Used phonak

Hi, I’m new to HA’s and was just tested with moderate to severe high freq. loss. My audi suggested phonak smart IX which I just can’t afford. I originally went in for positional vertigo and had to go back for follow up a few days later. So I did a little research and found that I could save a few thousand dollar online. I ask her about this and her price includes repairs and adjustments for free each visit. She indicated she understood my financial problem and if I chose to purchase on line she would still help me. Well last night I found a used pair of smart IX on ebay and in corespondence with the seller they had warranty until 8/27/12 making them 2-3 yr old depending on his warranty at purchase.
They were about to end and no one had bid with 5 hrs. left. He also said “they were in GOOD shape”. Starting bid was $975 with buy it now $1495. I thought oh well bid and if out bid it wasn’t meant to be. Got beat by $10 bid at 3:30am with auction end at 5:30am.
So with all that did I make a big mistake passing this up or is it a bad idea to buy used?

I purchased a used Phonak “yes III” aid on line four years ago for $400. It was being sold by an audi that took it on trade. Best deal I ever made made. Still use it today as my everyday aid even though I purchased Phonak Spice aids for the BICROS option. I program it myself, so I don’t need to see an audi for that service. Always need to be careful on ebay, but I’ve found most people will be honest if you ask the right questions before purchase and they have good feedback.

“in corespondence with the seller they had warranty until 8/27/12”

I have checked with Phonak recently and was informed that the warranty is not transferable. Although this is an indicator of the age, it might be a consideration for those who are looking to go this route on the later models.

Smart S HA’s have only been out for about a year, Smart (pre-spice chip) only about 2 years.

The original warranty is non-transferable as stated above.

I can’t attest to weather you passed up a good deal or not. You might want to find out what your audiologist will be charging for the appointments you have with her each time she works on the hearing aid. Even though she stated she’s willing to “work with you” I’m sure it comes with a cost.

Providers generally don’t like dealing with used hearing aids. Here are some of the reasons why:

1: The hearing aids selected may not be the most appropriate for that patient’s loss. Even within the same family of hearing aids options like RIC VS traditional-BTE, standard VS power model, and open-fit VS earmold may require that I specify more than simply a model name to get the best hearing aid for that patient. In some cases models can be converted via software to what is required, in other cases that isn’t possible. The patient probably won’t be very excited if I have to tell him that his fit is going to be less-than-ideal due to him buying the right model in the wrong configuration.

2: It often can take several months (between follow-on programming adjustments and the patient themselves adjusting) for a patient to adapt to hearing aids and get used to how the world sounds. If the patient isn’t satisfied with the results they have achieved they can’t “return” the hearing aids, as they could if they had started with new hearing aids from me. They’ll not only be out the cost of the hearing aids, but also the cost of having me set them up for him, which would be substantial. Had he purchased new hearing aids from me, I’d have a no-risk guarantee that already prices in that cost (refunding patients who return their hearing aids). Since he’s already received the service and I won’t be taking the aids back I’m left trying to decide whether I’ll refund him the fees I’ve charged him (leaving him with hearing aids adjusted to his loss for free) or leave him upset with me and feeling cheated.

3: All hearing aids will eventually need to go in for repair. This will probably come up sooner on used hearing aids and without warranty the patient will have to pay for these repairs. Perhaps more importantly, although the eBay seller will swear up and down that the aids were theirs, if they were actually stolen the manufacturer will confiscate them when I do send them in for repair. How is the patient going to feel about me when I have to explain this to him? The situation stinks for him and you can bet when he’s telling his friends about it, the points they’ll catch are that he came to my office and the end result were that “his” hearing aids were “stolen.” Patient satisfaction is important to me so this isn’t exactly the kind of testimonials I’m hoping for.

4: Since the hearing aids are used there is a strong possibility that some of the internal components may be degraded. This can affect the acoustic properties of the hearing aids and may affect the results the patient achieves in a negative way. The patient originally sought out used hearing aids in hopes of getting a premium model for the price of an entry-level model. I’ll take a pair of properly tuned entry-level aids over a pair of out-of-spec premium aids any day! Also, since the patient won’t know what the aids sounded like when they were new (and in spec) he won’t be aware of what he’s missing and may just conclude that I’m doing a poor job or that the brand of aids he purchased isn’t very good.

