How do I choose the best hearing aids?

Posted by dkeefe @dkeefe, Nov 1, 2018

I currently have Starkey brand hearing aids which I have had for 4 years. They work well, but I have some issues with them. I am looking for replacements (they are behind the ear type) and would like to know what is available in similar quality and cheaper. I am located near Atlantic City and would like to know if there is someone in the area that offers something similar and carries various brands, not just one

@lioness

@contentandwell I had Starkey brand they where good but now have Phones brand They go behind the ear and are adjustable to outer noise but you do need to have them checked which is free once a year or so.

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@lioness. Do you mean Phonaks? If not I’m not familiar with that brand. If Phonaks, I had them before my current Oticons and loved them. They just were not as advanced yet in clarity which is why I switched.

My audiologist has me come every six months for a hearing aid check and cleaning, all part of the hearing aid fee.
JK

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@contentandwell

@lioness. Do you mean Phonaks? If not I’m not familiar with that brand. If Phonaks, I had them before my current Oticons and loved them. They just were not as advanced yet in clarity which is why I switched.

My audiologist has me come every six months for a hearing aid check and cleaning, all part of the hearing aid fee.
JK

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@contentandwell Yes slip of pen, Phonaks I like them next week I go in for check up on them

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I purchased Costco aids a couple of years ago and they are tops in price and service. I still have trouble in noisy places, and would like some adjustment or replacement to assist in that area.

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@dlarryd Welcome to connect Do you go to audiologist there to have them checked. I go once a year or more if needed

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I go to Costco and they do an exam regularly that seems to be complete and accurate: I did visit Avante and they did a similar exam and similar diagnosis. Their aids were $5000+ compared to Costco's $2000. Don't believe they are that much better. Were also high pressure and not appreciated, so moved on.

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Have a low frequency and high frequency hearing loss. See the diagram above.

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Hi Billie – That was right on what you expressed above. Let me break down the hearing aid mystery somewhat: Oticon owns Bernafon and Oticon is a top choice for audiologists and Costco sells Bernafon; this manufacturer also owns retail stores using a commission basis, as physicians' offices also do; Siemens owns Rexton, a less expensive choice and offered at Costco, but again many professionals use Siemens which is now Signia and Signia has nothing to do with the larger medical device mfgr of Siemens now; Signia is also the platform for Miracle Ear which works on the highest of commissions. Widex is a solid brand and out of Canada; Starkey is one of the few manufacturers actually American-made, they own Audibel, have a fabulous all make repair manufacturer, and bought up many smaller manufactures and have a large retail chain. When you go on line and goggle something about hearing aids, that site is almost always owned by the manufacturer who turns that into a lead and sends it to a client. While Costco is the largest provider in the US besides the VA for hearing aids, their employees are well trained, and the pricing and return policy are the best. If your needs are complicated or you are coming out of old hearing aids (linear) that you loved, look for an independent with great feedback (not on their website). When you have skin in the game, every patient is important; the independents learn more to keep ahead of the curve, try harder than corporate "safe" employees" – will go that extra mile for you and have control over pricing and policies. They can get an expensive repair done, which is out of warranty, for free because they have a good rapport and business with a good mfgr. Most of the parts in hearing aids buy from the same sources, have similar parts, but the secret is in the programming, not necessarily the instruments. I know an ENT who's audiologist sells cheap hearing aids, but he can make them "sing" just right and the patients love him! This is an industry always in change. If the bells and whistles on hearing instruments don't increase the understanding of speech, they're not worth it! Hope all this helps. Gina

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Hi Gulzar: On that audio, see the discrimination scores, aided. They are in the 60's percentile; that's not too good. However, each ear was done independently, so your binaural score might be quite high, which would be great! After a loss in the highs over 85 decibels, it's hard to recapture those frequencies. Your understanding of speech comes from the highs and are your consonants. However, there is frequency transition now wherein some of those can be re-configured. I tried it on my husband and it didn't seem to work as advertised, but I am not surprised because for 40 years I weeded through HA advertising until in the 80's when the FDA went after the 5 big manufacturers who said "hearing aids take out background noise."

I think if you had both ears tested together your score would be so much higher. Lucky you though! With a small loss in the lows, you don't hear the background speech babble so much; they would interfere tremendously with getting to those highs. Find a good long term professional who could use some programming tricks to get your understanding of speech higher! Gina

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