Review: ReSound Forte FT861-DRW (Costco) vs. Oticon OPN1

@Bryan9 Thanks for a great review and follow-up. I’m in the market for my first set of hearing aids after shying away from the facts for years and until I read your review, the Oticon Opn1 was my first choice, if I could find a provider who takes the deal my BCBS offers through After $1,000 per ear coverage, I might be paying $1,000 per ear myself for Opn but $300 per ear sounds for the Forte a lot better!

A couple of questions come to mind, though, about having to go through Costco. I wonder if Costco will support its version of the Forte as long as a ReSound HA that one might take to any provider? Did Costco give you any info on support time into the future (at $300 out-of-pocket cost/HA, replacing every few years wouldn’t hurt much, though). Also, with Google just announcing its “Made for Android” initiative with GN Hearing, the parent company of ReSound, I wonder what the likelihood will be that the Costco Forte’s will be upgraded to Android BT streaming via a firmware upgrade or whether any retroactive BT streaming upgrades, if even possible, will be one of those little incentives that ReSound uses to selectively reward those that bought full-featured HA versions - too bad you went for the reduced feature set at Costco, etc.

I guess before I run straight to Costco, I will wait to see what the deal is with the Starkey Livio AI device set to debut August 27th (“a revolution in hearing” according to the PR). But that would be likely to cost me big bucks, too. As my age-related hearing loss seems reasonably stable over the past 8 years, maybe I can afford to wait until Spring, 2019, to decide what to buy, by which time everyone should have fielded their AI-improved, deep learning HA’s, etc., and I’ll be able to tell if anyone is really going to offer anything an order of magnitude better than any HA currently on the market, i.e., is 2019 going to be MAJOR TRANSITION TIME?

My Costco HIS encouraged me to come in at least once per year to recheck my hearing and get my aids adjusted, if necessary. I don’t think there’s a time limit on this, but I didn’t ask, assuming that I’d likely upgrade to the latest and greatest when my insurance co-payment becomes available again.

On upgrading the Fortes or Linx 3Ds for the new Android protocols, I’d be very surprised if this were possible by means of a mere firmware update. The Quattro employs a completely redesigned wireless radio, additional memory, and faster processing.… and some of these may have been necessary in order to support the Android spec. I’m no expert on such things, but your question raises an important issue that I did discuss with my HIS: Given that the Fortes lack the 3D’s remote adjustment feature, and given also that ReSound uses this feature to distribute firmware updates to 3D users, how will Forte users get firmware updates? To answer this, my HIS stated that they’d check for firmware updates when I come in for my annual hearing re-check.

Were I an Android user, I think I’d sit tight for a while to see how this shakes out. Although GN worked closely with Google to develop these protocols, they are nevertheless open to all HA manufacturers, so the months to come should see numerous new product announcements.

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Costco offers lifetime support. (I’m speaking for US Costcos) You can bring your aids in as often as you want for checking/cleaning for no charge. 3 Year warranty, plus extended by 2 years if you bought with Costco credit card. My one experience with sending aids back to factory was 1 week turn around time.


I don’t think Resound would treat Costco buyers less well than other buyers. Costco and the VA would be Resounds two biggest USA customers and it would be stupid of them to punish customers of their biggest customer, and they are not stupid.

I have been told at Costco that some manufacturers do not repair hearing aids older than 5 years, but that sounds extreme, and may have just been the marketing side of the house talking. There are other places that either repair or send in hearing aids, so if longevity is a big issue, you might want to stay with Costco’s unlocked offerings, which would be anything except Resound.

On the other hand, technology in this field is moving along fairly quickly so you may be ready for new ones before 5 years.

The 5 year thing is not set in stone either. It could be that the manufacturers will go well beyond that. The issue then would be getting someone local that still has the software to make changes (if Costco said no).


Thanks, Bryan9, MDB, and Don for great advice. I checked with ReSound and got a reply from CostcoSupport @ ReSound. They said that the Forte’s were a private label product and all support and warranty service and the length of time service was available were totally dependent on Costco. I also asked them about battery replacement in the Phone Clip+ and the Multi Mic. I’m interested in such devices for any HA that I go with. ReSound said that replacement under warranty or buying a new device out of warranty are the only battery options there. Think that I read with Oticon that battery replacement by return to manufacturer is an option there for similar devices from Oticon.

