Which hearing aids work for profound loss?

My father has a severe to profound hearing loss (since a few months before) and we are looking for the first hearing aids. We tried Bernafon Xtreme 120 and a Kirkland model (not the most powerful one due to no stock), without customized earmold, at Costco, but my father couldn’t tell what I were saying unless I speak very slowly and the distortion is quite significant. He did try a Siemens hearing aids at another place a few months ago and that roughly works for him, but isn’t Kirkland the same as Siemens? I was wondering if there is any hearing aids that can help. Thanks.

Hz…250…500…1000…2000…4000…8000
L…80…80…75…80…110…120
R…95…90…85…95…120…120

Update:

Thank you all for the info.

We went to an audiologist today and he did an audiogram and a speech recognition test (which we didn’t do at Costco). My father’s left ear is 60% recognition at 105 dB and right ear is 20% at 105 dB. The audiologist recommended Phonak S UP and Oticon Sumo (both are basic version), at a much higher price (+80%) than the Bernafon Xtreme and Kirkland Signature we saw at Costco. And there is about $400 restocking/service fee if we return the hearing aids within 45 days. Interestingly I was told that they charge the hearings aids not by brand, but by the level of technology: basic, middle and advanced. All brands at the same level are charged the same price. We didn’t get a chance to try the hearing aids as purchase is required first.

From what my visits to Costco and the audiologist, my understanding now is that every brand has a high power BTE plus earmold that may work for my father’s case. If this is correct, I would rather go to Costco again and give a try on either Bernafon Xtreme or Kirkland Signature. Our last Costco visit is disappointing as my father couldn’t recognize words when trying those hearing aids without earmold, but today’s speech recognition test gives me confidence that when the voice is amplified enough he can still recognize some words. I was told that Bernafon Xtreme’s residual amplification is a little better than Kirkland Signature, although Bernafon is actually a little cheaper at Costco (but Bernafon has fewer features than Kirkland). Is my understanding correct? Which one should we buy, Bernafon or Kirkland?

Another question is after we receive the hearing aids, does Costco specialist needs to adjust the amplifications on different frequencies or simply pick one of the preprogrammed settings in the hearing aids?

Update 06/09:

We went to Costco today (not the one we went last time as this one is closer), and we are ready to purchase hearing aids. The specialist had my father try a Kirkland hearing aid, and said that’s the best he has. There is another more powerful Kirkland, but he said he has never got good fitting results from it. Unfortunately, but somewhat expected, with this hearing aids, my father can understand some words, but not the whole sentence. The specialist suggests us to try the conventional body style hearing aids with external receiver before making a purchase at Costco, and said that’s designed for this type of profound hearing loss and more powerful as it is much bigger. He mentioned Oticon, Widex, and Phonak. i am going to find some local providers and see if these work better. If not, I will go back to Costco to buy the kirkland, as hearing something is better than nothing.

Update 06/12:

We are going to a local hearing aids provider that has Oticon Widex and Phonak. The difficulty to deal with local providers is there are many of them and it is hard to figure out which one is good and at what price they sell until we go there in person.

Update 06/13

We went to a local audiologist. We tried Widex Clear 440, and my father can understand when I speak slowly. It is not perfect, but it is the best we have got so far. We also got a chance to try Oticon Sumo briefly, and it is not very good because the sound is not very clear and low frequency sound is very loud. The audiologist suggests not to use super power ones, like Widex Super, Oticon Sumo, etc, because Widex Clear provides better clarity and can replace more powerful receivers if needed. He also said that Widex Clear is very new tech, Oticon Sumo is a little old and Phonak Naida S UP is used mostly by hospitals for kids.

About price, Widex Clear 440 costs about $3000/each (not pair), Clear 330 costs about $2500/each. The audiologist suggest to get only one hearing aid (either 440 or 330), as the other ear can’t hear anything anyway. This is much more expensive than Costco (Kirkland, $2000/pair), but I have no choice but shop around to find one that sells Widex Clear for cheaper.

The Kirkland Signatures are the Rexton Cobalt 16’s.

