Where to start; been quite some time

Hello All, I was on this forum some years ago when I first needed a HA. Seems I’ve not been on here for about 5 years.

I had profound hearing loss in left ear, got a HA for that. It broke, again, last week. Back when I got that one aid, the right ear had severe hearing loss, but I never got an aid for it.

So I guess I have to see an ENT first? I’m not sure, maybe I go to an audiologist? As I recall, they do testing. Then I need to get a new set of aids. I got the prior one at Costco; I no longer have a membership there, but with no insurance help for aids, is that still my best path?

I suspect aids have changed (quite a bit!) over these 5 years. I do not own a cell phone, so anything with that sort of feature is useless for me.

Any suggestions how I get moving appreciated. I know I am not hearing well, I barely carry on a conversation with someone as I miss so much. I had recently started ballroom dance classes but quit and got a refund after 2 weeks because: 1. in the private lesson I had to make the instructor repeat everything, and often I would just smile and move on which made him crazy 2. I couldn’t hear the instructor in the group lesson (6 people in a small room) 3. at the dance party I could not make out what the DJ was saying (introducing which dance so we new folks knew what to do) and 4. at the dance party the music just sounded like a muffled roar, picking out the beat was impossible for me. (I used to go ballroom dancing 3 nights a week up until 10 years ago so this should have been an easy fit for me, returning to dance).

I live alone so the TV can go as loud as I want. I guess that is a plus!

Thank you.

Yes, going to Costco is a good first step, and with a membership you can get a free hearing test. The cost of renewing your membership will be worth it. Their current Kirkland Signature model is the KS9. There is a long thread on it here. It is basically a premium level Phonak Marvel, but without any tinnitus masking, without telcoil, and without rechargeable batteries – uses 312. If that model fits your loss, it is a good value at $1500 a pair (in the US).

Thanks. 2 things.

  1. My mistake, seems I DO have insurance coverage! WOW. up to $2000, every 36 months. AND . . . Costco is not included in my coverage.

  2. I have preferences set to be notified when I have a reply to a thread; but I never got a notice that someone (Sierra) replied. Anyone know how I can fix that?

If Costco is not included in your coverage, I would think all that means is that you have to file the claim yourself with the paperwork you will get from Costco. That’s what I did three years ago. It just slowed the reimbursement process a bit. This time I used an outfit called Ziphearing.com for some higher end hearing aids. The units were pricier, but Zip handled the insurance claim and i was reimbursed within about 10 days to two weeks.

Keep in mind that in the majority of cases it is better to get two cheaper hearing aids than one expensive hearing aid. The benefit that you get from having two functional ears is far greater than the rather incremental differences between hearing aid tech levels. Plus, leaving an ear unamplified can come with certain hidden costs.


Well, this is NO fun. Yesterday I experienced a major reduction in hearing ability. Was tired after a hectic morning, returned to bed for a half hour nap; woke up hearing a lot less than before the nap.

I have an appt w/ audiologist next Tuesday; had made that appt earlier in the week. I hadn’t thought to ask which brands are carried by this audiologist. So that will be a surprise, when I get there. I did ask my ins. co about seeing multiple audiologists; was advised I am entitled to a second opinion, so I can see a total of 2.

Eliotb, every insurance is different. I get ‘half coverage’ if I go out of network. Costco would be out of network.

Thanks Neville, will keep that in mind.

Back 5 years ago when I got the left aid, the right ear was hearing well. Hearing declined over time in both ears, but I had other health issues going on and didn’t address the hearing. (I’ve had 3 major surgeries: left knee total replacement, right knee total replacement, left hip total replacement.) Decided things had calmed down enough to work on this. And here I go with hearing changes big time. Glad I already have things in the works.

I have a difficult time understanding all this stuff, very sorry. Just spent more time on the phone with my health insurance co.

So my insurance coverage is under ‘durable medical equipment,’ and is dependent upon my getting Prior Authorization. I start getting the appt with an audiologist who contracts with my insurance, get a referral from my Primary Care Doc, and then see the audiologist who is in my health ins. network. That much, I have done already,

I can get the testing done for my specialist copay. IF the testing indicates I will benefit from having hearing aids, then the audiologist has to submit for Prior Authorization. That may or may not be approved.

The latest phone call to my health insurance (I just hung up!), the rep told me that the provider (audiologist) has to specify in the Prior Authorization where I will obtain the equipment. If I want to use CostCo, this means the insurance wants to audiologist to say I will pick up my hearing aids at CostCo.

Yeah, I don’t see THAT happening.

Then I submit my payment and, assuming everything has been approved along the way and I followed all the appropriate steps, I will be reimbursed. Oh, and the nearest CostCo to me is across state lines; we did determine I can NOT use that location I must use a CostCo within my state (double the commute miles one way).

So instead, I have to assume I will buy my hearing aids from the audiologist I make my initial appointment with. Or, I may decide to use my ‘second opinion’ option and visit another audiologist. But I only get those 2, can’t then see a third one.

I guess health insurance does not recognize that the best pricing for hearing aids is often via CostCo, once you factor in all the free follow ups, free warranty and so on.

This seems very hard to figure out. Maybe it is just me, not used to medical stuff.

That would mean you could get a pair of KS9 hearing aids at Costco for $750. That is a pretty good deal. Costco does not charge for exams, follow up visits, or fittings, unless they are custom molds.

