Warning Signs Before Buying a Hearing Aid

For the free demo they just needed your credit card information so they charge you if they were not returned in the agreed timeframe.

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Many things have already been discussed here and you can search the forum for answers to many of your questions, including Costco facts and procedures. Costco gets most models a few months after introduction so at any one time they may or may not be the latest. The other thing is that Costco frequently has their own model name. I’m not really familiar with the latest Resound models so I can’t say if Costco has the latest. On the Phonak, the Marvel is out but it doesn’t have all the styles yet, or all the features, so many people may opt for the full service model, the Audeo or Bolero B90, which Costco does have, as the Phonak Brio 3.

I think Costco has the latest Bernafon and Rexton/Signia.

It really is a good deal, good products, and good service. But, if that’s not for you, go somewhere else.

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I’d like to mention another caveat here. When you buy from franchises (aka miracle ear, audigy etc.) they can only be programmed and serviced through “authorized outlets”. My dad bought a set of Audigy aids at a dealer near him in Virginia and it created a huge pain in the ass trying to find someone who could work with them when he moved to Jersey with me. You need to be cognizant of this folks

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I will be ordering a pair of new Phonak Naida hearing aids. They come with a 45 day trial period and a warranty of 3 years. It will cost me 5k and my final cost will be 3500 as l will get 1500 dollars from my healthcare insurance provider to help cover the cost of the aids. If the aids are really helpful then l could buy two more years of warranty. In addition, l will be buying a pair of slightly older Phonak aids which is almost the same specs as backup aids. I use a hearing aid dryer to help prolong the life of the aids. I am currently using a Starkey aid from 2007!
Hearing aids are designed to last 5 years. I have a phonak hearing aid programmer to fine tune the aids.

I agree with Craig, it should be buyer beware. I bought some Unitron aids a few years ago and had to pay up front. I was able to return them for a full refund when they didn’t help me. I have since sworn off the hearing aid business and do my own programming, buying my aids off eBay. With regard to making expensive purchases without first getting a trial, an acquaintance told me recently about buying a new pickup truck. He said that prices are fixed. There is no negotiation. He was allowed to drive a “demonstrator”, but not the truck he bought before buying it.

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I trialed two sets of aids for 60 days each. I signed an agreement to pay full price for the demo aids if they weren’t returned, but didn’t have to provide a credit card number. This is a good deal that many people would probably go for, but not every area has a dispenser offering a deal like that. Ultimately people have to work with what’s reasonably convenient for them.

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I’m following the forum here and find it quite informative. But my question to you is I’m thinking of the Phonak Marvel HA. How does it do in noise in speech? I’ve heard it’s pretty good. My Phonak NaidaQ50 even programmed by my audi doesn’t do the job. When the noise level comes down so does the speech so it’s a wash out.

I’m a first time HA user and I have the Phonak Audeo Marvel M-R 90. My wife is also a first time HA user and was also fitted with the Phonak Audeo Marvel M-R 90 at the same time. We were fitted on Dec 26th.

Of course we have no way to compare to any other HA, but I can make some comments about our experience. My wife’s loss is quite low all the way across and tilts to lower at high frequencies. I have normal low frequency hearing and starting at about 1.5K I rapidly deteriorate to an extremely low high frequency loss. We both have commented to each other that we can now hear the TV with no problem and we were previously always asking each other what was said. We eat out frequently and have been amazed that we can clearly hear conversations at tables around us. It’s almost a feeling of eavesdropping as we can hear every word that is being said. We have no problem conversing with each other in noisy restaurants, unlike in the past when we were always having to repeat things at a louder volume. Restaurants we frequent are noisy places, so I would definitely say that we can discern speech in a noisy environment.

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Thank you for your comments. Not knowing your hearing loss it’s hard to respond. But, I’ve heard good things about the Phonak Marvel. Could you give me a price you and your wife paid per ear? I’m going to ask my audi about this hearing aid soon.

Why not add your audiogram and your WRS/WRT to your profile. It helps other folks who find your advice interesting to judge whether they might approximately be close to the situation you’re in and better feel that if it worked for you, it’ll work for them (it’s a minor suggestion but it’s neat to be able to see when someone talks about their hearing loss, an actual first approximation of what they’re talking about)

Absolutely! At our next appointment I will request print outs and add my Audiogram. Right now I’m only going from memory. Thank you.

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cjpines, you can check my audiogram to see if I’m in the same ballpark as you, but I can definitely say that the Marvels do noticeably better in noisy places than my B-Direct aids (which are about 1.5 yrs old).

I’ve mentioned in other threads that I seem to hear about 17% better in noisy places with the Marvels than the B-Directs. ODD amount of improvement, I know, but that is how discriminating I am with my hearing, LOL. I still have to try out a larger group of say 8 people at a noisy place for a definitive answer. Speech in noise is the HOLY GRAIL for many of us, and while it’s within reach, it still isn’t in the palm of my hand … yet!

I’m only on trial with these Marvels, so I can’t quote a firm price, but typically, I pay about $6500 for a pair from my aud-guy of 15 years.

