HearSource Hearing Aids “Hold Their Own” Compared to Other Costly Hearing Aids

Thin tube hearing aids

Local clinically purchased hearing aids can cost more than $2,000 – $3000 each. The high cost of hearing aids is a barrier to many accessing hearing corrective help.

A recent study supports legislation passed by Congress which allows the FDA to set regulations for less expensive “Over the Counter” hearing products and is designed to make better hearing devices be more easily accessible to the general public. Under this new legislation, hearing loss sufferers with mild to moderate hearing loss will be able to purchase hearing aids without a prescription and without a medical exam.

In this study, researchers compared how well 42 adults with mild to moderate hearing loss repeated comparative sentences said in the presence of moderate background noise. Researchers initially tested their ability to understand speech without hearing aids, then again with expensive hearing aids sold through professional hearing aid offices and then again with less expensive “Over the Counter” hearing aids.

At HearSource, our hope is that by offering quality affordable hearing aids through the mail, with professional support, and even remote programming will allow many who otherwise could not afford hearing help to be able to do so.

For more information please visit HearSource.com or call 1-800-416-2434 (9-5 Eastern Time USA).

 

WIDEX EVOKE – THE WORLD’S FIRST “SMART” HEARING AID

Widex-Evoke-Hearing-Aid

Widex EVOKE hearing aid sound settings evolve in real time as you wear them and keep getting better and better. The EVOKE learns from your hearing choices in the moment and over time. With just a few simple A or B choices (which sounds better?) on your smartphone, you choose the sound settings you prefer, putting you in control of your hearing.

EVOKE automatically switches between sound programs based on the environment you are in.

EVOKE learns from you and your choices and from the choices of other EVOKE hearing aid users from all over the world. Widex then uses this amalgamated data to create a better hearing experience for every EVOKE wearer. The great hearing aid you are wearing today will become an even better hearing aid in the future!

Widex EVOKE provides a very natural and personalized hearing experience.

  • EVOKE uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is the world’s first real-time machine-learning hearing aid –  learning from your hearing preferences in the moment and over an extended period of time for better hearing today, tomorrow and beyond.
  • EVOKE provides an extremely accurate environmental sound mapping technology that helps you hear better in more situations.
  • EVOKE offers faster processing – capturing nuanced sounds in real time.

Whether your hearing loss requires a discreet or powerful solution, there’s an EVOKE hearing aid for you. The Widex EVOKE family of hearing instruments is available in four technology levels and in a variety of colors, offering different options to suit your lifestyle, hearing loss and budget.

HearSource provides remote programming of all Widex hearing aids. From the comfort of your own home, HearSource technicians can adjust the hearing aid sound settings for you using a standard internet connected computer. Contact HearSource.com for more information and to find the right Widex EVOKE Hearing Aid for you.

The FDA and HearSource’s Affordable Hearing Aid Distribution Business Model Efforts

One of the major impediments to the purchasing of hearing aids for many is cost. Recognizing this impediment to the hearing aid consumer, the Food and Drug Administration has announced changes to the laws, rules and regulations governing the dispensing of hearing aids in the United States.

Purchasing hearing aids by mail, online, or via call center is legal, if the hearing aids are properly listed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All HearSource hearing aids are listed with the FDA.

The FDA regulates the hearing aid industry and HearSource’s business model exists today because of the regulatory actions the FDA has taken to promote the availability and accessibility of affordable hearing aid devices to the general public.

In the past, the FDA did require a medical waiver to be signed by the consumer prior to the purchase of hearing aids from ANY hearing aid dispenser including local offices, direct mail or online hearing aid providers. Licensed Hearing Aid Dispensers are still required to be on staff. HearSource has these experienced and licensed hearing aid professionals on staff.

In December of 2016, the FDA discontinued the medical waiver requirement and in August of 2017, President Trump signed into law the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act, that allows persons over the age of 18 years, to access OTC hearing aids without being seen by a  hearing care professional. The FDA is now working on the final wording, rules, and regulations concerning this legislation.

HearSource offers affordably priced hearing aids with the much needed aftercare and support associated with hearing aid wear.

For more information visit HearSource.com

New insights from WIDEX EVOKE™ data bring the benefits of Artificial Intelligence to hearing impaired

widex-hearing-aids
The first data gathered from the ground-breaking WIDEX EVOKE™ hearing aid, which achieves a new level of Artificial Intelligence through machine learning, is bringing new insights into how users are taking control of their sound environment to improve their hearing experience.
Denmark-based Widex launched the WIDEX EVOKE hearing aid in April. The hearing aid is the first to give users the ability to employ real-time machine learning that can solve the tricky hearing problems that users face in their daily lives.

