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Unread 05-23-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
dislab
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hearing aids work for profound loss?


My father has a severe to profound hearing loss and we are looking for the first hearing aids. We went to Costoco and tried Bernafon Xtreme 120 and a Kirkland model (not the most powerful one due to no stock), without customized earmold, but my father couldn't tell what I were saying unless I speak very slowly and the distortion is quite significant. He did try a Siemens hearing aids at another place a few months ago and that roughly works for him, but isn't Kirkland the same as Siemens?

We also went to an audiologist and he did an audiogram and a speech recognition test (which we didn't do at Costco). My father's left ear is 60% recognition at 105 dB and right ear is 20% at 105 dB. The audiologist recommended Phonak S UP and Oticon Sumo (both are basic version), at a much higher price (+80%) than the Bernafon Xtreme and Kirkland Signature we saw at Costco. And there is a restocking/service fee if we return the hearing aids. Interestingly I was told that they charge the hearings aids not by brand, but by the level of technology: basic, middle and advanced. All brands at the same level are charged the same price. We didn't get a chance to try the hearing aids as purchase is required first.

From what my visits to Costco and the audiologist, my understanding now is that every brand has a high power BTE plus earmold that may work for my father's case. If this is correct, I would rather go to Costco again and give a try on either Bernafon Xtreme or Kirkland Signature. Our last Costco visit is disappointing as my father couldn't recognize words when trying those hearing aids without earmold, but today's speech recognition test gives me confidence that when the voice is amplified enough he can still recognize some words. I was told that Bernafon Xtreme's residual amplification is a little better than Kirkland Signature, although Bernafon is actually a little cheaper at Costco (but Bernafon has fewer features than Kirkland). Is my understanding correct? Which one should we buy, Bernafon or Kirkland?

Another question is after we receive the hearing aids, does Costco specialist needs to adjust the amplifications on different frequencies or simply pick one of the preprogrammed settings in the hearing aids?

Audiogram:
Hz...250....500....1k.....2k......4k......8k
L......80.....80.....75.....80....110....120
R......95.....90.....85.....95....120....120

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Unread 05-24-2012, 05:49 AM   #2
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I have the Phonak Naida S UP aids and I think they are the best thing ever and they are water resistant as well.

Not all the Phonak Naida S UP aids are basic. There are 3 levels. The III which is basic, the V which a lot of people get and then the IX which is top of the range.

Your father would need to go back to the Audi regularly to get the aids to the best they can. I found that took about 2 months of regularly going back. Some people find it can be longer and others work well with less appointments.

No experience with the other aids.
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Unread 05-24-2012, 06:56 AM   #3
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I think it's pretty safe to say there is not a single person here that would go to Costco for a hearing aid any more than they would go there for a medical exam.

Do your research online on the hearing aids you've been presented with. You'll quickly notice a stark contrast in availability of information between the ones you were considering at Costco and the ones that are dispensed by licensed independent audiologists who aren't selling a particular brand and are focused on providing appropriate care for your father.

Your father has very severe hearing loss that is likely to quickly worsen. Make sure he has a hearing aid that can keep up with those changes and yes, be programmed specifically for his needs.
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Unread 05-24-2012, 08:38 AM   #4
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Costco's hearing aid kiosk is NOT a professional audiologist office, and their employees are not 'real' audiologists, but people that have had basic training.

For people with slight to moderate hearing loss, Costco's hearing aids will be sufficient, but for those with profound or complicated loss, going to a certified audiologist and going by their recommendations is the way to go.

If your father got a hearing aid and still cannot understand what people are saying, it is time for a more detailed study and he may have to try out different models until he finds the right one.

And, yes, unfortunately everyone's prices are much higher than Costco's.

I spoke with a rep at Costco, and was told that their prices are very low because they have a very low profit margin, those departments are just 'perks' to bring more customers in the stores. None of the workers get commission, so they are not exactly under pressure to sell as much as they can.

