TruHearing--is there a catch?

I am about to spend a lot of money on Oticon More 1 HAs, and just discovered that my Medicare Humana insurance gives me access to TruHearing. I don’t want the models they manufacture, but their website seems to say that, because of my insurance, I can get the More 1s at a huge discount (over 2 thousand dollars). That seems too good to be true, but I don’t understand what the catch is, if there is one. I can see there are some weird things about this, like having to see a HA dispenser instead of an audiologist, but can you really get these huge discounts by going through TruHearing? Anybody know? p.s. I’ve been lurking here for a while and found the forum very informative!

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True Hearing is a wholesaler of hearing aids. The negotiate a price with the manufacturers based on expected volume. When a hearing aid is ordered through True Hearing it has to be at a True Hearing provider. Many professionals won’t use True Hearing because they only pay a minimal fitting fee and many professionals can’t afford to fit the instruments for the price they have to charge. Then after the sale, follow up is very limited. If you want “Best Practices” performed for your fitting, it probably won’t happen. The professional simply can’t afford the time to do it all. If you go to someone else to get it programmed properly, there will be a charge for that not covered through True Hearing. So yes, you can save a few bucks but you have a really limited choice of providers to go to and your after sale service will have limits. I refused to work with True Hearing when I was still in practice. I tried to give every patient the best care possible and it was not possible using True Hearing.

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I’m not sure who you are referring to when you say HA dispenser. I assume that you mean HIS (Hearing Instrument Specialist). The HIS are just as qualified to dispense HAs to people as audiologist because they need to go through training to be licensed as a HIS, although the level of training may vary from state to state. In fact, many of the HA dispensers at Costco are HIS, although there’s a mix of audiologists working at Costco as well. Although audiologists may be better trained to handle more complex hearing disorder, like maybe tinnitus, hyperacusis, pediatric hearing care, if you don’t have special hearing disorder issues and only simple hearing loss, the HIS is fully qualified to dispense HAs to you and they should know how to do REM and give you appropriate fitting and do programming of your hearing aid.

I wouldn’t get hung up on whether the TruHearing provider is a full fledged audi or not. If they’re a licensed HIS, that should be good enough for your purpose usually. I’d ask the TruHearing provider more details about the level of care and extent of care that can be given to you, what their limits are, so you know well up front.

If you’re a DIY person that think you’d want to try out to do your own programming of the More to be more independent from an HCP to fine tune the HAs for you, then I think the TruHearing model may work fine for you as long as you can get the service for repair/replacement, fitting changes, etc when you need to from the HCP for the duration of your warranty.

If you’re not a DIY person and prefer to get full service from the HCP, then ask the TruHearing HCP about the extent of their service and if it’s limited, how much they’d charge for extra visits to see if these extra visit costs may wipe out any savings on the HA cost or not before you decide.

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My 98 year old Aunt has Humana.
She went to a True Hearing rep.
She had a choice of several aids.
She only buys on price.
She got the cheapest.
I’m pretty sure Humana negotiates the price they will pay.
Aunt had a choice
One set 400.00 each.
Other set 700.00 each.
She had an audiologist for the aids.
YMMV.

I have Humana insurance.
I also have a audiologist.
I purchased my hearing aids from her thru Tru Hearing.
I do not wear Oticon More. I wear Oticon Dynamo.

How long ago was that? It’s a pretty old aid in the hearing aid world.

Looking in their website, I see More 3 but not More 1. Am I missing something?

3 years ago at the end of this month.
Dynamo’s in my opinion, at the time of purchase was the best for my hearing loss.
Oticon has now come out with the Exceed, but the Dynamo’s work fine for me.
With my type of loss, improvements, and selections are few and far between.
I do not like Phonak. I love the sound of Oticon’s, so this is where I stay.
Laura

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A woman I know was referred to a Tru(e)Hearing clinic through her MedicarePlus insurance plan. She told me that the guy came to her home instead of her having to go to his office. So what happened about a hearing test in a soundproof environment, and what happened to Real Ear Measurements? She can’t tell me what brand of aids she got, and I have not asked how much she spent.