My hearing loss is severe to profound and my first suggestion would be to purchase soft plastic hearing molds (I’m sure there is a term for them) for BTE hearing aids for your father. Soft plasted fitted molds will flex with his ear canal and will help maintain a seal when he talks, eats and even smiles. With his hearing loss he will need a good fitting mold to avoid feedback. With them you can then try any brand of BTE hearing aid to choose the one right for him.
The process of finding good fitting HA’s for yourself requires multiple visit to the Audi/Disp and my guess is it will be even more challenging for a family member. Good luck and don’t give up.

if you weren’t trying the Kirkland/Rexton/Siemens with the HP receivers and custom molds (or any other brands HP receiver with custom molds) then he didn’t have a chance. Since Costco will give you 90 day trial and zero return fee I would have them get him the Kirkland/Rexton with HP receivers and custom molds and try them. If he hasn’t been wearing aids he is not going to like them at least the first week be sure they have the volume set way down to start.

any chance he is a veteran?

I also want to encourage a trial. He needs to give his ears a chance to get used to the way hearing aids sound and use them with some good custom molds. Also (since I work there) check out your local Sam’s Club if you have one. We have a super powered aid due out next month.

Thank you all for the info.

We went to an audiologist today and he did an audiogram and a speech recognition test (which we didn’t do at Costco). My father’s left ear is 60% recognition at 105 dB and right ear is 20% at 105 dB. The audiologist recommended Phonak S UP and Oticon Sumo (both are basic version), at a much higher price (+80%) than the Bernafon Xtreme and Kirkland Signature we saw at Costco. And there is about $400 restocking/service fee if we return the hearing aids within 45 days. Interestingly I was told that they charge the hearings aids not by brand, but by the level of technology: basic, middle and advanced. All brands at the same level are charged the same price. We didn’t get a chance to try the hearing aids as purchase is required first.

From what my visits to Costco and the audiologist, my understanding now is that every brand has a high power BTE plus earmold that may work for my father’s case. If this is correct, I would rather go to Costco again and give a try on either Bernafon Xtreme or Kirkland Signature. Our last Costco visit is disappointing as my father couldn’t recognize words when trying those hearing aids without earmold, but today’s speech recognition test gives me confidence that when the voice is amplified enough he can still recognize some words. I was told that Bernafon Xtreme’s residual amplification is a little better than Kirkland Signature, although Bernafon is actually a little cheaper at Costco (but Bernafon has fewer features than Kirkland). Is my understanding correct? Which one should we buy, Bernafon or Kirkland?

Another question is after we receive the hearing aids, does Costco specialist need to adjust the amplifications on different frequencies or simply pick one of the preprogrammed settings in the hearing aids?

I am not a hearing professional, but you may want to have him try a CROS or BiCROS aid system. Phonak seems to be the choice here. According to the professionals here, a user either like them or hates them. Sound from the bad ear is transmitted to the better ear so the user can best use their remaining hearing.

What do the hearing professionals here think? Is a BiCROS system a reasonable option here, assuming they can find a good, skilled professional?

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Not really a huge benefit TBH.

Super power aid on the better side IMHO, unless there’s a real need for environmental sounds from the other. Keep it simple, just a volume control, nice soft carved shell mould, double thickness tuning etc…

Costco also has the Rexton Bridge in power and super power (70Db and 80Db gain). The Bridge has wireless ability so you can use a tv transmitter or a bluetooth phone device.

Curious why you didn’t do the word recognition test at Costco? It’s a standard part of their test.

The Kirkland seems to be the Rexton Onyx now which seems to be the Pure Carat?

The Xtreme and the Bridge both have a lot of power but a full trial will tell if they will work for your father. The Kirkland goes up to a 75Db gain so it is just slightly behind the other two in power, but if the Kirkland would work it has a lot of features and would not be as large as the Bridge.

The pros can adjust the hearing aids to lessen the perception of distortion but with severe hearing loss, the ears are messed up. Here is an article that describes distortion in hearing loss.
http://www.otohns.net/default.asp?id=13086

The pro will input your dad’s hearing test results and the software will setup the hearing aids to match. The pro may then make some adjustments that, from their experience, will give better results than the stock software.

