Should We (Or Not) Try New Hearing Aids AT THE SAME TIME?

I’ve been advised recently by a very helpful audiologist that it’s probably not a good idea to overlap trial periods of hearing aids in order to “swap” between them…

Despite having worn hearing aids all my life (40+ years), I’m just now grappling with the question: how do you really evaluate a new hearing aid when sound and hearing are so subjective? Especially when changing manufacturers?

In my mind, it ends up coming down to not which aid/manufacturer has the more positives, but which one has the fewer negatives! Somehow this doesn’t seem right – is there a better way?I

I know our brain can take days (or more?) to adjust to a new hearing aid, but is it really better to try on hearing aids one after the other over a period of weeks, or is there value in swapping from one to another in a certain environment to ttry them out?

Like this means anything, what their really saying is, these are the HAs I’ve recommended, so please don’t make me spend more time on you trying out every other HA on the market, it’s just too time consuming for us.

Well one might ask, what took you so long ; ) But seriously you evaluate them by trialing between the brands/models, so your question

You have answered your own question in a way, as you know it’s a very subjective matter, how you hear only you know, no one else can tell you this,not your audiologist, neighbour, friends, or wife, only you can, you know what you want to hear and how it’s going to sound, so trialing between the brands is definitely ok to do, especially if your not happy with the brand/model you are trialing for whatever reason.

No, it comes down to you, and how you hear with each brand/model, don’t go on some kind of review process, because as you say

Sometimes months, but as your a very experienced user, you’ll know straight away it you don’t like something you hear (not natural, muddy,crisp, clean or whatever)

No not quite, I mean you should give each brand/model a longer period, because it gives you and your audiologist the time needed to try and get them set up how you want them to sound, this can sometimes take longer then just a few weeks.

I’ve done this myself, but as i DIY I’ve found I have all the necessary time to do this, i can and have done programming between different models on the fly(malls, coffee lounge, etc) which helped me a lot, but as you’ll be working with your audiologist clinic, you’ll need to give more time… possibly a lot!

1 Like

This is one of those topics that there’s a diversity of opinions on. I could see doing A vs B comparisons if there’s one specific feature/ability you’re trying to compare. Trying to compare two different hearing aids on an overall basis is likely to lead to confusion and being overwhelmed if you try to do it objectively.
My take: Pick a hearing aid on some basis and try it out with the intent to make it work. If after good effort by you and your hearing aid fitter, it doesn’t meet expectations, then consider trying another one. Others will disagree vehemently.

1 Like

I’ve watched ppl here on this forum struggling with this in the discussions on whisper. I can see doing swaps in a hard noise location where you are comfortable with one, although perhaps wondering if there isn’t more to be had in the other.

But I would be more in favor of objective tests of speech in noise. If one gives better results, go with it.

I suspect there is room for a lot of academic study here and we are a generation away from good solid methods that get away from gut feel and subjective sway. This is besides I like how tiny these are, and this one has a battery option I like better, or those have good Bluetooth features. None of which help you hear that conversation at the restaurant table or a subway car better.

WH

You have received great information about trying different hearing aids.

The way I see it is if you get any of the top 5 or 6 namebrand hearing aids that are properly fit for your hearing loss your brain will acclimate in time. The trick is getting the aids properly fit for your hearing loss. Finding the right fitter is key.

Good luck

4 Likes

I also find that if you are trying more than one brand and swapping between them you may not get a full idea of what the sound is like for one over the other which also may make things differcult for choosing what brand you like so therefore i think it is much better to try one at a time and see which one is best for you

Many people on this forum bitch about the cost of hearing aids, yet think nothing of wasting a professional’s time by just trying many different instruments. It cost the manufacturer money since the hearing aid is now considered used and can not be sold as new, it cost the practice money in the time spent with no revenue coming it. I know I will get a lot of negative feedback from this post but those of you that will respond, ask yourself if you would work for free for many hours. I seriously doubt you would. In the past I have had patients brag that they wore hearing aid for six or seven months and it did not cost them a dime. Well it certainly cost someone else much more than a dime. A trial is important, but if it is abused, it may disappear some day.

6 Likes

Yes, this is most likely what the audiologist meant when advising the OP not to try more than one brand at a time. Tnkan is a tad cynical about audiologists and sees nefarious behavior on their part from the moment they say “good morning” until they kick their pooch before going to bed.

Modern aids are remarkable devices. With appropriate fitting any one will likely work well. And none will be perfect.

1 Like

Yeah, the none will be perfect part really annoys me… :rofl::rofl:. My aids do some things incredibly well and I question other aspects, although I’m very new to aids so it will probably take time for me to figure out what really works best for me in the long run…

In regards to two aids at once - I know for me it took several weeks to just get used to aids, then see how they helped and get used to them. For me I expect switching back and forth throughout the day I can see might be very confusing overall…

Maybe your audiologist works with one-two manufacturers and her choice based on discounts she gets from them. Is it a private independent clinic or some corporation retail store ? I would recommend to try Oticon Xceed SP because you have a severe loss at 1K Hz. You need a good practitioner who knows the product and can provide real Ear Measurement Verification. Plus a long-term client care.

Ive never overlapped. One at a time for 2 or 3 weeks each. It takes time for the brain to adjust to each aid

1 Like

Thanks for taking the time to post, and good to understand things from a provider. It seems that the biz model of the industry is setup to make it more challenging for provider and consumer to collaborate and move toward win-win outcomes. The trial and return being only one aspect of this issue.