Bottom line: There are a lot of potential pitfalls for both the patient and the professional when it comes to working with used hearing aids. Some professionals will flat-out refuse to get involved for these reasons, while others may grudgingly agree. You may do well to ask the person you’re working with what their opinion is (financial interests aside) on the subject. Most of us got into this profession for the satisfaction of helping others and you’re likely to get an honest and objective answer.

Thanks for the replies. The used would have saved me a lot of money that I don’t have but then again could have been buying someone else’s problems and lost. I decided to push my finances to the limit and purchased from hearing center usa. Hope they are reputable! Went with the phonak s smart ix my audi recommended. Now if I could find the target program cause I don’t know how I’m going to afford her for followups. Oh and if I didn’t mention this is my first HA,s.

because of financial considerations you purchased online but now you want to buy all the ‘stuff’ you need to program them and you are a first time aid wearer? good luck

It sounds like you think you’re going to get a better deal by converting the supply chain from:
Manufacturer -> Local Pro -> You
Manufacturer -> Internet Retailer -> Local Pro -> You

Things don’t typically get cheaper by involving more parties in the supply chain!

Her original “more expensive” price took into account the costs of running her office, providing follow-on service, and making a small profit for her efforts. All of which (whether you want to pay for them or not) are a necessary part of you receiving quality hearing care from her.

Now she has the choice of:
1 - Making up the difference in price (plus a little more to offset the “profit” lost to the Internet store) in fitting and service fees. This will lead to you paying more overall, which you’re not going to want to agree to!
2 - Losing money working with you, which she really doesn’t want to agree to!

Your better option would have been to approach her with the online offer and ask her if she could find a way to reach a price you could afford. Sometimes our relationships with manufacturer reps allow us to work out special deals for low-income patients who we really want to help or other special circumstances.

The 3rd option you refer to (figuring out how to program the hearing aids yourself) probably means they won’t be as well tuned to your loss as they could be and again negates the benefit of getting a premium model VS an entry-level model that IS properly tuned to your loss. Of course, since you won’t directly experience the full potential of your hearing aids, you won’t know how much better the experience could be!

Will be interesting to see where things go from here, as you’re definitely embarking on a non-traditional path for a first time wearer!

Well had an interesting thing happen today. Before I start let me answer a few statements that have been made, first thanks for the input. I know that I am jumping in head strong and really I am reading all your comments and other threads and trying to learn all I can about this new endeavor for me. Yes our finances are low working for a small city doesn’t pay well and I did talk to my audi about the internet prices and she said she understood and stated she would still help me and explained that it was going to cost more for adjustments since not purchasing from them. But from a price of $6800 to $3960 I figured I could still save money and do intend on seeing her for some adjustments. As for as programing myself I know I could learn how to do it especially for minor adjustments. Still trying to weigh this out and may not fool with it.
So I made the order on line and got an email this am that the HA’s were programed and sent to ups for delivery. Shortly after this info my audi called to tell me that they had worked out a new price structure for people like me. The same HA’s would cost me $1999 each and $500 for initial fit and 2 followup visits. Had she told me this earlier I would have probably went with that.
Anyway sometimes I felt like I was getting bashed but I am taking it all in and still just learning as a newbie to all this , so thank for your input.

if you have a trial period with the online aids I would return and go with your local AD. As far as being able to make minor adjustments which is fairly easy in the software assuming you know what it is you want to adjust. I wear Pure Caret 701’a compliments of the VA. Today we had the Gov Siemens Rep in with my VA AD to get the last little bug out of my new aids (a tiny crackle sound across the top range with certain words or music in one aid only) after a lot of screwing around he got it. something to do with the switching of the mics from omni to directional he changed the % of noise required from the default.

I also recommend returning because you should have a trial with them. The savings and benefit from doing it through your Dr. will be worth it :slight_smile: