Hearing Aids

Widex Mind 440 m4-9 Hearing Aid Review

I finally got around to purchasing a new pair of hearing aids: the Widex Mind 440.

When I was trying to make up my mind I did a search to see if anyone had written a review of this hearing aid. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I did.

Widex Mind 440 m4-m-CBWhat I originally tried was the m4-m-CB model, which is a micro BTE with a thin tube. I really covet that thin tube, but my hearing loss is just too much for it. My disappointment was compounded by a poorly fitted earmold taken by a less-than-competent audiologist. I sent these back, but your mileage may vary. This model might be a great option for someone with a milder hearing loss, and who is willing to tolerate the smaller batteries in favor of a less-visible aid.

Widex Mind 440 m4-9I still wanted a Widex BTE, so I wound up getting the m4-9 model. These are a larger BTE and so they have the larger size 13 batteries I wanted. They also have the larger tubes, which are ugly, but such is life. I got half-shell earmolds rather than the full (skeleton) shell, which makes them a bit smaller and more comfortable. The smaller shells are really quite nice, though again, someone else’s hearing profile may require a different solution.

So here’s my review of these new aids: they’re fine. Really. Just fine.

Do I like them? Yes, I do. They work just as well as my old ones, and I adjusted to them easily. Do I love them? Eh. Not really. I don’t notice anything groundbreaking about them.

Here’s the deal. When I was doing this research, everyone I talked to emphasized how much better hearing aids had become in the five years since my last purchase. All the audiologists and manufacturers made a point of telling me that the technology had gotten exponentially better in the past five years. I was prepared to have my mind blown.

You know what’s gotten better in the last five years? My iPod. Five years ago I had an iPod with a scrollwheel and a black & white, text-only interface for choosing music. Today, I have an iPhone 4 with a touchscreen that has the sharpest color interface I’ve ever seen, and it can play videos, games, and other apps in addition to playing music. Heck, it will even make phone calls if I stand in just the right place and hold it in just the right way!

Has Widex improved its product over the past five years to the same degree that Apple has? Not even close. Frankly, I can’t even tell the difference between my old hearing aids and my new ones. But the new ones? They’re just fine.

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88 thoughts on “Widex Mind 440 m4-9 Hearing Aid Review

  1. But do you have “audibility extender”? I hadn’t bought new hearing aids in 10 years, and “a.e.” makes such a difference. I can hear birds again.

    • Karen McGrane says:

      The Mind 440 does have an audibility extender, which moves high-pitched sounds into an audible area. I do notice higher-frequency sounds a bit more, but not dramatically so.

      • Karen,

        Please take a close look at Frequency Transposition: Training Is Only Half the Story involving Widex Mind 440 instruments in this issue of The Hearing Review.

        In short, you can definitely get more benefit from a combination of the Audibility Extender (AE; frequency transposition) .AND. self-directed auditory therapy than with either of the two alone.

        My suggestion is to read this article (and author Francis Kuk, PhD is quite thorough); and then email this to your audiologist, asking her to suggest an auditory rehab program as well as possibly ratcheting down the AE kneepoing by a few hundred Hertz, as this appears to give improved speech discrim in noise (improved HINT scores).

      • Following up on “Frequency Transposition: Training Is Only Half the Story” at http://www.hearingreview.com/issues/articles/2010-11_04.asp take a look at the LACE Listening And Communications Enhancement package by Prof. Bob Sweetow at UCSF. http://www.neurotone.com for auditory rehab.

        Checking on the efficacy of the program, two audiologists have given it high marks, even for people with near-normal hearing, as it includes instructions & drills for fast talkers, and for multipoint “cocktail party” noises.

        As for the issue of FDA (or possibly FCC) holding up shipping of the new Widex models, let me check with my sources at Widex Ireland and Widex USA, as in fact I remember them introducing new models last month.

        Ironically, retail hearing aids are much less expensive in UK, because the high street stores compete against the free HA’s provided by NHS. The same goes for other EU countries that have free HA’s via socialized medicine.~

      • Karen, I got the Widex 440 Clear and it is a substantial improvement even over the 440 Mind that I had previously. Among other things, it contains a new chip that enhances quality all around even without the blue tooth. As for the blue tooth, I like it except for the clunky controller. Widex needs to slim it down so that it fits comfortably into a pocket without bulging. I recognize that this model is the first step by Widex into blue booth, but it promises a much better future for convenience and sound claity. I never listen to music over my cell phone, but I inadvertently started up an e-mail with a musical moment. The music sounded just wonderful using the blue tooth, wide stage sound separation and unexpected detail among instruments. Karen, keep writing as many of us enjoy and learn from your reviews. Dr.B

      • Leslie says:

        Karen,
        What a great blog,so informative! I was at my audiologist today ,my hearing has been going down hill for the past 25 years, I am currently wearing HA’s from Costco ,ITC,they are not very good anymore , she suggested a consultation at Hopkins for the Coclear Device, I am not ready for that. I am 52 and working part time on an oncology clinic,great job but becoming increasingly more challenging hearing my patients. I am now in the profound range with a speech recognition of about 8 , not good!
        She suggested either the Widex super 220 or the super 440 premium level HA ?? They will give me more residual gain as my hearing worsens,so she says??? I am so torn but know I need to do something or possibly go on disability from my hospital .
        Would love to know anyone’s thoughts??

        Leslie

  2. Karen, just wanted to say enjoyed your hearing aid notes. I am only 6 months into a hearing noise accd.that claimed my hearing. I tried the Phonak Smart, sounds too coarse. Went to different Audiologist tried Starky S series iQ. Better but again too much bass. Ear molds made it worse. Open mics work better. Now I am being recommended a OTICON Agil Pro. How new is this product and do you have any testing on it.? or ?
    Thanks George.

    • Denise Wilson says:

      Having been recommended the Agil pro by my audiologist I decided to give it a try although I was not in the market for a new aid. The exciting thing for me was that for the first time I was able to wear two aids that were linked [one being a ‘power’ version] and I understood they would benefit me in locating noise and have improved speech clarity. [I currently have Widex Inteo one ear only]. Firstly I discovered that my ear canals are too small to have receiver in the ear fittings, the plastic domes came off twice inside the ear canal resulting in visits to A&E to have them removed. Oticon could not make a fitting small enough to go in my ear. I have now tried the behind the ear version with the usual ear molds and the power aid is constantly squeaking and whistling despite having feedback reduction. I am unaware of this happening, but it is heard by other people, which is embarassing. I can honestly say that I don’t notice anything groundbreaking about the Agil Pro and am struggling to identify any improvement over the Widex Inteo which is now 4 years old.

  3. Chris Radford says:

    If you’re up for one more try, I’d be interested in what you thought of Unitron devices with “Smartfocus.” It’s the only signal processing technology clinically proven to improve speech recognition in noise. And by clinically proven, I mean published in a peer-reviewed journal proven. No other hearing aid manufacturer has ever managed it.

    The last great advance in improving signal to noise ratios in hearing aids was in the late 1990’s with directional microphones, which is probably why you haven’t noticed much difference with your new Widex aids.

    • Karen McGrane says:

      Hey, Chris, I have never even heard of Unitron HAs. I will look into those!

