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Time for me to get hearing aids
Old 06-19-2016, 12:18 PM   #1
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Time for me to get hearing aids

I've been holding off, but think it's now time to pull the plug and get hearing aids. Internet can be so informative, but also prone to information overload.
I can't figure out what sites to trust.
I found 2 sites, one with people criticizing Costco's hearing aids and another with people praising them to the hills. Ditto for any other make/model.
For better or worse, I trust the folks here. Any tips/recommendations? If it helps, nature of my hearing loss is - I believe - common. I can hear the sound but have trouble discerning what is being said. I'm using closed captioning on my TV with greater frequency, and DW has to "translate" what a waiter is saying because I can't make out what he/she is saying in a noisy (or even not so noisy) restaurant.
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Old 06-19-2016, 12:55 PM   #2
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DW went to an independent audiologist to accurately measure hearing loss and correction. She took results to Costco for her devices. Say what you want about Costco, but they sell the same devices and their private label (Kirkland brand) is about half of what the same unit cost at audiologist. You can choose as fancy of a unit as your budget/needs require and still pay way waay less than other places. I believe Consumer Reports also gave Costco high marks.
Plus she gets devices cleaned for no cost when we visit as well. Kirkland batteries are significantly less expensive than comparable options. Usual Costco warranties and no questions should want to change choices after using for awhile.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:11 PM   #3
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I have read so many good reviews of Costco hearing aids here, from long time members that I feel I know by now, that personally I would not hesitate for a moment to go straight to Costco if/when I decide to get hearing aids.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:35 PM   #4
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DW has to "translate" what a waiter is saying because I can't make out what he/she is saying in a noisy (or even not so noisy) restaurant.
I've had my hearing tested and it tests OK, yet I have a problem deciphering conversations in noisy restaurants, makes me prefer eating at home.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:40 PM   #5
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I'd definitely consider Costco. Audiology is one of those medical areas where the conflict of interest is high and competition is restricted.

I'd also look for a second opinion from an audiologist that isn't a hearing aid reseller, if possible. That is, not in independent practice but affiliated with a hospital or medical group.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:45 PM   #6
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You would expect with years of cell phone tech, that really cheap $50 hearing aids would be available.
After all they are a microphone, speaker, and some audio circuitry.

There was months ago on cnn.com a story about a fellow who created a really cheap one, and it's programable, but of course getting it to market is hard.
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Old 06-19-2016, 02:33 PM   #7
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Costco for sure. DW and I are both big boosters (pun intended!). Anyone that we have referred have also been very impressed. Both Costco stores near us have audiologists and state of the art testing gear. The warranty can't be beat and is the usual no questions asked... 'You did what to your hearing aid?!' And they will clean them while you shop and give you extra ear pieces and other bits. And of course prices are the best around.

As far as makeshift hearing aids go. There is an app for smartphones to use the mic as a pic up and use standard earphones. There is also a unit called a PocketTalker which although ungainly looking gives excellent sound reproduction.
https://www.amazon.com/Williams-Soun...s=pockettalker
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Old 06-19-2016, 06:39 PM   #8
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I'm headed to Costco in next couple of days. Thanks, everyone.
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Old 06-19-2016, 07:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
I've had my hearing tested and it tests OK, yet I have a problem deciphering conversations in noisy restaurants, makes me prefer eating at home.
How far did the test go? IIRC, many years ago, when I had a ruptured ear drum on an airplane upon landing ( I had a stuffy head at the time - felt some pain, then had some almost fall over dizzy spells the next day), after the Doc checked me out, or maybe ona follow up, he did a hearing test that went only to 8,000 Hz. I'd have to play with an audio prgram, but I think a lot of the sibilance (consonant sounds - "sh" "ch" "k""sst", etc) have frequencies higher than that, and missing those is what makes it hard to understand speech.

https://theproaudiofiles.com/vocal-sibilance/

Quote:
Vocal sibilance is an unpleasant tonal harshness that can happen during consonant syllables (like S, T, and Z), caused by disproportionate audio dynamics in upper midrange frequencies. Sibilance is often centered between 5kHz to 8kHz, but can occur well above that frequency range.
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You would expect with years of cell phone tech, that really cheap $50 hearing aids would be available.
After all they are a microphone, speaker, and some audio circuitry.