“We launched WIDEX EVOKE with SoundSense technology to put users back in control of the most difficult hearing situations,” says Jens Brehm Nielsen, Data Science & Machine Learning Architect at Widex. “And we can see that EVOKE users have taken the opportunity to do that and, in the process, are helping us understand more about them. That information will help us to make the EVOKE and future hearing aids even better.”

SoundSense Learn is an Artificially Intelligent system, because AI refers to systems that solve tasks humans are inherently good at – such as driving a car, doing the dishes etc. SoundSense Learn expands into entirely new applications by helping end users adjust their hearing aids precisely in the moment, something no humans can replicate to the same degree of accuracy.

The SoundSense Learn smartphone app is connected to the EVOKE hearing aids and uses machine learning to guide the users in optimizing the settings to their exact needs. The app gathers a variety of anonymous data such as how often they turn the volume up or down, which sound presets they use and how many custom settings they create – including those made with SoundSense Learn.

What’s in a tag?
Tagging of custom settings has proved to be one of the interesting pieces of data generated by EVOKE.

“We found that many people have created a setting and tagged it with, for instance, ‘Work’ which suggests that it is something that our end-users need and want. And from SoundSense Learn we already have an idea of how they like the settings.”

Most hearing aids give users the ability to customise their sound experience by adjusting frequency bands to boost or cut bass, middle or high tones. Adjusting frequencies works well in many situations once the initial settings have been set by a skilled audiologist. However, some situations are so complex that hitting the right combination of adjustments can be difficult.

“Widex hearing aids are well-known for the quality of their sound,” says Jens. “But SoundSense Learn has added an extra layer of quality sound on top of that by using a machine learning algorithm together with reinforcement learning – the two key ingredients in state-of-the art AI algorithm – that enables the algorithm to learn in the moment.

“The algorithm learns an optimal setting every time a user finds the sound to be a little below expectations in a given sound environment. It learns these settings by simply asking the user to compare two settings that are carefully picked by the algorithm. This allows it to learn an optimal setting in a new environment very fast.”

By collating and analysing the anonymous data WIDEX EVOKE will continue to become even smarter as time passes.

Published on

Widex Evoke Hearing Aids are available from HearSource.com.

Widex EVOKE

 

Costco Hearing Aids – Before You Buy, Please Read.

locked-in-hearing-aids

Are you willing to buy a “locked” hearing aid? Costco hearing aids are “locked”. Let me explain.

There are only six major hearing aid manufacturers in the world. All of the major hearing aid manufacturers offer effective, high quality products with leading edge technologies.  Beyond these six, there are a myriad of other brands and private labeled (Costco included) hearing aids available.  The six major hearing aid manufacturer brands for the USA are:

                              

 

Many large retail sales organizations, like Costco, “Private Label” or “Rebrand” hearing aids manufactured by the Big Six. Private labeling employs a similar retail concept to grocery stores and the National Name Brands verses generic Supermarket Brands.  Supermarket products may be similar in use and the differences from the National Brand may be negligible.

In the hearing aid world, large retail sales chains such as Costco (Kirkland), Beltone, Miracle Ear, Audibel are all Private Labels or developed separate brands, but still made by one of the Big Six hearing aid manufacturers. Below I list some of the more common Private Label or Rebranded hearing aids and their manufacturer.

Private Label / Retail Sales Chain Name / National Brand manufacturer:

  • HearO / Avada mfg’d by Oticon
  • Arris / Avada mfg’d by Oticon
  • BluLink / Avada mfg’d by Oticon
  • AGX / Audigy Group mfg’d by Oticon & Starkey
  • Audibel mfg’d by Starkey
  • Sonus mfg’d by Most of the Big Six
  • Kirkland / Costco mfg’d by Sivantos
  • Future / Costco mfg’d by GN/ReSound
  • Miracle Ear mfg’d by Sivantos
  • Beltone mfg’d by GN/ReSound

Primary reasons for the Private Labeling of hearing aids:

  • A unique brand name makes comparing features and prices difficult.
  • Locked programming software only allows consumer to be serviced by the specific Private Label vendor.

There are significant considerations to purchasing Private label hearing aids. Most Private Labeled hearing aids are “locked” and can only be serviced and programmed at the specific retail chain where purchased. The hearing aid user is “locked-in” to that company.  For example, if you bought Costco hearing aids, you have no choice as to where you can go for service except to Costco.  If you decide you would like to see a different hearing care professional for any reason, you’re stuck. If you transfer jobs, move residences, or travel out of the area, you’re stuck.

