Should I be able to trial multiple brands and models of hearing aids?

I’m a prodigious researcher so when I finally decided it was time to get my first HAs, I figured I’d just do my usual due dilligence. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered there are a million types, brands, models, sub-models, battery size/type, and features.

I have moderate hearling loss in upper frequencies but not-too-bad in the lower frequencies. I have decided on the BTE style. I’m not on a strict budget so I’ve kind of traingulated on resound ones, Phonak Paradise (or maybe Marvel) or Signia Styletto. i’d love to try offerings from Widix and some other brands but that leads me to my question…

How do you all find these audiologists that carry so many brands and let you ‘demo’ them? I’ve read many posts here to suggest this is not unusual.However, I went to one national chain audiologist for my first consult and she laid a Styletto on the counter and never once mentioned any other options. When I asked if they carried other brands, she said they can be ordered but they didn’t have any in the store. I was frustrated so went to another audiologist and she told me they could order anything but they don’t really allow you to try different ones. She only really mentioned Widex and Phonak but steered me in the direction of IIC which I’ve since learned don’t get very high marks from consumers. I never even saw the HAs she was leading me towards. She just showed me some display case with different sizes.

I guess I’m wondering what my expectations should be with an audiologist. Should they have multiple brands and models in hand and should I be able to try different ones? It seems incredible to spend upwards of $5,000 and not really get to look at much less try, various options.

Thanks in advance and apologies if I posted to the wrong forum.

Unless you’ve got a recommendation of an audiologist that at least somebody thinks highly of, I’d highly encourage Costco. There you can see 4 different brands of hearing aids, get a good hearing test and at prices way below what you’re talking about, and get better service than what you describe.

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The brand doesn’t matter as much as the tech level. The highest tech level HA’s from any brand will most likely work for most types of hearing loss. Ask around your area for an audiologist with good reviews and try to get recommendations. In my opinion, a skilled audiologist is more important than the brand of hearing aid.

Of course there are cases where a certain brand doesn’t sit well with a patient, in which case it’s wise to try another brand. But I woudln’t make it a huge priority to try as many brands as possible.

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I’d also recommend investing time in finding a good fitter who follows best practices summarised by dr cliff

Which brand? It depends on

  • What non hearing features do you want? What OS is your phone and do you want direct streaming from it.
  • What hearing philosophy you think you might like? The one where aid works for you or where your brain has to work. (if it’s capable of doing that, mine definitely isn’t…)

And especially

  • What are your word recognition scores (WRS) and speech in noise (SIN, quickSIN).

If those two are poor, no aids alone can give you back to 90% hearing. But, maybe there could be some help with additional mics. WRS tells you what you can expect from HAs (assuming you don’t have cochlear dead regions or mixed type of loss or whatnot)

Tech level depends on lifestyle but also your brain, how well it can extract useful information from that mess it receives. SIN score is useful here.

I wouldn’t recommend open paradigm of aids to people who need big (bigger than 5) SNR, signal to noise ratio, plus I’d recommend checking external mics.

Also, mics are a factor in determining which aid, if you need and want them, would you carry intermediary device or you want only HAs and mic, nothing else.

Not all aids have mics that don’t need intermediary device. Also, not all mics are the same.

So, phone and streaming wants, external mics, wish to have intermediary device or not pretty much determine your options, so it’s not that you will have 10 models to test anyway :joy:

Also I’d recommend sticking to big brands. Or their costco rebranded versions since costco offers proper fitting.

Read this blog, start here 3 Must Have Hearing Aid Features in 2020
Do I really need such an expensive hearing aid?

I tried only phonak, because I have android phone, samsung s8, don’t want to buy new one yet, and never plan to switch to iphone. So I’m locked to phonak, unitron. I liked phonak features more so I didn’t check unitron that much. Plus phonak came with being roger ready, at least at the moment when I started.

My fitter doesn’t have any on stock, he orders whatever client wants to try, and returns if client doesn’t want to buy. So that’s not a problem, just some waiting time. Of course, if they charge you for each, then it can be a problem. My fitter said he has zero costs for such stuff so he really doesn’t care.
And he works with every manufacturer who will play like that.

Other option is to find good fitters that offer different manufacturers.

My audiologist let’s me trial as many aids as I want, for weeks at a time at no cost to me. But from what I read on this forum that’s not the norm so I consider myself fortunate. My suggestion is to make phone calls. But if you’re just testing them for the sake of testing with no intentions of buying then you’ll probably run into a brick wall.