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Thread: New member with a question

  1. #1
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    Default New member with a question

    Greetings. I am a new member to the forum and I am looking forward to chatting with all of you who are experienced in the world of hearing loss and hearing aids. I'm 48 and married to a wonderful wife for almost 25 years and also have four children and one grandchild. I am a high school Spanish teacher and ESL instructor. Most importantly, I am a musician - a keyboardist, vocalist, and flutist. I play primarily in church, but I also taught music in the school system for 11 years before switching to Spanish/ESL. Needless to say, my hearing is very important in my line of work.

    Back in 2014 I was diagnosed with minor to moderate hearing loss due to Meniers Disease which I had probably close to 23 years ago. I have continued to experience all the typical symptoms of hearing loss to the point that I recently visited my local audiologist to once again have a hearing test. The test confirmed the same results as 3 years ago and I actually experienced an increase in hearing loss in my upper range since 2014. The tinitus has also become more profound in the past 6 months. After the test, the audiologist immediately recommended hearing aids (which I had suspected since they were also recommended back in 2014).

    My audiologist plans to use Starkey brand BTE aids. In 2014 I was strongly recommended NOT to buy Starkey because that particular audiologist had customers who constantly complained about mechanical issues and how they would break after a year's use. I was told that Phonak was one of the best brands to use. I recently went online and did a search for customer reviews and found a sight with almost 30 complaints from users of Starkey. As a result of my original advice and also the online posts which I read, I am very concerned that I may end up with bad hearing aids. Fortunately the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation here in PA will pay for my hearing aids, but I am still very concerned.

    So here is my question: Can anyone give me some direction as to which brand of hearing aid is better? My audiologist says that Starkey is one of the leading brands and works best for musicians. She said nothing about complaints of them breaking or malfunctioning. She's used them for many years and still recommends them. I don't want to tell her what to do as she is surely more experienced than I am. But at the same time I don't want to be coming back in 6-12 months later with mechanical issues. It just appears that Starkey has mixed reviews. I have my doubts based on what I've read online and what I was originally told 3 years ago.

    Thank you for any advice/direction/input that you might offer.

    Craig

    PS. I apologize if this topic has already been covered in the forum. I did a quick search and did not find anything, but if there is something, kindly direct me to it and I'll read it.
    Last edited by musikfan; 05-15-2017 at 07:10 PM.

  2. #2

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    Audiogram?

  3. #3
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    Central California
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    Default

    Do you know if your audiologist carries other brands of hearing aids? If not, that's really all she can recommend. If that's the case, I think I'd suggest trying another audiologist. Hearing aids that I've heard of being preferred by musicians are Bernafon, Widex and maybe Oticon. However, I am not a musician. Hopefully some of the musician's will respond. I think a key question you need the answer to is what other hearing aid brands does your audiologist carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by musikfan View Post
    Greetings. I am a new member to the forum and I am looking forward to chatting with all of you who are experienced in the world of hearing loss and hearing aids. I'm 48 and married to a wonderful wife for almost 25 years and also have four children and one grandchild. I am a high school Spanish teacher and ESL instructor. Most importantly, I am a musician - a keyboardist, vocalist, and flutist. I play primarily in church, but I also taught music in the school system for 11 years before switching to Spanish/ESL. Needless to say, my hearing is very important in my line of work.

    Back in 2014 I was diagnosed with minor to moderate hearing loss due to Meniers Disease which I had probably close to 23 years ago. I have continued to experience all the typical symptoms of hearing loss to the point that I recently visited my local audiologist to once again have a hearing test. The test confirmed the same results as 3 years ago and I actually experienced an increase in hearing loss in my upper range since 2014. The tinitus has also become more profound in the past 6 months. After the test, the audiologist immediately recommended hearing aids (which I had suspected since they were also recommended back in 2014).

    My audiologist plans to use Starkey brand BTE aids. In 2014 I was strongly recommended NOT to buy Starkey because that particular audiologist had customers who constantly complained about mechanical issues and how they would break after a year's use. I was told that Phonak was one of the best brands to use. I recently went online and did a search for customer reviews and found a sight with almost 30 complaints from users of Starkey. As a result of my original advice and also the online posts which I read, I am very concerned that I may end up with bad hearing aids. Fortunately the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation here in PA will pay for my hearing aids, but I am still very concerned.

    So here is my question: Can anyone give me some direction as to which brand of hearing aid is better? My audiologist says that Starkey is one of the leading brands and works best for musicians. She said nothing about complaints of them breaking or malfunctioning. She's used them for many years and still recommends them. I don't want to tell her what to do as she is surely more experienced than I am. But at the same time I don't want to be coming back in 6-12 months later with mechanical issues. It just appears that Starkey has mixed reviews. I have my doubts based on what I've read online and what I was originally told 3 years ago.

    Thank you for any advice/direction/input that you might offer.

    Craig

    PS. I apologize if this topic has already been covered in the forum. I did a quick search and did not find anything, but if there is something, kindly direct me to it and I'll read it.
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

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  4. #4

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    never tried starkey, but for music try oticon OPN, or widex beyond, they both should have receivers and hardware that should be more suitable for musicians, however they still usually range only to 8kHz, if you want to hear "all" not sure that's really possible because HAs usually only focus on the frequencies used in language which is up to 8kHz.

    they all have some tricks to shift higher frequencies into the lower range, but that will alienate the natural sound.

    edit: if you can be fitted with an open fit, the HA will only compensate your loss and you will still hear the rest with your ear, that way you should be off the hook. that's when you use a small receiver in your ear connected to the HA behind your ear, not fully enclosing your ear canal.
    Last edited by Gery_R; 05-15-2017 at 07:40 PM.
    Left/Right//kHz // Oticon OPN1 105dB C-Shell with support

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  5. #5

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    If it's important to find a brand and pair of HAs that work well for live music, seek out specs that show the widest dynamic range for their mic input. That will help improve sound quality by minimizing distortion and prevent artifacts created due to compression to control loud passages of music when it happens, which is very often in live music. I think both the Widex Beyond and the Oticon OPN have 113 db SPL input dynamic range. I just don't know about the other brands but you can also do your own research to find out.

