Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pissed off at Phonak.

My last set of hearing aids were from Phonak. I will say that when they worked, they worked great. The problem is, I had one that frequently didn't work, and like all things that fail intermittently, it was nearly impossible to figure out why it wasn't working correctly. After a few times sending it back for 1-2 weeks at a time, I got pissed off and told my Audiologist to simply have them replace it, or deal with my wrath.

Fast forward to today. My new Rexton aids work wonderfully and I am happy. Except...

My son has Phonaks (Sigh). We got his first pair when he was around 3 months old, and they were new loaners from CHOP--Phonak Una models. Very big, and very sturdy. He finally got his state-insurance-funded aids a few months ago and they are technically better than the Una, but far smaller and seemingly designed more for an adult. The aids themselves are tiny (making them impossible to find every 10 minutes when he chucks them somewhere) and the earhooks are held on only by friction, unlike the Una screw-on earhook. So his favorite pastime is pulling them out of his ears, pulling the earhook off, and chucking those two things in different directions, and/or trying to eat them. This is all not to mention they've stopped working like 3-4 times in a few months.

Phonak has refused to exchange these for a model more suitable to a 12 month-old infant. And although we didn't choose the model (presumably the state did) this is now somehow our problem.

Shame on you Phonak.

4 comments:

Michelle said...

Phuck Phonak. Sucks, man. Sorry to hear that!

(what is a screw-on ear hook?)

Nathan said...

I came across this post when searching for "Phonak sucks"! Very interesting to hear you had similar problems to me.

I bought a pair of Phonak hearing aids which were perfect at first. But they kept on getting worse and worse. So I kept getting them repaired, I was told it was a moisture problem and must use a drying kit. This was despite the fact that I always used a drying kit.

Their communications were very insulting. They basically implied I don't know how to take care of hearing aids even though I've been wearing them for 30 years!!

I kept getting them repaired at quite a cost. I got sick of it so I got a pair of Oticon hearing aids. No problems at all, using the same kit as the Phonak ones!

I recently tried to get them to sort it all out. Same thing, the CEO of Phonak here in South Africa did the same thing.

So I am quite pissed off now. I'm thinking of starting a website outlining all this and dissuade people from buying Phonak.

Anonymous said...

I'm using a Phonak Audeo Q demo. I was told they cost $7000. I've only had them for one day so maybe this is normal, but I don't like the sound at all. I have low frequency hearing loss, but these don't help with low frequencies much at all. In fact, it actually seems to worsen low frequencies. I get the feeling this device only amplifiers in the mid-range of frequencies.

Aaron said...

First, please understand that hearing aids have a markup in price that is literally "whatever audiologists want to sell them for". Unlike a car, there is no sticker price that we can find for comparison. And $7000 is a huge ripoff!!!

I paid $3400 for two Rexton Cobalt 16, and at the time those were the state-of-the-art aids made by Rexton/Siemens.

Second, I would agree with you that aids are probably not very helpful to you. Given the physics of trying to reproduce an entire range of frequencies (with clarity being a key factor!!) from a speaker the size of a pen tip, it just cannot happen. Aids focus on speech range since that is most important. Everything else is afterthought, as it should be.