The 4 NEW Costco Philips 9040 Hearing Aids: Full Feature Review!

The 4 NEW Costco Philips 9040 Hearing Aids: Full Feature Review!

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I have one quick question for you: have you ever  wondered if the hearing aids available at Costco   in the US are actually worth it? In early 2023,  Costco, who are the largest retailer of hearing   aids in the US, teamed up with tech giants  Philips, a household name known for light   bulbs and other health technology. Believe it or  not, Philips first produced their hearing aids,   which were pretty groundbreaking, way back when in  the '90s. Yes, the early '90s. However, by 1999,   they'd completely disappeared from the hearing  technology scene. Well, it appears that the   Philips Phoenix has risen from the flames 30 years  on, with their family of HearLink hearing aids,   offering cutting-edge background noise reduction  at a disproportionately low price point,   and that's even by Costco standards. So, today,  I'll expand on which models and features are   available now, if they're suitable for you  and your hearing loss, and most importantly,   what I love and even what I dislike about them.  At the time of making today's video, the Philips   HearLink 9040s cost an incredible $1,499.99.  That's from Costco's Hearing Aid Centers,  

which can vary depending on the state that you're  in. This price not only includes the hearing aids   but also a desktop charger, a 3-year warranty,  plus 2 years' worth of loss and damage protection,   and it also includes a whopping 6-month trial  period. To be honest, everything on this   list makes sense to me, apart from the 6-month  trial period. Yes, it's great, but in my opinion,  

the hearing aid dispenser that you're working with  should be looking for alternative technology way   before 6 months if you're having to go back and  forth for adjustments. It very simply shouldn't   take that long to either get the best out of these  hearing aids or for you to get used to them. Now,   before we get into the juicy details, it's also  worth noting that you need to be a Costco member   to be able to buy them, which will set you back  around $60 per year. As I do with all of my tech  

review videos, let's first of all now take a look  at the physical side of things, and then we'll   take a good look at what's going on inside these  hearing aids. The Philips HearLink is available in   four different styles: Firstly, the HearLink  MiniRITE T R, which is the Receiver in Canal   rechargeable version with a built-in telecoil; the  MiniRITE T, which uses a 312 disposable battery that   needs changing roughly once every 5 to 10 days;  the Mini BTE T R, which is Philips' rechargeable BTE;   and then finally, the Mini BTE T, which again uses  a size 312 battery. Both BTEs have a built-in   telecoil and are slightly larger than the Receiver  in Canal style of these hearing aids. Weirdly,  

I have no idea why they have the prefix 'Mini' as  there's no 'Maxi' version. However, if cosmetics   is important to you, then the smallest offering is  the Mini R T, and as a result, I imagine will be   the most popular of all of the hearing aids that  I'm covering today. So, firstly, let's take a look   at the Receiver in Canal models, which are similar  in shape and size to the majority of Receiver in   Canal hearing aids from other manufacturers. To  maximize speech understanding in noise, you'll   notice twin microphones here and here. These are  positioned in such a way to run horizontally and  

optimize the detection of sounds from both the  front and to the rear. Here, you can see two push   buttons, which are essentially soft keys, meaning  that they can be programmed to perform a range   of functions, such as controlling the volume or  changing programs. And then we have the receiver   wire, which rolls over the top of your ear and  into your ear canal, which can be coupled to your   ear either using a selection of generic rubber  domes or a custom-made ear mold. As I mentioned  

before, the BTE styles are slightly larger than  the Receiver in Canal HearLinks, and I'll come on   to why you would choose one over the other when we  talk about what's going inside these hearing aids   later on in today's video. Again, here you'll see  twin microphones, a single push button this time,   which again is customizable in terms of functions.  The behind-the-ear style can be coupled to your   ear either using a slim tube and generic rubber  tip, or with a standard tubing and custom-made   ear mold fitted within your ear. The HearLink  9040s are available in six different colors,   which are designed to match different hair colors  rather than just being skin-toned. Your hearing  

aid dispenser should have a chart to help you  choose the right color for you. They're mainly   matte nowadays, so they don't tend to catch  the light, and they'll blend in for discretion.   Discussing the waterproof rating of a hearing aid  nowadays almost seems irrelevant, yet the reason   why all manufacturers feel the need to boast about  how robust their hearing aids are is very simple:   They used to be terrible. A drop of sweat when  you were working out, or even a particularly   humid day, would have previously sent your  hearing aid into overdrive. And so, for an   active person or somebody that likes to spend a  lot of time outdoors or near water, then you'll   be delighted to know that these hearing aids have  an IP68 rating. This is pretty much the industry  

