Audiologist Reveals His Favorite Hearing Aids to Fit
The following post was submitted by Marvin Lewis, Au.D of Echo Hearing Systems and Audiology of Cleveland, OH. Dr. Lewis has been an Audiologist for 23 years now, specializing in fitting adults with hearing aids and musicians’ products. For 10 years prior to becoming an Audiologist, Dr. Lewis worked as an audio engineer in a recording studio at Indiana University’s well-known music school. This background gives him a unique insight to the acoustic needs of his patients.
I am often asked what my favorite hearing aids to fit are. I have to answer, there is not just one. As each person is different, so is their hearing loss and hearing needs. I can break it down into two general categories, though.
A) I like the ReSound wireless series Verso 9 RICs if the patient has the need to hear:
- Someone who constantly turns their face away
- Attends religious services or lectures that don’t use a microphone
- Wants an inexpensive way to stream music or TV to the hearing aids
- From the side of a severely impaired ear on one side only, and has rejected CROS styles
The Unite Mini Microphone makes this possible, streaming audio to the Verso series wireless aids. The mini mic also worked with the earlier Alera series. The mic is small and the controls are easy to understand and use. Turning on the function from the hearing aid is also very easy, just a flip of a switch.
We have clipped this mic on spouses who turn away from the patient, and the patient can still hear them just fine, which is especially helpful in a car. Patients will put the mic on the lectern for services or classes and hear much better. Former Cros candidates like it because the mini mic as “an offside mic” is so much more versatile than an earlevel mic. Of course, the Verso units themselves have excellent audio quality.
B) The Starkey Series 3 is my other favorite, and comes in 5 technology levels. I prefer to fit the i90, the second to top of the line, because I think it is a good value, price vs benefit. The aids are wireless and communicate with each other, enhancing the sound by comparing noise and speech on each side of the patient and using the information to improve the overall sound.
Note that the Starkey 3 Series also has wireless accessories that work well, but are bundled so that the person’s remote mic is in the same unit as the Bluetooth translator and remote control. Most of my patients have rejected this extra unit as bulky and expensive, however, they love the performance of the Series 3 hearing aids. The remote TV device stands alone though, and I highly recommend that if TV is a priority. A nifty feature is that the tv sound will come through the hearing aids wirelessly when the patient comes within range, without the need to push a button.
The i90, like the Verso has enough bands and channels to do extensive fine tuning to customize the sound for the patient. I do believe Starkey’s feedback reduction works a little better than ReSound’s. (This is an opinion based on experience and not based on data from experiments.) The other levels of the Series 3 are also good, but I have fewer i90 patients returning for adjustments due to the amount of tuning available.
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