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Old 09-28-2012, 08:22 AM   #1
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Hearing aids

I'm 54 and have had hearing aids for almost 3 months now. Phonak brand, very small and almost not detectable. When I first got them DW and I didn't tell many friends and no one noticed. This is good.

I hate them but I guess need them. This is bad of course. I force myself to wear then and am grateful I do not need to say "pardon me" or "I'm sorry I didn't hear you". I was brought up to never say "what".

Here is my biggest complaint. How can they possibly cost so much? $6,000, I kid you not and my medical insurance will only pick up $1,000 every 2 years. I nicely asked the audiologist how it is possible I can buy a tiny Ipod for $200 and these are $6K. She tells me a lot of research goes into them. No doubt but I bet Apple put a couple of hours into the Ipod (I didn't tell her that).

So do you think this is a closed industry that screws you cause they can due to the fact it is something you kind of have to have the same way we are getting it you know where buying fuel for our MHs? Or is it really there is a lot of research and these are technologically advanced electronic worth every penny?

Waiting to "hear" from you End of rant.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:44 AM   #2
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That is a subject that needs Goverment intervention . I had a hearing specialest tell me once that the main amp in the aid cost $20.00 The mike and speaker were both less then that . Then there is the ear mold Another $50.00 The hole lot of expences is under $200.00 . I also wonder where the get that outragious cost from ///
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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The latest Oticon super duper's with Spousal Block 2.0 are $7000.

Darn good hearing aids at Costco are under $2000. However, Costco Spousal Block is manual (remove the batteries).

Most guys don't need Spousal Block as it comes naturally*.




*see "ignore" in the owners manual
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DonavonP View Post
The latest Oticon super duper's with Spousal Block 2.0 are $7000.

Darn good hearing aids at Costco are under $2000. However, Costco Spousal Block is manual (remove the batteries).

Most guys don't need Spousal Block as it comes naturally*.




*see "ignore" in the owners manual
Didn't know about the 'spousal block' feature.
Thought that was under the heading of "selective hearing"

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Old 09-28-2012, 11:08 AM   #5
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I know it can't compare to what you bought, but I bought my over the counter aid online for 150.00 and it's tiny and rechargeable too! It seems to help me with hearing overall, but it amplifies everything including loud talking in restaurants. It does help though with casual conversation.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
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These are pretty cool as they have Bluetooth to connect to my cell phone as well as a TV connection also Bluetooth. There is a small pendant to wear around your neck that can be hidden under your shirt or in shirt pocket. I have had 2 regular Bluetooth headsets, one $20 = junk, the other over $100 = great. Still a whole lot under $6K.

I know age is not always the deciding factor for the need for hearing aids but it still makes me feel like a geezer. I'm retired too so I guess I am a geezer in training.

Oh and need reading glasses. It's confirmed.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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If one is only talking about simple (analog) amplification then maybe $50 for the chip. But the modern digital signal processing chips involve huge development costs for a rather small market. The digital hearing aids are so much better in terms of making speech understandable.

I got mine about 10 years ago and paid about $2k, which included the services of the audiologist (hearing test, ear molds, follow-up service like cleaning). I don't find that unreasonable. Actually mine were sort of 1 1/2 hearing aids rather than the normal 2, since I'm deaf on one ear so that side just consists of a mic and radio transmitter (the other side includes a receiver and adds the sound from both sides together).

I certainly don't think they're a rip-off, just a low-volume specialized product with substantial "installation" and service costs built-in.

My peeve is with TV and Film production people, specifically the audio engineers, who apparently haven't a clue as to making dialog understandable to the many people (most seniors) who have trouble understanding words. Some programs are so easy to understand, so clearly it's very do-able. Others are simple impossible to follow, often due to background soundtracks.

