Hi all. New to the forum, but I’ve been lurking and trying to get a handle on things. My current aids are approx 6 yr old Starkey Destiny 1200 BTE (and actually only one now that my dog chewed one up), and they were my first, and only, HAs. They have hard acrylic molds, which are almost entirely open except for the small hollow tube from the HA. My hearing loss crept up on me over time, and is likely created, at least in large part, from exposure to the overhead sirens and target practice in my career as a police officer. I frequently have to crank the volume control way up on my Starkeys in order to hear speech in noisy situations.
Now that I’m retired, and having no HA insurance to boot, I’ve taken the advice of many on this forum and just last week had an exam at a Costco located an hour from my home. After my exam I spent about 1 1/2 hours walking around Costco alternating between the Kirkland S6, the Rexton Trax 42, and a pair of Phonacks (model unknown, but the same price as the Trax 42). All were used with a semi-open RIC.
What I found was that Costco is a sucky environment to demo HAs, given the poor accoustics and the inability to recreate the same voices/conversations for each HA. I tried to follow customers around and catch snippets of conversation, usually not continuously staring directly at them (didn’t want to appear a weirdo), and instead having one ear towards them.
For the most part all three HAs sounded approximately the same generally, with one notable exception involving a group of six men and women located to one side of me, and a few feet away. I was able to swap between the Kirklands and the Trax before they dispersed, and the Speech from the Trax was notably clearer and more understandable to me. On the other hand, using my cell phone was clearer with the Kirklands and Phonacks.
I have an appointment at Costco later this week to demo the Bluetooth functions, and hopefully make a decision and purchase. I’m leaning towards either the Kirklands (lower price) or the Trax 42 (due to that one clearer conversation, it’s IP67 moisture resistance, and the forum’s discussions about the microphone directionality tech and possibly clearer speech in noise capabilities). The Costco HIS thought that she might be able to adjust the Trax’s telephone clarity.
I am currently a volunteer firefighter, and clear speech in a noisy environment is critical. When I am operating the fire engine’s pump control, I am exposed to a roaring Diesel engine while trying to hear the speaker of my microphone hooked to one shoulder, as well as nearby verbal commands. If we are doing an auto extrication, there is the sound of the power tools and gas motor of the Jaws/spreaders which drowns out speech around me. Of course the usual noisy restaurant environments and hearing my wife while driving are also very important to me.
So, my initial questions would be;
given my audio gram, moisture resistance, and speech-in-noise needs, is there really a clear preference between the Kirkland or Trax 42 ? Is there something else I should be considering?
Using a cell phone (without Bluetooth) the Trax was somewhat garbled. do you think that will adjust for clearer reception ?
Are there attachments for the Trax and Kirklands that will connect to your TV and transmit the sound directly to the HAs? I have spent hours trying to research the Trax’s relationship to the Rexton Emerald 4c and Siemens Pure 7bx that some have said were related, and my head is spinning from trying to find a clear answer in the websites for each. It looks like the Siemens has a TV device called a Tek that links to a neck device called an Easy Tek – which looks similar to the Trax’s Smart Connect neck loop, yet the Costco site and Rexton Trax and Emerald sites make no mention of it.
Thanks for any insights you might provide me.