There was months ago on cnn.com a story about a fellow who created a really cheap one, and it's programable, but of course getting it to market is hard.
Agreed. You get an entire smart phone with audio processing screen multiple network connections for a few hundred $, and they want a few thousand for the audio portion alone?

There must be some disruptive tech out there. I plan to start searching for apps for DW, her hearing is going faster than mine.

-ERD50
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Old 06-19-2016, 08:39 PM   #10
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I had my hearing tested by a Kaiser person last December. Then went to the third party Kaiser. got an estimate. then went to Costco. They made me do the test again, but it was free as a member, and came out exactly the same as Kaiser test, which had more bells and whistles. I'm glad I had a second opinion at Costco. I only need the lower entry level hearing aids. And Costco was 1/2 the price of the third party Kaiser vendor. I'm totally amazed by that. My barber had previously told me that, but until I saw it for myself, I wasn't so amazed. and the service at Costco has been really great.
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Old 06-19-2016, 08:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
I've had my hearing tested and it tests OK, yet I have a problem deciphering conversations in noisy restaurants, makes me prefer eating at home.
That was a big part of my problem. and my hearing test showed a specific type of hearing loss that probably was from my years in the mining industry and around helicopters. I had Kaiser do the first one, and then Costco had to have their own test. But I was happy with confirmation.

I recommend not waiting, because I personally discovered that even a little hearing loss can start causing communication issues with spouses, etc that can fester and lessen one's quality of life. And I read somewhere on the internet (so it must be true:-) that hearing loss can mess with how a person's brain processes information.

BTW, here is what not to do: after my hearing test, I told DW that my hearing loss was just at the ranges of women's voices (partly true).p That did not go over that well with DW, after all of the times I told her to stop mumbling, when it was me who had the problem. Now I have to remind her that I have my hearing aids in and she can talk lower now.
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Old 06-20-2016, 05:16 AM   #12
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I got Kirkland hearing aids at Costco and am very happy with them. The research I did indicated they were about half of what I would have paid elsewhere. I am curious about what you read that was negative about the Costco hearing aids.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:10 AM   #13
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How far did the test go?
I am not sure what the frequency range was, it was a test where they put you in a soundproof booth, and then feed you different frequency sounds and you acknowledge with a hand signal. This was done by an audiologist a few years ago.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:12 AM   #14
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I recommend not waiting, because I personally discovered that even a little hearing loss can start causing communication issues with spouses, etc that can fester and lessen one's quality of life. And I read somewhere on the internet (so it must be true:-) that hearing loss can mess with how a person's brain processes information.
Good point, I need to go to Costco for a recheck. I tend to be a procrastinator when it comes to things like this.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:56 AM   #15
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There are a couple of downloadable "free" software programs that will let your IPhone function as a hearing aid. Unfortunately, Android phones have a processing delay and can't be used in this way.

You'll need to adjust the program based upon your individual loss.

You should have your hearing tested at Costco and request a printout of your hearing loss for reference. They will also examine your ears for blockage and a few other "red flag" conditions which would require a referral to a physician.

The downside of using an IPhone is that you are connected to it by a cord. The upside is that it's free if you already own an IPhone, you are not burning through hearing aid batteries and the sound quality is excellent. When clinically compared to lower level hearing aids, new patients were very happy with the sound improvement. The same program will also modify your incoming phone call sound quality and your music quality. Those that found the "cord" connection a problem typically then moved on happily to traditional hearing aids.

