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Thread: 2nd aids: Why "The best" frustration again

  1. #1

    Default 2nd aids: Why "The best" frustration again

    Thanks to all in this forum. It is truly a vital resource with all the great sharing of information. This post is a vent and action plan validation request.

    I got my first set of aids 4 years ago. The initial learning experience was frustrating as each audi (four) I went to would just recommend their top of the line and when asked for an explanation why, the answer was always "They are the best". I could never get a clear explanation or comparison to another brand/model with pros/cons to justify the cost. I did a lot of googling, reading and lurking here. I eventually ended up at Costco and purchased a set of KS4s as they seemed have a good feature/performance to cost ratio. They definitely improved my situation, but I was never confident they were "the best for me".

    Over time my "what?" frequency has increased, hitting the darling spouse's threshold again. With the deterioration of my hearing and age of devices (which might require some repairs soon) I've decided its time to start the process for a new set of aids again. I visited one of the few local audi's that I didn't visit in my first round of exploration for a hearing test and recommendation. Otticon OPNs were recommended. When I asked which model and what other options exist, I once again heard get OPN1s "because they are the best". I failed again to get clarity as to what made them best for me or what other options there were.

    Unable to find an audi I trust, its up to me to educate myself the best I can with the resources available and find what is "best for me". With that in mind, I'd feel better with a little validation of my planned action plan.

    My hearing test results from the latest test were:
    FREQ..250...500...1K..1.5K..2K...4K...8K
    LEFT...15....20...35...45...60...60...60
    RIGHT..10....20...30...50...60...65...65

    My needs/desires/constraints:
    - Primary need is to lower the "what" frequency at home and on the phone
    - other needs are to improve speech recognition noisy environments
    - a desire to try streaming (e.g. tv, music, phone)
    - a desire to improve music listening experience. primarily recorded music, but I sure would like to revisit listening to live music.
    - budget constraint: without insurance coverage, this will be out of pocket cost. I'm willing to pay it benefits my needs/desires, but I need to understand the trade-offs to justify the cost.
    - equipment constraint: I have a recent android phone, so all the made for iPhone features are of no value to me.
    - audi constraint: I'm burnt out trying to find local independent audis to trust. I visited most locals. My Costco experience was a mixed bag. One audi/specialist was experienced and knowledgeable, others were not.

    Action Plan:
    Start back at Costco and leverage their extended trial period on the KS7s or possibly something else. After a month or so, engage with BuyHear.com or other online retailer to see what they recommend (possibly OPNs?) and test their recommendation.

    How does that sound? Any specific aid recommendations I should look at? Any changes to my approach?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    655

    Default

    I think that's a decent plan. Your audiogram isn't exceptional so I don't think you should be hard to fit. If I were in your shoes and wanted to try something from Buyhear, I'd probably try the OPN1s as my Mom's audiologist spoke favorably of them. Up to you to decide if they're worth over twice the price of the KS7s. If you want to try streaming with the KS7s, you'll need a Smart Connect. The KS7s have the option of setting up to 3 different music programs for live, recorded and playing your own. I don't think there's a better value than the KS7s.

    Quote Originally Posted by ohrob View Post
    Thanks to all in this forum. It is truly a vital resource with all the great sharing of information. This post is a vent and action plan validation request.

    I got my first set of aids 4 years ago. The initial learning experience was frustrating as each audi (four) I went to would just recommend their top of the line and when asked for an explanation why, the answer was always "They are the best". I could never get a clear explanation or comparison to another brand/model with pros/cons to justify the cost. I did a lot of googling, reading and lurking here. I eventually ended up at Costco and purchased a set of KS4s as they seemed have a good feature/performance to cost ratio. They definitely improved my situation, but I was never confident they were "the best for me".

    Over time my "what?" frequency has increased, hitting the darling spouse's threshold again. With the deterioration of my hearing and age of devices (which might require some repairs soon) I've decided its time to start the process for a new set of aids again. I visited one of the few local audi's that I didn't visit in my first round of exploration for a hearing test and recommendation. Otticon OPNs were recommended. When I asked which model and what other options exist, I once again heard get OPN1s "because they are the best". I failed again to get clarity as to what made them best for me or what other options there were.

    Unable to find an audi I trust, its up to me to educate myself the best I can with the resources available and find what is "best for me". With that in mind, I'd feel better with a little validation of my planned action plan.

    My hearing test results from the latest test were:
    FREQ..250...500...1K..1.5K..2K...4K...8K
    LEFT...15....20...35...45...60...60...60
    RIGHT..10....20...30...50...60...65...65

    My needs/desires/constraints:
    - Primary need is to lower the "what" frequency at home and on the phone
    - other needs are to improve speech recognition noisy environments
    - a desire to try streaming (e.g. tv, music, phone)
    - a desire to improve music listening experience. primarily recorded music, but I sure would like to revisit listening to live music.
    - budget constraint: without insurance coverage, this will be out of pocket cost. I'm willing to pay it benefits my needs/desires, but I need to understand the trade-offs to justify the cost.
    - equipment constraint: I have a recent android phone, so all the made for iPhone features are of no value to me.
    - audi constraint: I'm burnt out trying to find local independent audis to trust. I visited most locals. My Costco experience was a mixed bag. One audi/specialist was experienced and knowledgeable, others were not.