My current set of Oticon OPN S1s were bought through a similar service called Ziphearing.com. I was going to go to the audiologist near me who was on their list anyway, so it all worked out well. I think I saved about $1500 off the alleged list price. I’d do it again in a heartbeat and probably will next year anyway when I can use my last “every three years” insurance partial cost coverage.

Unless a patient has normal low frequencies, an in home test can be just as accurate as a sound booth. Real ear equipment is also portable and can be run in an out of office setting. The question becomes, did the fitter spend the extra money for a portable REM machine and did he use it?

Good! I was hoping you didn’t get a more outdated product than what was available. :slight_smile:

I too disliked Phonak “tinny” sound. But my new Naida Paradise sound great.

How important is Real Ear Measurement for mild to moderate hearing loss?
Does it ensure a better quality of sound or is just a marketing gimmick?

I am asking this question because my audiologist has not used it.

Real Ear Test is very important. My audiologist didn’t use it either, but I didn’t know better. Finally after 4+ years, I sought an alternate opinion and found that my programming was not correct. When it was changed with R.E.M., the difference was like night and day.

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Depends on what you want to believe, it’s not the holy grail of fitting, it’s just another tool in the toolbox.

For some people it does, for others nothing different, REM doesn’t improve the “quality” as such, just that the HAs are outputting to the correct values, this is why so many audiologist clinics don’t bother, it just doesn’t make a lot of difference for a lot people… but you SHOULD ask for it to be done, just don’t expect it to suddenly"restore" your hearing.

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The way I look at it, REM is like insurance. If your HAs underperform and don’t provide adequate gain compared to the target gain for some reason, be it due to ill fitting acoustic (wrong or poor choice of fitting), or the HAs themselves can’t deliver the target gain as expected, or maybe because you have unusual ear canal shapes that require more gain than usual to reach target, then REM will reveal these flaws in terms of missing or overreaching the target gain and the audi can adjust it to meet the target gain. In this case, REM is beneficial for you.

But then for many people, REM is done and the audi may find that the actual gain is very close to the target gain, and nothing needs to be adjusted. In this case, if you hadn’t had REM done, you’d still get good result. You just don’t know if it could have been better or not, even if it’s already pretty good without REM.

And that seems to be the philosophy of some audis who choose not to do REM up front no matter what even if they have the REM equipment. They’d only resort to REM if their patients don’t seem to be happy with the non-REM result.

This is not necessarily the best practice. The best practice is to do REM regardless just in case REM is needed. Even if REM is not needed, at least you KNOW that it’s not needed, and you don’t have to GUESS that it’s not needed just because the patient is happy. Who knows? Maybe the patient is happy because any amplification is better than none, but the patient can be even happier if the right amount (more) of amplification is achieved, up to the target.

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. After spending several hours calling TruHearing and talking to the provider they chose, I finally realized what the catch is. TruHearing lists the average retail price for Oticon More 1 as about $5000, and say they’re offering it for $2,200. I assumed they were talking about two aids because $5000 is in the ballpark of what audiologists charge for two. Turns out they’re talking about one, but never say so on the website. What a waste of time–sorry to have wasted yours, but I did learn various things from your answers. Thanks again.

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At $4400 for a pair of More 1, that’s still better than $4800 for a pair of More 1 from ZipHearing. Of course $2200 for a pair of More 1 is too good to be true. Even buying gray market More 1 pairs on eBay from South Korea without any HCP service except for an initial programming with no warranty is still around $2800 already.

Real Ear is only as good as the person running it. I started using Real Ear in the late '80s and became a believer. I also observed Real Ear being used by others after I sold my practice and did part time consulting. Real Ear is a tool, and if it is not used right it is useless. Used right it can make a world of difference. It all boils down to the provider, whether HIS or Audi. A tool is effective only if you know how to use it properly.

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