Hearing Aid Review – Siemens Pure 300 – Why I switched to Phonak Solanas.
I purchased a Siemens Pure 300 for my left ear 18 months ago. The hearing in my right ear was almost normal so I didn’t buy an aid for that ear. I have worn the aid in my left ear faithfully – about ten to twelve hours a day. At first it was great – I could hear EVERYTHING. After a few months it quit working as well and I went to visit my audiologist who returned it Siemens after cleaning it, re-checking my hearing and also replacing the speaker. When it was sent back to Siemens it took exactly two weeks, as promised. At some point I had purchased a custom ear mold to use instead of the generic open dome that I had been using, and it seemed to work better.
It worked great for a while, but I began having problems again. Two or three times it went completely dead during choir rehearsal and I had to remove it to hear out of the left ear at all (I am a choir director). Replacing the battery did not make it any better. I took the aid in one or two times for my audiologist to check, and she always seemed to get it to work, although about 30 minutes to a few days after leaving it sometimes would not function. My audiologist thought it was a moisture problem and got me a little box called a Store and Dry to put it in at night. I finally got to the point where I was becoming one of those people with an expensive hearing aid who doesn’t wear it. I returned again, and my audiologist sent it off for another evaluation/repair. Upon receipt, it functioned fine – for a while.
My audiologist is really great, and I try very hard not to be grumpy about not being able to hear, although I was beginning to be a little upset having spent $1500 and realizing that it was not doing the job I needed it to. I still had 6 months left on the warranty period. Unfortunately the audiologist who was helping me originally was still out on maternity leave when this last problem developed, but I made an appointment anyway as I felt I had to do something quickly.
After eighteen months of wearing the Siemens Pure (6 months warranty remaining) I went in for an appointment with another audiologist. After another hearing test it was found that my hearing had degraded more. And, there was moisture in the ear mold around the speaker component as the speaker stayed in the ear mold each night, although it was put in the Store and Dry. The new audiologist had experienced problems also with the Siemens hearing aids – she had several clients who had trouble with that Pure Aids. But, to try and help me save money she did replace the speaker in the old Pure 300 for my left ear (at no cost, under warranty) and fitted me with a new Pure 301 to try out in my right ear. My original audiologist had tried to get me to purchase an aid for my good (less bad) ear, but I would not spend the money. Now that I have been willing to try it, the new aid in my right ear has caused improvement in my hearing. My hat is off to both audiologists who surely must get tired of dealing with fat, balding, grumpy, old men who cannot hear. I am trying hard not to be one of those (well, at least two out of three anyway).
On July 5th I was ready to purchase a 301 for my right ear with a MiniTek for only $2100, but unfortunately the 300 would not connect with the MiniTek. The 300 was malfunctioning (the aid has been a lemon from the start) and was continually cycling through the programs. The new audiologist told me that from her experience, Siemens would not be willing to upgrade my 300 to a 301. I had only two choices with Siemens, I would have to pay full price to replace the malfunctioning 300 with a 301, or I could send the old 300 in for repair (for the third time). Evidently, that’s all Siemens is willing to do. I understand that when the warranty is up in six months I can pay another $200 to extend the warranty, but I am tired of sending the thing in and waiting two weeks each time. I did not want to plunk down another $1500 for a new Siemens hearing aid, and $500 for the MiniTek when I’ve had so much trouble already with the Pure 300, especially if the company has no more consideration for all of my trouble with the 300. In all fairness, Siemens was not contacted about this particular instance – I was told that they just didn’t do that kind of thing (upgrade a 300 to a 301 under warranty). There should be a “lemon law” for hearing aids. The Pure 300 that I’ve had for 18 months is a definite lemon in my book.
So now, I have paid the discounted price of $5100 for two Siemens Solana MicroM hearing aids and the ICom (I have only used the ICom for 11 days but I really LOVE it). I wanted the Ambra hearing aids for the zoom features it has, but I am not going to pay $1700 more for the new zoom features in the Ambra althouth I feel like I really need that! I hope the audiologists get a good bit of the profit from the deal, because they are the ones who have to deal with the products and the end users. The trial period for my new Phonak Solana’s ends October 3. After that I cannot get out of the deal.
OK. I’ve had the Phonak Solana’s and ICom for about a month now. I am going to keep them. My audiologist threw in a Pilot One Remote control, so now I am “ready for flight”. I did get my repaired Siemens Pure 300 back this week. I’m keeping it for back-up – It still has Warranty until Dec 2011.
Any comments or suggestions?