    Action Plan:
    Start back at Costco and leverage their extended trial period on the KS7s or possibly something else. After a month or so, engage with BuyHear.com or other online retailer to see what they recommend (possibly OPNs?) and test their recommendation.

    How does that sound? Any specific aid recommendations I should look at? Any changes to my approach?
    .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

    Default

    I think you have a decent plan, too. And I agree with MDB that your hearing loss profile shouldn't be too hard to fit.

    Beside BuyHear.com, I recently learned of another online source called FactoryDirectHearing.com that sells the Oticon OPN1 for $100 less than BuyHear.com. The poster who reported his experience with them seems very impressed with their service as well. So I'd definitely check them out, although it seems like more posters here have used BuyHear. If anything, you can ask if BuyHear would match the other guy's price or not.

    The OPN is supposed to have their Connect Clip (the streaming device for regular Bluetooth) come out in Q1'17 but I haven't heard anything yet, so its schedule may be delayed. You'll need this to stream to/from your Android phone. It'd be nicer than the Made For iPhone direct streaming in that you don't have to hold the phone to speak to the phone's mic because the Connect Clip has its own built in mic, you'd just probably need to clip it in your pocket near your mouth only, so it'd be total hands-free phone conversation. It most likely will be sold as an optional accessory to the OPN, however, and the cost is unknown at this point. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's at least $300 or north of that.

    If listening to live music is important to you, this may be where some of the more premium HAs like the OPN will shine, because you'll need an input with a pretty wide dynamic range. I think the OPN has 114 db SPL input range, which is not too shabby.

    Local audis like to recommend the top of the line because there's a lot of profit margin in it for them to push top of the line stuff. Also there's a better chance of more customer satisfaction to push something that has had a good track record of success because they're top of the line, regardless of the high cost. They're not necessarily wrong in saying this is the best or that is the best, but I agree with you that they should be able to tell you why what they recommend is the best, and more importantly, why the best FOR YOU and your needs and constraints. After all, they're the expert and if they want to earn their healthy profit margin, they need to do their homework to be able to succinctly lay everything out for you to support their recommendation or let you decide.

    I would recommend you try the OPN1 along with the KS7 just because based on my own experience of having worn it, it's very different than the more traditional HAs that I've worn. I won't say it's better or worse or worth the extra cost because that's a very personal judgement that only you can decide. Note that I went with the OPN because I had insurance that covered 95% of its own. Otherwise, I would have done something similar to what you plan to do here, try out the KS7 at Costco and the OPN1 at an online source. But by trying out the KS7 vs the Opn1, you can compare many things and it should help you in your purchase decision.

    1. A great value budget HA that is very competent and can stand up to premium HAs (KS7 vs OPN1).
    2. An online/at-home fitting experience (Opn1 from BuyHear or FactoryDirectHearing) vs a local fitting experience (Costco).
    3. A new "open" paradigm (Opn1) vs the traditional beam forming directional paradigm (KS7).
    Last edited by Volusiano; 04-01-2017 at 11:27 AM.
    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

  4. #4
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    Because it is the best can be translated to because it is the most profitable.

    Aids have three levels. The entry level aids are basic -- they amplify and have some further control. The Premium aid is the exact same hardware with all the features enabled.

    The dirty little secret is that the mid-level aid has most of the features that the premium aid has. It certainly provides a version of the important one that most resolve for noise.
    Hidden Content
    KS6's w. Phone Clip +

    Visit my blog here for post that I think valuable -- especially new members.

    There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. -- William Shakespeare





  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback. I understand the local audi's are recommending the top of line due to the increased profit margin. I don't believe the audi's understand that by not having an open discussion, they have lost my potential business. Onward with my action plan.

  6. #6

    Default

    Did you speak up and explain you weren't interested in the top shelf aids?
    Since you have never found an AuD that met your expectations your best bet would be somewhere like buyhear or eBay and self program.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    You don't say where you are. If there is a Costco around, you can get a premium aid for under the price of an entry level. If there isn't one around, Buyhear.com -- as Jake said -- is a solid alternative. I'd stay away from ebay for now. You need a lot of knowledge to find a good aid as there is a ton of junk there too.
    Hidden Content
    KS6's w. Phone Clip +

    Visit my blog here for post that I think valuable -- especially new members.

    There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. -- William Shakespeare





  8. #8

    Default

    Do any of the audiologists in your area do free trials with no money up front? Do they stock more than one brand? If they work for a company do they get paid commissions for the sale of HAs? (Do more expensive HAs mean better commissions?) These are the questions you should ask. You should trial the different levels of the one aid if possible. I trialed mid level aids and top level. I actually preferred the top level because the transitions between programs were smoother and noise reduction more consistent in a given environment. Try it for yourself and see if you can hear the difference.