      On that note, I wish manufacturers and audiologists made it easier to take HAs for a trial run. When you consider the length of time it takes to order all the way through how long it takes to process a refund of the money you paid, it can take months from start to finish.

      • Karen,

        Addressing two of your replies…

        The “Audibility Extender” is a linear frequency transposition circuit, originally released as the TransSonic in 1992 by AVR Sonovation and licensed by them to Widex. Do you know at what frequency your audie set the AE breakpoint?

        [In addition, Phonak licensed the technology and added in non-linear frequency compression, calling it Sound Recover. It’s important that you know about frequency shifting when you get your next pair of hearing aids, since by now your brain, via plasticity, has “adjusted” to the new auditory scene with less high frequency energy: If your next pair of hearing aids does .NOT. have frequency lowering technology, you’ll have issues.]

        Dan Schwartz
        Editor, The Hearing Blog

      • By the way, Unitron is owned by Phonak, as is Lyric Hearing (disposible CIC) and Advanced Bionics cochlear implants, with a total of 4700 employees worldwide.

        Technically, the holding company is Sonovus; however they are extending the Phonak name and technology to AB, and just in the last couple of weeks extended it to Lyric as well. As of this point, Unitron is a standalone company, but look for them to use the same core DSP chip soon, as the development costs of a new hearing aid circuit are in the many millions of dollars.

  4. Kenny Schiff says:

    My ENT sponsored a Widex evaluation session last week with someone from Widex HQ and I tried out the Mind 440s in their office for a short while. I walked away intrigued, but not ready to plunk down $6,800 US (the price quoted to me for a pair).

    Now that you are several months into your use of these, any updates on your experience with them?

    I don’t currently own HAs, and my only prior experience with them would have been a month long failed trial with Lyric devices last year. The Lyrics were very interesting for me for a variety of reasons (including the subscriptionized payment model), but I built up a significant amount of wax that I ultimately had fit issues and had to give up. The Lyric experience reinforced for me that in spite of having learned to adjust in hearing challenging situations, I should do something. I’ve been waiting for the right technological fit for me.

    A few questions (for you, or anyone else lurking)…. how much did you pay for your Mind 440s? and is there a lot of variability between the selling price of these with different providers?

    There are apparently other lesser models in the Mind line (with less programmability) that knock down the price a bunch, but is there additional programmability worth the cost?

    This level of HA represents a pretty significant investment, and I fear near immediate obsolescence. This type of technology appears really poised to change quickly and I am concerned that in 18 months what I buy today will become quickly dated. I paid $525 for my Nexus One smartphone knowing the same, but I can live with a $525 hit in 12-18 months, as opposed to a $6,800 one.

    Having done a bit of research since, I wonder how relevant the new “Clear” devices might be for someone like myself (because of Bluetooth). The idea of fumbling to yank out an HA when an incoming call comes in seems pretty awkward… and while I don’t use headphone/earbuds all the time, sometimes I do… I had not thought through this (nor did the Widex rep talk about) when I tried the devices.

    Any feedback is appreciated.

    • Karen is 100% correct: Shop around, as the quality of the audiologist varies widely. And, if you don’t like something, don’t feel obligated tto tolerate the bad service.

      That being said, there are several good manufacturers out there: Oticon, Phonak, Unitron, Widex, Starkey, Siemens, and GN ReSound are all good.

  5. Karen McGrane says:

    I don’t remember exactly what I paid for my Mind 440s, but it was around $7000. I’m sure it does vary based on the audiologist, so I wind up paying more because I live in Manhattan. But I don’t think the price varies dramatically.

    I recommend you shop for an audiologist, not for a hearing aid. Find someone you like and trust. Find someone who will spend time with you to get it right. There are good audies and bad audies (like every other profession) and working with a bad one makes a difficult process exponentially harder.

    My HAs usually last 5 years. Go for the workhorse BTE style, keep them dry and clean, and you’ll be able to keep them around for a while.

    I’m pretty skeptical about Bluetooth in HAs right now, though I haven’t tried the Clear. Focus on getting the best hearing aid for the money. Bluetooth is expensive and may not add a lot of value.

    • Steve Davis says:

      From what I now understand, the FDA is preventing or holding up HA manufacturers in offering Blue Tooth technology. In September the FDA decided that there should be some sort of standards for wireless radiation in hearing aids (standards that they had not developed yet), so it has slowed the release of not only Widex HA products but all hearing aids. You would think with cell phones in use for fifteen years the wireless radiation issue would be resolved. Guess not.

      I have been waiting for Widex to come out with a Clear 440 power aid, with blue tooth capability for some time. It now appears Widex might offer that aid sometime in 2011. Widex is behind the curve with Blue Tooth and I’m not sure why, but with the government now in the picture I’m sure things will be get more screwed up. 2011 audiology convention will be in early April in Chicago so maybe we will get some new HA brands to review/try.

      • Diane Girouard says:

        I recently purchased the Widex Clear fusion hearing aids. I must say that the blue tooth capability has made such a difference in being able to hear my cell phone. Listening to music on Pandora has also,been a great change for me. I am able to hear all of the words in a song where before with my oticon BTE aids I had difficulty hearing all the lyrics. I wish the adaptor I have to use was less bulky. It does come on a lanyard though so you can be hands free. As for actually hearing with them I found them to have a slight improvement in the clarity of speech. They also have a comfort option which has been very useful when out in a crowd. It tunes out background noise without affecting my ability to hear the person I am talking to. They also have a phone option on them which makes hearing on any phone problem free. With the MDX adaptor I am able to adjust the volume in certain situations where I need more volume. I do miss having the volume control right on my aid, but was willing to give this up for much compact sized one. They do have the option to have it on the aide itself but it would increase the size of BTE aid.

      • discpad says:

        @Karen: Please delete my comment which accidentally posted at the bottom of the page, instead of this one which is inline.

        @Diane: I’m glad you like the Clear 440 hearing aids, as in fact they are quite good. However, I’m a bit surprised that you like the M-Dex, as you can see from this First Person Report from an Atlanta software Engineer.

        First Person Report: Widex M-Dex Hearing Aid Streamer Woes
        The Hearing Blog

        http://thehearingblog.com/archives/1423

        Atlanta software engineer and applied mathmatician Rippah Ultmuncher shows in his stinging blog entry that although he is having great success with his Widex Clear 440 hearing aids, the same cannot be said of his M-Dex combination remote control/Bluetooth streamer.

        Here at The Hearing Blog, we like to publish First Person Reports from people describing how technology that supposedly looks good on paper isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, such as London flautist and blogress Deafinitely Girly who exposes a major flaw in non-linear frequency compression (NFC) in Hearing aid update: My flute and Paper Aeroplanes. This First Person Report is quite astute, and in fact raises additional points that even we had not discovered with our own M-Dex and Clear 440 Fusions with high power RITE’s.

  6. Tony Armstrong says:

    Hi Karen

    Firstly, what a surprise to find someone blogging about Hearing aids – I had come to the conclusion that it was one of those taboo subjects! Well done.

    My recent experiences – I’ve been going deaf for over 20 years now and have a classic ‘ski slope’ (down around 40db below 1khz and all the way down to 100~105db at 4khz (and it’s still going down – happy days). I went from analgue BTE to Widex CIC digital around 12 years ago. The experience was night and day. Because of the continuing decline and the need to continue working, I have to upgrade every 2~3 years (oh, the cash! Especially here in the UK!).

