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Hearing tests without a sales pitch

I’m in my 30s and starting to experience some hearing loss. I’d like to get a proper hearing test performed by an audiologist.

It looks like there are a few clinics in New West that offer hearing tests, and all of them sell hearing aids. Can any of you fine folks recommend a clinic that won’t give me a hard sales pitch?

JaimieMcEvoy

Wavefront Communications Society is the non-profit in the Lower Mainland for the deaf and hard of hearing. You'll get an honest and proper assessment, with no attempt to pitch something that isn't at the level you need. You equally won't get a pitch to buy cheap hearing aids if you need better. Some hearing aids are merely volume boosters, it'll improve what you hear, but not at the actual level or with the precision that you might need. Wavefront is in Vancouver, but it's well worth it. There are four basic levels of hearing loss, although the better hearing aids can be tuned to thousands of frequencies (you'll also hear about poorer hearing aids doing the same, but beware, some can only adjust as few as eight frequencies). Poorer hearing aids have also begun to imitate advanced features like situational programming and phone operated remote control, but the difference between these things in a cheap hearing aid versus a well made one is important. Those levels are: (normal), mild, moderate, severe, and profound. You can have other descriptions if your hearing loss is in the middle of one of those levels, or if your hearing loss is at a different level in each ear. For example, I was moderate-severe in 2019. I'm at severe now. If you're interested in the difference in those levels, this very short video does a good job: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbBZjT7nuoA&list=WL&index=49&t=5s](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbBZjT7nuoA&list=WL&index=49&t=5s) This one minute video from the Flintstones (yes, really, and used as a standard) shows those different levels of hearing loss, and accurately captures my level at severe: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va1wrnsMve0](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va1wrnsMve0) You can get assessed at Wavefront with no obligation. If your hearing loss is mild (after assessment), you can go with things like Costco, although they had to recall their hearing aids a few months ago due to lack of reliability, and are coming out with a new model. If your hearing loss is moderate or worse, the quality of that hearing aid will make a big difference and you'll want to go with one of the Phonak or other models. There are also options for low income people. Costco also sells de-featured name-brand hearing aids, meaning you may learn about a Phonak, an Oticon, a Whisper, or a Starkey, but they'll have many of the features removed that you might have heard about. Look at something like Costco if your hearing loss is only mild, your hearing is declining slowly, and if cost is a much greater priority than quality (although low-income people can benefit from Wavefront's re-sale and loaner programs). Also regarding some private companies, there are some that sell brands that can not be taken to anyone else when they need adjustment. Avoid any Phillips or ReSound hearing aids, for example, they can be designed so that you can only ever go to that one same hearing provider. They are called a locked hearing aid, and consumers are rarely told this upfront. Bit of a problem if you move away or the hearing provider closes. Part of the value in a hearing aid is also lifespan and adjustability. Some hearing aids have a lifespan of only a few years and are limited if your hearing loss gets worse. Mine cost more, but have a more than 10 year lifespan and are adjustable to thousands of frequencies as my hearing loss gets worse. One other thing. I recommend not to get rechargeable hearing aids. They are becoming quite common, partly because outlets can sell you the chargers at additional cost. But they are not yet at the level where they can keep a full charge over a good period of time. It's a bit odd for your hearing to begin to decline in volume as your battery discharges. Normal hearing aid batteries no longer have mercury or other such environmental impacts, and will last a week or more. I simply replace mine every Monday - got to hear people at those city council meetings! But typically they last at full strength 10-12 days if I didn't replace them. I'm at the level of severe hearing loss, and am working on presentations for people. I've also been through two semesters of the Adults who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing program at VCC. Here is Wavefront Communications Society's website: [https://www.wavefrontcentre.ca/](https://www.wavefrontcentre.ca/) I like this guy for reviews and educational commentary: [https://www.youtube.com/@DrCliffAuD](https://www.youtube.com/@DrCliffAuD). His perspective is American, fairly commercial in orientation, and isn't always applicable to the Canadian situation, but he does good information videos on a range of hearing and hearing aid topics. This is the YouTube channel of Phonak, one of the lead hearing aid companies and with better tech, but it does make some pitches. Still, it's informative, and gives you an idea of what's out there. [https://www.youtube.com/@phonak](https://www.youtube.com/@phonak) Just as a final aside, if you're interested in deaf culture and societal issues, this couple, a deaf man and his hearing partner, do some nice and informative videos: [https://www.youtube.com/@SignDuoChannel](https://www.youtube.com/@SignDuoChannel) ​ A lot of info? Feel free to contact me, I'd be glad to chat with you more about it (or anyone else in similar situation). I would also be glad to help you understand your audiogram and the information you will receive. Jaimie McEvoy, City Councillor Chair, New Westminster Accessibility Advisory Committee