    Audiologists tend to steer you towards higher level HAs if your hearing needs are more complex. You don't need high end aids to hear one on one conversations in the quiet of your own home. You may benefit from higher end aids if you need to hear conversations in noisey environments or multiple speakers from different angles. You may benefit from lots of different programs in the automatic mode if you spend a lot of time in many different sound environments covered by those different programs. The only person who can judge that fully is yourself by trying them. Take notice of the sorts of listening environments you experience each week. Write them down and keep track. Take notice of how well each set of HAs does in each environment.
    Carol

    Linx 961>Linx2 961> Phonak Audeo V90 312T L&R
    Hz 250 500 1K 2K 3K 4K 5K 6K 8K
    L 25 25 15 35 40 40 60 60 55
    R 25 25 15 30 40 35 35 55 50
    Speech
    L 83% 40dB, 100% 50dB
    R 80% 40dB, 97% 50dB

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohrob View Post
    Thanks to all in this forum. It is truly a vital resource with all the great sharing of information. This post is a vent and action plan validation request.

    I got my first set of aids 4 years ago. The initial learning experience was frustrating as each audi (four) I went to would just recommend their top of the line and when asked for an explanation why, the answer was always "They are the best". I could never get a clear explanation or comparison to another brand/model with pros/cons to justify the cost. I did a lot of googling, reading and lurking here. I eventually ended up at Costco and purchased a set of KS4s as they seemed have a good feature/performance to cost ratio. They definitely improved my situation, but I was never confident they were "the best for me".

    Over time my "what?" frequency has increased, hitting the darling spouse's threshold again. With the deterioration of my hearing and age of devices (which might require some repairs soon) I've decided its time to start the process for a new set of aids again. I visited one of the few local audi's that I didn't visit in my first round of exploration for a hearing test and recommendation. Otticon OPNs were recommended. When I asked which model and what other options exist, I once again heard get OPN1s "because they are the best". I failed again to get clarity as to what made them best for me or what other options there were.

    Unable to find an audi I trust, its up to me to educate myself the best I can with the resources available and find what is "best for me". With that in mind, I'd feel better with a little validation of my planned action plan.

    My hearing test results from the latest test were:
    FREQ..250...500...1K..1.5K..2K...4K...8K
    LEFT...15....20...35...45...60...60...60
    RIGHT..10....20...30...50...60...65...65

    My needs/desires/constraints:
    - Primary need is to lower the "what" frequency at home and on the phone
    - other needs are to improve speech recognition noisy environments
    - a desire to try streaming (e.g. tv, music, phone)
    - a desire to improve music listening experience. primarily recorded music, but I sure would like to revisit listening to live music.
    - budget constraint: without insurance coverage, this will be out of pocket cost. I'm willing to pay it benefits my needs/desires, but I need to understand the trade-offs to justify the cost.
    - equipment constraint: I have a recent android phone, so all the made for iPhone features are of no value to me.
    - audi constraint: I'm burnt out trying to find local independent audis to trust. I visited most locals. My Costco experience was a mixed bag. One audi/specialist was experienced and knowledgeable, others were not.

    Action Plan:
    Start back at Costco and leverage their extended trial period on the KS7s or possibly something else. After a month or so, engage with BuyHear.com or other online retailer to see what they recommend (possibly OPNs?) and test their recommendation.

    How does that sound? Any specific aid recommendations I should look at? Any changes to my approach?
    I would think, with your test results, that any of the top brands could, almost completely, get rid of the what? factor.

    To the pros here, what I would like to see the industry move to is aided testing to prove the benefits of the aids recommended. If you recommend a set of aids for me then set them up, let me have a couple of weeks to get used to them, then give me the word recognition test with the new aids in place, and the same test with my current aids and let's see the difference.

    A lot of money is at stake, so prove to me the benefits.


    New! 2014 ....2016
    Freq . L/R .... L/R . . . Word Recognition and Equipment
    250 .. 25/20 .. 40/45
    500 .. 20/25 .. 30/40 . . . SRT L/R = 35/65 , WRS @ 35/85 L/R = 64/56%
    1000 .30/40 .. 35/60 . . Kirkland 5.0 Costco (December 2014)
    1500 .50/55 .. 55/65 . . Phone Clip+ (May 2013)
    2000 .55/70 .. 60/75 . . TV Transmitter (Dec 2014)
    3000 .75/90 .. 95/100
    4000 85/100 . 90/90
    6000 .90/100 . 90/105
    8000 .80/90 .. 90/95

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Qld Australia
    Posts
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    I'm an Aud in Australia and totally agree...being 100% open and transparent is the best way to go. If the Aud can't explain the whys then move on. I'd say (for multiple reasons) 80% of dispensers don'y buy in to being transparent and open....funny thing tho the more genuine you are the more clients you satisfy and keep and the more money you make. Focus on the honesty first and the money will come.

    Having said that...if it were my old man I'd recommend the OPN1 then the Phonak Audeo B90. Resound third. The rest daylight.

    But first find someone honest to help you.
    Last edited by AusMatt; 04-11-2017 at 04:34 PM.

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