Author Topic: Hearing Aid Advice  (Read 3017 times)  

Offline *DrDLN* (dr.s.dhillon)

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Hearing Aid Advice
« on: May 15, 2017, 05:06:43 pm »
Anyone has suggestions about hearing aid! The prices vary from roughly under $300 to over $5000. I see lot of ads about Miracle Ear. Your input will be appreciated. Thanks.

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    Offline Betsy the Quilter

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 05:26:10 pm »
    There are a lot of choices out there--I know there are options to have Bluetooth connectivity for phones, etc.  My sister-in-law has hearing aids and has gone through several variations.  I also know that the batteries are expensive and have to replaced fairly often.

    Hopefully someone with more direct experience will be able to share!

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    Offline Tripp

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 06:57:32 pm »
    Good hearing aids are expensive, but sometimes you get what you pay for.  I had a pair almost 15 years ago.  They were the molded in the ear hard flesh tone plastic type.  I could not abide them and stopped wearing them.  Because of that I suffered while making others suffer with me since it was difficult to communicate with me.  Advance 12 years and the technology has improved and I love my newer hearing aids.  They have small silicone domes in my ear with a wire that threads to the actual device behind my ears.  No one can see them as I have enough hair to cover but even if you have short hair, they are innocuous.  And they are far more comfortable and have better sound quality than the older types.

    I have the Bluetooth option and found them to be not very reliable.  I would try to talk on my phone and could not be heard very well.  Music didn't sound as good as a set of headphones.  It may be better now, but I haven't been impressed.

    But the most critical issue in my mind is getting assessed by a reputable audiologist who knows what a good quality device is and what the best option for you is.  I could be wrong but I do not believe you will get a good assessment from a Miracle Ear salesperson. 

    My audiologist saw me frequently in the beginning to test my hearing aids and tweak them until they were perfect for me.  Then we settled into a once quarterly appointment to check the devices, clean them and replace the domes.  This is all part of the original purchase made 3 years ago.  I trust her and am very glad I didn't try to find an "off the shelf" device that may have cost less.  I have the best hearing that is possible for me to have with my restrictions.  Vastly improved hearing, good glasses and good health are worth investing as much as I can afford. 

    Like glasses do not substitute for perfect vision, hearing aids do not substitute for perfect hearing.  However, I am very diminished in both and am thankful to have glasses and hearing aids to keep me connected to the real world and be able to engage in it.  Without these, I know I would become withdrawn.  I had already been on that road before getting these gifts to me. 

    I emphasize that consulting a good audiologist is a must.  If they are worth their weight they will help you find the best fit for your circumstances (including finding the best value for your budget). 

    All this is my opinion based on my experience and someone else may say something completely different, but in the end, you will need to make the best decision for you.
    « Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 07:03:40 pm by Tripp »

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    Offline Tripp

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 07:00:10 pm »
    There are a lot of choices out there--I know there are options to have Bluetooth connectivity for phones, etc.  My sister-in-law has hearing aids and has gone through several variations.  I also know that the batteries are expensive and have to replaced fairly often.

    Hopefully someone with more direct experience will be able to share!

    Betsy

    Oh I should add that they make rechargeable hearing aids.  My mother has those and loves them.

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    Offline CegAbq

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 07:36:22 pm »
    In 2010 I had an audiologist give me an exam through my local Health Sciences Medical Center & got a copy of the report.
    Then 2 years ago I went to Costco & had their person give me a check up. Very similar results (& I didn't feel my hearing had changed in the intervening years)
    I got a pair of, at the time, Costco's top-of-the line aids that cost $1900 for the pair.
    I have been very happy with mine & they do truly help -  especially for hearing both my husband and boss who are both very soft-spoken.
    Carol in 'burque

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    Offline Mike D. aka jmiked

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 09:12:06 pm »
    I've had two tests by audiologists, three years apart. Looking at the charts, I have age-related severe loss (I'm 73) in the treble range. It was recommended that I get hearing aids sooner rather than later, even though I'm not having significant problems in normal conversation. I shopped around and decided to get a pair of SoundWorld HD100 hearing aids (they sell sound amplifiers also, but only one model they call hearing aids). They aren't the most sophisticated models around, but they were only $750 for the pair.

