hi HealthInnovations Hearing Aid Review

By: Dr Cliff Olson
June 13, 2019
Video Transcript

Hi HealthInnovations is a subsidiary of United HealthCare.  Their hearing aids are manufactured by a company called Intricon who makes low-cost basic hearing aids for a number of hearing aid brands.  That being said, hi HealthInnovations offers several different hearing aid option the hi BTE, hi BTE Wireless, hi BTE Power Plus, hi BTE Power Plus Wireless and the hi ITC.  According to a hi Health Hearing Instrument Specialist, one of the major hearing aid manufacturers, Starkey, also supplies a Power hearing aid to Hi HealthInnovations.

In this video, I'm reviewing the Hi BTE Wireless which is a 16 channel hearing aid with Telecoil, access to a remote microphone, and a Smartphone App.  These devices have a Slim Tube with a rubber dome.  I'm not personally a fan of Slim Tube hearing aids due to physical fit and performance characteristics compared to a Receiver-In-Canal device.

The 6 positives about the hi BTE Wireless devices from hi HealthInnovations.

#1. Price - That is, if you have United HealthCare insurance.  Without insurance, these will cost around $1,000 a piece which is pretty expensive, but with UHC insurance, you will likely spend less than $400 per device.

#2. Convenience - You can purchase these devices online after submitting a hearing test to hi HealthInnovations.  After receiving the pre-programmed devices by mail, you can receive help from their online videos, Facetime or Video Chat, or jump on their morning conference calls.  If you want a more personalized touch, they also have local clinics in most major cities.

#3. They are programmable - Most online devices cannot be programmed.  With the hi BTE Wireless, you can either send it back to Hi Health for reprogramming, or you can go into your local Hi Health Clinic.

#4. Telecoil - The hi BTE Wireless has a telecoil to help you hear better in a public venue that is looped.  Just make sure you get this programmed well to ensure proper audibility and sound quality.

#5. The Smartphone App - While you can't stream audio from your Smartphone, you can make program changes, volume changes, and control the Companion Microphone.

#6. The Companion Microphone (Remote Mic) - Background noise can be a major issue for hearing aids.  A remote microphone can help cut through that noise.  While the remote mic was a little intermittent in the left hearing aid, when it worked, it worked well.

That’s it for the positives, now let’s get into some of the Not So Positive things about the Hearing Aids from Hi Health Innovations.

#1. Programming - While they can be custom programmed, don't expect them to be programmed correctly when mailed to you. Proper custom programming requires the use of Real Ear Measurement.  If you don't know what Real Ear Measurement is, watch my video here: https://youtu.be/cHR0Oa6I-wY While your hi Health Clinic may have access to REMs, they are not required to use them during your fitting.

#2. Limitation of technology - These devices are similar to the EarVenture ReVel which are also manufactured by Intricon, and received a favorable review by me several months back.  However, they just do not perform as well as basic level technology from other Major Manufacturers.  Testing of the directional microphone features of these devices revealed minimal to no noise reduction when sound is coming from behind the devices.  

#3. Warranty - The warranty for these devices is 3 years, but according to Hi Health, “This warranty does not cover malfunctions due to unusual wear and tear, unauthorized alteration or mistreatment of the hearing aid, such as physical shock, damage from moisture or sweat, excessive wax build-up, or tampering with the instrument, all of which void the warranty.”  This basically means that the warranty is extremely limited since in most cases wax and sweat lead to the most warranty repairs.

#4. Access to in-person help  - Hi Health Hearing Care Providers move around a lot.  This means that if you need help and can't travel long distances, you have to wait until the provider comes back to the location near you.  

#5. Locked Hearing Aids - Hi Health Hearing Aids are Locked, meaning that they can only be programmed and serviced by a Hi Health Provider.  If your provider leaves and they bring in a new one that isn't very good, you are stuck with them.  At the end of the day, Hi HealthInnovations hearing aids are a good low cost option if you have UHC insurance.  You just need to make sure you find a great provider who follows Best Practices like Real Ear Measurement when fitting them.  

*The information presented in this video is my own opinion.  My content is intended to provide information that is of value to the public.

Dr. Cliff's Thoughts
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