    Earlier this year I had reached the limits of the latest generation Widex Inteo CIC, which have been great (except for the obvious situations of crowded environments and the inability to focus on one voice out of many). But unlike you, I have found each upgrade to a newer Widex model produced noticable improvements in sound quality.

    I found my old audiologist sold his practice and a new guy took over and has been wonderful. Before my latest purchase he made up various pairs / makes in total for me to try and gace me endless time.

    First, I tried the Phonak Exelia Art ITC because it was powerful, had a facility for directionality control and it had bluetooth. The results were both fascinating and disturbing. The good news; the ability to focus was simply unbelievable, you could choose front, rear, left or right and it worked incredibly well. However, after the smooth, warm tones of the Widex, the Phonak sounded harsh. The disturbing aspect was the bluetooth facility. Via the iCube which hung around the neck, I could receive and make calls with the sound going directly into the aids – sheer bliss in terms of convenience and clarity. I could also listen to my iPod direct into the aids; the ability to tune out boring waffle in meetings and listen to Bach was a real joy – with no-one the wiser. The disturbing part? Well, after a few moments only of wearing the iCube, I started to experience a burning sensation and pains in my chest. If I held the iCube away from me, the pain subsided at once. No way was I going to continue with this risk!

    I then tried the really high powered Widex Mind 440 M4-19 BTE and was disapointed. The aids have the most powerful amplifier but as the output quoted by Widex is obviously measured at the output stage what is delivered to the inner ear is not so great. A miss.

    Finally I tried the Widex M4-XT ITE and, result. The same warm, rounded sound as my old Widex Inteo models but more powerful and with greater clarity and high frequency. I agree completely with your comment that choosing the audiologist first is much more important than trying to choose the aid. Not only are there large variations in sound quality, there are also large variations in the specifications quoted. There is no substitute for trying an aid and having an informed and objective discussion with your audiologist – what they can do with the latest computer aided analysis, programming and tweaking is truly amazing.

    Subsequently, I have discussed the Bluetooth issue with the RNID here in the UK and they back away from the issue completely and despite a promise they have not issued a public comment on the issues I experienced. Speaking off the record my cardiologist tells me he is not surprised at the symptoms I experienced.

    Keep up the good work

    • Tony,

      The problem you have is that where your thresholds cross about 60dB, you have outher hair cell loss, which means the underlying inner hair cells send a distorted sound to your brain. When your threshold hits about 90dB, you have a “dead zone” and acoustic hearing is worse than useless, as frequencies in this range should .NOT. be reproduced.

      The probable reason the Phonak HA’s sonded harsh is that your audie probably turned ON “Sound Recover” which both compresses and shifts higher frequencies into lower regions ttto make them audible. Yes, you’ll get the maximum speech discrimination with this, but at the price of poor sound quality. On the other hand, Widex’ “Audibility Extender” only shifts (transposes) higher frequencies into lower bands, preserving harmonics: The tradeoff is better sound quality at the expense of lower speech scores. [Karen, your audie may have switched on Audibility Extender for your Mind 440’s as well.]

      Instead, since you have a large and increasing cochlear dead zone working its’ way, the combination of acoustic and electrical hearing should be strongly considered. Fortunately, MedEl makes a very nice Electrical-Acoustical Stimulation (EAS) system which is available in UK at some — but not all — of the 23 Cochlear Implant Centres.

      The goal of EAS is to use a short cochlear implant electrode to preserve your residual hearing: You continue to hear the lower frequencies through the hearing aid portion of the BTE processor, while the higher frequencies corresponding to your dead zones are stimulated electrically on the spiral ganglion (nerve endings). Take a look at the EAS candidacy audiogram, and if your hearing is in the red zone, you’re good to go. [If your hearing extends outside of the red area to the left, then conventional cochlear implants should be considered.]

      Go to The Hearing Blog, and on the right you’ll see links for Ben Heldner’s old and new blogs for his MedEl DUET2 system (He’s also an FM support engineer at Phonak); and also for Tina Lannin’s award-winning hearing and deafness blog she runs in London.

      One Other Note to all: The Widex Mind 440 (still available) has been supplanted with the Clear 440, which has both built-in 2.4 gHz low-latency streaming from external sources (such as TV) to maintain lip syncronization .AND. Bluetooth connectivity. Go to the Widex Ireland website to read details, as although the hearing aids are available worldwide, their BT module hasn’t passed FCC muster yet for US distribution.

      Hope this helps~

      • Steve Davis says:

        The new “Clear 440 HA” is for someone with a hearing loss in the mild to severe hearing range. It will not benefit Tony or someone with a hearing loss in the severe to profound hearing range. You need a Clear 440 power aid for that hearing range, but unfortunately it is not in production yet.

        Bluetooth connectivity (in the states) is still under review and not offered in all HA’s. It appears Europe is pushing a head in this area.

  7. Tony Armstrong says:

    Dan

    Many thanks for your comments. I’ll be checking out the EAS system as you suggest plus The Hearing Blog.

    Out of interest I had 5 programmes on the Phonak aids I tried but none of them sounded as good as the Widex on the normal setting (I don’t find the AE setting on the Widex that helpful, except that it is good for filtering out road / tyre noise when driving! However, this might be that I haven’t been back to my audiologist to play around with the AE settings).

    Your views on bluetooth issues I encountered would be appreciated ;-)

    • @Karen: Has your audie tweaked the Audibility Extender yet? Let us know how you like it.

      @Tony: RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf charity) is about as useful as tits on a bull — They just spent UK260,000 last month to “rebrand” (new logo)… And the Q&A video chat with the MD for it was not even captioned — Talk about an Epic #FAIL!

      Not 100% sure if Ear Foundation in Nottingham is doing BT yet — Check with them, as they do all sorts of ALD’s. They are a block away from Ropewalk, which is one of the better CI centres among the 23 in UK. You’ll see that MedEl is in nine of the 23 — That’s the one you want.

      ———————————————-

      From http://www.medel.at/english/clinic-finder/Europe.php?country=United%A0Kingdom&send=Search
      here are the MedEl CI centres in UK
      Birmingham, The Queen Elisabeth Hospital Department of Otolaryngology Edgbaston,
      Bradford, Bradford Royal Infirmary, ENT Department
      London, Royal National Throat Nose & Ear Hospital,
      London, St. Thomas’s Hospital, Hearing Implant Centre
      London, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals, Auditory Implant Centre
      Manchester, Manchester Royal Infirmary,
      Newcastle, Freeman Hospital, ENT Department
      Nottingham, Queens Medical Centre, <— This is Ropewalk Centre
      Portsmouth, Queen Alexandra Hospital,

