Yet another newbie with a few questions

First off, hello to everyone and thanks for the information.

About ten years ago I notice that I couldn’t understand what people were saying in meetings when more than one person was talking. I also have trouble with movies and television sometimes. I had my hearing tested and these are the results:

250 L-0 R-0
500 L-5 R-5
1K L -0 R-0
1.5K L-15 R-15
2K L-20 R-20
3K L-25 R-20
4K L-30 R-25
5K L-40 R-30
6K L-30 R-30
8K L-50 R-35

I also have tinnitus. Sometimes it drives me nuts and sometimes I don’t notice it because I’m distracted by other things.

The audiologist I saw recommended getting hearing aids for both ears. I think she mentioned “open-fit.”

So here are my questions:

I’m not sure if I got this right. I thought the audiologist said that our brains can loose the ability to understand input of the frequencies they’re not getting input at so the sooner I get hearing aids the better. Do I have that right?

Where’s the best place to get hearing aids? The audiologist I saw is part of a large teaching university hospital. I assume their prices for hearing aids are not the highest but pretty pricey. Hospitals charge a lot for things that insurance companies don’t pay for. Would it be a horrible mistake to go to Costco? Has anyone had experience with HearPO? I think my insurance company works with them.

Since I have no problem with understanding people in most situations how do you know when it’s time to get hearing aids? (Yeah, I know this is a really hard question to answer but I’m sure everyone has their own answer)



I am sort of a newb, too.

I just had my hearing tested there and felt good about the attention I received. Also, they are not on commission. I didnt feel any pressure to buy.

They sell name brand stuff, in addition to their own kirkland stuff. A search of Kirkland will show what others think of them.

I test drove a set of Bernafon Verites, and wished I could have walked out with them. They have a 90 trial period, in which you get 100% of your $ back if you arent happy. Thats a good thing.


Thanks for the reply.

When you said you “test drove” them do you mean you were able to try a working pair? It seems like it would be tough to decide on one without really giving them a try.

How much did Costco charge for the testing and consultation?


If you have a mild uncomplicated loss Costco is a good bet. They do not charge for a consultation and test. Their prices are about 60% of what a typical audiologist will charge.

If this is your first aids and you have a moderate to profound loss you should use a professional audiologist. To be safe, you should see a medical doctor (ENT) to determine the cause of your deafness first. Ed

the test at costco was no charge. I wore there premium for about 15 minutes, and loved it…


I’ve seen an ENT in the past (they’re connected to the audiologist and university hospital) and they determined that I had too much fun going to concerts, clubs, etc… I’ve been exposed to too much loud music. But thanks, I totally agree with you, it’s important to see an ENT to figure out what the cause is. In addition the audiologist requires clearance from a physician before moving forward with the HAs. So I know I’m in good hands. But, with the high cost of HAs and the saving I’m reading about at Costco, I’ve been curious if it’s a reasonable way to go.

I suppose what I’d be paying for at the university is their expertise. According to to Consumer Reports 2/3 of the HAs in their survey were not adjusted properly. I’m thinking it would be the way to go for at least my first pair.

My hearing loss is mild to moderate in the high frequencies.

Thanks again for the feedback.

I am on week 4 using the Bernafon Verite, the Fitter at Costco was excellent, the hearing aids are great no problems or issues.

Costco offers 90 Day trial period, the Fitter set up a both the Siemens and Bernafon hearing aids fora short run test in the store, I opted for the Bernafon as the sound was more natural and the external connectivity (blue tooth) Soundgate seemed to work with a little less difficulty. 2 days later my Hearing aids were delivered and fitted.

I highly recommend Costco for hearing aids.

In all honestly you can afford to wait. There is no right time or wrong time. If you think you need aids, get ones that fit your lifestyle. If you say “it’s not that bad yet”, then wait. Your hearing loss isn’t too bad at this point in time. With that said, I would tell you, you will still have difficulty hearing in noise even with the BMW of hearng aids.

I understand dispensers and some audiologists are using this “auditory deprivation” ploy to scare people into geting hearing aids, but in your case it’s simply won’t happen. Normal conversational speech is between 45-65dBHL, if your hearing is in that range (moderate hearing loss) across the board than yes, your word recognition ability (say the word “yard” may decline). Your hearing is either going to stay the same or decline and there isn’t a thing you or I can do about it. I can’t alter biology!

SteveAUD, thanks for the reply. You’re right, my test results aren’t bad and in most situations I’m fine. Noisy restaurants, watching movies and television, and sometimes meetings are challenging and conference calls are the worst. Sometimes when I’m having dinner with a group of people I just sit there because I have no idea what people are saying.
I know I can’t change the world but I avoid so many things to preserve my hearing. Many restaurants, parties, street fairs, etc. are too loud. I used to go to concerts but I avoid those too. Sometimes I wear ear plugs when I go to events but that’s very isolating because I can’t carry on a conversation with anyone. I have ear plugs with filters but I don’t like them at all. It’s ironic that cities have banned smoking in public places because it’s a health hazard but no one talks about the hazards of loud sounds. Geez, I sound like my father. …oops, I’m venting.

