Zip Hearing

In another post I inquired about on line vs local audi purchase.

My big concerns were so called “gray market” hearing aids which would void warranty and paying for follow up i may not need. I found a couple of articles discussing follow up visits in in The Hearing Review, a trade publication.

Per those articles even new wearers average 3-4 follow up visits.

One company which i am so far impressed with is Zip Hearing. They post their prices for all major manufacturer’s aids as well as retail prices (what i would likely pay in an audi clinic locally.)

They have a statement re: grey market . They are NOT gray market aids.

They will provide me with name of audi i will be referred to so I can call with questions !!

What’s included with my purchase?
Personalized hearing aid fitting: Based on the results of your hearing test, your local ZipHearing provider will professionally fit and fine-tune your new hearing aids to your unique needs.

Full manufacturer warranty: All hearing aids purchased through ZipHearing include a full manufacturer warranty. Warranties vary in length from 1-4 years and are all-inclusive, covering loss, damage, and mechanical breakdown. To find how long the warranty period is for a hearing aid you’re interested in, find the hearing aid on our price list.

45 day 100% risk-free evaluation period: Once your hearing aids have been fitted, you’ll have 45 days to evaluate them. All appointments with your local provider during your 45 day evaluation period are included at no additional cost. If you decide to return your hearing aids within the evaluation period, you’ll be issued a 100% refund.

1 year supply of hearing aid batteries: Just days after being fit with your new hearing aids, you’ll receive a 1 year supply of hearing aid batteries delivered direct to your door. We provide top quality Rayovac batteries which have a shelf life of 4 years. Batteries will last between 3-21 days depending on a number of factors.

Follow-up care: Once your 45 day evaluation period has concluded, you are entitled to an additional 3 follow-up appointments during your first year of ownership at no additional cost. After your first year of ownership or 3 follow-up appointments (whichever comes first), office visits will be billed at a rate of $35 for appointments lasting 30 minutes or less, and $65 for appointments lasting 30 minutes or longer.

-NOT INCLUDED-

Hearing tests: While our prices do not include the cost of the hearing test, many ZipHearing providers do not charge for tests. If they do, it is usually between $25-$99, and your health insurance may pay for the test. If you have a copy of a recent test you may not need a new one.

So as an example a pair of Signia Insio 7nx aids costs $4,600 at Zip and retail is $6,800( I assume this is bundled price inc. care for 3 years)

Now i know must pay for follow up beyond 3 visits if i go with Zip however over 3 years am i realistically going to utilize over $2,000 worth of additional care?

I may be missing something here but looks like Zip is a good deal. Are there issues i have not considered??

Thanks

Certainly lower price than non negotitated price with typical local audi. I’m unclear what happens if you don’t like the audi they assign to you. There are certainly less expensive ways to go. Not sure what your priorities are. Cost seems to be pretty important to you. Is there a reason you’re not considering Costco?

Not going Costco because I want IIC aids. Cost is important but if I will in the end receive better care and adjustments I’ll pay for that.

I assume you know that IICs aren’t really “invisible” and that Costco does offer in the canal aids. My impression is that finding “better care” is a crapshoot. I think your best chance would be seeking recommendations from professionals and other people with similar preferences to what they want in a professional relationship.

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Well there are CIC and IIC. I got a sample of Eargo( non working).

They are what I would call CIC. Barely visible as they sit well but very uncomfortable. At $2500 a pair still not a bargain due to fit and inability to program. They are set at factory with algorithm and it is really a crap shoot as far as effectivness. They do offer 45 day trial but as they are not comfortable, why bother?

The IIC from Signia, Phonak and Starkey are as close to invisible as one will get. I have seen the Signia Insio in someone’s ears and aside from barely seeing the removal thread there was nothing unless I put a flashlight to the ear canal.

That is pretty much what i am looking for.

Great. As long as you’re aware that you’re giving up other capabilities for the smallness. Personally I consider the Eargos a joke and not comparable to more typical CICs.

Yes I don’t but the eargo hype. They are classified s hearing aids but with no programability I think of them as amplification devices.

As far as giving up functions with IIC please review what the Signia Insio NX is capable of including “normalizing” your own voice.

it is wireless capable, remote via app or control, directionality etc. Seems like I give up nothing.

The small IIC have come a long way over the last year or so.

OK, brief look at their product catalog. Insio nx is not bluetooth compatible unless you use the extra Signia EasyTek device. It also doesn’t have two microphones so it doesn’t have the directionality capabilities of bigger hearing aids (usually RICs) (note it has some directional features–just not as good) Also, battery life with a size 10 battery is going to be considerably less than HAs with bigger batteries. None of these features may matter, but IICs involve considerable compromises (as do all hearing aids) You’re also going to require a custom mold. That may or may not go well. If you’re easy to fit, you may do fine with a few appointments. If gettting the mold just right is a problem, paying per visit could get expensive.