  8. Jim Eddy says:

    Karen, I was googling “opinions of Widex hearing aids and found your website. I was amazed at your discussions about hearings aids. They are so close to my story. I was once a “normal” hearing person despite tinnitus since about the 6th grade. I suddenly found that I was not hearing correctly in business meetings about 20 years ago. I was told by an ear doctor that hearing aids would be helpful. My father used hearing aids so I new the day was coming. I have gone through several hearing aids in the last 20 years and several “dog and pony” shows to sell me. Needless to say, hearing has been a challenge. BTW, I’m 58. I just “used up” my Widex Senso CIC hearings aids I purchased 6 years ago. They have deteriorated to the point of falling apart. The metal wax protector fell out, thankfully not in my ear. I just purchased the Widex Mind 330 for $5,300 and was supposed to get all of these fantastic, new technology things…what a joke! They whistle while I’m on the telephone or sometimes for no reason. It’s really hard to perform at work. They were adjusted so high that my wife could no longer hear the TV when I adjusted the TV to my listening level. The audie adjusted the high levels down but said I was giving up some of the ability of the aids. So far I am very disappointed. Anyway, it’s nice to read your information about your trials and tribulations. I wonder why the hearing aid manufacturers don’t fly the hard of hearing into their facilties and ask us for our input about what it is we need in a hearing aid? And the cost of these hearing aids is ridiculous when you can buy things like an iPad for $900. I am going to keep up with your website…and maybe be your FB friend. Although I am not deaf, hearing has been a big issue for most of my life.
    Cheers!
    Jim

    • Karen McGrane says:

      What I do for a living is talk to people about what they want from technology, and then try to deliver a better experience for users. The hearing aid industry doesn’t seem to have caught on to the whole “user experience” thing. They seem to care a lot about better technology, algorithms, sound processing, but that doesn’t always matter to the customer. What they do a TERRIBLE job at is the buying process. The brochures suck, the websites are terrible, and it’s nearly impossible to compare models. Everything depends on how good your audiologist is.

      One of the things I’ve had the most trouble with is getting the earmold impression right, a problem that is completely and totally based on the skill of the audiologist. If they don’t feel right, or the aids whistle, or they make your ears bleed (happened to me once!) you should demand that they make new molds. For free.

      • Jim Eddy says:

        So that’s what UX means, user experience? OK I’m catching on. I’m an irrigation system designer for ornamental landscape. I’m laways impressed when Rain Dird, Toro, Hunter Industries, or others when they fly us to their manufacturing facility, put us up in a nice hotel, wine and dine us, and hold us hostage for a day while they ask us designers many questions about what it is we need or wnat from a sprinkler, valve, or system controller. They even ask us what we don’t want or don’t like. They seem to really care about our opinions and sometimes are amazed at what we tell them about their products. All in all it is productive and fun for all. It seems the hearing aid manufacturers should do the same thing. They might learn from those that use their product, everyday, 16 hours a day. You’re so right about the things you say about the hearing aid industry. I’ll mention the fit thing to my audie. Bleeding ears from HA’s? Ouch! What’s up with the telecoil thing? The audie says that I should use it for the telephone and that ALL telephones have it? Is this true??

      • Karen, both the question on better marketing, and complaints about poor service from their aidies was raised in a couple different manners at the Hearing Aid Technology Symposium at the Hearing Loss Ass’n national Convention last June in Milwaukee… Let’s just say that the mood in the audience of ~900 was that of a Lynch mob, not so much towards the manufacturers, but towards the audies who dispense their products, with applause and even cheers at points when a questioner made specific complaints. You can see some of it in my Convention wrapup on The Hearing Blog; and to see what was said, you can read the CART transcript PDF.

        Incidentally, I’m headed back to uni myself, probably this autumn, to get my AuD or PhD in Audiology myself, because I want to become the audiologist I wish I had.

        PS: The “http://www.hearingloss.org/convention”>2011 HLAA Convention is in DC June 16-19 in DC at the Hyatt Cristal City, across from DCA. Both of you — Jim and Karen — should attend. Also, there is a first time attendee discount of $50 available when you register; and if you host a workshop (next year is in Providence R.I.) you get a $200 presenter discount.

    • Jim, I’m in the process of licensing as a dispensing engineer agian aftrer a 15 year hiatus, and I’ve been asking colleagues — both traditional dispensers and dispensing audies — which instruments are their favorites for various types of hearing losses. One that is bubbling up to the top for a number of dispensers is the new Oticon Agil, so you may want to give that a try.

      • Jim Eddy says:

        Thanks Dan, I’ll look into that aid. Got the Widex Mind 330, a week ago, at Kaiser Hospital Hearing Center and they may not dispense the Oticon aid :-(

      • @Jim: Kaiser’s audiology departments at their hospitals are a real shit-hole, with poorly trained audies because they pay so lousy. They are especially terrible when they MAP CI’s (cochlear implants); and also their CI surgeon at South Sacto has a MedMal case against him because he completely butchered an actress friend of mine.

      • Jim Eddy says:

        Well, I was afraid of that but also considered those facts about Kaiser. I just signed up at Oticon to try a free trial of the Oticon Agil aid. They have a private dispenser down the street here.

      • Jim, keep us posted. Also, make *sure* you get the Streamer and pair it up with your iPhone or other Bluetooth mobile, and you’ll be able to leave your phone in your pocket while having the processed audio piped straight into your ears — I *highly* recommend it.

  9. Tony Armstrong says:

    I think someone may be a little confused if they think that the National Health Service here helps drive down prices. They do offer digital aids now but these tend to be low end BTE models. I paid c.$8,900 for my Widex M4-XT aids after discount (but with superb service – see post above).

    The industry could certainly benefit hugely from consumer feedback panels. However, my experience is that there is a dimension in actual performance that comes only from the individual experience of each user. What the carefully calibrated and uniquely matched (in theory) signal from the aids is heard as, will depend upon what the brain actually interprets and this is something that does not always correlate with the manufacturers claims.

    Where the difficulty arises in practice is that many users lack either the subtlety of hearing and / or the language to describe what they are actually hearing with an aid. I have been fortunate in that earlier in my career I spent some years in the consumer electronics industry and am a little familiar with the theory of sound and the practice of listening critically. This has given me the ability of being able to use reasonably accurate terms to describe what and (often importantly) when and in which circumstances I am actually hearing. I take up hours of my audiologist’s time but I do usually get an acceptable solution. However, again I would stress Karen’s advice that it is critical to choose your audiologist before any particular aid.

  10. GARY says:

    I tip my hat to all who have taken the time, especially, Karen. The very insightful comments and suggestions are educational and useful. I’m into my fourth pair of digital aids and according to the audie, an extremely forthright and highly professional individual, his final assessment, comparing my most recent audiogram, led him to suggest and HA with frequency compression. The problem still exists, as it always has, that defining and processing speech in a meeting situation when I’m not on a one-to-one basis leaves me completely out of the loop.
    Pricing and fitting through competent audiologists is something I’ve not experienced since most tend to be sales oriented with annoying pressure and little help in resolving my very common problem. The best experience I’ve had so far, over a period of fourteen years of wearing aids, comes from the skilled audie at, you’ll never believe it, COSTCO. Please understand, I’m not a shareholder in the company, only a normal ‘club shopper’. He has suggested either PHONAK or WIDEX with frequency compression, as my last hope. COSTCO does not handle either of the products employing this technology and thus, he suggested seeking out an audie that dispenses either and I feel comfortable with.
    The confusion generated via the manufacturers’ brochures tend to hype who has more bells and whistles…the quantities of channels, programs, etc. If I buy another pair, it will be my last, only if they provide what I need.