The good news is, that although my hearing declined between my first test ten years ago and the second, five years ago, the latest test from a week ago shows no decline if five years. I guess those ear plugs are working.
Now if I could only get rid of that pesky tinnitus.:cool:

A single tiny open fit aid might make all the difference for that relatively mild loss.

However if you have tinnitus on both sides then you should consider a pair of aids.

Note: If you visited me I would be 50/50 on whether you needed aids … but I think I would recommend a trial just to see if you noticed a mega benefit.

EnglishDispenser, yes, my tinnitus seems to be in both ears. Of course I hear it in the middle of my head so who knows if it’s coming from misfiring stereocilia, my brain, or what.
It does seem that I’m at that “iffy” place where the loss is not that great but maybe the hearing aids would help.
UCSF (University of California at San Francisco) Medical Center has a 30 day trial period. Costco (a big warehouse style store) has a 90 day trail period. The HAs can be returned within that period for a full refund. So, maybe its’ worth the experiment to see if they help.

I tried HAs with a similar loss to yours, and with the same complaints. My trial ended today and I found them to be very helpful with the tinnitus. I weighted the plusses and minuses. Some days I notice a big difference; other days it is just with environmental sounds. But the tipping factor for me was the help with the tinnitus, even though that was not the original reason for trying the aids.

In the evening, when I take them off, I sometimes put them back in for a while. Too bad I can’t sleep with them in!!

You folks are great. This is really helpful information. I hope other people will find this useful as well.

Karen, what kind of HAs did you get?

Another thing I’m trying to figure out is what provider should I see. Here are some options.

Major University Medical Center Audiology Dept. They charge $250 for the exam and fitting. Their trial period is 30 days. The fitter is an audiologist. I have a feeling their prices are not great. I’m going to call and see.

A local retailer. There are a number of them in the area. I spoke to one guy who was a licensed hearing aid technician, another who’s a audioprosthologist (I didn’t make that up).

I could go through HearingPlanet or HearPO to get their discount but as I’m finding their prices aren’t always the best. Sometimes the retailer can give even a better price, sometimes not. Apparently the retailer buys through HearingPlanet and I would assume gets their volume discount (no pun intended). Hearing Planet offers a 45 day trial period, HearPO offers 60. There is no exam fee when going through them.

Then there’s Costco. The fitter there is a licensed technician. They don’t offer as many brands but they do have very competitive prices and they offer the longest trail period that I’ve found, 90 days. They carry the Bernafon Verité so at least I know that they carry top notch devices.

I have Phonak Audeo Yes Vs.

I went to Costco today and had my hearing tested again, just two weeks after having it tested at a major medical center. I thought I’d give give their HAs a try. But, because of an unexpected business conflict I only had time for the test. The results on my left ear were significantly different than the medical center test. I’ve made a chart to show the differences, I hope I can attach it to this post.

I know my hearing loss is not that bad so I’m wondering if that means I don’t need fancy HAs (that’s if I need them at all). Costco carries a limited selection compared to the medical center. I’m wondering how dispensers/audiologist figure out what to recommend. The dispenser at Costco thought I’d do well with their Kirkland Signature HAs. People on this board have reported that they are rebranded Rexton Gems. Is that over kill for my sort of loss?

***Here’s an update on the medical center. I asked then what do people without insurance pay. Apparently if you self pay you can get a 30% discount.

It appears like there might have been an earphone placement issue with the Big Store testing or an inexperienced tester.

What’s interesting is that the big-box results (where they differ) are all showing a worse loss than the medical facility…sometimes this is an “error” that helps show a a worse loss than truly exists. An unethical operator may do this to help sell a hearing aid. I had it done to me

In my mind a 5 to 10 db loss difference at the numbers your loss is at is not that a significant difference. It could be due to a lot of variables - some mentioned above as well as calibration and experience of the tester.

I once passed a hearing test with perfect hearing - how, every time the tester looked up at me is when the tester pressed the sound ‘on’ button to create the test tone - Had to give her a hint about being more careful with her technique…

Here’s why I say that: You are not at an extreme end of one instrument fitting range.

I would prefer going to a dispenser that has a few brands but knows them well and can fit them well than to going to a dispenser that carry’s so many that they can not keep up with the changing technology and software for each brand.

I’ve been wearing hearing aids for 57 years. Many members of my family wear hearing aids. I am constantly trying and testing new aids, but will only limit my brands to two very well known and established brands with very good reputations for quality and responsive to service and repair needs.

5 dB is an acceptable test-retest varience per frequency.

Yikes, I miss entered some of the data in the chart. I’ve corrected it and I’m reposting it.

Thanks to all of you, the forum, and information on the net, I’m learning a lot. I found this article particularly helpful. It explains the differences between standard-tube, thin-tube, thin-wire, occluded and open-fit BTE HAs.