standard now and means that they can technically  be submerged in a meter and a half of water for   up to 30 minutes, and they should still function  afterwards. Now, by no means am I suggesting that   you should go swimming wearing them, but at least  this rating ensures that they'll break down less   often, and they'll be a little bit more reliable  than hearing technology of the past. That pretty   much covers the physical side of things, so let's  take a look at what's going under the hood with   the Costco Philips hearing aid. The Philips 40  series incorporates a ton of technology carried   over from the previous Philips 30 generation,  including the likes of artificial intelligence,   sound technology, binaural program or volume  control syncing, multi-channel processing,   automatic and adaptive directional microphones,  and then finally wireless streaming. I imagine  

that you'll be delighted to learn that the  Philips HearLink 9040s are manufactured by   Demant. These are one of the top global hearing  aid manufacturers who are better known for brands   such as Oticon, Bernafon, and Sonic. As such, the  9040s are built on the same technology platform as   Demant's latest hearing devices and have  incorporated Demant's industry-leading   speech-enhancing AI technology. This table shows  the features built into these hearing aids, of   which I'll cover the most important and features  now. As far as suitability goes, these images show   the fitting ranges for the Receiver in Canal  models. So, if your hearing loss falls within  

the shaded area, then they're technically suitable  for you, with the receivers being interchangeable   between either a 60, 85, 100, or 105 dB  power level. This is nothing that you need to   worry about; it's something that your hearing aid  dispenser would recommend based on your hearing   test results. The behind-the-ear models are a  little different, and as you can see here, they   have a set fitting range. So whether you have a  mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss,   these hearing aids can be ordered to suit your  degree of hearing. It's also worth noting that the   Receiver in Canal models can be coupled to your  ears using a selection of generic rubber tips or   with a custom ear mold. To have a custom ear mold  made, this involves your hearing care provider   taking an impression of your ear, and it would  normally take around about 2 weeks from start   to finish. It's really your hearing loss that  determines whether a rubber tip or a custom mold  

is the most appropriate for you. And I'm going to  give this small yet very important component of   your hearing aid quite a lot of airtime today, as  believe it or not, the sound of your hearing aid   can be completely transformed by changing this  component and can have a huge impact on how your   hearing aids function. For example, it can affect  both the clarity and sharpness that a hearing aid   can provide, how full and rich it sounds, how good  it sounds when you're streaming sound from your   phone, and most importantly, how well it copes  in background noise. Your hearing care provider   should recommend the most appropriate tip, not  just for your hearing test results and anatomy,   but also for the hearing difficulties that you  face on a daily basis. It's pretty much a given   for all hearing aids to have Bluetooth built  into them nowadays, and the Philips HearLink   is no exception. The HearLinks use  2.4 GHz low energy Bluetooth connectivity,  

allowing for connectivity with most modern Android  devices and iPhones. But it isn't all cell phones.   Philips have a great tool on their website, which  allows you to check the compatibility of your   phone. If you scroll down the list and select your  phone, it will tell you if the Bluetooth features   will work or not. If you're not familiar with the  advantages of Bluetooth, then you're definitely in   for a treat. Right now, in summary, it means that  you can stream phone calls, music, and the radio,   podcasts, directly to both of your ears from  your phone. Philips even have an app called  

the HearLink 2 app that allows you to make manual  adjustments to the settings on your hearing aids   if you want to override the automatic settings.  The app gives you access to a volume control;   you can switch to different programs set by  your audiologist, such as speech in noise,   Hi-Fi music, or classroom programs, which I'll go  into more detail on later in this video. And with   the recent update, there's even the ability to  adjust the bass, mids, and treble for both sounds   being streamed from your phone, i.e., music,  or for adjusting the sound of the environment   around you. Saying that, the app is still a little  basic relative to other hearing aid manufacturers,   so if you're keen on having even more control over  your hearing aids, then it may be worth looking at   either the ReSound Nexias or Phonak Lumities, which  will give you access to a ton of other features,   such as step tracking, heart rate monitoring,  fall detection alerts, etc., etc. They also   have bidirectional Bluetooth, which means you  have access to completely hands-free calling,   i.e., you can keep your phone in your pocket, and  the microphones on your hearing aids will pick up  

your voice and transmit it to the person on the  other end of your phone. Now, from my experience,   there are a couple of important points on this,  which oddly it doesn't mention on the Philips   compatibility checker. Firstly, it only works  with Apple devices, so if you're an Android user,   then Phonak and Unitron are still your only  options for completely hands-free calling.  ! And secondly, whilst this feature sounds great   in theory, in practical terms I've had a ton of  patients report that this bidirectional Bluetooth   isn't the most selective at picking up the hearing  aid user's voice. Some reporting that there are a  