Waiting a bit to see how things shake out with Android connectivity does seem like a good idea. Thanks, @Bryan9, for reinforcing that idea. I must be one of the few people whose wife says, in spite of my “Could your repeat that’s?,” that “you don’t need hearing aids” - think she’s afraid of the expense/benefit ratio. Her dad has very expensive Phonaks, really needs them, but never wears them because he doesn’t like the sound and the maintenance effort and I guess she’s afraid I’ll go the same route after plunking down thousands if I go for a really premium, latest and greatest device (my typical failing in buying anything!).

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Called my local Costco. They too do Real Ear Measurement in fitting. I was told too that the guaranteed support period was FIVE YEARS. After that, “the device is obsolete” and “the manufacturer won’t support it.”

One attraction of going to Costco is the Hearing Aid Center is open 7 days a week. I guess I hate to see everything become Big Box but the economics certainly drives things that way. Now when is Amazon going to start selling HA’s (with Alexa programmed into them!).

One also gets a slight discount on buying the Multi Mic and the Phone Clip+ through Costco. I was quoted $266 and $209, respectively. They have to be Special Ordered, though.

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Are you sure about this? The Hearing aids center at the Costco near my house is not open on Sunday, and had more limited hours on Saturday. Maybe it varies based on location.

Just double-checked and YES for my Costco. The hours are not listed for the website but if one calls the Costco Hearing Aid Center for Store #689 (210-200-2033), just before the recorded beep to leave your own phone number for a callback, the message will recite the HEARING CENTER hours, which are 7 days a week. Mon->Fri, 10 am to 7:30 pm; Sat, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; Sun, 10 am to 6 pm (appointments HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). If anyone wants to doublecheck phone number or location in San Antonio, TX, here is the link to the store with specialty center listings: Nw san antonio Costco Warehouse- Costco

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Thanks all for the great review and comments. I picked up my Phonaks from Costco (in Canada) last Sunday. My issue is that my hearing is significantly different in each ear. The left is very bad while the right is moderate but still needs a hearing aid. So far I’m not overly impressed with the Phonaks but really have nothing to compare to. I feel that given the large discrepancy between my two ears, I need something that will allow me to adjust each side separately in different situations. I’ve got the Phonak app and can adjust volume, but it’s not enough.

I’ve looked at the Resound app and it certainly provides much more control. My question is whether the app provides separate controls for the left and right side for things other than volume, such as bass and treble, wind noise, and so on. Thanks.

Bob, you can separately control the volume (gain) on the left and right aids, but adjustments to tone (bass, middle, and treble) as well as wind noise suppression affect both aids. This is supported by the confirmation beeps: left or right for separate volume adjustments, both for other adjustments. However, you could ask your audi to set up new programs (in addition to the defaults) with different tone/wind noise settings for each ear. These would appear in the app’s slider selection bar. You could switch to one of these using the app or by doing a long press on the hearing aids’ button.

I would add that I think you’re one of the folks who would really benefit by being able to program your aids yourself. Unfortunately that’s not possible with the Costco Fortes, but it is possible with the admittedly much pricier Linx 3Ds. You might try working with the Costco audi to see if you can get the programs set up to your liking – you have a 180 day trial period.

Thanks for the fast reply Bryan9. That’s what I thought based on the demo built into the Resound app, but you never know with demos. I’ll see if I can get a range of programs. I think the trial is 3 months in Canada, still more than enough time. My first step is to return the Phonaks and arrange for the Fortes.

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There are a lot of smarts in the ReSound aids, which will hopefully be supplemented by the skill of the audiologist or fitter who sets you up. So I think you should see how they do with your differing prescriptions, before you try to outsmart the system by asking for a bunch of different programs you may not need. There are only four program slots in the aids anyway, not counting the automatic programs for the iPhone or Phone Clip. I can’t think of why you’d want, say, different wind noise suppression on each ear.