  11. Francesca says:

    I tried the Oticon Agil Pro’s for 6 weeks. Great Clarity of speech even in noisy environments…..airports, nightclubs…you name it. The fit wasn’t great and I was waiting for the Widex Clear440 which was due out 2011. My Audie informed me there’s a hold up and it could be several months….so I’m trying the Widex Passion 440’s. GREAT fit! The Oticons never fit great and the wires very visible. The anchor also slipped out of position. The Widex fits great, very discreet and the anchor is a loop that fits just inside the ear canal. HOWEVER I’m noticing the sound and understandability not as good. I’m an RN and of course several Dr’s and staff mumble. IN surgery they have masks on ….no lip reading there….. I will visit Audie on Tues. and see if adjustments can be made for better clarity. It’s great to be able to “try” before you buy. Wish the Clear440 could have been here….considering waiting for them since the “TV” control on the Passions just magnify ALL the sounds and not as great as the Oticon TV streamer which is like wearing headsets. Think I’ve said enough….anyone have the Passion440’s?
    Francesca

    • @Francesca: I’m now wearing the Widex Clear440 C4-9 (same version (power/gain/earmold connection as Karens’ M4-9) with the combo M-Dex remote control/streamer; and I really like them.

      However, since you have the Passion 440, which is the Mind 440 RIC version, wait a few weeks until they catch up with demand and order the Clear Fusion 440, which is the “Clear” version of the Passion 440.

      Also, stay tuned to Dr A.U. Bankaitis’ blog on amplified stethoscopes: She is in the process of sending out Bluetooth stethoscopes to HA manufacturers for compatibility testing as I write this.

      Lastly, be sure to takk to your State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR; “Voc Rehab”), as they will probably purchase the stethoscope (and maybe even the appropriate hearing aids) for you.

      Dan Schwartz,
      Editor, The Hearing Blog
      Add me on Facebook

    • Leslie says:

      Francesca,
      I am also an RN working in a busy outpt oncology clinic. I use to work the desk talking w doctors etc.. But I cannot do that anymore ,my speech recognition so vety poor,I do not trust what I hear over the phone, I do direct pt care now,which is a challenge !! I am only 52and I do not want to retire , I have been there for 27 years,part time now, it is a great job . But my hearing so very poor, now in the profound area,audio suggested cochlear device at Hopkins,but I am not ready yet!! Today she said the Widex my best bet ,either the super 220 entry level or the super 440 premium level, I don’t know either of them, my Costco HA not helping anymore , they r great one on one in my house, but in a group with noise I am lost ,it is very frustrating and hard to know who u can trust, my audi ok, a doctorate in audiology , I m ok with her.

      What do u think???
      Would love to hear your response !

      Leslie

  12. Lyndy says:

    Thanks to all of you for your comments. FINALLY found some sense and some information that’s useful. Have been wearing hearing aids since 1995. Just been prescribed Siemans through NHS. I thought they were awful, although audiologist said they were “state of the art”. Loud hissing noises in speech – although could hear some music for the first time in years.
    She has prescribed oticon for mild hearing loss at the moment, ignoring my high frequency loss. Although better than the Siemans, I think that she did not really know what to do with me. I agree that the NHS only have a smaller number and lower priced hearing aids on offer.

    Thanks again

  13. Popcorn says:

    On the subject of audiologists does anyone know of excellent practitioners in Australia? Anywhere would be a starting point as I could narrow it down from there. Thanks!

  14. ma nit says:

    Well now, after reading this, I’m MORE confused about the Widex hearing aid known as “Mind 440”. I thought it was a single model hearing aid. Now it appears it is a product CATEGORY or product LINE, under which are the models: “Mind 440 m4-9”, “Mind 440 m4-m-CB”, “Mind 440 M4-19”, and possibly the “M4-XT ITE”. Could someone please sort out all these model numbers for me? The Widex dot com website does not help at all, since it only shows the “Mind 440” as one single model.

    • Karen McGrane says:

      Ach, the Widex website is stupidly designed. Go here:

      http://widex.com/en/Products/HearingAids/MIND

      Click on Mind 440 in the middle of the page. THEN click on the different models above.

      mind440 m4-m = Micro BTE (behind-the-ear) model
      mind440 m4-9 = BTE (behind-the-ear) model
      mind440 m4-19 = BTE (behind-the-ear) model (more power)
      mind440 m4-CIC = CIC (completely-in-canal) model
      mind440 m4-X = ITE (in-the-ear) model

      • Karen, I got the Widex 440 Clear and it is a substantial improvement even over the 440 Mind that I had previously. Among other things, it contains a new chip that enhances quality all around even without the blue tooth. As for the blue tooth, I like it except for the clunky controller. Widex needs to slim it down so that it fits comfortable into a pocket without bulging. I recognize that this model is the first step by Widex into blue booth, but it promises a much better future for convenience and sound clairty. I never listen to music over my cell phone, but I inadvertently started up an e-mail with a musical moment. The music sounded just wonderful using the blue tooth, wide stage sound separation and unexpected detail among instruments. Karen, keep writing as many of us enjoy and learn from your reviews. Dr.B

      • @Karen, your comment about the stupid Widex website design was actually heard: As it turns out, their researchers scour blogs and bulletin boards for user comments on their hearing aids; and in fact in a conversation with their VP of PR in Denmark, I found out your two blog articles and these comments indeed have been circulated around.

        Dan Schwartz,
        Editor, The Hearing Blog
        Add me on Facebook

  15. Patty A. says:

    An audiologist recommended the Widex MIND440 Zen-Mind hearing aids to help my hearing loss and my severe tinnitus. Has anyone out there tried these aids to help tinnitus and hearing loss. If so how much have they helped the tinnitus? He also wants me to go through tinnitus retraining therapy. Has anyone tried this and did it help?

    • Dyan says:

      I’ve also had the Widex Mind 440 with the Zen program for mild/moderate hearing loss and tinnitus (probably not as severe as some, but driving me nuts none-the-less). What are you thinking of doing at this point?

      • Patty A. says:

        At this point I’m not rushing forward in purchasing the Widex Zen 440 due to the expense of them. Did you purchase them or were they just suggested? I’m having some problems with stress/sleep which I was told by the audiologists can cause tinnitus to be louder and more annoying. I’m trying to get a handle on these two problems before spending so much money on the Widex.

        I have high frequency sensio-neural hearing loss. It is very difficult to hear speech unless I’m in a quite environment. The reviews I’ve read haven’t been that great for the Widex 440 for this problem, but if they really helped for the tinnitus I might eventually buy them just for that.

        What were you told by your audioligist? Did he/she also recommend tinnitus retraining therapy? By the way I use a white noise table top machine and a MP3 player or radio to help mask some of the tinnitus sound.

  16. Francesca says:

    My Audie tells me the Widex Clear 440 are held up indefinitely by the FDA and I will have to purchase the Passion 440. She did let me try the Phonak Audeo S Smart that just came out with blue tooth. They don’t have any where near the sound quality as the Widex Passion 440. I’m sad the FDA can hold up things up. am almost considering flying to Uk to get the Clear 440 as shelling out $6,000.00 and not getting latest available technology seems ridiculous. Anyone having the same frustration? Of course, who knows, could be blue tooth bad for your hearing health….I doubt it though.

