Trying to decide between Kirkland Signature & ReSound Future

Hi All,

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:

Right Left
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 :slight_smile: 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 :slight_smile:

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks,

Andy

I’ve tried both and like both. The sound of the Kirklands was a little richer but that is probably completely due to how they were adjusted. I had a lot of adjustments on the Kirklands and we ended up with great sound and great fit, but I still had some feedback in some situations.

The audiologist suggested we try the Resound Future and that is what I have now. No feedback and good sound.

If the person you are going to is much better at adjusting the Kirklands then you will probably end up with a better experience with those but I think the Resounds are probably a little more high end than the Kirklands.

I don’t think sweat will be an issue with either but the Resounds are more fully “nano-coated”.

During one Resound adjustment session the audiologist called Resound and got a rep on the phone and the rep talked us through several settings and got the Resounds almost perfect. We just tweaked it a couple of times after that. I would highly recommend getting the Resound rep on the phone if your person is not that familiar.

Thank you Don. I appreciate the information.

Can you comment at all on listening to music with the two aids and their battery life?

Thanks again,
Andy

I have tried the Rexton Cobalt and the Resound Alera 5. I purchased the Resound Furtures from Costo.

The audi has about 20 years of experience, and seems to know what he is doing. I have/did go back for a fourth time. The first three where to tune as well as possible. The fourth time was mostly to get a final check, before my 90 days where up.

I did get a break as the Resound Rep. came into the store and he looked at my hear chart and make some suggestions, this did turn out great. The audi did a couple of tweeks and it made the HA’s speech sound more crisp. I think this helped a great deal. The only thing that I had asked the audi to do was take a little of the “s” out of the # 3/TV position.

I like these aids very much, and think they let me hear very good.

In all honesty, these are my first HA’s.

Another note, I travel aproximately 150 miles to the store. These aids cost me around $2800, with a remote. Also the store included a heater/dryer at no cost.

I’m sure you will make a good choice.

All the best, :slight_smile:

I would say that music sounds better with the Resounds but again, it’s probably just a matter of where we ended up in the adjustment process. The Resounds do have a feature they call Environmental Optimizer II that is supposed to recognize one of a number of preset environments. The audiologist can set up and tweak each environment so when it recognizes music you can tweak its handling of music and not effect its handling of speech or any other environment. That is my layman’s understanding of it.

Battery life on both is about 4 days (for me).

I tried both the Kirklands and Futures. I asked the audi for her recommendations, and she recommended the Futures. When I asked her why, she said based on the ‘returns’, more people kept the Futures. I bought the Futures (back in May) and have been very satisfied with them. They’re my first HA’s.

Thanks for the reply Hcube.

Like you, I have to travel a good distance (1.5 hours each way) to get to the nearest COSTCO, but it seems worth it for the savings. The $2800 is right what I am looking at for the Futures as well.

You mentioned the Resound rep was their and made some suggestions that helped. I am thinking if I go with the Futures, that I will want to ask to call resound to go through everything in setting the aids up - since the lady I am working with does not have a lot of experience with them. There are a lot of adjustments that can be made and getting them tweaked just right seems like it would make all the difference.

Was there something about the Futures that made you go with them over the Rextons? Also, what did you choose for the 4 programs?

I am thinking the Futures might be worth the extra money since they are a little bit newer technology - that in theory would make them “better”. However, people seem to feel the Rextons/Kirklands sound good and do better in noisy situations. Supposedly, the Futures can be adjusted for a more natural sound. Most people that have the Futures on the forum seem to like them. It looks like I will have enough money left in my FSA to got with the Futures if it looks like they are the better choice so the cost difference is less of an issue at this point. Otherwise, I would just go with the Kirklands and see if they were “good enough” first.

Thanks,
Andy

Thanks Don.

I was only expecting 3-4 days battery life out of the Futures, but thought the Kirklands would be good for 7-8 days (or one day on the rechargables). That seemed like it big selling point for the Kirklands, so I am surprised you only got about 4 days on those as well. My understanding is the Futures draw something like twice the power of the Kirklands -(which is why there is no rechargeable option on the Futures). Maybe doing a lot of streaming with the Kirklands eats up the batteries faster?

It does sound like there is a lot of tweaking needed to get the aids just right for each individual - which makes it hard to compare the two aids if they have not been optimized for me yet. Having had the Kirklands optimized and then the Futures, would you have stayed with the Kirklands (knowning what you know now) if they were not giving you feedback problems?

It sounds like working with the fitter and the Resound rep together would be the way to go to try and get them setup as best as possible. I hear what you are saying about maybe choosing the Kirklands if the person setting them up has a lot more experience with those.

I am also wondering what programs to get either aid setup with. I would obviously want the “normal” setting. I would also want the music one if it works well. Then I guess a speech in a noisy room one would be important. With the Future there would only be one setting left so maybe one for road noise in a car? With a 5th choice on the Kirklands, maybe an acoustic phone setting?

Thanks,
Andy

Thanks for the response Unpaidbill.

That is interesting about the returns. The lady I worked with said most people at that COSTCO went with the Kirklands because they seemed to give about the same results as the Futures and cost quite a bit less. I guess it depends on variety of people that frequent the store to some degree.

It is good to know that you are happy with the Futures. Did you try the Kirklands as well, or did you just go with the Futures based on the recommendation you received?

Also, what programs did you end up selecting. I also wondered if you were experiencing battery life of about 4 days.

Thanks,
Andy

Hello Andy,

I like the fact that the Futures can be programed wireless, they seem to be well engineered.

The battery life is about 4 days with mine. They do have to be hot for the remote. The remote lets me have some volume adjustment if needed.

The Rextons only have the four channels, that you change with the button on the HA’s.