I have a love/hate relationship with Costco....love their bulk pricing & customer service, but hate them since I always end up spending over $100 every time I go there.
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Unread 05-24-2012, 10:55 AM   #5
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I'm sorry to say to the OP, but I would never go to Costco for hearing aids. When you have a profound loss, you need HAs suitable for that, and good (if not perfect!) fitting earmolds to go with, and that comes through an audiologist. (I have a profound loss myself.)
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Unread 05-24-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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Wirelessly posted (Blackberry Bold )

I'd never get HAs at Costcos either. You get what you pay for - and having a highly qualified audiologist is so important, especially during the first 6months of getting new HAs when there will be plently of adjustments!

Personally I'd stick with Phonak, Oticon, Widex, or Siemens in terms of brands ... And I'd absolutely recommend trying out at least a few different brands and models (for 4-6weeks each) before committing to buying a specific model.

This is not a place to cut corners/save money ... It's better to spend $4000 on something that really works, than $3500 on something that doesn't really help, just to "save $500". After all if you don't get something that works, benefits and is comfortable to wear, they end up in a dresser drawer - a total waste of money.
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Unread 05-24-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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I would talk with the audie again and see if there is a way to get a trial period with the hearing aids she suggested.

Also, when one gets digital hearing aids, it's usually common to go back to the audie a few times at first for programming/tweaks, to get the hearing aids programmed just right for the hearing loss levels.
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Unread 05-24-2012, 03:19 PM   #8
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I would definitely try the Phonak Nadias and the Oticon hearing aids. The Phonaks and Oticon hearing aids have so many more useful features than the Costco hearing aids. For example The Nadias have SoundRecover which can take the sounds that are in the profound loss frequencies and compress them down to where your father has a severe hearing loss. The high end versions have some great features for people that can hear out of both ears (not me). It also looks like Phonak has come out with an essentials line (Nadia S Up 1) which may be closer in price to the Costco aids.

Also since these are your father's first aids, I would say do not get beige as a color. I feel that they are far more noticeable than any other color.
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Unread 05-24-2012, 04:07 PM   #9
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Also since these are your father's first aids, I would say do not get beige as a color. I feel that they are far more noticeable than any other color.
What?
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Unread 05-24-2012, 04:39 PM   #10
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What?
Ear gear is common these days with a wealth of color options. Beige is clinical.
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Unread 05-24-2012, 05:46 PM   #11
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a Phonak Naidia would be great for that loss, look around, there's peeps with them on
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Unread 05-25-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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Naidas, or if you have the money, a middle-ear-implant like the Esteem or the Maxum.

Your dad may be a candidate for cochlear implants.
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Unread 05-25-2012, 10:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dislab View Post

My father has a severe to profound hearing loss and we are looking for the first hearing aids. We went to Costoco and tried Bernafon Xtreme 120 and a Kirkland model (not the most powerful one due to no stock), without customized earmold, but my father couldn't tell what I were saying unless I speak very slowly and the distortion is quite significant. He did try a Siemens hearing aids at another place a few months ago and that roughly works for him, but isn't Kirkland the same as Siemens?

We also went to an audiologist and he did an audiogram and a speech recognition test (which we didn't do at Costco). My father's left ear is 60% recognition at 105 dB and right ear is 20% at 105 dB. The audiologist recommended Phonak S UP and Oticon Sumo (both are basic version), at a much higher price (+80%) than the Bernafon Xtreme and Kirkland Signature we saw at Costco. And there is a restocking/service fee if we return the hearing aids. Interestingly I was told that they charge the hearings aids not by brand, but by the level of technology: basic, middle and advanced. All brands at the same level are charged the same price. We didn't get a chance to try the hearing aids as purchase is required first.

From what my visits to Costco and the audiologist, my understanding now is that every brand has a high power BTE plus earmold that may work for my father's case. If this is correct, I would rather go to Costco again and give a try on either Bernafon Xtreme or Kirkland Signature. Our last Costco visit is disappointing as my father couldn't recognize words when trying those hearing aids without earmold, but today's speech recognition test gives me confidence that when the voice is amplified enough he can still recognize some words. I was told that Bernafon Xtreme's residual amplification is a little better than Kirkland Signature, although Bernafon is actually a little cheaper at Costco (but Bernafon has fewer features than Kirkland). Is my understanding correct? Which one should we buy, Bernafon or Kirkland?

Another question is after we receive the hearing aids, does Costco specialist needs to adjust the amplifications on different frequencies or simply pick one of the preprogrammed settings in the hearing aids?