    Here's a link that also talks about it by a few hearing professionals: https://www.hearingtracker.com/ask/w...-or-distortion
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gery_R View Post
    never tried starkey, but for music try oticon OPN, or widex beyond, they both should have receivers and hardware that should be more suitable for musicians, however they still usually range only to 8kHz, if you want to hear "all" not sure that's really possible because HAs usually only focus on the frequencies used in language which is up to 8kHz.

    they all have some tricks to shift higher frequencies into the lower range, but that will alienate the natural sound.


    edit: if you can be fitted with an open fit, the HA will only compensate your loss and you will still hear the rest with your ear, that way you should be off the hook. that's when you use a small receiver in your ear connected to the HA behind your ear, not fully enclosing your ear canal.
    1: Most newer hearing aids offer at least 10Khz frequency range in most models.

    2: Only if you actually activate the frequency shifting / frequency compression. Most aids have this feature turned off by default.
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  7. #7
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    Thank you to all of you who have replied thus far. I appreciate the input. I do need to make a clarification. Due to the fact that I am going through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, my options for audiologists are limited to a few selected offices. Since they are paying for the visits and the aids, I don't have the ability to really pick and choose specific people. They chose the office to which I went, so I must work with this particular audiologist. She is excellent, but I don't know yet if she offers other brands. She only mentioned Starkeys and when I talked about Phonak, she did not say that she offered those. I'll have to check again. In light of this, I'm trying to find out what the general reputation of Starkey is within the world of hearing aids as far as reliability and frequency of repair issues. As I mentioned before, I'm concerned after reading so many negative reviews online.

    Also, I will be getting the style of hearing aids which go behind the ear but are open (you place the small wire into the ear canal - no mold which completely covers the canal entrance).

    When I am able, I'll get a copy of my hearing test results and post the numbers on my signature as I see many here on the forum have done. I'm smiling because I'm also a member of an organist forum that uses this exact same online template. I feel like I'm on my other forum! Except on that one, my signature includes the organs that I own and play in my home instead of hearing aids and audiogram results.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for clarifications. The style of hearing aid you describe is called Receiver in Canal or RIC if you want a shorthand way to express. I don't have any experience with Starkey hearing aids but I'll share observations of what I've read. There don't seem to be a lot of Starkey users on the forum. The ones that are often seem to be users of their completely in the ear style of hearing aid. It seems fairly widely accepted that that style of hearing aid is less reliable as it's constantly dealing with the harsh environment of the ear. Perhaps many of the bad reviews you read were for this style of hearing aid and not RIC. If you have an audiologist you like, I'm thinking she has likely had ok experience with the hearing aids she's recommending as she doesn't want to have to deal with constant returns and repairs. I do see from Starkey's literature that they are claiming to provide a good musical experience. I assume you have some sort of trial period. It seems like it would be a decent idea to trial them and see what you think.

    Quote Originally Posted by musikfan View Post
    Thank you to all of you who have replied thus far. I appreciate the input. I do need to make a clarification. Due to the fact that I am going through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, my options for audiologists are limited to a few selected offices. Since they are paying for the visits and the aids, I don't have the ability to really pick and choose specific people. They chose the office to which I went, so I must work with this particular audiologist. She is excellent, but I don't know yet if she offers other brands. She only mentioned Starkeys and when I talked about Phonak, she did not say that she offered those. I'll have to check again. In light of this, I'm trying to find out what the general reputation of Starkey is within the world of hearing aids as far as reliability and frequency of repair issues. As I mentioned before, I'm concerned after reading so many negative reviews online.

    Also, I will be getting the style of hearing aids which go behind the ear but are open (you place the small wire into the ear canal - no mold which completely covers the canal entrance).

    When I am able, I'll get a copy of my hearing test results and post the numbers on my signature as I see many here on the forum have done. I'm smiling because I'm also a member of an organist forum that uses this exact same online template. I feel like I'm on my other forum! Except on that one, my signature includes the organs that I own and play in my home instead of hearing aids and audiogram results.
    .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

  9. #9
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    MDB,

    Thank you very much for the input and comments. I'm hoping that there is indeed a trial period. One would think so in this case since there's a lot of money being spent for them. Thanks too, for the acronym help with my style of hearing aid. I'm learning the new lingo as I read through different posts on the forum.

    Thank you everyone for replying so quickly, too. How nice to get such a quick response to my questions. I think y'all are going to be some very fine forum friends! I appreciate the support that I am already feeling.

    This is a very odd journey for me. I'm 48 and never once thought I'd ever need hearing aids. Being a musician, I almost feel kind of like Beethoven, but he was profoundly deaf and dealt with many more musical issues/problems than I. Still, it's kind of unnerving to think that my hearing is going downhill. I can't imagine not playing or singing, so I pray that my hearing loss remains manageable over time. I look forward to the support of the HA community here. Thanks again, everyone.

  10. #10
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    Another thing to add. Many music afficionados are unhappy with hearing aids for listening to music and just use high quality headphones. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that all modern hearing aids will distort dynamics--there will be less of a difference in volume between soft music and loud music because the hearing aids will amplify the soft music more than the loud music. I believe it is for this reason that many prefer headphones. Also, if you're using open fit hearing aids, the bass will be weak.
    .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

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