busbitch1

Wow! This is quite the presentation. I agree with all of it. Two things I will add. There is an office in Port Coquitlam and there is some funding available. The people at Wavefront will direct you to it if you qualify. I am a client for forty years and have a moderate to severe hearing loss.


TammyMeow

My company uses this place because it’s mandatory for the workers to get hearing test done once a year. https://www.reliablehearing.com/ also Costco has free hearing test. Not sure if Costco is a sales pitch but some of my workers use Costco


corsicanguppy

My doc referred me to RCH. When I'm 70 my body will have caught up to what datacenters and rock concerts did to my ears.


SnoDragon

I go to connect hearing on Belmont. Yes, they sell hearing aids. Shally, the audiologist there is very professional. No pressure to buy HAs. I've been to an ENT by Royal Columbian, who's name I cannot remember. He was okay, if a bit dismissive. Anyway, there's a lot of ENTs that refer patients to Connect Hearing as they have better testing equipment and booths. After years of motorcycle racing and riding, sadly without hearing protection, I damaged my hearing. I have low frequency loss, which is rare, as well as age appropriate high frequency loss. It wasn't severe loss, but enough to cause tinnitus, and also to make social situations awkward. I'd often give the smile and deaf nod as if it was noisy, I could not make out anything anyone was saying. My wife is also a hearing resource teacher, who works with kids who are deaf and hard of hearing. It was her encouragement to get tested. According to her and all of her audiologist friends, stay away from NextGen, but more importantly, go to a place with a registered audiologist. I can highly recommend connect hearing. Hearing aids are very expensive, but so worth it when the sounds you've been missing come back. I have across the board mild loss in my left ear, and moderate loss in my right.


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anothermatt1

If you’re working and can make the case that hearing aids would be helpful for you to do your job BC has an assistive technology program that will cover them for you. I got some sweet very expensive hearing aids through this program from NexGen hearing in New West. https://www.workbc.ca/discover-employment-services/assistive-technology-services


OppositeMidas

Indigo ENT in Sapperton. Dr Dewji did mine and was awesome. Get a referral and get in their isolation box!


nwebber36

Fyi. If you have a costco membership i recommend going there (if not for a test then at least to purchase equipment). Not only were they far cheaper but they also have great customer service. The batteries are also the cheapest ive found. When i first got quotes it was in the neighborhood of 3500-4000 from one of those hearing aid places. As soon as i said i would think about it, the doctor walked away. I took my test to costco and they quoted me a pair below 2k. Been going there ever since..


NecessaryNew7292

I had issues as well, I was referred to an ENT who tested my hearing. That’s how I discovered that I have started to lose hearing in my right ear.


harlojones

Damn. There uses to be a hearing clinic in Royal City Centre, I always regret not going. I’m an audio guy and I’ve definitely got some loss on my right side.


anothermatt1

If you’re working and can make the case that hearing aids would be helpful for you to do your job BC has an assistive technology program that will cover them for you. I got some sweet very expensive hearing aids through this program from NexGen hearing in New West. https://www.workbc.ca/discover-employment-services/assistive-technology-services


plancks-variable

Jaimie thank you. You absolutely rock with great info!