Audiogram:
Hz...250....500....1k.....2k......4k......8k
L......80.....80.....75.....80....110....120
R......95.....90.....85.....95....120....120
I would not buy a HA from Costco . I heard of people bringing their parents a store to buy them a HA and they end up being pressed into buying a HA that is totally useless for their parents. I had clients that never wore their HA that when right into ear as they're too hard to get the battery in and too small to adjust the volume.
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Unread 05-26-2012, 12:38 PM   #14
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Please don't go to Costco, find a professionally trained audiologist who can provide your father with a HA that is properly programmed for his needs.
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Unread 11-08-2012, 04:18 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by MosDeaf View Post
Naidas, or if you have the money, a middle-ear-implant like the Esteem or the Maxum.

Your dad may be a candidate for cochlear implants.
These do not work for profound losses.
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Unread 11-08-2012, 05:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dislab View Post

My father has a severe to profound hearing loss and we are looking for the first hearing aids. We went to Costoco and tried Bernafon Xtreme 120 and a Kirkland model (not the most powerful one due to no stock), without customized earmold, but my father couldn't tell what I were saying unless I speak very slowly and the distortion is quite significant. He did try a Siemens hearing aids at another place a few months ago and that roughly works for him, but isn't Kirkland the same as Siemens?

We also went to an audiologist and he did an audiogram and a speech recognition test (which we didn't do at Costco). My father's left ear is 60% recognition at 105 dB and right ear is 20% at 105 dB. The audiologist recommended Phonak S UP and Oticon Sumo (both are basic version), at a much higher price (+80%) than the Bernafon Xtreme and Kirkland Signature we saw at Costco. And there is a restocking/service fee if we return the hearing aids. Interestingly I was told that they charge the hearings aids not by brand, but by the level of technology: basic, middle and advanced. All brands at the same level are charged the same price. We didn't get a chance to try the hearing aids as purchase is required first.

From what my visits to Costco and the audiologist, my understanding now is that every brand has a high power BTE plus earmold that may work for my father's case. If this is correct, I would rather go to Costco again and give a try on either Bernafon Xtreme or Kirkland Signature. Our last Costco visit is disappointing as my father couldn't recognize words when trying those hearing aids without earmold, but today's speech recognition test gives me confidence that when the voice is amplified enough he can still recognize some words. I was told that Bernafon Xtreme's residual amplification is a little better than Kirkland Signature, although Bernafon is actually a little cheaper at Costco (but Bernafon has fewer features than Kirkland). Is my understanding correct? Which one should we buy, Bernafon or Kirkland?

Another question is after we receive the hearing aids, does Costco specialist needs to adjust the amplifications on different frequencies or simply pick one of the preprogrammed settings in the hearing aids?

Audiogram:
Hz...250....500....1k.....2k......4k......8k
L......80.....80.....75.....80....110....120
R......95.....90.....85.....95....120....120
I would look outside Costco. I had considered them for savings but I finally decided that I needed to hear, so I got Widex Clear 440. For your Dad, in severe to profound, look at the Widex Super 440. It's another option and I've had wonderful experiences with them as a brand, including the audiologist with the customer service. She always recommends this brand over the other and I can tell why - they've worth it.

Hearing aids information - Widex International. Digital Hearing Aids.


Laura
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Unread 11-08-2012, 05:50 AM   #17
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Costco are only suitable for anyone other then someone with a profound loss.

Ambroisa here on all deaf is profoundly deaf and couldn't get any Costco aids that were powerful enough.

She is now happy with Phonak Naida UPs.
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Unread 11-08-2012, 06:21 AM   #18
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Costco are only suitable for anyone other then someone with a profound loss.

Ambroisa here on all deaf is profoundly deaf and couldn't get any Costco aids that were powerful enough.

She is now happy with Phonak Naida UPs.
Costco is geared for mild, moderate and severe loss, but I think their selection is quite limited. IMHO, having shopped around when I was upgrading to stronger hearing aids, I found Costco really didn't have the power and range for what I need, especially since my hearing will likely worsen as I get older. An audiologist will have a greater selection of more powerful hearing aids - even at moderate loss, the aids can be set at a lower level, yet they will have the ability to increase significantly if needed. Costco really doesn't have that, so that's yet another reason to shop around.

