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My experience with hearing aids

I lost my hearing aid last fall.  Had a new ear test and found I now needed hearing aids in both ears.  First place I tried was Zounds who had an ad in the local paper for $395.00 for hearing aids.  They put me through extensive trials including standing outside and noticing the traffic noise could be muted.  HOWEVER, when I went to purchase, it turned out what they had demonstrated cost $3-4,000.  Talk about bait and switch.  I took the $395 ones but returned them shortly as they did not fit.  The next place had a great technician and sold me hearing aids which they had had as loaners for folks who lost or destroyed their aids.  They had these reconditioned and sold them to me at a discounted price.  HOWEVER, the technician left there and the new one I was assigned to simply did not know what she was doing. I forget the setting she used, but it was an inappropriate one.  So, I returned those and eventually got a refund.

Now to my delight, I have found a hearing aid place that shows me the settings they’re using, explains what they’re doing and have given me among other things, a dehumidifier (I had my first hearing aid for 5 years and no one mentioned a de-humidifier). Their price was reasonable, their financing is no interest for 2 years and I can tell when I wear them.

Too many of my senior citizen friends won’t wear hearing aids — cost being one reason, vanity - the fear they’ll look old is another.  Don’t they know they look old when they have to keep asking “what did you say?”  

I got my hearing aids after I read that folks who don’t get hearing help are 5 times more likely to get dementia.  Think about it… if you can’t hear, your brain isn’t processing as much…. Duh!!

itsyourmove@glawley.comgail lawley

Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adultsPosted: 12 Sep 2016 07:20 AM PDTHearing technology advances -- the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurancetelecom carriers or hearing aids.  You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.  According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder. In recent years, personal sound amplification products(PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a 'Wearable,' does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding?  But anyway. In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation.  Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:ReSound. The firm "introduced a new model to the award-winning ReSound LiNX2™ family: the world's only mini behind-the-ear (BTE) model to feature Made for iPhone. In addition, the mini BTE also features telecoil capabilities. ReSound LiNX2 is the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, connecting to the internet to locate misplaced hearing aids. This new model enhances the award-winning ReSound Smart Hearing portfolio, giving users even more choices to meet individual preferences and hearing loss needs." Learn more at Resound.Oticon. 

"Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of tunnel directionality: Speech coming from the front is clear, whereas the rest of the sound environment is suppressed. This results in a limited, narrowed and artificial listening experience. With new, groundbreaking technology, Oticon Opn™ is fast and precise enough to analyse and follow the soundscape and differentiate between sounds. Even in complex listening environments, this allows Oticon Opn™ to constantly open up and balance individual sounds to deliver a rich and meaningful soundscape, empowering the brain to choose on which sounds to focus." Learn more at Oticon.
Eargo. 

Silicon Valley based startup that "offers an entry-level rechargeable hearing aid (FDA class I medical device) that it sells directly to consumers. Eargo is a near-invisible in-the-canal device offering four volume settings. Developed by a French ENT, it features patented silicone “flexi-fibers” that enable the device to sit comfortably deep in the ear canal while letting air and natural sound flow freely to the eardrum. At $1,980 per pair, the Eargo hearing aids are more expensive than many of the new off-the shelf “hearables” (classified as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, by the FDA), but less expensive than the higher end hearing aids fitted by audiologists." Learn more at HearingTracker.com.

Cochlear.
 "Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces today it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newest innovative hearing loss solution, Kanso. The Kanso Sound Processor provides a distinct new way for cochlear implant users to hear. Unlike most hearing aids and current cochlear implant sound processors that are worn on the ear, Kanso is a small, off-the-ear hearing device  that provides a more discreet hearing solution and delivers the same hearing experience as a behind-the-ear sound processor." Learn more at Cochlear.

iHearMedical.
 "iHear® Medical announced today the launch of the world’s first online hearing solutions platform. The company begins taking orders today for its flagship invisible iHEARHD® hearing aid, and the iHearTest™, which recently received landmark FDA approval as the first and only home hearing screener. Delivery of iHear products starts July 15, 2016. The company also plans to launch the iHEARMAX™, a mini behind-the-ear hearing device, on August 15, 2016. iHear’s products are currently being offered in the U.S., with plans to introduce them in China and other markets in 2017." Learn more at iHearMedical.