Is the Costco trade off worth it?

I don’t think so. No doubt that up front you can save some money compared to local audiologists and other hearing care providers. In the long run, will your quest for longterm better hearing be well served?

Discount Hearing Aid Pricing Without Being “Locked-In”

Consider online retailers such as HearSource.com, HearSource offers deeply discounted National Name Brand hearing aids and Private Label hearing aids at discount prices that are more affordable than most hearing care providers and the hearing aids are NOT “locked”.  Also HearSource has offered remote programming and support services since 2006, they seem to be the leader in this type of cutting age technology and direct to the consumer hearing aid support.

For more information on National Name Brand hearing aids from HearSource, contact them during their regular business hours (9-5 Eastern Time, USA) at 1-800-416-2434.

In today’s hearing aid marketplace, anytime I hear the word “locked” I substitute “no options”. Locked hearing aids, no matter how well they work, are designed to capture the customer first, and render their advertised service second.

Ultimately, consumers control any free market. As long as “name brands” sell, the marketplace will offer locked hearing aids. Luckily, for the hearing impaired consumer, the selection of hearing aids is no longer limited to the locked brands carried by local hearing aid offices, no matter how many offices they have.

One-by-one, major hearing aid manufacturers are allowing their products to be marketed by certain qualified Internet retailers and some are even embracing the union. Soaring sales of basic, unlocked, hearing aids over the Internet are forcing manufacturers of premium locked hearing aids to take notice. An issue for the major hearing aid manufacturers will be to only allowing their premium products to be sold by internet hearing aid dealers that can adequately support and service their products.

While many hearing aid manufacturers have not unlocked their proprietary programing software, they have given users control of their hearing aid sound settings through smartphone apps. The introduction of smartphone apps for hearing aids is a game changer. Even some basic hearing aids are compatible with smartphone apps.

As data streaming technology continues to advance, the reasons to make an appointment and fight traffic only to sit in a waiting room until it’s your turn for a five-minute adjustment continues to decline.

The reasons to be able to adjust your own hearing aids in changing sound environments are too many to count.

For more information visit HearSource.com/hearing-aids/

Buying A Hearing Aid Online

Buy Online Hearing Aids

Buying A Hearing Aid Online

Online hearing aid sales is not new, the online direct to consumer hearing aid sales businesses model has been around for decades. In fact, some of us do an excellent job of it, in the main because we have developed a specific infrastructure to ensure the wearer’s success. Our infrastructure involves remote fitting, remote fine tuning, follow-up repair and support services.

What is happening right now in the hearing aid industry is the online sale of Over-The-Counter (OTC) hearing aids from brands that are not really designed to be sold or companies that can’t provide the needed after care support.

Low Prices

Low hearing aid prices drives most online hearing aid buying decisions and I understand that. Who doesn’t like to save a money? But there’re are things you need to consider when you are making an online hearing aid purchasing decision.

Things you need to consider when buying hearing aids online.

The Traditional Way of Buying A Hearing Aid

So what is the usual process of buying a hearing aid? First, you have to find a local hearing aid dealer, and unfortunately, you usually just choose the one dealer who is closest to you residence or the one that has sent you most advertising junk mail, not really knowing much about their success rate or reputation. Then you make an appointment to go to their office for a hearing test and sales pitch. Based on the hearing test results, a recommendation is made as to the specific make and model of  hearing aid. Usually, people go away and think about it and then come back and order. The process for the hearing aid professional is then to get the order in to the manufacturer and within a couple of  weeks, receive it an call you to make an appointment to come in and be fit with your hearing aid purchase.

The Hearing Aid Fitting Appointment

Fitting a hearing aid is not just about putting them in your ears and turning them on. Initially, there is a fitting procedure, verifying your thresholds with in-situ audiometry (beeps and tones through the hearing aids) then setting the hearing aids to a lower acclimatization level. The rest of the delivery session is about showing you the hearing aids, the functions, how to change batteries and how to put them in.

First Follow Up Appointment

After approximately 3 or 4 days of hearing aid wear, you  should get in for a follow up appointment where you are assessed on how you are doing, many times the acclimatization level is increased.

Second Follow Up Appointment

About two weeks later, again you should get into the office and things should be assessed again on your progress with your hearing aids and if further sound adjustments are necessary.

Future In-Office Appointments

All other in-office appointments are usually scheduled “as-needed”.