Yeah, well, if the industry moved to an unbundled model, maybe it wouldn’t be an issue? You know, here I am charging you 6 grand for 200 dollars worth of hardware and there you are wasting my time trying to get the best outcome for yourself. I’m trying to feel the sympathy, but…

2 Likes

Some places have gone unbundled. Mass Eye and Ear sells the HAs with minimal fitting support. The care and feeding afterward are either paid for visit by visit or via a separate support contract. If that had been explained better to me than the intimation I’d pay a huge fee not covered by health insurance (and actually, I do have some health ins. coverage for HAs) then I might have bitten on that 15 months ago and not waited, winding up getting HAs from the VA for free (to me).

Mass Eye and Ear Hearing Aids

WH

Oh PULEEEZE! Would this same audi go test drive and BUY one car, then if they wanted to see what another model drove like, return the car and go buy another one? That is exactly the analogy I posed to my dear audi many years ago. From that moment on, he was SOLD! He’d let me trial as many brands as he could get his hands on. One trial period I wore Widex, Starkey and Oticon aids. That very useful trial SOLD ME on the Oticon aids for sound quality and robust performance (even after a sweaty workout in the gym - where the Starkeys would literally flit from one program to another as if with heat exhaustion).

Thing is, most audis don’t wear aids, so they can spout all kinds of sage advice without every having walked the walk. I’ve worn aids for almost 35 years, and by now I sure know what kind of listening experience I’m looking for.

On top of which, I’ve even had audis who push a certain manufacturer - to the point where they wear a labcoat emblazoned with that manufacturer’s name on it! What does that tell you? Are they gonna break the mold and let you try out another maker’s aids? Probably not - especially if they are only proficient in fitting that brand.

Well, this is a topic that really gets my dander up cuz for TOO long, we with hearing challenges are relegated to the patient’s chair, basically told to SHADDUP and take the pre-programmed aids from an audi. Then we’re cast adrift if the programs aren’t working, the frequencies aren’t tuned right, or the myriad accessories can’t be hooked up.

Hearing aids are much more than just a plug in an ear! They are a total solution for hearing speech, speech in noise, dynamic ranges of music, not deafening us with fire alarms, etc., On top of which they should be no-brainers to pair up with phones, laptops, TVs, etc., I sometimes get the feeling that audis don’t think we with wooden ears actually need to ENJOY hearing. We just need to stay out of trouble and not get run over by a car. But we have quality of life goals too!

Um. I think I’ve just ranted enough on this for one day? It really gets under my skin tho. :rage:

2 Likes

I totally empathize with audis who don’t have the time to do follow-on app’ts. Not only is it NOT a good use of their time, but they may not even want to learn all the programs and accessories that are now available with each manufacturer’s aids.

In my dreams, there would be technicians to take care of the follow-on program additions and fine-tuning. These tech-perts could ensure that, say, Acoustic Phone is assigned to one of the program options, then with a phone in their office actually ensure it works for the patient.

There would also be a GEEK on staff to do JUST the accessories: helping us figure out how to set up TV streamers, pen/mic devices, connect/pair with phones, troubleshoot Bluetooth issues (too many devices connected, etc.,) and help get the most out of these expensive devices. Like Best Buy, maybe this Geek squad could be mobile to actually go to the patient’s home and hook up a TV streamer to that person’s OWN device. Instead, we’re told to go find the manual online, read it, compare the sparse diagrams to our unique setup and figure it out on our own.

This kind of staffing wouldn’t come cheap. But it would go SO VERY FAR in delivering the “total hearing/quality of life” solution to us who buy these aids.

1 Like

Actually there is that sort of personnel in many offices, they are called Audiology Assistants. Their skill level of course varies office by office. But they can be a tremendous help in freeing up the Doctors time and frankly, they can be more fun to work with and potentially more courteous and caring.

1 Like

FWIW, my experience has been that trying HAs is not like trying on serial pairs of shoes or eyeglasses: my brain, at least, needs quite a bit of time to acclimate to the new mix of sounds presented by it, the different timbres, and the features such as frequency lowering.

If the audiologist helps the patient to narrow the playing field to a short list of candidates that are appropriate for the patient’s hearing loss I don’t think trials need to continue ad nauseam. But I can’t bring myself to feel too much sympathy for the audiologist/practice offering the trials. I’m sure the majors offer low-cost trial/loaner units to their distributors, and I’m sure that industrial bean-counters have done the actuarial calculations relative to the cost/benefit paradigm for the audiologists/clinics that offer trial periods of different makes and models.

I personally believe that the HA industry’s business models are seriously antiquated, and in need of a rational overhaul. In the meantime, I also believe that most clients are reasonable in their fitting/trial expectations, and that most audiology professionals are happy to entertain reasonable expectations on the part of their clientele. But that’s just my opinion …

1 Like

I think this is about trialing one aid for a period of time, and then trialing another, without having to purchase each one as you go along.

so, you can relax.

My experience doesn’t match yours at all, in terms of audis. Mine have been helpful, and never have told me–not once, over decades–to SHADDUP and accept their fiat as the final word. I’ve been able to work with the audis, altho I admit there are some that aren’t particularly competent. Then I move on to another, or, more often, work with them to get the result that I want. It’s a collaboration. Going in with a chip on my shoulder wouldn’t be helpful.

If I was of working age now, I’d LOVE to be a techno-geek in an audi’s office. It would be even better as I wear the aids and could “test drive” accessories and programs to better inform my customers. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like