canada.

Hi techie_tk,
Costco does offer the size 13 battery option for the Cala 8 RIE HA. I was offered that option by the audiologist. I chose the more compact of the two offerings.

Interestingly enough, the audiologist didn’t believe there was much difference in battery longevity under actual use conditions between the size 13 and 312 variants. Which was counterintuitive to my expectations. Maybe someone on the forum has experience/insight on what percentage longer life one may expect from a size 13 vs 312 same brand/model/generation HA under comparable usage conditions.

I tend to agree size 13 can hold more charge and should last longer.

That’s exactly what my audi told me last week. And she added that not many people do streaming, so it isn’t always indicated to step from the 961 to the 962 :confused:

Maybe this is only true on the Linx2 but when I went to my audi’s office to try out the Linx2 he fitted me with - I think - the 961 model which uses the 312 battery. the next day I told him that I couldn’t hear well on the phone and he replied that the 961 did not have a t-coil and asked me to come back and he would switch them out with the tcoil model which used a 13 battery - model 962 I guess?.
So are the Cala 8 (Linx2 equivalent) options either the 961 with 312 battery and no tcoil OR the 962 with the 13 battery and tcoil? I do like the tcoil function that switches automatically when I lift my office phone handset to my ear (right ear is usually my phone ear) as it activates tcoil in R/H hearing aid and mutes sounds on left hearing aid.
This make sense?

Mike in AL

I just ordered a pair of the BTE models of the Resound Cala 8 today. These use the size 13 batteries.

Hi Mike,
You are correct. A while back, when I looked at the Linx 2 offerings on the Resound website, it appeared that the 961 did not have the t coil and the 962 did. I assume that the same is true with the Costco Resound Cala 8 offerings. Size probably matters here and apparently it requires a larger package to contain the t coil function (and larger battery)…

I don’t have an office phone (I am retired), so the t coil is not a requirement for me. The Cala 8 connectivity with my iPhone is great and phone calls with my HA’s functioning as “stereo earpieces” is so much more convenient (and less encumbering) than holding a phone up to my ear. I merely stick the iPhone in my shirt pocket upside down with microphone facing up and converse hands free

Just had appt. with audiologist who sent me a letter about Oticon OPN’s. Fitted them and gave me some word discrimination tests but really the improvement was not significant enough for her to recommend I try a set for a week or so. Guess my hearing is so bad that even they didn’t help.
have contacted the closest Costco hearing center in Montgomery AL to see if they have access to the cala 8’s as I expect I have nothing to lose by going down and talking with them to see if they might help.

I noticed Um Bongo said they haven’t release the Ultra-power receiver for them. Either the Resound or the KS6 has those receivers available. The next greater would be a BTE rather than a RIC.

War Eagle!

The Costco in Mobile just got the Cala demo’s. The Audi opened up the box in front of me. I don’t know what the t-coil feature is. I had to have the BTE models with custom earmolds for my hearing loss. I was able to walk around the store with the demo’s.

I was told the phone clip comes with the BTE models at no extra charge. Is this correct?

I have a non Samsung Android phone and the Audi said I could not stream music with the phone clip, but I could use it for phone calls. Is this correct also?

War Eagle though I am actually a Virginia Tech Hokie but family includes a Marshall U grad, Nebraska fan, Auburn Tiger, Alabama Tide Fan and grandson is an East Carolina pirate! We cheer for everyone!

With the football talk I have to say LSU!!!

I would get them to read out check out the info on the phone clip. Unless they have made major changes to the software to badge it for costco as the Cala 8, it will connect to and stream sound (voice or music) to most if not any, bluetooth enabled device. In fact it will multiple connect to several bluetooth devices at the same time.

I use mine on a set of verso 961-s, an ipad, my lap top and all of those will stream music. I even use it at times to stream the audio from my ipad whilst watching the programme on my TV.

Regards Ian

I did find out that my Motorola Droid Turbo 2 has the Bluetooth 4.1LE software if that means anything.

The Phone Clip+ supports bluetooth 2.1 and A2DP, so it should have no problem streaming music from your phone, provided your phone supports A2DP.

I found this info here:

Hey Reuben,

Do you know Sam Campbell in Elberta? I used to work for Scott Paper/Kimberly-Clark.