Ria 2 Experience

I was asked by Audiometrix to review a pair of Ria 2s and to compare them to Costco’s KS7s. Trying out another pair of hearing aids was an educational process. When I got the Ria 2s, the first thing I noticed was that they had closed domes instead of the open domes I have in my KS7s. When I hooked them up the programmer, I also noticed that they had more powerful receivers than the KS7s. Hmm. Comparing hearing aids is not a straight forward process. There are a lot of variables. I’d keep that in mind when comparing any two hearing aids–differences may be more related to how they’re set up rather than the brand and model of the hearing aids.

Trying out the Ria 2s, the first thing I noticed was that the left ear had a constant, staticky, white noise sound. After several emails and phone calls, we basically determined that these are not suitable for me. We confirmed that it wasn’t a flaw in the hearing aid, because the right sided one produced the same noise when I placed it in my left ear. Playing around with the gain controls through Genie, the only way I could eliminate the noise was to dramatically lower gain for soft sounds at the 2500 hz range. Kind of defeated the point of the hearing aids, as these aids have only 4 gain handles: 250, 1000, 2500 and 5000 hz; There was no way to selectively eliminate the noise without eliminating the gain I needed so we agreed I should return them.

Exploring the software did allow me to learn a fair amount of things about the Ria 2s and how they might compare with the KS7s. They are relatively inexpensive for RIC (receiver in canal hearing aids (price through HearTech is less than $1400 for a pair). Costco doesn’t have any RICs that are comparably priced. The KS7s are a little less than $1700 for a pair. Although the KS7s are more advanced, the Ria2s are still very sophisticated devices. One can setup multiple programs and the aids shift settings depending on what kind of environment they’re in. All control of the Ria2s is through a push button on each aid, The KS7 has 2 buttons per aid and can also be controlled by a smart phone app. The KS7s allow more control over how directional the microphones are than do the Ria2s. The KS7 also has a lot more control over gain at different frequencies: 20 gain handles versus only 4 for the Ria2s. All that said, 20 gain handles is likely overkill and I seldom use my smartphone app. KS7s do support frequency lowering while the Ria2s do not. I like the frequency lowering, but it does not have much of an effect on understanding speech for me.

I think the Ria2s could be a viable, affordable option for someone wanting straight forward hearing aids and with a hearing loss that could be covered by the 4 gain handles–I’m guessing a flatter loss than mine. I still question how appropriate it would be for a newby to start with online hearing aids, but for an experienced user who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles, these could be worth a look. I still think the KS7s are a better value and for a first time hearing aid user, I think the ability to meet face to face with your hearing aid fitter is very helpful.

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Are you talking about the Oticon Ria2? In summary what are you saying about the Oticon Ria2? That it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick? :rofl:

Instead of paying $1400 for the low end of this platform I prefer getting a pair of Oticon Alta Pros for $350, which is almost exactly same as the Alta2 Pro top-of-the-line in the platform you tested. Then I can put the $1050 in savings in my pocket while wearing hearing aids that are feature rich compared to the Ria2.

Not quite. :smile: They’re less than $1400 for the pair through Audiometrix. Admittedly you can get a lot more for the money by going used, but just as I don’t think DIY or online is for everybody, I feel the same way about buying used. Although we tend to obsess about all the latest bells and whistle on the forum, I suspect that for a lot of people who just want to be able to hear their family better, that something like the Ria2s would do just fine. Although all research is debatable, there is research showing that basic aids did just as well for people compared to premium aids as long as they were properly fitted.

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Okay corrected the $1400 per pair, not per aid.

Hmmmm; It’s hard to believe that with all of these missing features the Ria2’s will perform just as well for people as long as they are properly fitted.

