ReSound and Beltone are both made by the same parent company, and the technology is essentially identical. The main reason to consider ReSound over Beltone is that the software for the Beltone is locked. This means that you can only have your hearing aids programmed by a Beltone dealership. The ReSound aids could be programmed by any office that services ReSound aids. It gives you, as a patient, more flexibility.
Resound makes Beltone hearing aids so are the same? Well, not exactly. Hearing aids can be locked and unlocked. Resound hearing aids are unlocked and Beltone are locked. What happens if your favorite hearing aid provider leaves the practice you are going to or the practice you are going to closes? If you have a Resound hearing aid you can follow your provider to their next practice or if the office closed you can see pretty much any audiologist to help you with your devices. If you have Beltone hearing aids, you must see a Beltone provider which may mean giving up your favorite provider or having to travel a long distance to the nearest Beltone provider. The most important thing is that you are making an informed choice. As long as you know the device is locked, then you can decide how important that is or is not to you. Hope that helps!
While Beltone is owned by Resound and their outside cases and parts might be interchangeable, the functionality may be different. Many manufacturers share their 'computer chip with a company they own, but just like fruit, not all apples will taste the same (Granny Smith versus Red Delicious or McIntosh). Even some of the language they use in their advertising may be the same. As was mentioned by others, your provider is the most important consideration. You will want to work with a provider who has knowledge, education and experience and with whom you can develop a good working relationship. Don't focus on the widget. Know that there is considerable difference in technology levels and last year's product versus the most recent. Ask important questions about the service, what is included and what you will have to pay for in the future. Learn about the warranties, and most important, learn about the provider. Hearing well is a journey that can be travelled with bare feet, tennis shoes, or in a car with friends and family by your side. Enjoy life and all the sounds around you!
I go to senior residential living centers. A lot of them have bought into a locked hearing aid from Beltone, Miracle ear, Sams Club, Costco, NuEar, or Audibel, and there is nothing I can do but clean the hearing aid and have them ask their families to find them a local chain of the brands above to make fine tuning adjustments. It's not a situation I like to see them in.
I do not recommend locked hearing aids of any sort over a provider who can give great service with your unlocked hearing aid. It would be the same as buying a car and only being able to go to one dealership for continued care and service no matter how they treat you. You may have a few reasons to want to go somewhere else. You may want to test drive a completely different brand. Find you a local provider that will give you quality with an unlocked hearing aid no matter what brand you're buying. After all, the provider is what matters.
Both brands are under the same umbrella and owned by the same company. Technology wise, you will have a good product. Yes, Resound branded devices can be programmed by any practitioner who fits the brand while Beltone products limit you to a Beltone dispensing office for adjustments. What will make the difference is the dispenser who takes care of you. Better hearing a journey and a long term relationship. Make sure that you are in good hands and comfortable with where you choose to go.
Another aspect to consider is that many Beltone dealerships are attended by hearing aid dispensers and not audiologists - and there are many differences between the two with regard to not only training, but what each is allowed to do in terms of testing and diagnostics - while knowledge-base will vary by the individual, it's a good idea to make sure you are working with someone who can provide you with the most comprehensive care available. Also, There are occasions when products from one particular manufacturer might not work for an individual but another might - and if you are being seen by an audiologist who works with Resound, it's likely they work with other manufacturers too - so if you do not do well with Resound products, you may have more success with products from another manufacturer. You would not have this option if you go to Beltone.
When you buy a Beltone hearing aid, the hearing aid software is locked so no other Audiologist/Hearing professional can adjust the settings. This becomes a real problem if you move away from Beltone, if Beltone moves, or if you are just not happy with the provider or service there. I have had several patients from our local Beltone come to me with their hearing aids because they weren't hearing well and weren't happy with the changing providers at Beltone. I called Resound/Beltone to explain the situation and to ask them to "please unlock" the software, however they would not do it.
If you buy resound, you can go to any clinic or provider at any time to have your hearing aids reprogrammed or serviced.
Resound hearing aids are typically sold by a local audiologist and typically pricing should be cheaper than purchasing from a Beltone dealership (if you compare the same hearing aid). Also, you will be able to be seen by anyone when you purchase a Resound hearing aid. Beltone hearing aids can only be programmed by a Beltone center.
What no one shared or failed to mention is that unlimited Lifetime care is included with all Beltone hearing instruments. No matter where you bought them and when you bought them.
You receive lifetime free follow-up care, service, programming, hearing testing from any of 1500 Beltone owners from across the country and in 33 countries outside of the US. With Resound and any other generic brand, you will pay for service at any independent office you visit because Resound does not participate in a network service program.
Dispenser/audiologist training at Beltone is significant and ongoing. I seldom receive invitations from Resound for product upgrade training where I receive those opportunities from Beltone monthly.
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