What You Need To Know When Buying Online

So here it is, this is what you need to consider when buying hearing aids online, the first and most important thing is that hearing aids are not like glasses, you don’t just put them on and everything is wonderful. It just simply doesn’t work that way. You will need proper care and attention to get the best out of your hearing aids for as long as you wear them. That is usually about five to seven years. If you feel confident that your online hearing aid retailer can give you that care and service, then you’ve got a winner.

It has been my experience that to get along well with hearing aids, people generally need the ongoing involvement of a good hearing healthcare professional. HearSource.com provides that. We have said it here before, our worry about buying hearing aids online was that people may buy the hearing devices and then find it difficult to get professional support and aftercare. Many online sales companies are not really set up for remote aftercare and support. There are a few really important things you need to consider so you can make an educated choice before buying.

HearSource.com provides you with the guidance that you will need in selecting the right hearing aid for your lifestyle, hearing loss and budget. After your hearing aid purchase, HearSource will remotely program your hearing aids for you using your internet connected P.C. or laptop. HearSource has remote programmable, personal programmable (you can adjust your own hearing aids) and iPhone direct hearing aids.

What You Need To Think About When Buying A Hearing Aid Online

  • Hearing aids aren’t glasses, they don’t just work, they WILL need sound adjustments (We do it remotely)
  • You will need ongoing aftercare and support (We provide excellent aftercare and support)
  • Will someone make a recommendation on the best hearing aids for you? (We will)
  • Will someone fit them for you? (HearSource.com does it remotely!)
  • Does your online retailer have a repair lab (HearSource.com does)

Online Hearing Aid Purchasing Advice

What I am telling you is that you need to carefully consider everything before you make a hearing aid purchasing decision. Once you have done that, our job is done. I really would urge you to discuss it with a HearSource hearing professional before you do it at (765)522-1774 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday, Eastern Time, USA).

You need to know that someone will actually take care of you during AND after you purchase hearing aids, you will need it.

Buying Hearing Aids From An Internet Provider

Confused-hearing-aid-buyer

Don’t Buy ANY Hearing Aid Until You Read This! 

There is no way that you can buy ANY hearing aid over the internet and expect success without being able to adjust the sound settings!
 

Either you have to be able to do it yourself or pay a  professional do it for you. 

The success of any hearing aid fitting requires very discreet sound adjustments to make the hearing aid sound just right to you.

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With HearSource Personal Programmable Hearing Aids and our optional Programming Kit ($299), you can adjust the sound settings of your hearing aids yourself using your personal computer, or we can do it for you remotely using your internet 

connected computer. 

The sound quality is comparable to top-of-line 

hearing aids that cost thousands of dollars each. HearSource hearing aid prices start at just $299 each. By cutting out the middleman you are saving over 70%. You can try them risk free with our 45 day 100% money back offer. 

After You Buy…. You are NOT Alone. All HearSource hearing aids come with a full one year warranty. HearSource’s experienced team of technicians are here to support you, including remote programming support and a full service all-make hearing aid repair lab.

Call Toll Free 1-800-416-2434 or

Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m EST.

visit our website at HearSource.com

P.S. If you already have hearing aids, check out HearSource.com for low cost hearing aid repairs. All brands, types, and styles.

I Found My Online Hearing Aid Retailer

Static noise coming from my right hearing aid wasn’t normal.

When my older Seimens hearing aid started making strange noises, it was time to replace it. Because hearing aids can be so expensive and aren’t covered by my insurance plan, painfully I had put it off. As I soon figured out, over the last decade, hearing aids have become even more confusing than shopping for a new car and almost as expensive. 🙁 I didn’t know at the time, but I would end up finding my answer with an online hearing aid retailer.

I first visited my local audiologist, in the Chicago area. The audiologist listened to my old hearing aid and advised me that it should be replaced. I initially thought I was in the market for top of the line wiz-bang-wow hearing aids until I heard the prices. I immediately lowered my standards. The price quoted for a set of mid level hearing aids was $4,400. I respectfully declined and thought that I should do a little shopping.

Initially aghast at the prices from my local audiologist, I saw an ad in the local paper for $899 per ear hearing aids at a neighborhood Miracle Ear office. Miracle Ear is a well know national hearing aid sales chain that has been around for many years. There, a fastidious young man spread out a colorful brochure offering several models at different price points. The cheapest, started at $1,300 each and the top-of-the-line model was more than $3,700 each. I choked.

Having worn hearing aids for more than two decades (I have a moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears), so I fancied myself as a savvier hearing aid owner/buyer/shopper than many. I am a middle aged businessman, reasonably computer literate, and was determined to find the best deal on a set of hearing aids that would provide me a reasonably normal active hearing lifestyle.