The programs that i have are: normal, crowds, TV and road. I use normal mostly, then TV.

Another feature that the Futures have is a data logger. This lets the audi see what and where you are using your HA’s. Some of the others may have this feature, I don’t know.

HHH :slight_smile:

My bad, I did use the rechargeable batteries with the Kirkland (which are really Rexton Cobalt 16, which are Siemens value brand version of the Siemens Pure 701). Recharging was great because I never ran the batteries down during day. But that was during the trial. I understand they get less able to hold a full charge as the year goes along, then they have to be replaced. I don’t think you really save any money with the rechargeable but it is very convenient not to have to stash batteries everywhere.

If the Kirklands did not feedback in some situations (for me) I would still have them. They were great.

I remember we had to adjust the Futures a lot to get speech in noise up to where the Kirklands were. Right out of the box I got a lot of background noise with the Resounds. But after several adjustments and a great session with the Resound rep on the phone we finally got there.

the new eCharger from Siemens also acts as a dryer while charging the batteries. The first year I would get about 14 hrs from a pair of 312 rechargeable a charge. Hopefully the size 13 will do a little better.

I only tried the Kirklands in the store.

I have the 4 programs set up as follows: 1. “Normal” 2. Background noise, e.g. noisy restaurant 3. Since I listen to audiobooks via bluetooth from my iTouch, 3 sort of ‘normalizes’ the sound of the voices of the reader, and 4. Cut down the wind noise when I have the top down on the car. I rarely use anything except the ‘normal’ one, although I have used the others from time-to-time…especially the one that cuts down the wind noise when I have the top down. All the programs seem to work as intended. I’ve only had them ‘tweaked’ a couple of times.

I normally get 5 days out of the batteries.

Thanks everyone for the informative and timely replies. I really appreciate all the great information. It helps to hear from people that have real word experience with the devices. I have been emailing with Delmar as well and he has been very helpful too.

It looks like I will probably have enough left in my FSA to get either the Kirkland Signature with the mini-Tek remote/streamer, or the Futures with just the remote. One of the things I noticed with the Tek remote (over the regular remote) is that you can use it to adjust the high frequency response (like a treble control) in addition to the overall volume. That seems like a pretty neat and useful feature. I also read that the Kirklands have something called Sound Brilliance which is supposed to add frequencies in the 8-12K range. I don’t know how well it works but was thinking this might be helpful for listening to music.

Lots of things to consider over the next couple weeks before I have to make a decision. I seem to be leaning towards the Futures at the moment based on the overall positive responses you and others have provided on this Forum.

Thanks,
Andy

I have decided to go ahead and try out the Futures initally (probably in a few weeks) - based on the positive comments from people on this forum.

I have done a lot of reading of the downloadable information on the Resound site. There is a lot of technical sophistication in the algorithms these digital aids run now. It is pretty impressive.

I was wondering what all you Future/Alera users run for your “normal” P1 program. I see there are three programs that would be the likely candidates: Natural Directionality II, Basic, and Basic + Soft switching. Resound is really touting the Natural Directionality program as the best possible solution, but they note that some people cannot adjust to it. In that program one ear is set up to process high frequencies directionally, and the other ear is set up for omni processing of high frequencies. Has anyone tried this program and have any comments on it, or are you all using one of the other two programs instead? I haven’t noticed any posts that mention preferences or experiences in this area. Any experiences you could share would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Andy

My program 1 is labeled Natural Directionality II and it is the “everything” program . I rarely change to one of the other programs. Program 1 is pretty awesome. My program two started out as the restaurant setting and we also tried the party setting so program two is now the restaurant setting with lots of tweaking, sort of a hybrid of restaurant and party. There is a lot of adjustment available for lowering background and raising speech and soft speech. Program 3 is music which has the highs boosted a little more than the program 1 environment, plus program 3 doesn’t do any other fancy stuff. My program 4 is an acoustic phone mode that I have never used.

The directionality of these is excellent. I was watching a movie the other day using my surround sound system at home and there was a helicopter in the movie. The surround sound system handled it perfectly and the hearing aid allowed me to follow the sound from front right to far right, to over my head and then to far left.

Hi Don,

It is good to know you are using the Natural Directionality II program and are finding it to work very well. I was wondering what it would like to have one ear set for directional and the other ear set for omni. Resound mentions that this is the best selection if the user can adapt to it. Otherwise one of the other two basic programs should be used. It seems that you have no problems with it which is great. Very cool about how well it worked with the surround sound on the movie. I guess I should probably try that program first and see if it works for me too.

I read some of your earlier posts about adapting the restaurant program (good information to know) and I am sure I will want that one as well as the music program (that’s an important one to me). I think the road noise program would be my other choice. I currently drive a Honda Civic which is known to let quite a bit of road noise through, so that program would probably be useful - along with the wind noise setting (since I usually have the window open when I drive).

Thanks,
Andy

Natural Directionality II is surprisingly good. I was skeptical. I would have thought that omni in one ear and directional in the other would be disconcerting, but I barely notice it, and it really helps in speech comprehension.

I find I like the volume just a tad louder on the directional side. It just feels more balanced.

The surround sound effect is awesome. It works with the streamer too. It actually startled me when watching a scary movie.

Hi John,

Thanks for passing that on. I was thinking the same thing as well - that it would be weird having one ear omni and one directional. Sounds like you just get used to it and it is fine. I plan to get the Futures in a few weeks and will give that program a try.

Andy

Well, I just ordered a pair of Futures and have an appointment to have them fitted next Saturday. It will be my first set of aids so I’ll see how it goes. I have learned a lot from this site so far and feel like I am in a much better possition to ask informed questions during the fitting now. Hopefully the Futures will work well for me.

Andy