    They work very nicely. Rechargeable batteries (two days on a charge), Bluetooth (not stereo), A2DP mode (for better music performance, doesn't actually make much difference). There's an iOS/Android app that allows you to control volume, equalization, presets, etc. For volume, On/Off, and environment settings, you don't need the phone app, you can use the buttons on the behind-the-ear module.

    It's only a 3-band equalizer, but my hearing is such that three is adequate. It has a built-in calibration mode that will play tones and you tap a button when you can hear them. It will then build a custom preset to match your hearing range. You can also choose from Everyday, Restaurant, and Entertainment (Music) settings. Restaurant minimizes sounds from behind (moderately successful), and Entertainment provides a slight bass boost. You can also adjust the volume, bass and treble curves of the individual earpieces from the phone app.

    I find there is a substantial improvement in sound quality when listening to music, tv, or even to the Amazon Echo. I found that those things sounded more than a bit muffled without the high frequency boost. I can also now hear my wristwatch alarm, the oven timer, and the squeaky mouse cat toy. I have to turn them off when in the car, as my car has a lot of road noise.

    They claim the batteries are good for about two years and that they will replace them for $45 each with one-day turn-around and overnight shipping. Obviously, you can send them in one at a time if you rely on them to hear.

    They are handy for listening to the other party when I get a phone call, also. I don't like the sound when listening to music played from my phone via Bluetooth, tough. A bit too harsh.

    One interesting feature that I hadn't expected is that when the aids are linked to my phone, they let me know when the phone gets out of range by saying "Connection Lost". So it's hard to leave your phone somewhere. You don't need the phone connected during normal operation, but it is required for setup and changing some of the less-frequently used settings.

    If you have hearing loss due to loud sounds (i.e., a narrow dip in the frequency curve), then you may need something with more equalizer levels. But for my age-related loss (everything over about 1.5 kHz drops into the Severe Loss part of the chart), then this works just fine. I really like the fact I can calibrate and adjust the curve myself on this device. I don't want to have to go to an audiologist every time my hearing changes.

    If you get hearing aids, be patient. It may take several months to get used to them. You aren't used to hearing those sounds and it can be startling, even unpleasant at first. Hang in there.

    Offline *DrDLN* (dr.s.dhillon)

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 10:49:25 am »
    Thank you all for your very useful advice. I had been to two audiologists. The first was through my health care provider (Palo-Alto medical center) and tried the hearing aid that was almost $5000 and was not comfortable. It was about 3years back and could do without hearing aid. Now recently I went to a different audiologist for second opinion, my hearing has gone down but chart was similar and their price was very similar to the first audiologist.

    So I have learn from useful advice on this board to get rechargeable batteries. May try Costco and SoundWord. Mike I assume you ordered direct from SoundWorld.

    I do appreciate all the help and hope get some more suggestions.

    NOTE: I can afford but not willing to spend $5000 now for hearing aid since I didn't like the almost $5000 given to try by first audiologist. But I may end up doing that...

    Offline Mike D. aka jmiked

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 11:03:36 am »
    Mike I assume you ordered direct from SoundWorld.

    Yes, I did.

    Offline Tripp

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 04:14:40 pm »
    If you get hearing aids, be patient. It may take several months to get used to them. You aren't used to hearing those sounds and it can be startling, even unpleasant at first. Hang in there.

    I agree with this.  My audiologist had me do a phased break in time that increased over a week or so until I could wear full time.  I might add that my hearing loss is more complicated than the normal age related loss.  I have a partially deaf ear from childhood/birth and then was stupid and incurred loud sound related hearing loss. 
    And lots of good advice and options here.  Who knows, maybe when I retire and need to get replacements, I may go one of these routes too.

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    Offline *DrDLN* (dr.s.dhillon)

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 04:06:49 pm »
    Thanks Mike, I will think seriously after reading reviews on Amazon. BTW, Is your model sidekick or companion?
    Here's just a sample of reviews: "It came and my husband wore them for a day and was not real happy with the results, the second day he downloaded the app and adjusted the aids to his hearing loss. He now has nothing but praise for them...The app is very similar to the test given to him by the audiologist so it can customize the aid to you....
    I bought these for my husband. He had bought a in-ear version and paid $3,000 for one ear and it never worked. The expensive aid was adjusted several times and even replaced once but after a very few months they were put into a drawer never to be worn again. I have bought two lesser cost amplifiers for him but they were uncomfortable or not the desired results..."

