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hearing aids for profound hearing loss?

David Barnkow barnkow at wsu.edu
Tue Jun 30 23:40:52 EST 1998

Good Morning All,
I have to say that I believe Langche Zeng is, in fact, a good hearing aid
candidate.  Perhaps not the easiest technical fitting in the world, but
certainly a candidate.  I think the level of success and satisfaction with
a hearing aid fitting on this audiogram is more related to appropriate and
realistic expectations (for both the patient and the dispenser)of the
hearing aid fitting than the particular type and level of technology used.

I would encourage a trial hearing aid fitting with a dispenser who has
spent more time defining your needs and expectations and educating you
about the potential benefits and disadvantages of each of your style and
amplifier options than one who "sells" you the most expensive thing in the
office.  Since you asked for suggestions, I personally would not start you
off with instruments like the Senso.  Again, this is a personal opinion,
Senso is a bit like repairing a dripping faucet by replacing all the
plumbing in the house; overkill. (This statement should generating a
dissenting opinion.) I'd start with a Class D/AGC-I with active low cut.
My rationale: low internal circuit noise and ability to account for your
potentially reduced dynamic range in the high frequencies.  Cost: depending
upon style chosen, $700-$1000 each in our market.  Where you live the price
could be significantly different.  If the Class D/AGC-I generated
complaints that the Senso could address then I would reconsider a fitting
using that level of technology.

Finally, to account for the differing advice you have received, skill level
and sophistication among dispensering varies widely.  Additionally, I
believe that hearing aid fitting is as much "art" as it is science and some
hearing aid fitters are better "artists" than others. Thanks for the
opportunity to give input.
David Barnkow

At 11:44 PM 6/29/98 -0700, you wrote:
>Greeting! I recently had a hearing test and the audiogram is like this:
>      Hz       250  500   750    1k   1.5k   2k   3k    4k   8k
>    left       5     5    10     15    65    70   90    90   80
>    right      0     5    10     35    70    85   100   105  105 
>I function well in one-to-one conversations but are totally lost in group
>(even extremely small group) situations. The audiologist told me that NO
>hearing aids, regardless of how expensive or fancy they are, would help
>and advised me not to wear any. However when we called around and ask
>hearing aids dispensers we were told that something can be done to bring
>my hearing to 2k hz. Widex's senso, which would cost $2,500 EACH, was
>offered as a choice. 
>I have the following questions:
>1. Is the audiologist right in saying that no hearing aids can help at
>2. If the hearing aids dispensors are right that hearing aids CAN being it
>to 2k, why the audiologist would not recommend it? Does it mean that the
>benefit of hearing up to 2k rather than 1k isn't that great?  Or, is the
>benefit worth the $5,000 cost?
>3. As I understand it beyond 2k my ears are pretty much hopeless, and
>below 1k they are close to perfect. So it's only between 1k and 2k where
>amplification is needed. Are there simple, much cheaper hearing aids that
>could do just that? what's the advantage of those digital, programmable
>aids in my case?
>4. Any recommendation about the type/brand of hearing aids I should get
>(if I should get any at all)? 
>I would appreciate your help very much. Thanks,
>(Please cc to my e-mail address when replying. thanks!)
>Langche Zeng
>lzeng at fas.harvard.edu

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