Is it possible to see an ENT or Audiologist that does not sell hearing aids? Then have them refer you to Costco to get the aids?

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That’s not something to sit on. Call your audiologist tomorrow morning, tell them you’ve experienced a sudden hearing loss. They should squeeze you in.


Saw audiologist today. I have entered the data for all of my audiograms.

When I tried to pay my insurance copay for seeing a specialist, the receptionist said I don’t have a copay. I thought this was odd as I’d been advised I do. Then when I spoke with the audiologist I mentioned this, and she said she just waits to hear from the insurance what they send for paperwork, as she has had people pay only to learn there was none due and she had to refund the payment, so it was easier to wait. I accepted this until later in our meeting.
She recommends Opticon S for everyone. People who don’t like the sound, she will offer something else.

AFTER we went through all the testing, and AFTER she reviewed my prior audiograms, and AFTER she set me up with the demo Opticon S, THEN she said she called my health ins, was told I do not have coverage, and pulled out paperwork to pay for the aids. I really did not like this. And if this was so how come she didn’t know if I have a copay?!

Anyway, I told her I called on Sept 26 and spoke to x (gave her the person’s name) and was told I get coverage as DME durable medical equipment. She said she has never had success with this, she will submit if I want her to (YES PLEASE!), and then she said just because they give prior authorization does not mean they will pay. She has been through that much of it with my specific policy, with another patient. And she again pulled forward the paperwork for me to pay. Said I will wait to hear re the insurance.

One positive: I won’t have to thread that thin wire through a tube to clean it out; the Opticon S is a wire, not a tube!
Guess I will call CostCo and make an appt with them.

One thing you might consider is a hearing aid in your left ear only. I normally don’t suggest that, as there are some benefits to having two aids. however, your right ear is so good, that I’m not sure in your case. See what others say.

However, cost needs to be factored into that decision. At Costco for example you can get a pair of KS9 aids with the 312 battery for $1500. These are very similar to the Phonak Marvel with the 312 battery.

That would have to be compared to getting a single hearing aid. If you go that route you may pay as much as $1300 or so, plus another $200 for a charger if they happen to be the rechargeable type. It would make more sense to stick to a replaceable battery type if you go with a single aid. They may be as little as $1250 for one. So again one would have to compare that to two KS9 aids for $1500.

It would probably be worthwhile doing a demo trial of wearing one aid vs two aids to see which you like better.

This link provides some information on the aids available at Costco.

Here is what I see in the Rexton software for fit. As you can see the gains applied for the right ear (red) are very minimal. Soft sounds (top lighter red trace) are amplified 10 dB or less. Normal sounds the heavier trace are 5 dB or less.

Your left ear (blue side) needs a lot more gain, and probably could do with a higher powered M receiver. Feedback (blue shaded area) could be an issue too, and this simulation was done with a closed sleeve fitting. A custom mold with a smaller vent may be needed to control feedback in the left ear.

In my opinion the fitting aspects such as getting the right sleeve/mold vent, the right powered receiver, and having the full REM and adjustment to target, is more important than the specific brand of hearing aid.

Thank you @Sierra!

In the past I only ever had one hearing aid, left ear. I was thinking with the right ear worsening, I may need a pair. So you have given me something to think about.

Called CostCo nearest me, the earliest opening they have is Nov 1 - an entire month until my appt.

Wait time at Costco can be an issue as they have become popular for hearing aids. I wait 2-3 weeks for an appointment here. You may want to call around if there are other ones a reasonable distance away. One thing for sure is if you do buy at Costco, make a follow up appointment each time they make a change to your aids. It is much easier to cancel an appointment if you don’t need it, than to wait weeks to get one.

@Sierra, I think you used the wrong audiogram. I set up 5 today; did not have any in there. I just checked . . . all the dates are correctly entered, but the one which appears is NOT the one from today. It is the last one I entered, which is the first one I ever had; it is from Oct 2014.

I’m not sure if you used Rexton because somewhere it says that is what I had (it is broken) for a hearing aid or because that is what you prefer. In any case, going forward I will be getting new either 1 or 2 aids, from CostCo.

Currently, everyone sounds like Alvin, Simon and Theodore - the Chipmunks. There are NO low tones at all.

I am trying to figure out how to get the most recent one to show in my profile.

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Here is today’s:

I went to re-enter the numbers from your last post, and discovered they were virtually identical to the ones posted in your avatar. The only difference was a 5 dB improvement at 2 kHz in the right ear. I would re-run the graphs, but it wouldn’t make a difference that you would notice. I see in your last post it has a 2016 date on the form though…

Oh goodness, now I’ve taken a screen shot of the wrong one. GAH!

@Sierra, correction, THIS is today’s.

Yes, that is a big change in both ears. With this audiogram, it is clear you would be much better off with two aids. Based on what the Connexx Rexton software is suggesting for fitting range and feedback, you may be best with a M receiver in the right ear with a closed fitting, and a HP receiver in the left ear with a custom mold and micro (1 mm) vent. You might get away with a P reciever, but would not have much room for any further deterioration of your hearing. Here is what I see now with the NAL-NL2 prescription formula. I still think the KS9 aids would work for you, but the battery life may not be super good (4 days??) in the left ear due to the higher power requirement. The right ear should be 5-6 days – ballpark.