    Francesca (my earlier post Jan23)

  17. Danis says:

    Karen and all- Thank you for taking the time to offer all these helpful comments. I was diagnosed w/ a bi-lateral sensori-neural hearing loss in 1977 during my college years. Have worn hearing aids since 1983 (a bit of a denial period, I admit)! I have a very significant hearing loss in the high frequencies, 50% hearing loss @ 1000Hz and falls off from there). I am currently trying the Oticon/Agil hearing aids. Having only worn one aide for many years it is a bit of an adjustment switching to two. Discrimination seems to be a bit better but not as good in loud noise (so far). Granted I’m probably going through an adjustment period switching from one to two aides. I will say I love, love the bluetooth capability that the streamer provides. Have not noticed any pains while wearing around my neck. Use the streamer in the car, on the phone and listening to music on my I-phone. It is great. Wish everyone could just call me now!! Anyway – I have been with the same audiologist for 20 plus years, he has sold me demos and always gives me a lengthy trial period. So choosing a good “audie” is very important. Hope this info is somewhat helpful.

  18. Kate says:

    great site. will post in the future as I am struggling with some repair failures with widex inteo.

  19. steve davis says:

    Anyone have any thoughts regarding Widex’s new hearing aid (Clear Fusion) model? First HA I have seen that offers someone with a profound hearing loss a aid with small housing, thin wire tubing and RIC or CIC. Size 312 battery is a big plus over size 10 battery. Not sure I buy the claim the aid will work for mild to severe to profound hearing loss, but time will tell.

    From what I’m reading on Internet the (Clear 440) Fusion will replace Mind and Passion hearing aids, whis is some what of a shock since both the Mind and Fusion are fairly new on the market. Also my assumption is the FDA is holding up the sale of Widex Fusion in the U.S. for further (safety) testing, but I could be wrong.

    Looks like Widex is tryig to offer stronger more versatile HA’s, in a smaller package. I would be interested to read on this link of anyone who has been fitted with a new Widex Fusion aid and what results they received. See link below for info on Fusion.

    http://www.digitalhearingcare.org.uk/blog/index.php/tag/widex/

  20. Robbie says:

    Hi Karen and all: Thanks so much for your blog. It is soooo very helpful. I wish I would have known about this site years ago. I spent about 5 years in denial regarding my hearing loss, which seems normal. Then chose one hearing aid, still in denial and wore that for 5 years. I never really heard very well. Then I decided to really deal with my hearing loss as I took a new job with mostly young “folk” who all seemed to mumble. I thought I would have to quit my job if I didn’t get my hearing handled. I found an audiologist(not great, but ok) She fitted me with the Widex in both ears. When she turned them on, I began to cry. I didn’t realize how much I wasn’t hearing. It was overwhelming, too say the least. Now that I have had them for 4 months, I find that I am not hearing better, but speech can still be blurred, especially on TV. She just offered to upgrade me(for a fee) to the new Clear 440 with Bluetooth.. I’m trying to decide if it is worth it. Also what do you think about having a couple of my settings set at different volumn levels for different situations?

  21. Tony Armstrong says:

    Hi Robbie

    I’ve been a Widex user for nearly 15 years and can really stress the importance of a good relationship with a good audiologist. The sheer number of adjustments that can be made on modern aids is just incredible but getting the right setup for you is a matter of working with your audiologist to identify what you want, what is happening when any adjustment is made and being able to describe the effect it is having.
    If you have either the RC2 or RC3 remote control there are a range of programmes that can be set up allowing you to choose the right programme for the right situation. You mention ‘blurring’ with the TV, so I would recommend that you speak to your audiologist about the TV programme – this boosts the speech frequencies and makes them really clear. With the remote there is the ability to adjust the volume across a wide range in either ear. You can also have programmes for music or for noisy environments.
    Good luck

  22. Pingback: Update with Audiologist | Brain and Head Health

  23. betsy says:

    Advise please. I have a mild hearing loss in both ears and would not be looking at aids except for tinitis that never stops. An audiologist recommended bilateral Widex mind 300 (US$4,000 ish for 2)with the option to moving to one that has a music tone (US$ 6000ish for 2)if the 1st one does not help the tinitis. What your thoughts? Should I look at another manufacturer? betsy

    • Betsy:
      I have just re-opened my account with Widex USA (after a 15 year hiatus as a hearing aid dispensing engineer). I don’t recommend the older Mind series: Instead, get the Clear 440, which has the DEX streamer system to connect your ears to Bluetooth phones & MP3 players — I just ordered a pair of C4-9 instruments for myself — This is the replacement for the Mind M4-9 that Karen has.

      The upgraded ZEN tinnitus option is included in the price of the Clear 440: This synchronizes the tones between your two ears. [At this instant, ZEN is not shipping on the Clear 440 until July; however since you need it your audie will ship it back to Long Island City to have it programmed at no charge.]

      I recommend one of the RIC — Receiver-in-canal — models to give the best performance.

      For reference, Widex is running a dealer promo on the MIND series of $1195 per instrument, any variety. Dealer list price on the Clear 440 is $1949, discounted to $1499. The Phone DEX dealer cost is $250~

      Dan Schwartz,
      Editor, The Hearing Blog
      Cherry Hill, NJ

  24. Karen, your link at the top of the article to Widex is now 404: They indeed rebuilt their awful website from scratch. Here is the new URL:

    http://www.widex.com/en/products/hearingaids/mind/

    Also, Widex built way too many Mind 440 instruments, and they are dumping them to make room for the new Clear 440 (which I just got yesterday, along with a Bluetooth Streamer. I mention this because you may want to pick up a spare M4-9 in case one needs to go in for service; or if you need more power, the Mind 440 M4-19 is the most powerful one of the series. Single unit dealer price on the M4-9 & M4-19 is $1740; and $1792 if they come equipped with a volume control wheel (and/or you can use the remote to adjust the volume) — I can get them to you for the single unit price.

    My email is Dan@Snip.Net

  25. Betsy,

    Right Now I’m wearing a pair of the Widex Clear 440 C4-9 instruments (I’m a hearing impaired Hearing Aid Dispensing Engineer) and I can tell you I’m hearing better now than I ever have — Almost as good as my once-superb hearing before it was destroyed!

    Anyway, I also have Very Nasty Tinnitus — Like fingernails scratching down a chalkboard 24/7/365 — so I was looking forward to taking the new second generation ZEN out for a spin: Unlike the first generation that had each stimulus operate independently, the new version takes advantage of the ear-to-ear communications to coordinate the stimulus — And it makes all the difference in the world, especially at nighttime as I can now fall right asleep (I’ve been wearing my hearing ids 24-7-365 for years for tinnitus suppression). You can watch my esteemed colleague Dr Robert Sweetow of UCSF talk about tinnitus suppression evidence and tinnitus at these links.

    You can wait until about August when the new Clear 440 Fusion is available in quantity here in the US with the smaller 312 battery; or you can get a Clear 440 version with either an open-fit eartip or the correct RIC (receiver-in-canal) with a #13 battery now — I do not recommend the versions with the 10A cell.

    I’ll tell you this: With the M-Dex remote, even normal hearing people wish they could function this well with the Bluetooth streaming.

