Time to replace my old aids


#1

In 2008, I met my hero and was fitted with my first pair of hearing aids; Rexton something or other open (RITE???). This was done at Costco and the gal who set me up was a Cosco HA trainer who travelled western Canada setting up new Costco HA centres. She is so good, I have followed her to other locations and call her when in doubt.

I now feel it is time to replace the 8 year old Rextons and she tells me that technology has advanced significantly and is recommending the latest Bernafon (Zerena?) or GN Resound (Forte?). She is cognizant that I am not rolling in money but says, if I can do it, I should. She will not be my fitter this time, due to our distance.

I am not a frills guy and don’t use Bluetooth. I just want the best every day conversation aid, in home and busy places, like restaurants. I also fear these old Rextons may fail on an extended holiday and leave me stuck, speechless.

So I ask, has technology changed much since 2008 and can I get comments on these two aids, please.

Thanks.

Tim.


Time for New HA's?
#2

Technology has certainly changed since 2008, but if you don’t care about Bluetooth, and prefer spending less money, you might be perfectly happy with Kirkland KS7 (made by Rexton) (about US $1700, not sure about Canadian) That said, I think the Bernafon Zerena and Resound Forte are also great hearing aids. My “gut” impression from what I’ve heard is that Bernafon might have an edge in “sound quality” and the Resounds might be better in noise, especially with the additional MultiMic. You really can’t go wrong. You’ve got 90 days? (I think that’s what it is in Canada) to try them out and there might even be a Kirkland KS8 before your trial is over, and possibly even a new Phonak model Keep us posted.


#3

Thanks, MBD. Yes, saving money is desirous but not THE critical factor. Quality and longevity are. The reason she suggested the Bernafon or Resound is because, in her opinion, the current Kirkland is already outdated. I trust her judgement and also that of the tech I will be seeing.

Costco is so busy, I am looking at a testing appointment 10 weeks out so, I have time to ponder.

Is Bluetooth standard or optional on the two suggested units.


#4

Bluetooth (actually made for iPhone-allows direct (without another device) streaming from iPhone to hearing aids) is standard on Bernafon and Resound. In 10 weeks the new Kirkland may very well be out. Although the KS7 has been around awhile, other than not being made for iPhone, I can’t think of any feature that it doesn’t have that is standard on more recent hearing aids. The Rexton and Signia models that it is based on are still currently made and sold.


#5

I’ll add, just to close an uncertainty, that the KS7’s are $2000 in Canada. I’m satisfied with them as my first ever HA’s. But I don’t have anything else to compare to.


#6

Thanks for chiming in Z. If all I am getting for the extra $1200, is Bluetooth, there is no point.


#7

One might wonder…are you no longer satisfied with what you have?
Or is it about newness? Or maybe a new opportunity to have them paid for by company benefits or something?
What is driving you to be looking around?


#8

Z, the biggest concern is their age. Each one has failed once in eight years, at my cost and temporary loss of use. I fear if one fails now, while on a month long trip, I will be deaf in the water. Therefore I think it is prudent to at lease explore the benefits and technology of going newer. Would have a spare set then too.


#9

Ah. Got it. You mentioned an extended holiday sounding like what if maybe. But you ARE going. Then I get it. Sorry to pry. I’d say your reasoning is solid what with old HA’s that have been known to fail on you.
The other option are these new-fangled PSAP’s or OTC HA’s that could tide you over until you’re home and can get them repaired. A whole lot less money too.


#10

You are not prying at all. I’m not that sensitive.


#11

I dont know much about hearing aids. I think it is better for you to consult an expert and seek advice. I purchased my Oticon hearing aids from a clinic which provides hearing aid services in Toronto. I am really satisfied.


#12

Yeah, thanks Mable, I get that and am just asking about people personal experiences with the two I mentioned.


#13

Both the Zerena and Forte are current premium models. The KS7 was when it was introduced almost two years ago but that’s no longer true. Signia (Rexton) was a buyout of Siemens and has been more active than many at upgrading the line. What/when the KS8 hits is anybody’s guess but I would think that happens this spring.


#14

@whahuh,

The short answer to your original question is YES, tech has improved by leaps and bounds. Bluetooth and other digital tech doesn’t always equal more bells and whistles for the end user. Some of this tech is also used to help with better programming, assessing usage, discriminating sounds, ear-to-ear communication. And yes, sometimes Bluetooth helps with streaming and enabling toys. The new inventions and adaptations in the past 7 years is truly astounding on multiple levels, many of which don’t involve the final consumer.

