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Thread: New to all of this, need just a little advice

  1. #1

    Default New to all of this, need just a little advice

    Hi Everyone. I'm venturing into the area of hearing loss for the first time and talking with my doctor and audiologist about getting hearing aids. I have a couple of questions for some objective but knowledgable bystanders (you guys):

    1. My intuition could be wrong, but I got a little bit of vibe that the audiologist might be steering me to the most expensive options. Perhaps not; she did say it was up to me to set my budget and then she'd work with that. But she is steering me to the mid-high range hearing aids as far as features go, in the price range of around $6,000/pair. Is that the right way to go, or should be be very cost conscious?

    2. On the other hand, my insurance company (united healthcare) has a program where they offer HI HealthInnovations hearing aids for under $1000/ear. Are those the cheapest possible options, as in you-get-your-money's-worth-cheap?

    3. The audiologist (from question 1) recommended to me these hearing aids: Oticon OPN or the Starkey Muse. I know you guys can't advise me on which to get because you don't know my diagnosis or financial status. I'm just wondering if you could guide me a little in a "buyer beware" kind of way... let me know if I should steer more toward the cheap or more toward the higher price, more toward one brand name versus another. Thoughts?

    I will definitely continue to do my own research, but would like to hear your thoughts as well.

  2. #2
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    Default

    You're right. I know nothing about you other than you're new to hearing aids. Assuming you don't have something exceptional going on with your hearing or want some special feature and that saving money is a good thing, I'd encourage you to check out Costco. You could get a pretty decent aid (Kirkland Signature 7.0 for under $1700 for the pair. I think they are better aids than the HI HealthInnovations. Of the two other hearing aids you mentioned, there's a lot of buzz about the Oticon OPNs. They claim they're a whole new approach to hearing aids. Whether or not it's marketing hype I don't know. The Costco aids I mentioned are similar to hearing aids that would cost notably more. Costco by the way does a nice solid job. They may not provide a "premium" experience, but they clearly have quality standards in place.
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

    15 15 20 30 30 55 75 90 NR ​KS7
    10 10 20 15 25 35 65 85 95 WRS 100/92@45/40

  3. #3

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    I have the Oticon OPN and it's around $6K/pair through an audiologist. The OPN is expensive because it's the latest technology in HA just released last summer and it gets a lot of attention lately because it's supposed to be the next giant leap in technology for HAs. You can buy it online from BuyHear.com for $3,800 a pair and they'll program it remotely for you. There are many posters on this forum that had reported success via this online purchase model, specifically for the OPN. But as a first time HA wearer, you may probably be better off getting fittings face to face from an audi if you don't know what you want. You should visit the Oticon website and read up on all OPN marketing info to learn more about it.

    Specific to the Oticon OPN, I don't think your audi is trying to push expensive HAs on you. Yes, it's expensive, but she's probably recommending it because it's probably one of the best and most advanced HAs out there, so it's worth recommending. But if you can't afford it, there are plenty of other cheaper brands and models out there.

    If you want to try out the Oticon OPN but don't want to pay $6K/pair for it, you may want to shop around, or try to bargain down with your audi. Here's an add from audiologywny.com where a local audi in New York where they're advertising $4400 for a pair. They're a little more expensive than BuyHear.com because it looks like they're a local dispenser in NY, unlike BuyHear.com who's an online dispenser. But if your audi is willing to give you a discount, I think around $4K/pair for local fitting (not online) would be a good deal.

    How much will your insurance company pay for your HAs? Is there a coverage percentage of the cost and a copay?

    The advice to go to Costco for HAs is a good one. I used to go that route for years when my old insurance didn't pay for HAs. I only went through an audi the last time because I have new insurance that will cover 95% of the HA cost after deductible and I happened to have met my deductible that year.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 01-03-2017 at 06:50 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  4. #4

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    I started with HA's this past July and I went to a local audi who wanted to sell me $5000 HA. I have no insurance so I looked around and found Costco. I have the Signature 6 which was just switching to Signature 7 about the time I was fitted. You get an unheard of 180 day trial money back guarantee at Costco. Most audi are 30-60 days at best. I probably went back 4 times during my trial period for adjustments at no cost and they spent considerable time to insure I was satisfied.

    Costco gives you a two year warranty and I think one year loss protection, something you just won't get with a local audi.