    Dan Schwartz,
    Editor, The Hearing Blog
    Add me on Facebook

  26. Patricia Alexander says:

    Dan,

    So your saying that the Widex Clear hearing aids have helped your tinnitus? I have a hearing loss with severe tinnitus, but the tinnitus changes every day. Sometimes it’s in my head which is a electronic ringing sound. I don’t know if a hearing aid can help this type of tinnitus. Sometimes it’s a loud cicada noise in my ears-go figure.

    I would like the aid to help my hearing also which is a bilateral high frequency hearing loss. I have a difficult time understanding speech and TV. About seven years ago I purchased two Oticon CIC aids which didn’t help me understand speech better but the fridge sounded much louder:(

    I was quoted $3500 each for Widex 440 with Zen. Is this the norm? Also I’m surprised you can sleep with aids in your ear.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Pat

    • Dear Patricia,

      You have two separate issues in play: Hearing loss, which is objective; and tinnitus, which is subjective. Often — but not always — the two are intertwined; but just as some hearing impaired people don’t have tinnitus, there are some people with tinnitus who have normal hearing.

      That being said, over 90% of people who have tinnitus also have an underlying hearing loss: This is why the traditional mode of treatment is to address the hearing loss first; and then if that fails to provide significant tinnitus relief via masking, to move on to other therapies such as masking hearing aids (such as by enabling the Widex Zen option), tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), and the Neuromonics system.

      [I’m omitting more radical solutions for profound tinnitus, including with specially programmed cochlear implants when there is also severe-to-profound hearing loss; and deep brain electrostimulation when hearing levels are normal]

      My own preference, along with many clinicians, is to address the hearing loss first: Often, the tinnitus will be successfully masked by the hearing aids themselves, due to the combination of circuit noise and environmental noises supplying enough sound to keep the overexcited neurons from spontaneously firing in the brain. [BUT! In an ironic twist, digital technology has made this less effective, as the older analog hearing instruments have more circuit noise, which helps mask the noises]

      For more on this, Doug Beck writes in The Hearing Journal in Hearing aid amplification and tinnitus: 2011 overview:

      Newman states that hearing aid amplification is useful for managing tinnitus in two ways.11 First, hearing aids amplify ambient background noise which may simply cover up or mask the patient’s perception of tinnitus. Second, while wearing hearing aids, the patient improves their communication ability, likely leading to a reduction of stress.

      Henry, Dennis, and Schechter report hearing aid amplification has served as the audiologic mainstay of tinnitus treatment for more than half a century. They note that even for marginal hearing aid candidates, high frequency amplification may be “accepted and beneficial.”

      They also report data from Surr, Kolb, Cord, and Garrus who administered the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) prior to and after the hearing aid fitting and demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in THI scores six weeks post-fitting, stating that some 90% of tinnitus patients may benefit from hearing aid amplification.12

      Del Bo and Ambrosetti stated that tinnitus patients receive two major benefits from hearing aids: the patient becomes less aware of their tinnitus and the patient improves their communication ability.13 They report tinnitus is often a result of neural plasticity, evoked via deprivation of auditory input (i.e., hearing loss), and as hearing aid amplification activates the auditory nervous system, the perception of tinnitus is reduced.14

      Del Bo and Ambrosetti also note that for the best results, binaural amplification with open fittings and the widest possible bandwidth are recommended and interestingly, they suggest noise reduction should be disabled, so as to allow background and inconsequential noise to enter the auditory system. Forti, Crocetti, and Scotti et al. further underscored the usefulness of open-canal fittings for tinnitus patients with mild hearing loss.15

      [More in part 2 of my reply]

    • Part 2: Patricia, when you write I was quoted $3500 each for Widex 440 with Zen is that for the Clear 440 (or Fusion 440 RIC version); or for the older Mind 440 (or Passion 440 (RIC version) like Karen has?

      Since you are getting little benefit from your Oticon CIC’s, my suggestion would be to go to a different dispenser or audie and get them properly programmed. All dispensers & audies have a HiPro or NOAHlink and can program them; though they may need to order the battery pills, which is how CIC’s are usually programmed.

      And Yes, you most certainly can sleep with your hearing aids on, even Behind-The-Ear (BTE)! Try it one night with your Oticon CIC’s: You’ll probably wake up not even knowing they are there, as overnight your brain will adapt to the new soundscape.

      Dan Schwartz,
      Editor, The Hearing Blog
      Add me on Facebook

      • Patricia Alexander says:

        Dan,

        The quote I got of $3500 for each hearing aid was for the older Widex Mind440 like Karen has.

        Thanks for the article. It suggests “open canal fittings for tinnitus patients with mild hearing loss”. Isn’t the CIC’s closed canal? I also have a bit of hypercusis so at times loud noises really bother me. I’m saying this because the article states “noise reduction should be disabled”.

        I’m a side sleeper so I would think sleeping with any hearing aid would hurt but I can try it.

        Thanks,
        Pat

  27. Hi Dan

    You make the point in your post of June 14 “if you need more power, the Mind 440 M4-19 is the most powerful one of the series”. Whilst this appears to be so from the quoted performance, in actual use this is NOT the case. My audiologist made me up moulds for both the Mind 440 m4-19 and Mind 440 m4-X (ITE) plus a couple of other makes. The big surprise to me (even after many adjustments) was that the m4-X produced considerably greater volume than the m4-19 despite (as you rightly say, quoted gain more than 10db higher – how is this?

    The problem I suspect is that both models have their quoted power measured at the output stage of the amplifier. Given that the m4-19 is a behind the ear model (BTE) it suffers significant actual volume loss to the ear canal down the tube. Despite its lower quoted output the m4-X aids delivered a higher and clearer actual volume in practice.

    It’s rather like comparing power outputs of two cars measured at the crankshaft; the one with the higher output may actually deliver less poser at the wheels due to greater transmission losses. Therefore, beware quoted statistics – nowhere is it more apparent than with hearing aids that you have to experience a model for yourself.

    Regards
    Tony

  28. Note to Karen: When I went to reply to Patricia, you have replies shut off past a certain number in your WordPress settings.

    Patricia: The reason why noise reduction is suggested to be turned off is so that more environmental noise will be passed through

    Also, although it may take a few minutes to get used to, sleeping with your CIC’s shouldn’t be uncomfortable: The tinnitus suppression you get should be worth the tradeoff.

    Since you have hyperacusis along with your tinnitus & mild-moderate hearing loss, I’ve found that an old remedy works very well, and may be worth a try: The original analog K-AMP, from Etymotic Research. It has just barely enough circuit noise to mask some tinnitus — And that parameter can be adjusted by a smart hearing aid dispenser by changing the value of the acoustic damper. General Hearing Instruments in NOLA still makes them; however few dispensers know where to get K-AMP instruments unless you tell them.

    [Actually, the K-AMP is making a comeback for musicians, and also for the EB1 & EB15 Electronic BlastPLG earplugs]

    Dan Schwartz,
    Editor, The Hearing Blog
    Add me on Facebook
    Follow The Hearing Blog on Facebook

  29. John says:

    This is very useful information. Thanks to everyone for posting. I’ve never purchased hearing aids. I have moderately severe hearing loss at the higher frequencies. 3 years ago I was tested and the audi recommended some hearing aids that cost $4,600 (Revo? Not sure). I have limited income, so I passed on purchasing. However, my job requires that I organize and facilitate meetings, including public meetings. I miss a lot of information and it’s come to the point where I’m too embarrassed to ask folks to repeat themselves over and over and just pretend like I understand when they repeat their statement.

