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Help with hearing aids

BlueOnLft blueonlft at aol.com
Sun Mar 24 17:01:39 EST 1996

Sam Writes

-Do hearing aids really need to cost in excess of $800? I find it hard to
>>believe that the technology of hearing aid is that expensive. After
>>gone to the hearing aid place with my mother, I am under the impression
>>that it is pretty much a medical scam that takes advantage of vunerable
>>people. Please set me straight on this.

Actually, $800 is towards the low end of hearing aid prices.  There are
some less expensive ones, but you really do get what you pay for.  One
thing to keep in mind, the cost of the hearing aid also covers the cost of
the office visits during the trial month and the year to follow.  Many
audiologists will also do all cleaning and servicing that is possible in
the office for the life of the hearing aid (at no additional charge).  All
this is figured into the cost.

-What is the best hearing aid to get in terms of quality and reliability.
I don't care what the price is, as long as it is a quality product. I'll
give her the money.

Best is a VERY relative term.  I have patients who do just fine with the
basic linear hearing aids.  I also have patients who have been unhappy
with anything but the Resound (one of the most expensive...one aid goes
for between $1500 and $2500, depending on size and options).  There are a
few things to consider here.  The single biggest one is that when
searching for a hearing aid, your mom has to be patient.  Any legitimate
dispenser will give you a 30 day trial period on an aid.  This is state
law in many places....and if they dont offer it....walk out!!  

Many audiologists will push aids with more bells and whistles because
patients dont have the persistance to try more than one aid...and having
the bells and whistles DOES give a better chance of a satisfied patient
(if they are the right bells ; ).  To your specific question of the
"best".  Let me answer it in terms of the most high tech : )  For many
years, Resound was the top of the line.  They are still very good, but
others have caught up with them.  A few of the good ones are the Oticon
Mulitfocus and Digifocus.  The Siemens Triton, and the Maico Gamma.  These
are all programmable aids that carry multiple programs.  Their frequency
response can be quickly altered in the office while the patient listens to
them.  I use a sound effects CD that another follower of this list told me
about to simulate multiple listening conditions to get the best fit.

-Is there a better place to go to get a hearing aid? My mom lives in NY,
about 70 miles north of NYC. 

I cant comment on specific places, but like any other product, overhead
costs are figured in.  You can bet the NYC area is going to be VERY high
compaired to other locals.  After your audiologist / dispenser suggests an
aid, make a few long distance calls and see what others in other areas
want for the same aid.  make sure when you get a quote, that they specify
ALL the amplifier, shell, and programmable circuit options (if applicable)
that are included in that quote.  Differences in any or all of these can
really crank the price up and down.

Good luck;

Tim McClosky, M.S., CCC-A  (BlueOnLft at AOL.COM)
College Park Hearing Services
College Park, MD
(301) 277-2100

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