The Forager International Shares Fund is currently looking at some of the bigger global listed hearing-aid companies, like Sonova, William Demant and the owner of GN Resound. It’s an industry with interesting characteristics and some dominant players, but it’s not an area we know well from the point of view of the customer. If you or someone close uses a hearing aid, we’d love to hear all about it.
Is your aid in the ear, behind the ear, bone-anchored or other? Was the type of solution something that you needed to consider, or was there one obvious best technical solution according to your doctor?
And when it came to brand and model, why did you choose Oticon over Phonak, or ReSound over Bernafon? Did you consider a wide variety of options from multiple brands, focus on the product range of a single company, or did you just pick the individual unit your doctor/specialist recommended? Did the doctor or specialist favour one brand to the exclusion of others? Did they explain why?
Are you happy with the performance? How does it differ from anything you’ve used in the past? Are you noticing the technology improve with each generation and upgrade (longer term users)? Anything you hate about it?
If you're not shy about such matters, we'd also be interested to know what age were you when you got your first hearing aid.
Feel free to answer any or all of those questions, or add anything you think might be useful to us as potential investors and of course to people about to make a similar, important decision.
Thank you in advance for contributing to our understanding of the industry.
16 thoughts on “All Ears: Tell Us About Your Hearing Aid”
Thank you for taking the time to outline your experience Bob, Terry, Bob, Jan, JW and Christian (oh and you too David) – I really appreciate your comments.
My best mate is an Aud for one of the leading audiologist clinics in Australia, and I’ve asked about the difference in hearing aids. He basically summed it up by saying there is no difference between all the products. Other than the price range of $1k and $12k, and his commission that he receives ranging from very little to over $1000 for the top of the range device.
He also gave me quick 101 on what he does and how he does it. My effective conclusion of the title audiologist is hearing aid salesman.
Clinics are effectively the main distribution channel for hearing aid companies, and provide many perks (commissions, “conferences” aka drink and party feast on the gold coast) to try to be the preferred device recommended to clients.
I might also add, my sentiment towards Costco etc selling hearing aids.
As much as I do believe audiologist not providing a valued serviced as we like to think , I just don’t believe many (particularly older people) are comfortable buying and installing their own hearing aid. So the predominant sales channel will always come from the “doctors” and their recommendation.
Also happy to discuss further Gareth.
After lifelong tinnitus and gradual moderate high-tone deafness from the combination of childhood ear infections, teenage rock music, adult SCUBA and now aging (59 years old), I decided to buy aids, especially after knowing the cognitive risks of delayed treatment.
I used a local ENT surgeon and his associated audiology service to provide all the investigations, assessment and advice – recommended bilateral mid-range Oticon Ria Pro, quoting around $5000 total.
A quick Internet search started a trans-Atlantic bidding war between Crystal Hearing in UK (Based in Buckinghamshire) vs Discount Hearing Aids of America (based in Florida). In no time I had the offer of two top-of-the-range Oticon Alta, with programming, 3-year warranty, shipping and $100 discount per device, all for around $5000. (or the option of the Ria Pro at <$2500). I emailed them my audiogram, size and colour preference (to match hair colour). Units arrived about 4 weeks later. Audiologist confirmed factory settings were perfect and could not believe the low price, cheaper than his own wholesale purchase price. One happy customer and one happier wife, who doesn't have to repeat everything she says anymore 🙂
I have worn hearing aids for about 12 years now. My dodgy hearing was really impacting on my life and I cannot cope in situations without having my hearing aids in.
I have always worn Bernafon aids as the technology suits my type of hearing loss.
I always used a firm based in my home town, but when I was told my aids needed to be upgraded to ones that were technically more advanced and that they would cost me over $10.000, “so start saving” I was distraught.
I couldn’t afford that amount and I couldn’t cope without them.
Luckily, that same evening my husband saw a program about COSTCO and how they had hearing aids at very reasonable prices.
I made an appointment at the Dockland store and had the best hearing test EVER.
That was over 3 years ago. I was able to get the top of the range Bernafon aids with all the wiz bang accessories for $7000 less than quoted at my local firm.
I visit the COSTCO audiologist every 6 months. Once for servicing and cleaning and a complete check of the aids and the other time for a thorough hearing test with retuning of the aids if needed. (Always needed because my hearing is deteriorating.)
If my aids need attention within the 6 month interval, I am usually seen within a day of the problem arising……has only happened twice in the 3+ years that I have had them.
When a problem arose and I was being “cared for” and wanted an appointment with my home town audiologist, the earliest appointment was 3 weeks away.
Anyone who relies on their hearing aids will know how unsatisfactory that was.
The service at COSTCO is free!
The testing is “state of the art”.
The audiologist is professional, well trained, cheerful and great to deal with.
I am really happy with COSTCO and recommend anyone who wants to save thousands on their hearing aids, go there and give them a try.
I am about to upgrade my current ones and I can go there, secure in the knowledge that I won’t be ripped off and the care I will get over the following years will be excellent.
I have my phonax hearing aid for $3000.00 and before that it was Seiman for $1500.00 It is disgusting to have a high price that would last 5 years or less, You buy phone in approx $800.00 so why pay more for it and also its very fustrating that I could not hear myself as I need to have adjustment only to find out the office shop is closed till 5th Jan so run around trying to find a cheap hearing aid that use to sell in chemist well nobody knows anything about that sort of should be avaliable also need a pop up shop to fix like the shoe man to fix heels etc why not avaliable its I am desperate to have that done I work on phones in office all days that is making me very unhappy jan, not impressed at all
Having been told by my govt. contracted hearing aid provider, it was time for a new aid (if needed) & a hearing test. According to the test my hearing has deteriated moderately . Problem is, to achieve better hearing in restaurant’s & noisy environment’s I need to spend $4000 which is already govt subsidised ! I cannot help feeling suspicious & wonder if supply is all about profit!
The more you pay the better results?