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Unread 11-08-2012, 07:29 AM   #19
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Even if the aid is powerful enough, there is no way a person who has never worn an aid, without a custom mold is going to understand most of what you are saying. The feedback noise alone from a power aid would give you a clear whistle which blocks out the sounds. Add to that, the brain needs about a month to adjust to it and it is not a pleasant experience.

I'd say it's about a month to two month process of adjustment.

Yes, there are good power aids out there depending on his loss.
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Unread 11-08-2012, 08:45 AM   #20
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I remember this person, she was looking for aids right around the same time I was looking for new ones. For some reason I'm thinking they did find something at Costco that worked for him, not positive though. She had the same thread over at hearing aid forum.com as well, that's probably where she said what they ended up getting for him.

But Vacationguy is right, with out a custom mold there's no way he could have not had major feedback issues. That's the thing about profound loss the aid has to have major mojo for feedback control.

The aid I tested at costco was that Xtreme, granted I needed a new custom mold, but the feed back I got was horrendous, the audi (yes that coscto had a real actual audiologist not just some tech person) thought even with new molds I'd still have problems with feedback, that those aids just weren't that capable of controling it. They were pretty cheap, I'm think $799?? a piece I think, they do have rebranded name brand hearing aids that are really good, as long as your loss isn't too profound. They're more for your run of the mill, I'm getting old and losing my hearing type of losses.

I remember right after he did my hearing test he looked at me and literally went "uuhhhhhhhhh, the only aid I have that can handle that kind of loss"......He'd only tested one of person that had as much hearing loss as me. But the only reason I went to Costco in the first place was because my parents were fronting the money for and they wanted me to try there first.

That guy might have been okay with one of the Coscto brands, since in the lower frequencies most of his loss is in the more in the severe range. Mine start 90 in my right and 100 in my left then both drop down past 100 starting at 500hz, so I've got a good 10 db further loss than guy through most of the frequencies.

actually looking at his audiogram again my loss is more like between 20 and 30 db more through the 500-4K hz range, so he really is likely to have found something there that worked for him...
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Unread 11-23-2012, 07:53 PM   #21
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yes and no. I have a starkey series 9 and I hate it with a passion. I do not feel starkey is a good product. I'm severe to profound oral only and I have difficulty understanding speech with the starkey. I do not recommend them. I know others love them but I'd steer clear of them.
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Unread 11-23-2012, 09:28 PM   #22
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yes and no. I have a starkey series 9 and I hate it with a passion. I do not feel starkey is a good product. I'm severe to profound oral only and I have difficulty understanding speech with the starkey. I do not recommend them. I know others love them but I'd steer clear of them.
I wore Starkey for the majority of my life. When my analogs broke, I went with what I knew and paid for the $2k entry level. Biggest mistake of my life. Starkey just makes horrible digitals - I wished I saved my money, went to my current audiologist and chose Widex from the beginning. Everything with Starkey sounded metallic, where Widex was great right out of the box. As digitals go...Starkey is getting left behind in the dust...there are much better hearing aids to choose from now.

Laura
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Unread 11-28-2012, 08:57 AM   #23
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Something to keep in mind. Considering the severity of your father's loss and the low speech comprehension, hearing aids will help but they will by no means fix. He will struggle to understand what is being said although at least now he will know something is being said. He needs to understand that he will continue to work at understanding what is being said. He needs to realize that you just can't pop these things in and all your troubles are gone.
He also needs to understand that there will be an adjustment period. His brain has adapted to silence so when his brain will need to readapt to sound. So when he puts the aids in it will seem like the whole world is screaming at him. I mention this because this effect causes a lot of people to stop wearing their aids. They say they are too loud. It takes time but the brain will adjust. It's ok to take the aids out periodically at the beginning to give yourself a break. The advice i was given many years ago was to first wear the aids in a quiet room. I mean you have to get used to wearing the aids at the beginning. The bottom line is your dad will need to be patient at the beginning and allow himself to adjust. If he's not that type of person the aids will end up in a drawer someplace with Dad giving a bunch of excuses as to why he doesn't wear them. And that's way too much money to spend for that to happen. Also it's not unusual to revisit the audiologist numerous times for adjustments. This should all be included in the original cost of the aids.
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