Also, congrats on establishing such a long-term relationship with a thoughtful professional.

My advice would be to find a few Costco stores close-ish to you with hearing centers and start from scratch (after explaining that you’ve been wearing your current pair for 7-8 years). You’ll find people behind the desk that are at varying levels of expertise and professionalism. Find the HIS or staff that you trust the most, express your concerns and needs and go from there.

Honestly, once you’ve done that, what’s the worst that can happen? You trial a pair for a few months and decide you don’t like the HAs, the programming and/or the staff. Okay, so you return everything and start again. But now you have a better idea of what’s currently available, price ranges, and staff expertise and temperaments.

Knowledge is power.

The best outcome is you find new aids and a staff you largely trust and your set for another 5+ years.

Just my opinion since you asked.

I hope some of this helps.

Cheers,
Kermit


#15

Ken and Kermit;
Hang on and I’ll hit the two of you with one shot here. Thank you both for your knowledge based answers. Forums can be interesting places with the “what is the best…” questions and the “depends, but I heard…” answers.

Good job fellas.

Ken;
Is it your opinion, that when KS introduces a new model, it is generally equal to or better (more advanced) than the current premium competition?

Kermit;
What great thought and I suppose, wisdom.
“You’ll find people behind the desk that are at varying levels of expertise and professionalism.”
Bingo!

Yes, I am aware of expertise and personalities in any field and in such a briar patch as hearing aid sales, it is an asset to have someone you trust. The gal who first fitted me, at 65, overwhelmed and skeptical, held my hand and got us to success. Not sure I would have done it without her.

Having trained them all, she knows the good ones and has never been afraid to express opinions about individual technicians and their “compatibility” with me. More than once she has steered me to, or away from, certain people. That is invaluable.

“You trial a pair for a few months and decide you don’t like the HAs, the programming and/or the staff. Okay, so you return everything and start again.”

Not being a game player, I sometimes fail to work systems to my advantage.

Are you saying it is somewhat acceptable to go with one of the “premium” units in April, hit the road for the month of May and, if KS8 arrives during that time, try it on my return and if comparable, go for it? Even 2-3 months down the road?

If the KS8 holds the price point of the KS7, I’m looking at a $1000 difference that would fit my pocket better than Costco’s; especially, if we are looking at a 5 year amortization.

Sorry for the essay here but you ignited a few brain cells that have been inert since ’66.


#16

I don’t think any manufacture would regress. They always crow about being so much better.

A couple of years ago, there were some nice changes based on improved processors being able to do more. So, aids from the last couple of years have really improved. How much of that is happening now might be argued.

Comparing aids to computers, the old rule was for an end user to notice an improvement the processor speed had to double. From what I see, processor improvements have been incremental of late.

What the change brought about from a couple of years ago was a lot of improvement in directionality and some improvement in noise control. That’s pretty baked in at this point. We’ll just have to wait and see if another big step happens. If not, the hype will outdo the substance.

I’m comfortable guessing that a KS8 will appear in the spring and it never hurts to take the free exchange while still in the trial period. Even if it is an incremental change, why not?


#17

Thanks, Ken.
So, in terms of Costco, what is their “normal” trial period and, does “free exchange” mean, if a $3500 unit isn’t satisfactory and a new KS8 is, that it would be an across the board exchange not a credit and new lesser purchase? Meaning the KS8 would then have cost $3500.

Just trying to be educated on the processes.


#18

Costco US trials run 6 months; elsewhere, 3 months. During that period you can return product for a full refund. In the example, you would turn in the KS7 and, with no price change between models, get the KS8 without added cost.

The KS private label aids have run in the $1700 range. Branded items at $2600. The very latest models are available in the Bernafon and Resound brands. Either could make a good alternative with it unlikely they will be soon updated.


#19

Ok, thanks again Ken.
Sorry to run on here but, in C$, K7 is $2000 and Bernafon $3200. If I get Bernafon and within the “trial period” K8 arrives at $1000 less, would I still get full credit on the Bernafon or would it be an even exchange?

I won’t quote you…lol.


#20

You return the aid for a full refund to the card used or whatever. The fitter takes you to the service counter and that is done. Then, you return to the department and they make a new order and you pay for that.

In Canada, I believe it is a 90 day trial. So, something like mid-April for the trial to end.