Then your dad will try them out for a week or two and come back for an adjustment based on how he is hearing with them and how they fit. It’s not unusual to have a software adjustment every couple of weeks for the entire trial period.

Adjustments could be made to how things sound in a crowd, understanding speech in noise, how the TV sounds, shrill or tinny sounds, some sounds too high or too low, muffled sounds, or however you dad is hearing. You can also have “programs” that apply to a specific situation and when you are in that situation, you change to that program. Two popular ones are loud restaurant or speech in loud background noise, and a music program.

I have program 1 as my general, do it all program, then program 2 is my severe background noise program, and program 3 is music program. I think the Kirkland has 5 program slots.

Here is an article on getting used to hearing aids.
http://www.hearinglosshelp.com/articles/hearingaidfriends.htm

Not being offered a trial is complete B.S… See my signature for perspective on how the Xtreme and Naida UP ranks.

If the user is in the US, I believe all states mandate a minimum trial period for hearing aids.

Thanks again for all the info. I plan to go to another Costco to get earmolds as well as some high power hearing aids (this one is closer to my home than the one I visited last time). The only thing is that it is hard to schedule an appointment within one or two weeks, although I doubt if the specialists there are busy all day long. I’ll just drop by and try my luck.

I asked the same question at alldeaf.com, and most people there suggest to see audiologists intead of Costco. Is it true that audiologists are better than Costco?

Costco hearing centers are usually pretty busy or at least the ones near me, I’d schedule an appointment and ask them to call if there is a cancelation.

It’s not either/or. Costco does employ audiologists. I’ve had good results at Costco and my Costco audiologist is great. But, see for yourself. They have a 90 day trial.

Update 06/09:

We went to Costco today (not the one we went last time as this one is closer), and we are ready to purchase hearing aids. The specialist had my father try a Kirkland hearing aid, and said that’s the best he has. There is another more powerful Kirkland, but he said he has never got good fitting results from it. Unfortunately, but somewhat expected, with this hearing aids, my father can understand some words, but not the whole sentence. The specialist suggests us to try the conventional body style hearing aids with external receiver before making a purchase at Costco, and said that’s designed for this type of profound hearing loss and more powerful as it is much bigger. He mentioned Oticon, Widex, and Phonak. i am going to find some local providers and see if these work better. If not, I will go back to Costco to buy the kirkland, as hearing something is better than nothing.

Are you sure he said a BODY aid??? I haven’t fit a body aid in probably 11 years…I’m not even sure who makes them anymore - I know Phonak and Widex do not…although I believe the one I fit in 2000 might have been a Widex one. But that was 12 years ago.

Perhaps he meant a Behind-the-ear hearing aid…but a more powerful one? Widex has the most powerful BTE on the market that I know of. The Naida S UP by Phonak offers quite a bit of power and he might benefit from the Sound Recover feature if his speech clarity is really poor. Depending on his speech scores and severity of loss, don’t expect to find a hearing aid where he can understand everything clearly. The hearing aid can sound amazing but ultimately it’s traveling along a damaged auditory system and potentially into processing centers of the brain that could also be functioning at less-that-ideal levels.

tell the AD you want to trial the more powerful unit. that’s why Costco has their much advertised 90 day trial. So, you can try them! Did the AD at the first Costco seem a little brighter?

Yes, body style, he even spelled “body” for me. i am surprised to hear that initially, but he explained that the separation of the amplifier and the receiver makes it more powerful in processing the voice. My father has a profound loss (in my signature), and our expectation is not high. If my father can understand some words, we are happy.

There are different products under each brand. Do you know which products I should consider for each of the three: Oticon, Widex, and Phonak? Should they be Oticon Sumo, Widex Super, Phonak Naida S UP? How can I find reliable providers? Thanks a lot!

The specialist we met today looks more experienced, and he tried to do some fitting using a pair of kirkland hearing aids. He said Costco hearing aids deals with moderate hearing loss, but not very good on profound loss. I like Costco due to its nice policy. Most other places charge restocking fee. But if the other brands are much better than Kirkland, we’ll definitely buy it, which may be much more expensive than Costco.