lot of issues with these microphones picking  up too much of the extraneous sounds around   them. So sometimes, if phone calls are taken in  a particularly noisy place, it can be challenging   for the person on the other end of the phone call  to be able to hear you speaking. Fortunately,   it's possible to toggle this feature on and  off in your iPhone settings. So, if it's not   working well for you, you can always go back to  the old-fashioned way of holding your phone next   to your mouth. The final feature that Bluetooth  has opened up for hearing aid users is remote   support. This allows your Costco provider to  adjust the settings on your hearing aid from the  

clinic whilst you're sat in the comfort of your  own home. I personally don't like to make remote   changes too early on in the fitting process, as  nothing beats having a patient sat in front of me   to get those initial settings just right. And it's  way more likely early on that we'll need to look   at changing something physical, whether that's the  receiver wire length or the dome on the end of the   hearing aid. And that's just not possible if we're  working remotely. The only other thing that I'm  

not particularly keen on with remote adjustments  is that the first thing that I would do normally   if a patient walks into the clinic with a problem  is to examine their ears. Yet, I don't have that   ability if I'm making remote changes. So, I can't  rule out any ear-related issues such as a poor fit, wax or moisture that might be the root of  any of my patients' problems. If you've been  

sat at the theater, in a lecture, or even a place  of worship, and you've been struggling to hear,   then a telecoil could well make a huge difference  to your quality of life. If you're not familiar   with a telecoil, then I would 100% recommend  checking out this video which covers the   advantages of having a telecoil built into your  hearing aids. It even includes sound files and   gives you a real flavor of the benefit that you  can expect from using a telecoil on loop system.  

When activated, the telecoil allows you to connect  wirelessly to a microphone set at a distance,   and you should be able to hear the person speaking  into that microphone just as if you were stood   next to them. You'll likely have seen this sign  at various public venues, letting you know to   activate the t-setting on your hearing aids.  And like I said, it can make a huge difference   hearing at a distance in the likes of a lecture,  church, or the theater. I'm personally a huge fan   of telecoils and if I were you, I'd choose one of  the models that has it built in as I've seen the   impact that it can have and it doesn't cost any  more to have this option built into your hearing   aids. So, there's no reason not to go for it.  You have two options when it comes to powering  

these hearing aids: either disposable batteries or  rechargeable batteries. I'd say that I fit around   90% of my patients with rechargeable batteries  nowadays. They're way more convenient, you don't   have the battery dying halfway through the day,  and you're also not throwing away old batteries,   which seems a terrible waste if you can avoid it.  As the disposable batteries need replacing roughly  

once every week. With both rechargeable hearing  aids, a three to three and a half hour charge will   give you a full day of battery life, with clever  circuitry in place meaning that the hearing aids   can be left on charge overnight and it shouldn't  cause them any damage. The battery life doesn't   always last for a full day, however, and Philips  acknowledged that the battery life will be reduced   the more that you stream. However, even with  constant streaming throughout the day, the battery   should still last you for a full waking day. The  great thing is if you forget to charge them one   night, you can still put them in the charger for  30 minutes and this turbocharge should give you   6 hours of battery life to keep you tied over.  There's also the option to upgrade your charger  

from the desktop charger to a travel charger,  which stores up to three full days of battery   life within the built-in battery. So your hearing  aids can be charged on the go without needing to   always be plugged into the mains. This is great if  you go camping for the weekend or even traveling   somewhere where you may not have access to power.  So, you can keep the hearing aids stored in the   case and they'll be constantly charging. Who would  have thought I could talk about batteries for so  

long? I have one final note on the longevity  of these rechargeable batteries, which comes   down to them being lithium-ion technology, which  is the same chemistry that you have in the likes   of your mobile phones, laptops, and other portable  tech equipment. The downside of this technology is   that over time, they become less effective. And  it's possible, based on my experience with all   other hearing aid manufacturers, that the hearing  aids won't last for a full day. One thing that  

I really like about the Philips programming  software is that, similarly to cell phones,   there's a way of monitoring the health of these  batteries. And if the battery health is poor, then   this can be easily identified, and the batteries  can be switched out for a new set. There isn't a   lot of tech that you come across nowadays that  hasn't utilized artificial intelligence in one   way or another, and hearing aids are no exception.  The HearLinks utilize artificial intelligence by   not following standard hearing aid digital signal  processing but by building their own rules and   knowledge by sensing their surroundings, and  then learning about the situation and applying   that learning to improve speech understanding  in background noise. The Demant developed sound   processing system implemented in the 9040 is  called SoundMap 2 Plus, which is essentially   the brain of these hearing aids. With the most  significant development to SoundMap 2 being   in noise control. In the first generation of  SoundMap, both speech understanding and comfort  