I suppose it will depend on whether the Resound automatic program is better than the Phonak’s. While my right side starts at 20dB up to about 1k and then starts dropping to reach 70dB at 8k, the left side is almost linear at 70dB. I also found, while attending a local music festival, that the left side was much more sensitive to bass. That’s without hearing aids.

I’ve been in a couple of situations where I’d want to turn the left side down or at least make it less sensitive to certain frequencies. One was at a family gathering where some young kids were playing. I heard them better than the people right in front of me. And yes, they tended to be on my left side. Similarly, I was at a fairly quiet restaurant with some friends. The volume on the left was enough to distract from what the person in front of me was saying. And for listening to TV, I find that I have to turn the volume down on the left side to hear clearly, although I should say that at least now I can properly make out voices on TV.

I was thinking of a couple of generalized programs where the left side bass is set to lower than normal and perhaps one where the bass is normal but the mid tones and treble are set higher. Given that, when I adjust the bass and treble for both aids using the app, plus the ability to adjust for noise and speech location, I can probably find something that suits most situations.

Everything is adjustable and they may not have them turned up if you are new wearer. The aids themselves may have an acclimation schedule, or your pro may do it manually based on how you are doing. You should need a few adjustments the first couple of months. It takes time for your brain to adjust to the new sounds.

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As you ask, I am sharing my experience, now in my second day with Forte 8.
I got carried away with my excitement with the ReSounds over here. :grin:


Still feeling this way after a month with my Forte 8s. Stuff I just couldn’t hear with my Oticon Agil Pros: Comments made by checkout clerks in supermarkets/big box stores, wife talking from another room, TV at normal volume, my little cat mewing softly, cats purring, birds chirping outside, slow-moving cars coming at me when I’m crossing the street, pill hitting floor after I dropped it… able to have phone conversations again and don’t fear the phone ringing…


Update - I am totally grooving on listening to music through my Forte 861s connected to my iPhone. I have to push my power domes all the way into the canal in order to get the deepest base. I select the Music program with Bass Boost, and use the Music app to play my favorite tracks… .and OMG, I am hearing music again for the first time in 25 years. It’s just an overwhelming experience. Honestly, the sound is as good as anything I’ve experienced with audiophile quality headphones or speakers… doubtless because the frequency response has been adjusted to suit my audiogram. What a joy!

I just described this post to my wife, who commented:

“For the first time in many, many years, I am now able to talk to you in a nice, soft voice, without yelling. It’s very pleasant. It was such a struggle to have conversations with you before. And I’m not raising my voice too much when I speak to other people with normal hearing – something they noticed.”


I think that I need to start streaming music to my HA’s while driving rather than listening to the car radio directly. The ReSound All-Around program does a good job of keeping road noise to an acceptable minimum but yesterday coming home from a 100-mile road trip, I thought I’d try enjoying the Music program - Yep! The music sounded even better (what I could hear of it) but the road noise came through in full glory, too. I have a 12-year-old Honda Accord in fantastic shape (it only has 64,000 miles on it) and I want to take advantage of its remaining life until driverless technology gets better (to help mind what I’m doing on the road in my old age!). I was wondering if there is a relatively inexpensive way to convert the radio to stream to my HA’s? The car can do XM Radio, etc., but I don’t want to pay a subscription for that or for Spotify, etc. I like “free” and I like the serendipity of discovering songs playing on some station while I drive - my theory is that skipping between stations helps keep me awake on monotonous drives such that my wife cannot help but fall asleep in the passenger seat! Not looking forward to doing the same in the driver’s seat!

But before you do that, have you tried the Noise Reduction slider in the Music program’s Sound Enhancer section? Of course it’ll take away some of the music along with road noise, but depending on the type of music it might be acceptable.

Also, as @Mark_Chambers already wrote below, I have the default gain set lower on the Music program, or you can reduce the volume through the app or the iPhone triple-click shortcut. This way the aids don’t amplify the road noise too much, and I can crank the head unit louder to overwhelm (well, not completely) the road noise. This might be a bad idea in theory, since cranking the head unit too loud might exceed the aids’ input capacity. But maybe not such an issue with Quattros?

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Turn the volume down on your aids to quiet the road noise and turn the volume up on your radio to compensate.

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