Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bernafon Verite Review - Final Report

In our little household, all three of us are hearing impaired. Flabbergasted by the price of top-notch aids, we went to Costco and bought Bernafon Verite 9 hearing aids, one pair at a time of course. Two pairs stuck - both Sweetpea and I are happy with ours. The sound is good, speech is recognizable, programs are logically distinct from one another, and Bluetooth streaming audio from the TV is clear as a bell. We ended up with excellent, high-tech aids at the relatively modest cost of about $3000 per pair.

No such luck for Sunshine - she returned hers. Even though the Bluetooth worked fine, with excellent speech recognition, the Verite aids did not provide good speech recognition when used as normal hearing aids. After at least a half dozen trips to Costco, she gave up. One other Costco person assured her that he could have made them work for her, but she was done with Costco and went to different hearing instrument dispensers:
  • Sam's Club, where she finally got hearing aids which DID provide decent speech recognition but which didn't have Bluetooth; and
  • Independent Dispenser, who fitted her with two additional brands, both having Bluetooth. New Phonak Audeo S aids didn't work after several readjustments. Finally, the dispensing person tried Unitron Passport Moxi aids, which do seem to work just as well as the Sam's aids, but with Bluetooth and a higher price.
There will be separate blog posts reviewing the America Hears Liberty SIE from Sam's, the Phonak Audeo S, and the Unitron Passport Moxi.

Costco does have a problem, though. We had a lot of trouble finding a competent "hearing instrument dispenser" person at Costco in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Each store seems to have just one person. The person nearest us is totally incompetent, doesn't know it, refuses to learn, and doesn't much care. Another cares a lot, but doesn't have a handle on the technical details necessary to fit high-tech aids. A third may be competent, but we didn't really offer a chance to prove it. It's a very small sample, but the two Sam's Club people we've met were both more competent than two of the three Costco people. Sorry to say that, because I like Costco better on principle, but the Sam's guys knew what they were doing. Furthermore, Sam's Club had given them great tools with which to do it, better than the Costco people have available.

  1. If your Costco fitter hasn't done LOTS of Bernafon Verite aids, you should insist that the fitting be done by the Bernafon factory representative (you're paying, you can insist, though it may delay things); and
  2. If you are ordering ANY brand of aids with an external control unit, especially the Bernafons, be SURE that the control unit is "paired" to the aids before you leave the dispenser's office. They forget to do that, which means that the control unit won't work and you have to drive all the way back there for nothing. That happened to us three times! We're slow learners.
See also our initial post titled Bernafon Verite Hearing Aid Review. Some of the comments may be informative.


  1. Hi Don,
    I like very much you research on HAs. Unfortunately the Consumer Reports org. does not perform such a comprehensive research.
    In your manuscripts,(I saw several of them), you supply very little data concerning the hearing response curve of the participating members. Would you please supply the response curves, or the corresponding data tables ?
    Many thanks,

  2. Hello Haim,

    Sorry to say, I do not have that information. There are two "receivers", and the frequency response curve at maximum gain depends on which receiver is used.

    Of course the actual response curve is "fitted" to the need of the customer. My report here is from the point of view of one such customer family.