This is my first post, but I have been reading through posts for the last couple weeks. This is a great site for information for someone like me who is about to purchase their first hearing aids. I had been tested over a year ago and knew I needed some aids. Last year I put some money in my FSA to help pay for them but I was so busy at work I wasn’t able to make time to research and get them. I have until the beginning of March to use or loose the money so I am now ready to buy.
I had stopped at a local Miracle Ear. It looks like their better aid is essentially the Pure 701 like the Kirkland, but their prices are way higher. Cost is a significant consideration, so I am opting for COSTCO.
I made an appointment at COSTCO last week (1.5 hours away) and got my hearing tested. The lady (Pam) gave me a printout with a graph of each ear. It looks like the numbers basically come out as the following:
Hz dB dB
250 10 15
500 20 30
1K 40 50
2K 45 55
4K 65 65
8K 60 55
The PTA for the right ear is 35, and 45 for the left.
I guess that comes out as being moderately severe.
I specifically asked about the Kirkland Signature and ReSound Future (after reading various posts here). First she had me try the KS. She set it up to “match” my hearing test results initially and it sounded way too tinny and when I talked my voice sounded like a robot and distorted. She did a good amount of adjusting on them - reducing the sliders to get it to sound fairly good. She used a 45 dB RIC attachment with the open (perforated) dome to let the lower frequencies in.
Then she had me try the Bernafon open fit with the tube that goes into the canal. It seemed way too powerful and after doing quite a bit of adjusting my voice still sounded distorted so she decided not to pursue that one any further.
Last was the Future, which she said she did not have a lot of experience with since most people choose the Kirland due to the lower cost and the claim that the two perform similarly. She set them up to my test results and did the feedback initialization. Then she adjusted them down (like the others) to get my voice to sound ok and to not be quite as overpowering to me.
At that point it was almost noon (my got there about 10am) and she had to move to her next appointment. She gave both the Kirkland and the Futures to her assistant and told me to try both out walking around the store. I used the Kirklands first and had the remote for them. I noticed that I got a little feedback if I put my hand up to my ear (kind of cupping it) and I heard rustling sounds if I ran my hand across my hair near the aid, but I did not experience any feedback other than that while walking around. It seemed be work pretty well and I could adjust the volume of the high frequencies with the remote. She had put a few programs in which I switched between. I could tell a difference between some of them while walking around, but mainly left it on the “normal” setting.
Then I tried the Futures out. I did not notice any feedback if I put my hand over my ear with them, nor any rustling sounds - I guess due to the placement of the microphone and the better feedback control. They seemed maybe a little bit more “natural” sounding - but I don’t think she had the higher frequencies adjusted as loud as with the Kirklands and I did not have the remote to try adjusting the volume.
I left with the intention of choosing one of those two aids within the next few weeks.
The problem is, I am in a quandary about which ones to go with. Both aids were adjusted to initial settings based on the time available, but I am sure that neither of them was set “optimally” at that point. So apparent differences between what I was hearing with them could just be from not having them adjusted to sound identical. Of course the Kirklands are a great deal at $2K for the aids with the charger and another $80 - $85 for the remote. The Futures would be $2600 plus $150 for the remote - so they would be about $770 more than the Kirklands and they do not have a rechargeable battery option. I don’t know how much better having the rechargeable battery is over regular batteries, but it at least sounds like it would be nice. Can anyone give me an idea how much use they get out of a set of regular batteries in either of the aids? I am wondering if one brand uses more power than the other.
So I am trying to figure out how to make a decision and wondering if the Futures are worth the extra $770 - which is a pretty good chunk of change (1/3 more than the Kirkland). I was hoping some of you who have already been through this process might be able to pass on your thoughts.
I do live in Florida where it is hot and humid much of the year, and I do tend to sweat pretty easily (although I would not wear the hearing aids while exercising, doing yard work, or going to the beach) so I wondered if the better nano coating on the Futures made a significant difference or not.
I do enjoy listening to music and playing guitar (which may be part of the reason I have hearing loss) - so that is a consideration. The main thing would be to understand speech well (particularly at work in meetings and one-on-one, and at home with my family and watching TV). I do not have any blue tooth devices yet, but may in the future. I would of course like the aids to be as convenient, natural sounding/transparent, adaptable, long lasting, long battery life, comfortable, “invisible”, and as low a cost as possible Obviously there are trade-offs that have to be made though.
Anyway, from walking around with them at the store they both seemed pretty good and I am not sure with one to go with. I realize I can return a pair if I do not like them, but then how would I know if they are better or worse than the other pair at that point? Also, since I live 1.5 hours from the COSTCO I cannot just stop in every few days to make minor adjustments. The hearing specialist seemed to be of the opinion that if the Kirklands worked well enough, then why spend the extra - plus she had more experience working with them. Both computer setup programs seemed pretty similar though - so how much difference can there be in setting the two up? I wish I could have the program at home so that I could fine tune it myself after the first couple adjustments - but I realize the companies do not allow this for some reason.
I have emailed a member here, Delmar, who has been very helpful, but I thought I would seek out a few more opinions from others here before making my decision. I realize aids are different for everyone, but I would like to make as informed a choice as possible. Plus, I am an engineer so I am anal about stuff
Sorry for the long post.