    I recently went back to the audi and she is now recommending the Widex Clear440s at $6,400. Geez, I thought prices should come down and not go up. But, new technology demands higher prices.

    But it appears this is not out of line with what others are saying. Also, I see you can purchase these directly from online retailers for much less, but I heed the warning that the audiologist is key.

    I’m disappointed to learn that the aids will only last about 5 years, which will probably be about the amount of time it takes for me to pay them off.

    I guess it’s time to make the commitment and investment.

  30. I had been using Pulse behind the ear but liked the idea of the Lyric and insurance would cover it this year and not next. I have problems with TMJ and I have ringing in the ears that the Pulse helped (I have very little hearing loss). I am almost always feeling like I have my left ear under water or won’t pop from airplane pressure. My right was removed because of pain and irritation. Using just the left Lyric and my Pulse was just weird so my husband pulled the left too. I just had them reinserted on Tuesday and I’m having trouble with the left ear again. I was doing fine until I went to Costco today which seemed to upset the balance between the two ears and I tried turning them off then on again, changing volume, etc. Rubbing the outside front of the ear seems to help sometimes but not alleviate the feeling all together. Thanks for your help.

  31. Kathy says:

    I’ve left my Widex M4 19’s. My hearing loss is severe to profound and I have new hearing aids that I didn’t even call once for an adjustment! I can’t believe how well these work. They are Siemens new Pure Carat 701. Just out 2 months ago with super power. They signal each other(e2e)and connect sounds all around your head. Wow. They have the receiver in the ear – oh ‘what-a-difference!’ I have 3 settings: regular, regular plus and cut out the background noise. No tubing(yesyesyes! ) just that sweet wire. And they have rechargeable 312 batteries with a dryer to keep them in overnight. And the MiniTek for the tv and bluetooth (that I don’t have yet) will allow my to watch tv without CC.
    Andand, you can even buy the programmer/cabling for $695 to hook to your computer and cut out the HA Specialist altogether!! ! !
    http://www.theheari ngcompany. com/Two-Siemens- PURE-SE-701s- with-ProPocket- remote-control_ p_241.html.
    Just sharing the good news.

  32. Steve Davis says:

    Just returned my Widex Fusion HA’s back to dealer. One major problem with the HA was feedback, especially when I eating or moving my jaw excessively. I’m not convinced the RIC is a good fit for people with a severe to profound hearing loss. Sure the idea of getting the receiver closer to the ear canal makes sense on paper, but in reality I think the receiver is better located behind the ear in the HA itself for stability and reduction in feedback. Also be prepared for a very large ear mold when you try the Fusion with the largest receiver. As far as performance the Fusion had a great comfort level setting that reduced back ground noise, but was it a huge jump from my six/seven year old Sensos. Not really and at times when I was listening to my TV I noticed the TV volume setting was the same for my new Fusion’s as my old WIdex Diva Sensos.

    Someone with a severe to profound hearing loss is probably better off with a behind the ear aid with size 13 battery and plastic tubing. Still the old standard but it does the job. The Oticon Chili might be the answer right now, but I’m holding off for another year to see what’s coming down the road.

  33. Van says:

    I have had a pair of Widex Mind 440 hearing aids for about 2 3/4 years. This is my third set of hearing aids and I find them about the same as previous aids. These have settings for telecoil, TV, Music, and AE. I find the TV, Music, and AE useless and think they are a waste of money.I consider these 3 settings a marketing ploy, but, I’m satisfied with the standard and telecoil settings.It is my opinion that hearing aid technology hasn’t made much progress in the past 20 yrs

    Van

    • I agree with Van, my 1-3/4 year old Widex hearing aids (440) can only be used in the standard setting, the other three are useless. Widex has changed the mics twice and one microprocessor. My Kaiser audiologist cannot get the settings to match on each hearing aid. I have moderate hearing loss. The only thing with hearing aids that seems to make progress is the price. Why doesn’t the manufacturer fly us in and have a customer session where they ask our opinion? Afterall, we are the people wearing and using them, not the Widex Engineers. Don’t they care what we think. My aids have four settings like Van says and no volume or mute button for high noise situations. Oh! Did I say they cost $5,500? And oh ya, they only are good for about three years, then technology changes. What if Honda said that?

  34. Nancy says:

    I have severe hearing loss plus tinnitus which has gotten worse lately. I tried a Phonex hearing aid last year, but the pain in both ears didn’t let me wear them. I was charged a $400.00 restocking fee after trying them for a week. I won’t be going back there!
    I am trying a group connected with Hearing Planet.
    How does one shop to find a good audiologist ?

  35. David Storrs says:

    I agree with the above posts from Steve, Van and Jim Eddy – Widex is a marketing firm and over-advertises. I have the Widex Clear hearing aids which work nicely, but be careful. They advertise they “synch” with cell phones, but that’s not true. I have what they may consider a very rare and unusual cell phone – an iPhone! – which doesn’t synch with my Clears so it doesn’t do a large part of what I bought it for. Their excuse is that they can’t keep up with every kind of cell phone on the market! Be careful – I don’t know if Widex is unusual in misrepresenting but don’t believe any statements unless you can verify them. Remember, you have in most states at least 30 days to try them out with every advertised feature and if they are not truthful, have every right to send them back.

    David Storrs, Southport, CT

  36. I am also using the Clear 440 with the M-Dex. The M-Dex will pair perfectly with my existing iPhone 4 to make and receive phones calls. This is a massive leap forward in convenience and the ability to switch off ambient noise completely and just hear the incoming call in both ears is superb. The problem I have (and Widex have acknowledged it, saying they are working on it) is when using the music player on the iPhone – getting a connection is very much hit and miss and usually requires a few minutes switching it on and off to get the connection. However, as I don’t wish to use the facility very often it’s not a big issue for me.

    The other device which works like a dream is the TV-Dex. Now my wife and I can listen (she through the normal TV sound and me via the TV-Dex and aids) at different volumes and not interfere with each other.

    Overall I have found the Clear-440 to be a big leap forward.

    • discpad says:

      @Diane: I’m glad you like the Clear 440 hearing aids, as in fact they are quite good. However, I’m a bit surprised that you like the M-Dex, as you can see from this First Person Report from an Atlanta software Engineer.

      First Person Report: Widex M-Dex Hearing Aid Streamer Woes
      The Hearing Blog

      http://thehearingblog.com/archives/1423

      Atlanta software engineer and applied mathmatician Rippah Ultmuncher shows in his stinging blog entry that although he is having great success with his Widex Clear 440 hearing aids, the same cannot be said of his M-Dex combination remote control/Bluetooth streamer.

      Here at The Hearing Blog, we like to publish First Person Reports from people describing how technology that supposedly looks good on paper isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, such as London flautist and blogress Deafinitely Girly who exposes a major flaw in non-linear frequency compression (NFC) in Hearing aid update: My flute and Paper Aeroplanes. This First Person Report is quite astute, and in fact raises additional points that even we had not discovered with our own M-Dex and Clear 440 Fusions with high power RITE’s.

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