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Thread: Important factors in hearing aid satisfaction

  1. #1
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    Default Important factors in hearing aid satisfaction

    Throwing out a topic for conversation aimed particularly at people who have gotten hearing aids in the last year and are happy with them. It seems like many things contribute to being satisfied with one's hearing aids: the aids themselves, how they're adjusted and how well you've gotten used to them. The list is certainly not exhaustive. In retrospect, I'd be curious as to people's take as to what most contributed to their being satisfied with their hearing aids. Volusiano, I'd particularly like your thoughts on this as I know you initially struggled with your OPNs. Is your current happiness with them related to great adjustments by your audiologist/HA fitter or just getting used to them?
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

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  2. #2

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    You first.
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  3. #3
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    In my experience despite 60 years of near total deafness in my left ear, I bought my first HAs last April at Costco. They were Rexton Trax 42 and greatly improved my hearing. I had purchased them at a Costco only 15 minutes from home. However, I disliked the need to wear a medallion around my neck to permit me to stream TV or music and answer the phone. Within a few months the medallion neck strap broke and my right HA began screeching for no apparent reason. I was out of town and the nearest Costco was about a two hour drive. Close to the end of my 6-month guarantee period, I knew in advance that this Costco audiologist needed to satisfy me by fixing it or I would return it. The audio told me that I had ear wax and he couldn't do anything about the screeching. I asked him to return them and he did so happily.

    While away I did more research on HAs to see if there was anyway to connect HAs directly via bluetooth to my iPhone. I saw that Resound had developed the Lynx to do that and Costco would soon carry it as Cala 8. After being deaf in my left ear for years and getting less able to compensate with my right ear, my wife and children told me to try another HA. I waited until I returned home and went to the nearby Costco that had sold me my first pair. I hated to spend the money, but I told the audio that I wanted to try the Resound Cala 8. He agreed and I got my new HAs last December. What a difference! The sound was much better and I could listen to my iPhone and TV stream far better and easier than my first pair. Unfortunately, I had a few problems that the audio had to fix. For instance, the wire length was too short and caused a HA to rub against my ear causing raw skin and a scab. He kept telling me to man it and I'd get used to it. Furthermore, he told me that Resound did not make any longer wire than the one he had given me. I called customer service at Resound and learned that they offered two longer sizes for the HA and suggested I go back to my audio.

    I went back to the same Costco but made an appointment with a different audio. He told me that they would lengthen the wire while I was there and the rubbing problem was solved. After a few weeks, however, I began getting a constant screeching sound, this time in my left HA. Resolved to get it fixed but also ready to return the HAs, I made an appointment and got to see him within the hour. I told him my problems and he checked my ears for wax but found none. (I regularly clean my ears now). He placed the left mould in a silicon dip which slightly increased the mould's size. This was better but my screeching, which he could hear, was not solved. He then linked my HAs to the computer and told me that he was going to eliminate the high boost on the upper extreme in my left ear. They had powered it up as high as they could to try to give me the full range of sounds. After his adjustment I put the HAs on and all my problems were gone. OK, I couldn't hear the highest level in my left ear, but I could hear the rest with no screeching. Furthermore, this adjustment had made booth ears hear at about the same levels. Before the adjustment the left HA had sounded much louder than my right.

    The moral of my tale I guess is to keep working, adjusting the HAs to best fit your needs. As I had written in an earlier posting, your audio probably does not wear HAs and despite his training and knowledge has not personally experienced the same type of problems. Second, don't be afraid to change your audio to see if another can better deal with your problems.

    Other than comfort and being able to hear again, the chief reasons I like my Resound Cala 8 better than my Rexton Trax 42 are (1) I do not have to wear a medallion to connect my phone to my HAs, (2) direct streaming from our TV is easy and works marvelously well. We like to watch British mysteries and sometimes have trouble hearing words distinctly. Now I give my wife the remote and she adjusts the sound while I use my iPhone to adjust mine. (3) MyResound Cala control works with my Apple watch so I don't even have to reach for my phone. Like Dick Tracey I can talk to my watch. The downside is that when I talk on my phone no one can hear the conversations but I. We have tried to teach our family and friends to call my wife's phone which she can put her speaker to loud.

