I am new to this forum but not new to the problems associated with being HOH. I have hearing nerve damage from early childhood which has resulted in severe to profound hearing loss.
I am an Electronics Engineer (have a Masters degree) with the strong signal processing software development background. So, more or less I am familiar with the audiological terminology And I have chosen the self-serving route out of outrage over the way current system works. (I usually buy higher end used HAs and re-program them myself).
There are my points of view on the whole situation with the HA availability:
At he basic level, HA sales should be deregulated. Some as we have “prescription” or “over the counter” drugs, the basic HA should be available over the counter with the standard quality we are used to expect from the generic drugs. According to the Pareto’s Law, this should serve the need for around 80 % of people who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss. I firmly believe that these cases only require a basic self-programming similar to what you do with your iPod.
The remaining 20% high end HA devices which in fact do require an expertise of the Audiologist and require sophisticated equipment to fit them properly should be classified as “prescription” HAs. And this situation should be recognized as “medical” with sufficient insurance coverage.
Apparently, there is no simple “silver bullet” solution to the problem…
But the current situation is extremely misbalanced in favor of special interest profiteering groups…