in noise were improved using directionality and  noise reduction. And now Philips are boasting   three key technical developments. Firstly, a  50% frequency resolution versus the previous   generation. Secondly, a fundamental change  in how the noise reduction operates, with the  

introduction of artificial intelligence-based  sound processing. And then finally, the brand   new speech clarifier feature that complements the  effect of the directional microphones and the AI   noise reduction. Yes, it all sounds fantastic and  great, doesn't it? But what does all of this mean?   Better hearing in background noise is the holy  grail for all hearing aid manufacturers. I mean,   we've all been there, sat in a busy restaurant,  struggling to hear the person speaking in front   of us, yet for some reason able to hear someone  10 meters away speaking on a different table   perfectly. The 40 series utilizes two different  strategies to improve your hearing in background   noise. Firstly, looking at transient noises,  which are managed with a fast, effective gain  

reduction to feed more precise information to  the hearing aid AI processor, which Philips calls   their AI NR. And then secondly, improvements in  wind noise handling, which I will say does come   up periodically from patients as an annoyance when  wearing behind-the-ear hearing aids outdoors. Wind   can rush over the microphones and make it way  more challenging to hear conversations. Philips   are boasting that these hearing aids will analyze  the noise level in each of those microphones and   then the SoundProtect feature will then select the  microphone with the lowest level of noise for each   individual band and adjust their selection  over time again ensuring that the cleanest   signal is allowed to reach the AI NR. Artificial  intelligence tackling background noise is half   of the battle when it comes to hearing speech  in more challenging environments. On top of  

the SoundProtect feature, the HearLinks have the  speech clarifier, which enhances and controls how   much speech stands out through that background  noise. It's constantly balancing between the   amount of background noise present and the clarity  of speech that it delivers to your ears. Music is   an area that's especially important to me with  the work that I do in clinic on a daily basis.   And if you're watching this and music is also a  passion of yours, then you'll be delighted to know   that there's a lot that can be done to optimize  your hearing aids for music. Now, it's worth   noting that it isn't solely down to the hearing technology that you're wearing but also the   audiologist that you're working with's understanding  of the fundamentals of music and their skills in   terms of adjusting your hearing aids accordingly.  So if music is important to you, I'd recommend  

checking out this video, which I'll link in the  description to today's video. As technically,   most hearing aids out there can be fine-tuned for  better music reproduction, it just needs the right   care, the right attention, and the right knowledge  from your audiologist. So, the big question is,   why can live music sometimes sound so terrible  with hearing aids? Now, you have to remember that   the main goal of any hearing aid technology is to  enhance and focus on speech and to bring it within   your audible range. If a hearing aid is therefore  detecting sound that doesn't have a speech-like   pattern, it treats it like it's interference or  noise or feedback coming from the hearing aid,   and it can manipulate it, which is technically  the opposite thing that you would want to do   when it comes to listening to music. Philips  have a dedicated program called Hi-Fi Music,  

which has two key qualities. Firstly, it has  a greater focus on the frequencies associated   with music as opposed to just focusing on the  frequencies associated with speech. And secondly,   it copes better with the dynamic range of music,  i.e., focusing on the softer sounds and the louder   sounds, which you wouldn't want the hearing aid  to do with speech. In theory, this gives greater   richness and depth, plus simultaneously maintains  the detail in music too. Each hearing aid brand   has various accessories to make life easier,  where hearing aids alone can't quite cut it, and   Philips are no exception. Although the selection is  limited, they're still pretty useful. From their  

Audio Clip, which is their remote microphone that  can help you hear better in a noisy environment,   to their TV adapter, which will stream the sound  of the television directly to both of your ears,   and then finally, the remote control, which is an  alternative to using the app on your phone or the   button on the back of your hearing aids to adjust  the settings. As you can see from today's video,   the tech available from Costco is loaded with  features. It could well be a great option for   you if you've already been fitted with the Philips  9040s, I would absolutely love to hear about your   experience with both Costco and this technology,  so share with everybody watching this video and   drop me a note in the comments beneath today's  video. There's no question that choosing the   right hearing aids is tough, and it's impossible  to know if the tech is right for you. Well,   let's just say it was impossible. You no longer  need to rely on what the hearing aid manufacturers   say about how good their hearing aids are and try  to wade through all of their tech talk, as here   at HearingTracker, we've teamed up with the HearAdvisor team, who've built a lab to independently   test the latest tech that's out there. So much so,  that there have been over 50 hearing aids tested  

in total, and this video shows the best of the  best, along with sound files for you to listen   to. So, check it out to see if they're suitable  for you, and I'll see you in the next video.

2023-11-30 01:06

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