Last night I started watching "Elementary", and gave up after about 10 minutes. Even closed-caption didn't help much because they spoke so fast.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:01 PM   #8
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What jspande said. I have phonak aids also, and I once tried to use on of those amplifier things advertised on TV. The difference between the two is like the difference between a Vespa scooter and a full dress motorcycle. The real key is the size of the market they are reaching out to. The number of folks that Phonak are selling aids to are a drop in the bucket compared to all the folks buying Ipads, etc. So all the associated costs with bringing the aids to market are spread among a very small demographic, driving the costs up.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:08 PM   #9
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Last night I started watching "Elementary", and gave up after about 10 minutes. Even closed-caption didn't help much because they spoke so fast.
OMG...I tried watching this, too. I have a hard time understanding accents, so with the accent and talking so fast, I just couldn't keep up. I know I have hearing loss, but I'm not quite there yet on getting hearing aids. I am finding, though, that I'm missing more words or giving up quicker. The ENT told me I'm doing a lot more lip reading than I realize. It's frustrating to read that I may have to spend $6,000.00 for hearing aids. That makes me want to tough it out even longer.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:35 PM   #10
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I've had hearing aids for about 5 years and they have made a significant difference in my daily life. As for your rant on the cost: Sure, it's a lot of money and your rant is justified. However, Apple makes the much more complicated
i-phone and sells millions of them on the first day, tens of millions worldwide. Not sure how many hearing aids are sold each year?
Liability insurance?...if you phone doesn't work properly you rant and rave and maybe get a rebuilt one or something. If your hearing aid fails and you have a car accident, especially if this occurs in California, the medical malpractice will run into the millions, maybe even a class action. If your ear is damaged in some unforseen way or in infection develops near the insertion you can bet a law suit will follow.
To follow on your well deserved rant: drugs which were hundreds of dollers suddenly drop to $1.95 when the patent expires.
Hearing aids are medical devises, and as such must have FDA approvial, an expensive process.
Yes, hearing aids are a great invention, and yes they are far too expensive, but don't just blame the manufactures, they are just responding to the demands of an entire industry, already under overly strict government control, to bring a product to market.
JMHO
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:47 PM   #11
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My first hearing aids cost about $6,000 and my insurance paid for most of it. Now I've "won" state paid hearing aids for the last three sets(new ones every 5 years). All they do is set an amount they'll pay and the provider gives you what they want. It might not be very good either. I can't pay to upgrade to what I want/need for my hearing loss or I lose my benefits. I just had another aid go bad today. Seems the ones I got this last time just don't hold up well, plus they don't seem to work very well.
I did have the "ignore wife" setting put in!
My hearing loss is due to heavy equipment and construction noise (pile driving and down in the caissons with no hearing protection)
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:50 PM   #12
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I've been wearing hearing aids for about 5 yrs. I got an in the ear piece for $300 from Hearinghelpexpress.com. Those kept going out on me after about a year or so. I had to keep sending them in for repair. In between that I got one if those cheapo Bluetooth aids. They worked OK, they were awkward to wear and too much background noise. So then I got the behind the ear aid for $400. I have it for about 2yrs and have had no problems with it.
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:42 AM   #13
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After twenty years of hearing aid use I finally went to Costco and purchased what I think has been my best hearing aid at the best cost. Their $1,999. for two offer. I require over the ear type.

In the time I have been using hearing aids I have met one person who claimed to be completely satisfied with theirs; and I think she was lying.

I have always been suspicious of the cost. MY dog mangled my first hearing aid, chewed it to pieces, mangled so as to be unrecognizable. It was sent in for repair and a $2,500 hearing aid was completely rebuilt for $150 w/o insurance. I was as happy as I was bewildered.

I can accept some of the production cost rationale etc; but I am quite sure there is a huge mark up.

Old joke:

"I just got the very best hearing aid I have ever had; really inexpensive"!!

"Really"? What kind is it?

"Half past two, why?"
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspande View Post
My peeve is with TV and Film production people, specifically the audio engineers, who apparently haven't a clue as to making dialog understandable to the many people (most seniors) who have trouble understanding words. Some programs are so easy to understand, so clearly it's very do-able. Others are simple impossible to follow, often due to background soundtracks.
I agree. DW has reasonably good hearing, no aids, and she has to either turn up or rewind DVRed TV to get what actors said sometimes. It's funny to me, one minute bombs are going off, the next people are whispering and I can't understand the conversation.

Quote:
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I have phonak aids also
Did you get the TVlink S with them? I can't tell if it works right or not. Seems to drop the Bluetooth connection after about 10 min. I need to do some fiddling around with how it is connected to the TV audio out.

Sorry about using the Ipod comparison so much. I am just trying to say that in the small electronics have come so far it is surprising how expensive aids are. I agree the technology is advanced and I can not complain one bit with the service I get with them. They are probably worth every red cent and I just can't get over the fact that I need them.

BTW I am asking my audiologist about the spousal block feature next appointment.
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