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Kate and I purchased identical (except for color) Phonak Audeo Marvel M-R 90’s. They were $6,400 each for a total of $12,800 for the two of us buying them at the same time. After a month of wearing them, there’s no question from both of us that we would buy them again. Just as soon as I get audiogram printouts at our next appointment, I will include mine in my profile. From memory, my audiogram is very close to Jim Lewis’s.

Costco is amazing at honoring returns. Years ago, when flat screen TVs first appeared at “reasonable” prices, I purchased a Vizio 37" LCD TV for a friend that did not have a Costco membership. The price was around $1400 (or so). I had purchased the identical model for myself at the same price. About a year later, his TV developed a defect (half of the screen was blacked out). We took it back to Costco for an exchange. Their policy was not to exchange it but to give a full refund. So, we took the $1400 and used it to purchase a newer model for about $800!!! Wow! My friend took my wife and me out for a dinner in a first class restaurant after that.

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The other interesting thing about Costco is they have an online record of everything you’ve bought going back at least to the early 2010’s. Not dissing Costco here. I love the company. BUT I had decided to switch to Kirkland batteries from Duracell as I had a problem with Duracells leaking before their time. But whaddya know, one batch of Kirkland AAA batteries started leaking, in fact the majority of them just sitting around unused years before their expiration date. I thought there was no way that I’d find a sales receipt but I wanted to let Costco know MAJOR PROBLEM HERE (and also give them the batteries so they could really see how bad it was).

I knew from recording purchases and battery insertions into devices (to know when I should change out the batteries on one of the 100 or more battery powered devices we have lying around the house) that I’d bought the batteries on something like August 14, 2012. Went back to Costco to the return counter. No problem. We’ll give you a full refund. Let’s see how much you paid then. Looked me up, got the exact price paid and made a full refund (and I’ve since switched back to using Duracell - I’d use Energizer now if Costco sold those).

BTW, the rechargeable NIMH Panasonic ENELOOP AAA and AA batteries are fantastic. They last for years and depending on what type of discharging power rate you want, can be recharged up to 2100 times and in storage will retain 70% of their charge for up to 10 years. But the most important thing is THEY DON’T LEAK!
NIMH do not have enough voltage for some applications (max about 1.34 v for a rested, fully charged ENELOOP battery vs. 1.6 volts for an alkaline battery). The way to tell if it will work is run your device until the AA batteries are fully discharged and you get a dead battery warning. With a digital multimeter, read the remaining voltage. If it’s 1.26 v or below, you can probably use ENELOOP batteries to replace alkaline. Always keep the batteries together in sets dedicated for a particular use, e.g., my Energizer LED headlamp, because it’s bad to mix older worn batteries with brand new (same goes for alkalline batteries, too). (This is a "save the environment message - use RECHARGEABLES!). (Also, “recycle” your dead alkalines through your community’s hazardous waste dropoffs -even though alkalines can be dumped in regular trash, they can be “recycled” in a more environmentally responsible way)

(My) Costco has a special on Eneloop batteries and charger right now: 6 AA, 4 AAA, and a charger for about $24. Charger can also function as a USB charging source, too, but not charge batteries at same time.

The other thing about Costco is many of their great specials are “remaindered” products. We’ve bought several items at great prices only to discover the company that made the item is no longer producing that particular item, e.g., Nordic Ware non-stick wok Something to think about when a special at any store is too good to resist - maybe check the OEM’s website before taking the plunge.

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Yes! And, some of the best fitting experiences have been with Hearing Instrument Dispensers, i.e. people who might have had just a two-year diploma program.

I will also add that of the three utterly awesome graduate-degree full audiologists I’ve encountered two were at Costco.

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That’s not the case with hearing aids.

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With my hearing loss I will always go see a full Audiologist. My first experience was a some one who just had a simple hearing test certificate and that was the worst pair of aids I had.

One of my Costco KS7 aids was getting a little bit intermittent. I’ve had them since they came out, and I’ve beaten them up. So I go into a local Costco. The person behind the counter is an actual Audiologist. She has no idea who I am. I tell her what’s up, she says, “maybe it’s the receiver,” I hand her the aid, she puts a new ($60) receiver on it, hands it back to me, and says, “if that doesn’t work, let us know.” Five minutes. No questions asked, no appointment, no charge, no messing about. Signed, a Costco fan.

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Agree entirely. Just giving general advice on Costco, a company that I mentioned that I 'love" but wanted to illustrate it by a particular battery experience (and put in a plug for saving the environment for future generations).

On alkaline batteries, I realize they’d probably be a lot more expensive if they were made to last and last. But sometimes I do wish that it were a lot more culturally unacceptable to make stuff that just craps out on you and destroys the contacts in a valuable and/or hard-to-replace electronic device. The premium alkaline batteries that come with premium Japanese electronic devices have lasted a decade or more for me without leaking. In Japan, it’s a lot less culturally acceptable to make something that just craps out on the customer…