Alta2 Pro Ria2
Binaural Processing (compression) Yes (Premium) No
Binaural Synchronization (automatics) Yes No
Soft Speech Booster (VAC+) Yes No
Tinnitus SoundSupport Yes No
Speech Guard E Yes No
YouMatic Yes (Premium) Yes (Essential)
FreeFocus Yes (Premium) Yes (Essential)
Automatic Directionality Multi-band Adaptive Single Band Adaptive
Spatial Sound Yes (Premium) No
Binaural Noise Management Yes No
Personal Profiles 5 3
Noise Management TriState Modulation-based
Power Bass & Music Widening (streaming) Yes No
Fitting Bandwidth (accessed in software) 10 kHz 8 kHz
Fitting Bands 10 4
Life Learning Yes No
Fitting Rationales VAC+, NAL, DSL NAL, DSL

Thank you for posting your honest opinion. The search continues to beat a Kirkland in price and performance.
Some patients hate the high end hearing aids, and actually prefer the lower tier.

I agree that used aids work for some but not most.

@PVC Out of curiosity, have any of your used hearing aids ever ended up being loss & damage scams?

No never, because I guard against it by always paying with a credit card, never with online balance and never with funds from my bank account. Thus, I can use my credit card chargeback rights granted by Federal and State law to claw back my payment.

That’s very true I feel. As a profoundly deaf person I don’t notice the difference between my Phonak Sky Q70 and Phonak Sky V50. They both sound the same and the lack of additional features don’t make a difference in my opinion.

I experience the same type of noise on my OPN 1 and the OPN 3 that I reviewed when I place them in the fully directional mode. Then later on I was able to find technical literatures that explains that it’s a common side effect for using full directionality.

The Sonic Enchant that I reviewed seems to have been able to lick this problem by applying directionality in 16 independent frequency bands via their automatic/adaptive directionality feature, so that they can avoid using full directionality in the lower frequency bands, hence eliminating the static noise issue with those bands.

For someone with near normal hearing in the lower bands (as in your case for up to 2KHz), this full directionality side effect can be very obvious / pronounced. What I wonder is why you don’t notice this on your KS7 in the full directional mode. Maybe the KS7 has a way to deal with it, too, like the Sonic Enchant does.

Of course all this discussion above predicates on the assumption that this noise you hear is because you were in the full directional mode on the Ria 2. Maybe you weren’t in full directional mode at the time with it.

By the way, I applaud Audiometrix for seeking out various forum members to ask them to try out and give their honest opinions on various HA brands and models on the market by supplying these HAs to forum members to do the review. It’s a very fresh idea that’s a win win for everyone.

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I wonder if you would get the same results from the high end?

Alta2 Pro Ria2
Automatic Directionality Multi-band Adaptive Single Band Adaptive

Really? I see it as promoting a one-generation-back low-end hearing aid that would otherwise generate very little interest.

Yes, it’s still a win win in my opinion because knowledge is power for forum members, even if it’s knowledge of an older model. Forum members will have more information and get to decide whether it’s of any interest for them or not.

I don’t think of it as “promoting” because a forum member with personal experience from their own hearing aids (which is used as a basis for the comparison to the HA in review) gets to review and give an honest opinion of the HA under review. A “promotional” attempt would ensure that bias will be given to the “promoted” item, which is not the case here. In this case, I think MDB’s conclusion is that the KS7s are a better value compared to the Ria 2. So if it’s really a promotional attempt, it’s surely back fired on itself.

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Sorry I wasn’t more complete in my review. One of the things we tried was turning off the directionality and it did not impact the noise. I don’t truly understand it, but my take was that it’s a combo of my distorted hearing and the limited number of fitting bands.

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Defiantly not a promotion. We pretty much never sell the Ria 2. I was curious how it compared to a Kirkland.

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Okay I concede your points. But I still didn’t learn much ¯\(ツ)

What I learned from this review is that the KS7 offering from Costco is a pretty darn good value and we still haven’t seen anything in that price range outside of Costco that can give the KS7 a run for its money.

That’s what I took from it as well. Still searching for one though.

Compare the KS7 to the Rexton Emerald 6C