Starkey Otolens - my review

starkey
hearing-aids
#1

Hey everyone,
I’m sitting here wearing my new Otolens. Just picked them up yesterday. In case you’re wondering, I have about 80db loss in the high frequencies.

This is the first time I’ve worn HAs since I was in elementary school (I’m 29 now). I was born HOH.

My review:

I had my ear canal impressions taken last week. It was a bit painful (this may vary with certain audis).

In less than 6 days, Starkey sent us the Otolens! I tried them on for the first time yesterday and was very impressed.

The Good:

  • truly INVISIBLE! I have taken photos of the side of my head, including using a little mirror, and can not see the aids at all.
  • I can now hear sounds I’ve never heard before (some kinds of birds, alarm system activation, etc)
  • speech is clearer
    -pretty easy to place HA in ear after practicing a few times
    -easy to remove after practicing a few times
    -after a while, the feeling of “having something in your ear” goes away

The Bad:
-First time it was a little painful in my right ear. Could not open jaw all the way without discomfort.

  • About $3500 a piece (x2 for both ears )
  • Cant’ seem to get the T2 function (volume/memory control via cell phone) to work yet…but I have an appt with my audi in about 1 week, so we’ll troubleshoot then.

Technology is constantly evolving at a rapid pace…I have a feeling the Otolens will be outdated in about 2 years. I think we’re on the brink of some amazing stuff that can put enough power for profound hearing loss users like myself. We’re not quite there yet, but I think the Otolens is the first of its kind in this invisible hearing aid field.

I have not had the chance to test them out in the “real world” as I live alone and have not gotten out of the house yet. Will report back early next week.

Here are the pics to give you an idea of how discreet they are. I’m still not sure whether I can see them or not…can you?

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Otolens
Technology advances?
#2

Wow. Invisible, indeed! How do you get them out?!

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#3

80 db loss and you are getting that much of benefit? That is great. I treid Starkey IQ but didn’t benefit a lot from them.

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#4

I’m going to have to agree with ABB: they’re invisible. In the second picture, I can maybe convince myself that there is some texture in the black of the shadow, but nothing more than that. Where is the extraction line? That’s the part I figured would give a tell-tale clue that there’s a hearing aid in there, but I don’t see it!

More thoughts as you keep getting used to them would be most appreciated here.

Dave

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#5

I use my index finger to push the extraction wire against the ear and dig them out with finger nail. Pretty easy.

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#6

It looks like your loss is a little deeper than mine in the high frequencies. In what aids did you try the Starkey IQ? The one thing I have read is that since the Otolens is so very close to your ear drum, it helps channel the sound better than BTEs, CICs, etc. As for now, there is no whistling, feedback or occlusion, but I’ve been mostly indoors the past 2 days).

Starkey said the Otolens’ fitting range is actually up to 100db, but for “best practices” they posted it as 80db on the fitting chart.

Gain is only about 35db, I believe. This is where the current technology limitation is…just need to wait a few more years and we should have some better stuff on the market.

I still can’t decipher movie/tv dialogue anywhere close to 90-100%, but I can do a bit better than previously.

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#7

I think in the first picture you may be able to see the “ball” that is at the end of the extraction wire. I’m not sure, though.

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#8

Congrats Skunker. So far so good for you. I have returned the phonak exelia, great HAs but could’nt adjust to the BTE style. I will trail the Otolens (have already given the impressions) to see if it will work for me to some extent (maybe around 50%, I hope). Please keep us posted on your experience with Otloens in the “real world”

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#9

Well, today was the first time I had the chance to test out the Otolens in the “real world”. I work 10hr shifts in an office setting with people talking over their computer cubicles calling out to other coworkers. While the volume in everything is magnified a bit, I’m still having trouble deciphering speech if I can’t see their faces. Things with high frequencies are loud…and I can hear other people’s cellphone ring tones going off, keyboards being tapped on, and a lady’s high heels down the hall, etc, but speech is still a bit muffled (although my coworker has a big New York/Bronx drawl that is hard to deciper!)

I guess you can say this was a setback and made me quite depressed. I was hoping for a huge improvement, but it seems to be negligeable so far.

Maybe I still need to get my brain to adapt to all the new sounds? I also wonder if perhaps the Otolens are not deep enough in my ear canals. I have seen photos and videos showing the Otolens much deeper than how I wear mine.

Lastly, I got the T2 function to work, but now I can’t get the left aid to respond correctly.

I have an appointment this Friday with my audi. Hopefully we can get some of these issues straightened out. I’m a little let down so far, but maybe things will improve in the next few days? I will will report back.

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#10

Im not surprise T2 DOES NOT WORK, a lot of people seem to complain this DOES NOT WORK, but wait a minute- t2 is best in class, evidence based, etc…
Honestly, its been a while and starkey should fix this

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#11

Can you return them and try any other aid like a siemens Pure, Phonak exelia, Oticon agil?

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#12

Siemens Pure??? Not hardly - unless he likes listening to a constant high-pitched feedback…

dr. amy

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#13

You appear to depend a lot on lipreading. As a practice, I would suggest that you converse with people you’re familiar with without lipreading. It would take patience, practice and some time until your brain gets used to understanding speech without being dependent on lipreading.

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#14

I dont normally fit siemens but it has a strong set of features. Read about sound learning 2 and NAL NL2 (IM GLAD IT FINALLY OUT THERE!!!). I remember Harvey dillon presentation on NAL NL2 at least 3-4 yrs ago!!! The new siemens has a very neat live demostration

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#15

The feedback I experienced when trialing the Pures was resolved by my audi with a custom mold, similar to a CIC. Of course, that didn’t help the tinny, metallic sound, which she couldn’t get out of them … why I’m so happy with my YES IX’s. Not intended to hijack the thread … want to hear more about these invisible aids. I do find though that the frequency transposition of the YES, aka SoundRecover, made a big difference with speech recognition. Just making things louder does not enable one to hear the frequencies that they are dead to, so sounds are lost. Volume cannot replace the dead hair cells that pick up those frequencies. Moving those sounds to another frequency that can be heard I think is the answer to speech recognition. At least it worked wonders for me.

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#16

i’m familiar with their sound learning and many aids have neat live demonstrations - it doesn’t change the fact that i have very few patients that prefer their sound quality and feedback has always been an issue with their aids.

And putting custom molds on an open fit aid to get rid of feedback is a band-aid. With aids out there that have high-level feedback management systems, no one should have to put up with decreased gain to control feedback.

And i think Skunker wanted them to be invisible to begin with, although i could be wrong about that…

dr. amy

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#17

I had fitted a few Unitron YUUs- their soundlearning is amazing. It has worked well for me when the patitent wants to be heavily involve in their fitting. I think they are on to something for those who want to have more control.

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#18

Let me add my two cents here.

I am also a recent Otolens wearer (2 weeks).

They are really amazing. There is zero occlusion and zero feedback.

The left side seems like it may be a little loose but the audi says we can send that back to be corrected. On the right side I really forget that I’m wearing it.

Clarity and speech recognition is fine. I really have no complaints.

The price is steep. $3,450 per. But I think we will see other manufacturers develop competitive products and the price will probably come down.

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#19

aprsl,
I get a little occlusion…does that mean the aids are not fitted correctly?

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#20

The otolens look great, cannot see them in your photos. Now that you’ve had them for a while, how are they? Worth the prices? I’m going to check them out on Tuesday, so curious about the potential pitfalls and where to focus my questions.

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