Phonak Naida V UltraPower - dying again

A few years ago I posted a few rather blunt although honest reviews of Phonak's hearing aid technology.

Now, considering I'm not wearing Phonak Naida V UltraPower's right's the report on what's occurred since then...


Back in August of 2008 I was the happy recipient of a brand new set of Phonak branded Naida V UltraPower hearing aids. While my hearing loss is congenital, it had then-recently shifted into the profound category; necessitating my acquisition and use of the then most powerful hearing aids on the market.

After only mere days, both of the Naida V UltraPower hearing aids essentially died. Then, four days after the related blog posting, Phonak called my hearing aid dispenser "...we've seen his blog & the corrosion pictures. A new pair is en-route now..."

At the time, Phonak advertised their Naida hearing aids, with an included FM receiver, as "water resistant". My experiences proved they were definitely not water-resistant, they were also not sweat, sneeze, nor mist, I'd almost say you could hear a blood-curdling scream every time I raised water to my lips.

All joking aside, the Phonak Naida V UltraPower hearing aids have served me OK. I've scaled-back the amount of cycling and ballroom dancing that I do; heavily-regulating my time to minimize any sweat. This has been done in large part due to fears of burning out the hearing aids, I simply cannot afford their nearly $9,000 price tag more than once every 5-10 years. Nor, as a small-business owner, can I afford to spend countless hours dealing with repair/replacement silliness; while diagnosing issues back in 2008, I dumped around 60 hours of my time into the repair/service trips and visits. That is a very painful chunk of time for any business owner to lose.

Aside from letting technology limit my lifestyle choices, the hearing aids have been OK. They've been somewhat probelematic from time-to-time, but when compared to all previous models and experiences, I'd still choose the Phonak Naida V UltraPower hearing aids over any other options.

About a week ago, they started beeping randomly again... I cannot begin to express the stress from hearing a random beep, that follows you everywhere...endlessly... Coupled with the events I knew were to follow...not pleasant.

Today, I finally got into my hearing aid dispenser's office. They took one look, checked the warranty (which expires in a mere 15 days!), and said we're sending the hearing aids in. Apparently the flimsy rubber-like layer on the inside of the battery door has come loose - it had also become discolored, but then I'd expect that on something worn every day for years. Then we spent a little time discussing how Phonak has changed in the past few years; apparently Phonak has sharply toned-down their water-resistant claims of the Naida V UltraPower hearing aids, and now even notes that the integrated FM receivers compromise their water-resistance (to the point that Phonak makes it quite clear, in the users manual, that water-resistance is not possible with the integrated receivers).

For those of you not "in the know" the FM receivers are not your typical FM radio receivers. In-fact, they're not capable of receiving a typical FM radio signal at all (well, except for the one in my right ear, just before it was sent in for repair). Hmm, let's say that they're NOT SUPPOSED to be able to receive such signals. The integrated FM receivers are instead designed for a much higher-frequency radio signal, that's only usable with specific hearing-assistance devices (think: portable microphones used in lecture halls, performances, and similar situations).

So, tonight I'm using an old pair of hearing aids. It's a whole new, old, world; where only the loudest sounds are heard and recruitment is paying me an unwelcome visit yet again.