    I know this rambling is more than you ever wanted to know, but my message is to PERSEVERE. Read the reviews in this forum to find the HA model that can do what you want them to do and get your audio to keep adjusting your HAs to get so they can do what you want them to do.

    All the best,
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  4. #4
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    Sure. For me, I think it's getting used to them. I went through the typical "running water and newspaper are too loud." and things don't sound right, but if you give it time, this becomes the new normal and it sounds ok. I've heard the comment that if your hearing aids sound good initially, the fitting is probably wrong and I suspect that is correct. The job of the hearing aid is to make things sound different. Our job is to get used to it. I think it makes sense to get adjustments that help you understand better, that "sound" better, not so much. I think people tend to stick to one brand of hearing aid because they get used to the sound. I don't know if the sound quality is more related to the technology, or the fitting formula used. Sorry for rambling off topic a tad.
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

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  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MDB View Post
    Throwing out a topic for conversation aimed particularly at people who have gotten hearing aids in the last year and are happy with them. It seems like many things contribute to being satisfied with one's hearing aids: the aids themselves, how they're adjusted and how well you've gotten used to them. The list is certainly not exhaustive. In retrospect, I'd be curious as to people's take as to what most contributed to their being satisfied with their hearing aids. Volusiano, I'd particularly like your thoughts on this as I know you initially struggled with your OPNs. Is your current happiness with them related to great adjustments by your audiologist/HA fitter or just getting used to them?
    If you look at the studies, HA satisfaction varies from country to country with the low being 36% being satisfied in Japan to a high of 84% in Switzerland, the US comes in at 76%. When all tabulated the number of people who are satisfied with their HA's are somewhere in the 70% range.
    Oticon Agil Pro w/streamer

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    L 88% @55db ------- L-10
    R 90% @55db------- R-25

  6. #6
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    I got mine from the National Heath Service in England last May.
    As soon as I left the office I could understand the conversation of couple opposite me waiting to go in, I was astonished, that wouldn't have been possible before. I then went to the local park and it sounded more like I'd gone to the Amazon rain forest.
    I loved them immediately and against advice I wore the for almost every waking minute from the first day and I have done ever since.
    I would like to test more advanced aids but I intend to wait for streaming from Android phones.
    Last edited by patgreen; 02-25-2017 at 05:58 AM. Reason: Copy and paste had gone mad
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  7. #7
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    A comment about the Calas - I'm about 6 weeks in, and they continue to get "better" - really, I continue to get used to them, and they are becoming the new "normal". So I agree with the previous comments that patience is important. And so is comfort. It took me a while to realize that the wire entering my ears was bothering me, actually making my ears sore. But moving one size up - from a #2 to #3 - has made a big difference. And Costco fixes things like that for free.
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    R-100%, L-84% at 50 dB; Cala 8

  8. #8

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    I think first and foremost, being able to adjust the HAs to your liking to me is the most important factor in HA satisfaction. I remember that even with the OPN touting a single program need only and supposedly very simple programming, just answer 5 personal preference questions up front and voila, you get your single program that works for most listening situations, I still had to go through half a dozen fittings with my local audi to adjust this and that until I was satisfied with it. I think the role of the audi is important here only because the system sets it up for them to be the gate keeper of the programming. But this places too much dependency on them and is ultimately not conducive to the satisfaction of the customer. Yes, the audi/HIS still needs to play an important role as a primary consultant in the process, but educating the patient and letting the patient participate in the process themselves would make a lot of patient being more satisfied. There are just so many unnecessary hassles in trying to get appointments and visiting the audi/HIS repeatedly that could have been eliminated if the patient can do the fine tuning and adjustment at the comfort of their own home. And the technology is already there to do this. The system just needs to realize the value of this and allow this model to happen. If I could find an HA mfg that offers this type of DIY adjustment model, I would be very inclined to go with this mfg because this would be a very high criteria on my list. Many people are already doing DIY on their own because they see the value of this, why hasn't the industry woken up and realized the potential for increasing customer satisfaction if they offer this?

