Not very many people, including myself, will argue that hearing aids are not a good invention. They have helped thousands of people hear again, or better, especially older people like myself. Regardless, I have always thought that they were a big rip-off and still do. Compared to other electronic devices, they are grossly over priced. If Laptops, PC’s, Printers, Digital Cameras, I-Pads, I-Pods and Pea-Pods (with cameras, touch operation, and all their other gadgets) etc. can be purchased for $500.00 or less than there is no reason for a digital hearing aid for one ear to cost $1500.00 or more; that is of course, unless the Manufacturers and Professional Hearing Companies who represent/sell hearing aids are stiffing the public and my opinion is that they certainly are and always have.
I came into a new pair of digital hearing aids, similar to the ones pictured above, a few months ago. I took them to the hearing service they were purchased from (they were all paid for) and was told I had to have impressions taken for ear fit etc, etc, etc. and I would be charged about $300.00 for the “services”. When the “services” were finished, I went to pick them up and the “Dr.” inserted them for me, adjusted the sound level, explained how they worked, explained how to care for them and clean them, gave me all kinds of literature, cleaning tools, batteries, etc. Then she said “my fee will be $700.00”. The sound of the “rip” was like when you bend over and the seam in your pants/slacks rips open because they are to tight. I wrote out the check and left without a word. I have been back a few times (at no charge) to have the volume adjusted. Volume adjustments have to be made with a computer. I know there are better high-tech speakers out there in sound land than what are used in hearing aids. It turns out that the biggest adjustment is for the wearer to “Get Used To Them”. This was stressed many times over during my appointment. The reason, of course, is because the reception through hearing aids is poor at best. They “crackle”. The crackle sound is much like crunching cellophane in your hands only magnified several times over. The more the sound is adjusted up, the louder the crackle. This is what the patient has to “Get Used To”. Some people never do and they end up not wearing them. I didn’t have much trouble with this problem and after they are first inserted in my ears, I forget they are there unless I try to scratch my ear. My biggest complaint with them (other than the high cost) is their maintenance. They are the biggest pain in the ass to care for than any other thing I have come across (except maybe a woman, at times).
Television with, or without, hearing aids, is a “BITCH” at best. Each net-work and commercial has its own sound level. I am watching channel 20 as I write this and the sound level is on “20” with my hearing aids inserted. Another channel might be sound level “12” and I always have to put the sound on mute when a commercial comes on because they are so much louder. My apartment neighbors must, at times, think that I am deaf as a “door nail”. I have not had any com-plaints as YET though I expect one at any time. At times I have had my volume turned up to level “30” so I could hear the program. Some of this problem is due to actors speaking almost in a whisper.
I have been on Medicare with supplemental insurance for 17 years. Neither Medicare nor my supplemental covers hearing aids although I know that some health insurance plans do cover them. Why Medicare does not cover them is a mystery to me. Hearing loss is definitely a legitimate health problem. Yes, I am a veteran and I used to go to the vets hospital for medication and other services and yes, they will give a vet hearing aids if the vet is eligible. One day I had a 1:00 p.m. appointment. I was there in plenty of time. At 5:00 p.m. I went to the check in window for the third time and explained about the time of my appointment. I also explained that I would not be back to their hospital again. The “minority” person who waited on me couldn’t have cared less. I have never been back since. The V.A. hospital in Indianapolis is the worst place for veterans to get care in the United States and some of these veterans are homeless people who our Govern-ment has abandoned and have no other form of insurance.
At the present my right hearing aid works fine, but the left does not. As a matter of fact I think I have gone almost completely deaf in my left ear. One of these days (when the spirit moves me) I’ll go see a hearing specialist and see what’s going on. This brings me to another “beef” with the hearing industry. Ear specialists can only examine a person and tell him/her if they need hearing aids. They cannot sell them hearing aids or recommend where or what brand to buy. An opthimologist can examine a person for glasses, give him/her a prescription and have an interest in a business in the same office that sells glasses. How is this right???……….
New Federal Regulations – Strict Control Over Hearing Aids………. Ind. Code § 25-20-1-23 : Indiana Code – Section 25-20-1-23: Rules and regulations…………….For more information on up to date hearing aid regulations, check out these sites.