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consumers/hearing aids/pricing/etc.etc

Paul D Dybala dybala at utdallas.edu
Tue Sep 23 21:07:02 EST 1997

I second your motion susan!  

BTW, we routinely
refer to that 1992 Consumer Reports article
and give out copies to our patients.

Paul Dybala

Susan M Lopez (lopezs at musc.edu) wrote:
> Today, I saw a woman who was 82 years old.

> She has bilateral SNHL and crappy speech discrimination abilities.
> She was brought in by her daughter who wanted to know what could be done
> to help her mom hear better.

> She was wearing a Starkey ITE on her left ear.  I called and found out it
> was a Class A circuit.  After more questions, it became apparent that this
> woman paid a rediculous amount for two ITE clas A circuit aids with NO
> trimpots.  I could not tell if she got the aids from an audiologist or a
> hearing aid dealer.

> Recent threads centered around the Widex pricing issue between Canada and
> the US have highlighted a problem that does exist in our community.
> Consumers are not educated about hearing loss and about how to be good
> consumers of the hearing health care industry.

> State laws allow two groups of hearing health care specialists: hearing
> aid dealers and audiologists.  There are many members of each group who do
> wonderful jobs and probably just as many in each who do not and who sell
> Class A circuits to little old ladies at rediculous prices with no
> trimpots when this woman should be in a BTE, etc., etc.  (However, based
> on the discrim score, you could argue that no hearing aid circuit would
> make that much difference).

> For all you non-audiologists who follow this group, please understand that
> you owe it to yourself to do your own homework when it comes to pricing.
> Yes, it would be great if everyone charged the same thing for the same
> product.  But life ain't perfect.  Different individuals have different
> needs when it comes to hearing health care.  Different people can spend
> different amounts of money to buy a hearing aid.  You can spend a lot of 
> money and get a high end product or very little money and get a Whisper
> XL for $29.95--but wait, I think the FDA put a stop to them.

> If you are unhappy with the price quote you get for a hearing aid, then go
> find someone else who sells what you want (Widex) and compare apples to
> apples (same model, circuit, service contract).  If you find an
> unbelievable deal out there, you are probably getting screwed someplace.
> Hearing aids ain't cheap.  I saw an ad in a local flyer for hearing aids
> for something insane/inane/unbelievable like $250 for a canal style. Yeah,
> right. Class A circuit, no trimpots. Lots of distortion at moderate input
> levels.  No real ear measurement.  That's what $250 buys you, or perhaps
> even worse.  And what really disgusts me is that lots of hearing impaired
> people will walk into that office and try their fabulously cheap hearing
> aid and then get disgusted when the aid doesn't do what they want it to
> and never try another hearing aid because "I already tried once and it
> didn't do any good and I wastedmy money."

> I suggest you read "How to Buy a Hearing Aid" in Consumer Reports November
> 1992 issue.  If you have specific complaints about a professional you
> dealt with, complain to your state licensing board or the national
> certification board and better business bureaus.  Those of us who try and
> do a good job will thank you.  I may know that joe blow down the road
> sells crappy hearing aids, but I can't put him out of business.  All I can
> do is try and do a better job than he does and hope that if he screws
> enough people, that sooner or later someone will take their case to the
> above mentioned boards and get something done!

> Meanwhile, throwing around insults at people who ask you not to directly
> discuss pricing on this group will not get you anywhere.  Throwing insults
> at people rarely gets anyone anywhere.  If you have questions, ask them.
> But do not insult people when you do not like the answers that you are
> provided with.  Maybe you need to ask a better question....

> 'Nuff said.

> Susan Lopez
> (all things expressed here are strictly my opinions and do not reflect on
> my employer in any way shape or form)

Thank you for your support,
Paul Dybala
dybala at utdallas.edu

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