    In my personal experience with the OPN, and also with my previous pair of CIC HAs from Rexton (bought at Costco), I wouldn't say that my satisfaction was because I had a great audi/HIS who knew how to set things up for me. Don't get me wrong, they were competent and knew what they were doing. But they could not hear and experience what I hear through the HAs. But they were cooperative enough to work with me collaboratively to fine tune things enough to my liking. But again, if I could have made the adjustment myself, it would have been SO MUCH more efficient because I could have tried out 10x more scenarios with the settings than I would have been able to do working together with them.

    Another important factor toward HA satisfaction is the ability to do everything with your HA, but yet still being able to keep things simple. I find the HA market rife with so much trade-offs and limitations and this and that, that it's just so hard for users to keep up with things and being able to simply just USE the HA without becoming subject matter experts on it. For example, in my previous Rexton HAs, I just couldn't wear it to play tennis because it does so much dynamic compression when the ball bounces that it makes a weird muted poof every time the ball bounce either on the ground or off the racket. So I had to revert to a very old digital pair of CIC HAs that had no compression or noise reduction when I play tennis. Then I need to remember all the different modes for my previous 2 HAs pairs, which is noise, which is music, which is phone modes, etc. Then I have to remember to select the right mode when I'm in the right environment, etc.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate for simple HAs. I advocate for HAs that provides simplicity for users, even if it has to be incredibly complicated or sophisticated, as long as it's all hidden behind the scene from the user. And I think I finally found that with the Oticon OPN. With the OPN I no longer have to remember which listening environment I'm in to switch to the right program every time. I know many of the other HA brands are doing that now as well, with auto-sensing to figure out which listening environment the wearer is in and switch to the right program. But I like the OPN's simplicity better because I think it took the right approach in putting the burden on the brain to do a lot of these sophisticated processing and tuning, which it should be perfectly capable of doing, and it's also the right place to do it because it eliminates all the guess work that the HAs would otherwise have to do to figure out what the wearer wants. With the OPN, second-guessing what the wearer really wants to hear (which is probably the hardest thing to do since nobody can read other people's mind, let alone a machine) is entirely eliminated because that heaviest burden is now put back into the natural place where it belongs, the user's brain. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't let the OPN off the hook to become a very simple HA design because of this. Instead, it frees up the OPN to focus on how it can add values in different ways, like how it can help with speech clarity in a different way that has not been done before.

    I think simplicity in connectivity is also another important aspect of HA satisfaction. It's too bad that the new BLE standard is so recent and not adopted and implemented in Android phones yet. But at least made-for-iPhone HAs are starting to lead the way in this regard with direct streaming. Hopefully in a few more years we'll get there and by then, I think the popularity of HA will soar simply because people won't just think of HAs as a medical device anymore, but as a wearable device technology that provides seamless connectivity, with the benefit of customizing for hearing loss on top. I think there's a large population with mild to moderate hearing loss that would be willing to wear HAs sooner rather than later if it provides them with the connectivity value proposition, especially if those people are connected all day long at work to conference calls and multi media.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 02-24-2017 at 01:29 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  9. #9

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    Good comments. I am too new to provide any meaningful information but I will say this. After only one week I don't like the fact that I cannot control anything except volume. The HIS at Costco only gave me the T-coil program, which I will probably never use. Her feeling was that this HA should do everything automatically. I think she is wrong and this issue will be addressed at my next visit. I am also trying to figure out what makes the Brio 2 worth $900 more than the KS 7.0.
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  10. #10
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    Well, even with you limited info, you are still the only expert at determining your needs. The Brio and the KS7 are similar in generation. That can be said about all the aids at Costco currently -- except the Bernafon. The Cala is the iPhone ready aid which only means something to those with one.

    Fitters like to give the user just the starting program to get them better acclimated to the features. What she did is a common ploy. Give it some time. Not only will you be more use to wearing aids but you start seeing whatever weak situations exist. You will want a noise program and possibly a music one. But you'll have acclimated to the aids in a month or so and be better informed.

    Don't bother thinking about changing right now. That can be said for any aid/brand. You need to acclimate. When you feel that has happened ask for a walk around with the KS7 and you'll have a better idea. It will be strange but you may see it as "better strange". That will be because you've grown used to the features of the current aid. Try to place the KS7 in difficult situations. That's where you can evaluate better but strange still.
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