Should I order my hearing aid from non authorized audiologist?


I had hearing test appointment recently and the audiologist recommended Starkey Evolv CIC 2400 saying they make the best CIC and IIC. He also offered 3 months trial, 3 years of free maintenance and cleaning plus whatever manufacturer warranty comes with the HA.
When I asked him off he is going to perform REM test he said the software already showing readings similar to REM.
However, he offered me slightly above $7k for the above aid and services but when I checked Starkey’s website I didn’t find him listed as authorized dealer.

My question, how non authorized audiologist or hearing aid dispenser differ from authorized one in terms of service, product knowledge/setup and price?

I think the price offered for the Evolv is way high and not sure going through ziphearing I will end up with good audiologist that will work with me to fine tune the aids down the line.

I am in coastal SoCal so prices here usually are higher than normal.
I also have incoming appointment with Costco next month.

This sounds like a cop-out. What software reading is he talking about? The simulated gain curve (compared to the target gain curve)? It’s not always the case that the hearing aid will perform like the simulated gain curve 100% of the times. And the simulated gain curve doesn’t know to take into account factors like how your real ear canal is, and or how well the fitting is sitting in your actual ear, all of which may be in such a way that may cause blockage and diminish the actual gain curve.

The ONLY way to measure the actual real life gain curve is by using microphones placing inside your ear canal to measure the real life performance. The simulated gain curve is only theoretical and your hearing aid can underperform to this simulated gain curve, beside the other real life factors mentioned above that is not known ahead of time. That is the whole reason for REM.

As to whether he is authorized or not, why don’t you ask him the question directly? If he said yes, then ask him why you couldn’t find him in the Starkey’s website as an authorized dealer and see what he says. If he has some answer that may seem satisfactory to you, ask him how the warranty repair or replacement process is going to work through him. If you decide to get hearing aids from him, but you’re still skeptical, check for the status of the hearing aids’ serial numbers against the Starkey’s database online (if available, or call in or whatever method appropriate) to make sure that they’re fully registered aids under full warranty before making a payment. You can ask to make that a condition in the sales receipt before the payment is made. Make sure the sale receipt has the serial numbers written down.

Just from the high pricing and the cop-out on REM, and the fact that you have access to Costco for hearing aid options, I would forgo this HCP if I were you.

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Thank you Volusiano.

I believe the software as you described shows the simulated gain curve compared to the target gain curve.
I will call Starkey or email them to find out if he is authorized and will include the serial number and warrantee information if i decided to order from him.
I will hold into making a decision until my test is complete with Costco.
I have noticed several audiologist and HA dispensers have multiple brands listed in their website but none of them is listed under manufacturer’s website as authorized dealer so I am not sure if they get their orders direct with the manufacturer but at a higher price or they go through the authorized dealer which will also end up with additional markup to the end user.

I wonder if there’s a distributor network of some sort who plays the middle man between the HA mfgs and the HCPs, and this distributor middle man IS the authorized dealer while the HCPs in his network aren’t. If that’s the case, for sure they take a cut into the sales as well.

The individual HCP I used in Arizona for my Oticon OPN 1 has direct contact to Oticon, has brought an Oticon sales rep into one of my fitting sessions to help her out, and I’ve seen her making phone calls to Oticon Support directly during my fitting sessions with her to ask question → all evidences indicate toward her being an authorized HCP for Oticon.

Another thing to mention is the ease of which my warranty replacement was carried out. On top of that, at the end of the 3 year warranty period, she proactively contacted me to let me know that I had an option to return my aids back to her to exchange for brand new replacement aids before the warranty expired, even if there were nothing wrong my aids at the time. Apparently Oticon condoned this practice, and I’m sure her being a direct authorized dealer allows this possibility of high level of cooperation between her and Oticon. I don’t know if an indirect dealer like your HCP may be would foster this kind of cooperation from the manufacturer directly or not. Maybe it’s a question you can ask him about.

I will. I am waiting on my Costco appointment then will decide my next step.
Several dealers in Starkey’s website are either no longer in business pin my area or have low reviews so I am kind of struggling there.
I contacted one of Phonak’s dealers and the secretary had to put me 4 times on hold to check what is REM and how much they charge for hearing test or if it’s free. Very disappointing.

I had the same experience as you, @Leggy with an audiologist telling me that the Oticon fitting software was so good that REM was unnecessary. Being new to hearing aids at the time, I trusted her to my own detriment. After 3 years of frustration, I went to a nearby university clinic where they did do REM. They correctly fitted my hearing aids with REM and a whole new world of sound opened up to me. Lesson learned. No matter how good the fitting software, it can’t account for factors that it doesn’t include in its calculations. The way to get the best fit is to go to an audiologist who employs best practices.


The Phonak dealer asked $200 each ear for REM test plus $85 for hearing aid test. Unfortunately they don’t have details of what type of test ls they will be running.
Will continue looking for audiologist who does comprehensive tests even for a fee so I have a backup and can compare to what Costco will do

Just chatted with Starkey and apparently any licensed hearing care professional list Starkey as of the brand they sell are approved by Starkey and backed by their warrantee.
The difference between those and the businesses listed under authorized dealer section in Starkey’s website is those businesses primarily sell Starkey products only.

Above removes the guess and assumption of middle man and additional charges and the product is genuine and backed by Starkey.

Pointless in ordering either the 2000/2400 in CIC format (or any size that has a single mic and no ear to ear comms): when most of the higher directional, noise management and speech in noise functions that get better with the better models won’t work.

Even the 1600/1200 will have inhibited functionality, but at least you won’t feel quite as ripped off.

Thank you Um_bongo. That never crossed my mind and glad I brought up the size I am looking for.
My audiologist said the Genesis CIC and IIC don’t communicate but the Evolv’s CIC does so I will have to confirm this with him or any other audiologist for Starkey.
So what you are saying, even if I go with Phillips 9040 CIC I will miss or won’t get the full benefit of the features?

Yes, the CIC/IIC models don’t run the full binaural/directional benefit in any model series.

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but no Starkey hearing aid, regardless of the form factor, is capable of binaural beamforming. What you get with higher tech levels is essentially an increase in the strengh/level of attenuation of noise and a greater number of channels. I don’t fit a lot of Starkey so I certainly could be wrong here.

Not stereo Beam-forming.

However if you look at the claimed SNR between the twin mic and single mic models. This isn’t a function of extra channels it’s a function of directional mics. Claiming extra SNR ‘because more channels’ isn’t well established at all.

The brain does the differential calculations in order to refine the output, but if the hearing aids talk to each other about their settings, which directional pattern they are in, which AI model they are following, where the feedback is coming from and what to do about it: then having both binaural communications and directional mics would seem advantageous? No?