OK, I do see that there is an Insio nx, but the bluetooth and microphone comments still stand.

Well, short of the Lyric.

Invisibility will also depend strongly on the size of your ear canal. If you have big ear canals, you’re in luck.

Double check on the own voice processing, though, If that’s something you are interested in. I’m not sure that it is available with only an omni directional microphone.

Yes, you lose some things with IICs, but you gain some things. You may want to consider dropping down technology levels to save some money, given the features that will be missing anyway with the IICs.

Neville:

I looked at the Lyric but apparently very costly to have it serviced every 3-4 months. I really do like the IIC.

I will be giving Zip a call this morning and then will call the audi they refer me to. If i get a good feeling I may go that route. If however the audi says "no need for “real ear verification” or something else that spooks me I’ll go local on my own.

Another route would be to speak with the Zip provider then go local on my own and inquire as to unbundling.

It’s a big and costly decision and I’d like to get it right the first time.

Just a little nod to getting a decent provider - If you want an IIC, you’re likely (17x more likely than RIC) to need service work done. It’s a fallacy to do this without a local office/specialist. Even for the initial fit one the IIC you want to be sitting in the chair in an office of somebody who knows what they are doing.

This isn’t a Witches warning, but you want it right. Like the recent Oticon IIC I’ve done.

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Ack, look how cute that IIC is. A great custom fit is super-satisfying.

Those american hearing aid middle man companies make me uncomfortable. I suppose they are here in Canada too, but they seem a bit less visible somehow. I’m not a business person so I really don’t know how it works, but I don’t like the way they seem to treat audiologists. Also, they seem to be getting paid for doing nothing. I suppose that’s neither here nor there for the consumer though.

It is kind of a weird business model. Seems like they set a price that they think assures them a certain number of customers and then tells providers what they can get paid. (We can’t pay more because we’re only getting this much.) Seems like what they “do” is marketing and providing more customers to audis who aren’t getting enough business. My impression where I live is that good audis get more than enough business which makes me wonder about the quality of providers these places use. Even worse than the straight middleman concept is some of the insurance arrrangements that limit who you can use and yet still require considerable extra payments.

RE: middle man concept.

I believe this came about in part due to the bundling of fees. As I mentioned in my initial post: if the aids are retail say 3K the local audi charges 5-6K which includes all follow up for 3 years. The entire experience is bundled into one price. However per what I have read in Hearing Review average follow up visits even for new users is between 3-4 visits ! So why pay for say 20 visits if you don’t use them.

That is why i will see if my local audi is willing to unbundle. Even if they do not I may be OK with the higher fee knowing that i can walk in whenever I need an adjustment, cleaning etc. i am not at all comfortable downloading software to program my aids. If i had a pacemaker i would not be comfortable adjusting that either. poor analogy but you get the idea.

I do agree that it is a very distinct possibility that the Zip Hearing is using audi or techs who cannot make it on their own.

In the end likely best to find the best with stellar reputation and education.

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The feeling I get from American audiologists is that the reimbursement that they get from these middle men is often not meeting their actual cost of keeping the doors open. Which is probably why they are often associated with newer clinics, rather than well-established clinics?

In my case, Hearing.com referred me to a local audi who’s been long established. She seems pretty busy with patients, although I have no idea whether she’s making enough money or not. She has a nice and well equipped office so I assume she’s doing OK.

When Hearing.com offered me a discounted price that I balked at (because I could have found a participating provider for 95% insurance coverage while they’re NOT a participating provider at I can only get 70% coverage through them), that local audi offered to give me further discount to make it equivalent to 95% coverage if I work directly with her instead of through Hearing.com., even though she’s not a participating provider herself.

So I don’t know what kind of reimbursement she was getting from Hearing.com, but she was willing to give me effectively another 25% discount off the retail price to win my business. So I can only guess that Hearing.com as the middle man probably got about 25% of the retail price for being the middle man.

hearing.com is a domain that is for sale.

There are several online sites that can provide some value. There are others selling off brand product like they are premium aids. Caveat Emptor applies to aids and healthcare in general. If you get a Medicare reimbursement accounting, the billed amount and what is paid is far apart. Nothing is transparent.

The other side of the issue is everyone want medical care for free and forever. End of life treatment for something that is going to definitely kill you runs the costs out of sight. It is unaffordable even for a nation. It is bankrupting social security.

If they can eliminate hearing aids from healthcare we could get reasonable costs.

That’s not borne out in any other civilised country though Ken - I’m not an advocate of socialised medicine, but if you base your healthcare system on profit alone, it’s never going to work.

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I agree, @Um_bongo. But it, like aids, is an entrenched special interest. You don’t just make it go away or play fair.