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Thread: Article in NY Times regarding OTC Hearing Aids

  1. #11

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    This article seemed very superficial. What about tumors and other medical problems that show up on an audiogram? An audiologist may refer for other testing. Also, having an audiologist at Costco has enabled me to try two top of the line hearing aids. One worked well for the fairly challenging environment I work in, the other definitely not. My hearing loss is mild-to-moderate. This enables me to keep my job and use the skills I have instead of workarounds or leaving.

    There are definitely things wrong with the hearing aid profession (why I'm grateful for this forum), like non-transparency. But my guess is that this will make things worse rather than better. I don't want to see watered-down products made by companies not as invested as the ones that make them now. I would like to see hearing aids for anyone who needs them, though.

    This article was too shallow, and prompted comments that were (in general). I'd like to see a more balanced article showing both the strengths and weaknesses and what might be done to address them. The pros and cons of this approach to hearing aids, rather than a simplistic one that brushes off the serious downsides. The New York Times should do a better job of putting this forward. It's not just "greedy" people making a bundle. Most audiologists I know have a very middle-class lifestyle. They do an important service if they are good at their jobs. They probably have student loans to pay off as well.
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  2. #12
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    There is a truism: Everyone's hearing is different. That can be true where the graphs are almost alike. The more typical aging loss is mild to moderate while still maintaining good Word Recognition Scores.

    Your WRS are mid-range. (60's) Mine are worse. That means that an OTC aid isn't going to give either of us the hearing quality of someone whose WRS are in the 90's. Those people are a more likely candidate for the products mentioned.

    I was in the good group until a bout with Meniere's. That changed everything. I went from being able to use cheap Chinese aids to having troublesome results with high end ones.
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  3. #13
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    Was asked to share this here. I found it informative.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-bl...c-hearing-aids
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

    15 15 20 30 30 55 75 90 NR ​KS7
    10 10 20 15 25 35 65 85 95 WRS 100/92@45/40

  4. #14

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    I don't know if I'd feel comfortable buying OTC aids at any price. To me, hearing loss is not just a slam-dunk fix. The connection between hearing and brain is more complex. That is why the typical audiogram and speech recognition test is simply not *real world* enough to program a pair of aids and send a patient on his or her merry way. Granted, we typically set up our car's audio system for bass, treble, and high end to our liking, but that is not the same thing as programming a device to hear a vast array of sounds: music, alarms, clocks, car engine, speech, birds, wind, the list is endless!

    My very first pair of aids, Starkeys, allowed me to use a fine jewelers screwdriver to turn a screw and increase gain a bit. Also, the volume wheels on the aids could be dialed UP or DOWN. I'm not sure the typical patient would be able to grasp even those adjustments in a pair of OTC aids. More likely, they'd fiddle-faddle with them separately and in no time the aids would be completely and hopelessly out of balance.

    Manual adjustment is simply old school, but software programming and tinkering (using an app on a phone or computer) seems like it may be beyond the capability of many, too. So, other than price alone, what benefit would these OTC aids have for a person ultimately?
    HAs from 1985>Starkey>Phonak>AGX>Oticon Agil Pro ITE>Oticon Opn miniRITE

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  5. #15

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    Furthermore! I find it ironic that the article states:
    "More is at stake here than the ability to mingle at cocktail parties. Older adults with hearing loss report more falls, and more hospitalizations and periods of poor mental and physical health. Some experience an accelerated rate of cognitive decline.

    Dr. Lin is beginning a five-year study, with $16 million from the National Institutes of Health, to determine whether treating hearing loss effectively could delay the onset of cognitive decline and dementia."

    And STILL: there is zero, zip insurance coverage for any kind of hearing disability! Folks can sign up for vision plans, dental plans, Medicare GAP plans, plain ol' insurance, get coverage for drug, alcohol, mental issues, preventative care, emergency treatment, surgical procedures.

    But if you are hard of hearing and can not converse, and your brain is actually declining due to diminished hearing, you can go fly a KITE. And here, I administer a slap to my forehead.

    I just don't get it. I can afford to buy aids, but for the majority of those who could benefit from a pair of aids or who actually need a pair to keep a job, marriage, self-respect intact there are no options? There's something wrong with the system. Or am I just a whiner?
    HAs from 1985>Starkey>Phonak>AGX>Oticon Agil Pro ITE>Oticon Opn miniRITE

    KHz 0.25...0.5...1.0...2.0...3.0...4.0....6.0...8.0

    Left ..65....80....80....65.....65....60....65....90
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  6. #16

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    When did anyone start believing in the NY times?

    it makes a lot of sense that if I just stick a pair of $300 HA in my ears they will perform as well as a customized pair set to my individual hearing loss by a trained and experienced hearing aid provider. As most know the provider is at least 50 percent of the process.

    Sounds like fake news.

  7. #17
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    I'll just add a few comments. The original NY Times article is old news. At the time, the law was proposed. Now it's passed. The article that I cited argues that the law really doesn't do much.It allows devices that are currently available as PSAPs to be marketed as hearing aids.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDB View Post
    Was asked to share this here. I found it informative.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-bl...c-hearing-aids
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

    15 15 20 30 30 55 75 90 NR ​KS7
    10 10 20 15 25 35 65 85 95 WRS 100/92@45/40

  8. #18

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    Hey Kenji.. You told I was full of shit! Are you dried out yet?

    Jakey is a prone to hyperbole. Most of what is available are limited function for those with mild-moderate. Some look pretty clunky with weird/oversized speakers. One or two have better features but its all a very mixed bag.

    Understand that most of Jakey's comments come out of the Jake -- I think its a one holer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Jake View Post
    They are basically out there now.. This will allow them to be advertised as hearing aids.

  9. #19
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    You are king of the non sequitur, Jakey.
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