    I do appreciate you all for very useful information. Thanks.

    Offline Mike D. aka jmiked

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #10 on: May 17, 2017, 08:24:09 pm »
    Thanks Mike, I will think seriously after reading reviews on Amazon. BTW, Is your model sidekick or companion?



    Mine is the HD100 Companion. I don't think the Sidekick is a current product. It wasn't qualified as a hearing aid, just an amplifier. The difference is the Companion being an FDA-registered medical device.

    Offline *DrDLN* (dr.s.dhillon)

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 09:04:31 pm »

    Mine is the HD100 Companion. I don't think the Sidekick is a current product. It wasn't qualified as a hearing aid, just an amplifier. The difference is the Companion being an FDA-registered medical device.

    Thanks Mike. You are right Companion is the latest and Sidekick is earlier version. But both are sold as hearing aids and reviews were about Sidekick. But you are right that sidekick is not really hearing aid. Here's what I found: "Hearing aids are designed to help compensate for specific types of hearing loss and are meant to be dispensed by qualified professionals and worn by the patient all of the time. Personal Sound Amplifier-PSAPs like the CS10, CS50+, and The Sidekick are designed for occasional use for amplifying sounds that are inherently difficult to hear. PSAPs are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. If you believe you have hearing loss, we encourage you to seek help from a qualified professional."

     I will look for companion after your advice, if decide to go with this particular product.

    Thanks for all your helpful information.

    Offline Kathy

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 06:48:53 am »
    I just bought my second set of hearing aids. My first was Phonak and had blue tooth capability with a gadget that you wore around the neck. Really good quality sound. Loved them. I bought the Starkey Halo hearing aids this time because the blue tooth is built into the hearing aid without an external gadget. It is controlled on my iPhone. They are not compatible with an Android phone, so you have to stick with Apple iPhone or iPad to get maximum benefit of the blue tooth. Both are behind the ear and very comfortable. Both sets were $5000 but last for years. I tried cheaper ones, but never had luck with them. The biggest difference is watching TV. The Phonak had a blue tooth device that hooked to the TV and then blue toothed to the gadget around the neck. This made watching TV a pleasure. The Starkey have what they call Live Stream where you put the phone near the speaker and it streams it into the hearing aid. It really doesn't work that well because the live stream picks up all sound around it. For me that is the biggest thing I miss. As far as talking on the phone or listening to music that is on my iPhone it the Starkeys are great.

    Offline Jane917

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 09:21:42 am »
    I am a speech pathologist with a MA in speech pathology and audiology. Please see an audiologist. Every reputable hearing aid company gives at least a 30 day free trial of their products. Each company has a different way of transmitting sound. It is so much more than just amplifying sound. Yes, they are expensive. I wear Starkey Halo 2 hearing aids. I wore Widex aides for 7 years. Actually, I am still in the trial period of my Halos, as we keep adjusting every week. My Halos are controlled by an app on my iPhone, but there is now an app for an android. I have several modes I can set the aides to, including when in restaurants, listening to music or TV, or in the car (greatly reduces road noise). Yes, the pair I am currently trying are expensive (I think the model I am trying is $4800), but they are still cheaper than my initial Widex aides I bought 7 years ago.
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    Offline Jane917

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #14 on: May 23, 2017, 09:24:19 am »
    I just bought my second set of hearing aids. My first was Phonak and had blue tooth capability with a gadget that you wore around the neck. Really good quality sound. Loved them. I bought the Starkey Halo hearing aids this time because the blue tooth is built into the hearing aid without an external gadget. It is controlled on my iPhone. They are not compatible with an Android phone, so you have to stick with Apple iPhone or iPad to get maximum benefit of the blue tooth. Both are behind the ear and very comfortable. Both sets were $5000 but last for years. I tried cheaper ones, but never had luck with them. The biggest difference is watching TV. The Phonak had a blue tooth device that hooked to the TV and then blue toothed to the gadget around the neck. This made watching TV a pleasure. The Starkey have what they call Live Stream where you put the phone near the speaker and it streams it into the hearing aid. It really doesn't work that well because the live stream picks up all sound around it. For me that is the biggest thing I miss. As far as talking on the phone or listening to music that is on my iPhone it the Starkeys are great.