Aren’t hearing aids basically just a microphone, amplifier, and speaker in your ear? It didn’t make sense to me why they should cost thousands of dollars each.

Modern technology has ushered in a new era of digital nano super duper tiny micro processors, with many hearing aids boasting Bluetooth streaming, automatic environmental programs and a varying array of “channels” and “bands,” processing sounds many thousand of times per second and can be fine-tuned like a high end professional sound equalizer.

Perhaps that was why the Miracle Ear salesperson bristled when I asked what I could get for the advertised $899 per unit promotional price that was advertised in the newspaper. He equated the high end model to listening to a live orchestra, the mid level to model to a good stereo and the lower end model to a car radio.

Feeling pressured, I ordered a set of the lower end models. Within a few hours, I called and canceled the order and begrudgingly began researching hearing aids on the internet. I learned that not only can you buy hearing aids online, but at Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco; places where you typically purchase toilet paper and milk.

Undeniably, lower priced hearing aids are available from online retailers. Generally, prices run from $399 to $999 per unit, discount prices made possible by eliminating the middleman and the inefficient medical office model of dispensing hearing aids. Traditional retail/audiologist overhead may account for up to 70 percent of the total cost of hearing aids, because they bundle into the initial sales price all the anticipated service costs during the entire life cycle of the hearing aid.

There can be a downside to buying hearing aids online: with most online hearing aids, they need to be mailed back into the online dealer for sound or other adjustments, a dismal option.

Ultimately I found an online hearing aid retailer called “HearSource.com.” At HearSource they had several different hearing aid technology levels to choose from with all the normal features, bells and whistles, that I had expected to find in entry to mid level hearing aid offerings. But what made them different and most importantly, they offered a “Personal Programmer Hearing Aid Kit”. This hearing aid programming kit allows me to do the fine tuning of my own hearing aids myself. Who can do it better than me I thought. I spent less than $1,300 on two hearing aids and the programming kit in total. The programming kit came with an eMiniTec hearing aid programmer, software, cables and instruction manual.

I initially needed a little assistance comprehending the hearing aid fitting software, HearSource hooked me up with my very own personal coach. My “Programming Coach” walked me through getting my hearing aids adjusted just right. He even remotely took over my computer and did a few of the adjustments for me. I am not easily wowed, but I was, hearing loss correction “Shangri-La” I perceived. I must say that with my previous hearing aids, I thought they had them adjusted pretty well, until now. I think some things get lost in translation when the audiologist asks you how you are hearing and you try to explain to them what you are hearing and then they try to make the necessary sound adjustments. Now nothing is lost in translation.

I have been wearing my new HearSource hearing aids for several months now and couldn’t be happier. I hear well. I have submitted articles to several hearing aid web review sites without publication. I have also submitted this review to HearSource.com and have authorized them to publish it in their blog.

Walter Fields
Chicago, Illinois

 

Hearing Loss Sufferers Are At Increased Risk For Accidents

A new study on hearing loss suggests that hearing loss sufferers are at increased risk for accidents.

Recently, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a nationwide survey which indicated that out of 232.2 million American adults, approximately 15.7 percent reported suffering from hearing loss and that of those, 2.8 percent had been injured in an accident within the previous three months.

JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery Report

Additionally, JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, tracked injuries related to driving, work, and leisure/sports. In all three categories, the risk of injury increased with the severaty of hearing loss. Over all, compared to those who rated their hearing as “excellent”, those with a little hearing loss were 60% more likely to have been injured, those with moderate hearing loss were 70% more likely, and those with a lot of  hearing trouble were 90% more likely to suffer a physical injury.

My recommendation, fix your hearing loss, the benefits more than outweigh the cost.

 

Internet Hearing Aid Sales Disrupt Traditional Market

The internet hearing aid sales industry is encroaching on the traditional hearing aid dispensing business model, offering hearing aids that are far less expensive and available without the involvement of audiologists or other hearing aid professionals. The industry is re-examining the entire hearing aid distribution system, which critics argue is too cumbersome and costly, hindering reasonable and affordable access to the hearing help that so many older Americans need.

“The audiology profession is obviously scared, for good reason, right now,” said Abram Bailey, an audiologist and chief executive of Hearing Tracker.

One of the major players in internet based affordable hearing aid market is HearSource. HearSource has been providing quality hearing aids to the hearing impaired market for over ten years. Most notably HearSource leads the industry in the “Personal Programmable” hearing aid market.

For more information on affordable hearing aids or Personal Programmable hearing visit HearSource.com.

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