Costco does have the best prices, service and warranty in this area! You also have the added convenience of dropping your AIDS off for cleaning and service while shopping. Their hearing aid battery prices are also the best available.

There is a lot of regulatory discussion currently taking place about "unregulating" the sales of hearing aids as modern software makes programming aids for mild-to-moderate hearing loss fairly easy to do. If this proceeds, then we'll probably see high function hearing aids available in the $250-$400 price range in the next few years.

Final note: You really don't need the top-of-the-line hearing aid even from COSTCO in most settings. The majority of dispensed hearing aids have reached the point where they are over engineered and have features unneeded by all but the rare patient who works in a demanding hearing environment. Try their less expensive aids first. You have a full 90 day period in which Costco will return 100% of your purchase price and you can always trade up before then.

Retired, degreed Hearing Aid Dispenser, Board Certified, who worked both in private practice and for Costco.
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Old 06-20-2016, 08:07 AM   #16
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I found the Article I mentioned. Also, an audiologist mentioned to me that younger brains adjust better than older brains to learning to process the hearing aid input.
http://www.hearingreview.com/2015/05...-hearing-loss/

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Old 06-20-2016, 08:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Spokane2303 View Post

The downside of using an IPhone is that you are connected to it by a cord. The upside is that it's free if you already own an IPhone, you are not burning through hearing aid batteries and the sound quality is excellent. When clinically compared to lower level hearing aids, new patients were very happy with the sound improvement. The same program will also modify your incoming phone call sound quality and your music quality. Those that found the "cord" connection a problem typically then moved on happily to traditional hearing aids.

Final note: You really don't need the top-of-the-line hearing aid even from COSTCO in most settings. The majority of dispensed hearing aids have reached the point where they are over engineered and have features unneeded by all but the rare patient who works in a demanding hearing environment. Try their less expensive aids first. You have a full 90 day period in which Costco will return 100% of your purchase price and you can always trade up before then.

Retired, degreed Hearing Aid Dispenser, Board Certified, who worked both in private practice and for Costco.
My Kirkland hearing aids I got in March connect to the iPhone wirelessly and I can listen to phone calls through the hearing aids, speaking via the iPhone. Built in microphone. Also I have a 180 day trial period.

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Old 06-20-2016, 08:24 AM   #18
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Ugh. Also finally admitting to hearing problems. I can't hear when people talk softly b/c they want the conversation to be private. I also can't hear in a noisy environment and have come to love closed captioning. But I hate the thought of having one more electronic thing to charge, take care of, and repair, and don't want to spend the money. The money part is silly.

FWIW I sat next to someone, noticed her in-ear aids, and asked her about them. She said she bought a Cosco membership just to get them and was very happy with them.

While researching I came across Audicus. They sell an amplifier with a 45-day money back guarantee. Anybody with mild hearing loss ever tried it?

audicus.com Solo Hearing Amplifier
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Old 06-20-2016, 09:59 AM   #19
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I got hearing aids this year; better ones than I needed. I only wear them when I'm around groups of people, and need to discern one person's words (particularly women's). They are great - although I agree totally with everyone who wonders how the cost manages to stay so high.

The biggest nuisance so far is the tiny batteries, which have to be changed roughly twice a week. I can well understand why stereotypical "Gramps," with his arthritic old hands and bad close-up vision, might give up in frustration and just let the aids sit in a drawer.

That said: I have confirmed what I always suspected: It's not always you. Some people just plain mumble.
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Old 06-20-2016, 10:07 AM   #20
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The biggest nuisance so far is the tiny batteries, which have to be changed roughly twice a week. I can well understand why stereotypical "Gramps," with his arthritic old hands and bad close-up vision, might give up in frustration and just let the aids sit in a drawer. ...
Agreed. Don't they make any with rechargeable batteries? If not, why not?

An inductive coupling for charging would be nice (like the electric toothbrush), just set them down on a 'charger plate' overnight. No fiddling.

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