    Kathy, I don't know about this live streaming you do with your TV, though I have Starkey Halo 2s. I have a TV "memory" that I control in my app, but I can't stream right to my HAs, I don't think. How do you do that? I have an appointment with my audiologist this week.
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    Offline Kathy

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #15 on: May 23, 2017, 12:06:23 pm »
    Kathy, I don't know about this live streaming you do with your TV, though I have Starkey Halo 2s. I have a TV "memory" that I control in my app, but I can't stream right to my HAs, I don't think. How do you do that? I have an appointment with my audiologist this week.

    When you triple click on your iPhone, the Hearing Device screen comes up. There is an option on the top that says Start Live Listen. This option allows you to be in a meeting and have anything that people are saying live stream to your hearing aids. It also allows you to put the phone next to the TV and live stream into your hearing aid.

    Offline Mike D. aka jmiked

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #16 on: May 23, 2017, 01:57:30 pm »
    When you triple click on your iPhone, the Hearing Device screen comes up.

    It doesn't on my iPhone 6. What settings do you have in the Accessibility shortcut menu? None of them seem applicable.

    Offline CegAbq

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #17 on: May 23, 2017, 02:36:57 pm »
    I am extremely upset - I have lost my hearing aids! And while I can afford to purchase a new pair, I REALLY don't want to have to lay out the money.

    Be careful with them!
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    Offline Kathy

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #18 on: May 23, 2017, 05:21:48 pm »
    It doesn't on my iPhone 6. What settings do you have in the Accessibility shortcut menu? None of them seem applicable.

    Go to settings, General, scroll down until you get to Hearing Devices. I have the Starkey Halo 2 i1600 model. You have to be iOs10 version to use it. The blue tooth has to be on. To control the different settings download the TruLink app.

    Offline Mike D. aka jmiked

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #19 on: May 23, 2017, 08:58:23 pm »
    Go to settings, General, scroll down until you get to Hearing Devices. I have the Starkey Halo 2 i1600 model. You have to be iOs10 version to use it. The blue tooth has to be on. To control the different settings download the TruLink app.

    I have iOS 10, and I found it under Settings > General > Accessibility.

    It doesn't work with my hearing aids, though.  :(
    « Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 09:01:42 pm by Mike D. aka jmiked »

    Offline Kathy

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #20 on: May 24, 2017, 06:20:55 am »
    I have iOS 10, and I found it under Settings > General > Accessibility.

    It doesn't work with my hearing aids, though.  :(

    It sounds like a great feature, but unless you are in a really quiet room it isn't that effective. It picks up so much of the surrounding noice that you are just better off upping the volume and reducing the background noise using the app.

    Offline Jane917

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #21 on: May 24, 2017, 01:17:43 pm »
    It doesn't on my iPhone 6. What settings do you have in the Accessibility shortcut menu? None of them seem applicable.

    I just tried the triple click on my 6S....and the Hearing Devices came cup with Start Live Listen. I will try it later. I don't think this option is listed in TruLink. I shall try this later when I am watching TV.  I don't think my audiologist even knows about this!
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    Offline Jane917

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #22 on: May 24, 2017, 01:20:21 pm »
    I am extremely upset - I have lost my hearing aids! And while I can afford to purchase a new pair, I REALLY don't want to have to lay out the money.

    Be careful with them!

    Depending on how long you had HAs, they still might be under insurance from the company.
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    Offline Jane917

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #23 on: May 24, 2017, 01:29:39 pm »
    It sounds like a great feature, but unless you are in a really quiet room it isn't that effective. It picks up so much of the surrounding noice that you are just better off upping the volume and reducing the background noise using the app.

    I am going to try the live streaming from TV, but at this point I use the TV "memory" that is set in my TruLink app. It works pretty well for me. Besides adjusting for the frequencies, the volume is defaulted to a level that is comfortable for me. My husband does not have to turn the TV volume up to a louder level than he needs.
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    Offline CegAbq

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    Re: Hearing Aid Advice
    « Reply #24 on: May 24, 2017, 05:21:33 pm »
    Depending on how long you had HAs, they still might be under insurance from the company.
    Thanks! I've had mine over 2 years now, so I doubt it. I actually had a thought to check my home owners' policy which does cover loss of personal property, subject to my deductible. So that will help some. I also picked up new brochures from Costco of other brands that y'all have been talking about here, so I'll be doing research for a new pair.
    Carol in 'burque

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