    I am very satisfied with my Costco HA and think the staff at Costco was actually as good or better than the "Dr" at the local audi.

    Just my opinion.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Volusiano View Post
    How much will your insurance company pay for your HAs? Is there a coverage percentage of the cost and a copay?
    My insurance won't pay anything for HA's unless I use their recommended HealthInnovations program/HAs. I'm fortunate enough that I can afford pretty much anything but I don't want to spend foolishly. From what you guys are describing, it sounds like buying HAs are much like buying prescription glasses or contact lenses... although more spendy.

    My hearing loss isn't significant, just hard time hearing people who like to mumble (which is a fair number of coworkers), and it's worse in one ear more than the other with most of the degradation in the mid-ranges where voices are. In terms of perception I would say that I'm on the edge of needing HAs or not needing HAs. So I don't want to go all out with the top of the line, but I don't want to waste money on cheap junk either.

    Continuing my research...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Central California
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    You sound like you are about in the same place I was a couple of months ago. Costco's 6 month return period has a lot to be said for it.
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

    15 15 20 30 30 55 75 90 NR ​KS7
    10 10 20 15 25 35 65 85 95 WRS 100/92@45/40

  7. #7

    Default

    I actually went to three different audiologists and had 3 pairs of HA while testing. Because I seldom keep things hidden for very long, I told the audiologists what I was doing. To a man they agreed that shopping around was the way to go. No irritation, no hard feelings, just plain the way to go about getting new aids. (Of course in all three places the audiologist weren't the store's owners. )

  8. #8

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    My audiologist, with my new (as of today) Widex Beyond RIC gave me a 3yr warranty, including 3 yr loss warranty, although the loss is only good once. They also gave me 90 days to trial, and I have taken full advantage, this is my 3rd iteration of a Widex Unique product in this time frame. I'll probably keep this one.


    Quote Originally Posted by milkman View Post
    I started with HA's this past July and I went to a local audi who wanted to sell me $5000 HA. I have no insurance so I looked around and found Costco. I have the Signature 6 which was just switching to Signature 7 about the time I was fitted. You get an unheard of 180 day trial money back guarantee at Costco. Most audi are 30-60 days at best. I probably went back 4 times during my trial period for adjustments at no cost and they spent considerable time to insure I was satisfied.

    Costco gives you a two year warranty and I think one year loss protection, something you just won't get with a local audi.

    I am very satisfied with my Costco HA and think the staff at Costco was actually as good or better than the "Dr" at the local audi.

    Just my opinion.
    ..250..500..1000..2000..4000..8000
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  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Central California
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    Costco's warranty is 3 years and 2 years loss protection, at least in the US. Their credit card lets you extend each by 2 years.
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

    15 15 20 30 30 55 75 90 NR ​KS7
    10 10 20 15 25 35 65 85 95 WRS 100/92@45/40

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Neville View Post
    If you are interested in the Opn, the Opn 2 and 3 just came out and will be cheaper. I don't know yet what you lose moving from an Opn 1 to an Opn 2, etc.
    What you lose moving from the top of the line Opn1 to the next level down Opn2 is lower performance in rapid noise reduction, speech clarity, sound localization, and personalization (the ability to specify your preferences to have automated settings based on your preferences). But everything else should be the same, cool things like the direct wireless streaming to iPhone, for example. Going from Opn2 to Opn3 is more reduced performance in those 4 areas again.

    But you brought up a good point. The Opn2 is $400 less than the Opn1, and the Opn3 is $1,000 less than the Opn1, per the Buyhear.com pricing. So you don't necessarily need to pay top dollars to get into one of the Opn products. For example, if the OP went with her United Health Health Innovation HAs and spends $2K for a pair of lower end HAs, I wonder how they would compare to spending just $800 more to get a pair of Opn3 through Buyhear.com. While the Opn3 is not top of the line like the Opn1, it's still a very close kin to the Opn1 and is still a very advanced HAs built on the very advanced Oticon Velox platform in its own right. I think Oticon is smart to offer 3 levels of the OPN to make it a lot more affordable to people to get a bigger market share.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 01-08-2017 at 11:34 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

    KHz 0.25...0.5...0.75...1.0...1.5...2.0...3.0...4.0... 6.0...8.0

    Left ...10...10....10.....30.....70....75....80....95.. ..90....80
    Right .25...30....40.....55.....75....85....90....90...1 00...100

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