Hi I am new to the site. I really am sorry if there is another forum on this topic, I haven’t been able to find one using search function.
My first 4 behind ear hearing aids back in the 80’s lasted 5-6 years before the first failure occurred that includes several accidental drownings in bath or shower. These hearing aids were thoroughly tested because of different regulation regarding quality control that were in place back then regarding medical devices.
I joined because I am a lifer for using hearing aids and I been encountering more sever and catastrophic design defects that is costing massive out of pocket costs above and beyond the initial cost of purchase, along with a drastic increase in the frequency of design defects which further increases the profit level as companies try to maximize profits. I have a problem with this in that hearing aids costs are extremely inflated compared to other tech of equal level that is not a medical device as is. Example amplified cell phone with voice correcting technology costs on average 100-200 dollars yet hearing aids with the same level of tech costs $1000-$2000 on average. The initial cost is so over inflated that it is insane to have a medical device fail so frequently. We are defiantly NOT getting what we paid for.
I had to use medical assistance to get a set of hearing aids so I didn’t have many choices. the hearing aid i currently use is identical in both ears and looks exactly like the diagram in the following link minus the boot that fits over the battery housing.
I am conscientious about how much tax payers have to pay in my name and I am frustrated for I have had these hearing aids fail or break 3 times in 2 years because of design flaws which were result of cutting corners to make a bigger profit and were not tested at all to ensure that the hearing aid works as intended.
the average bill for repairs starts around 300$. I have a suspicion that it actually was significantly higher because these were catastrophic failures. Since it was MA(tax payers) Who paid the bill, I did not get to see how much the actual cost of repair was. Problem is, the frequency of breaks is driving up the total cost for the hearing aids being paid in a 5 year period, therefore technically its not the lowest bidder for government contract for the cost is spread out over time. Yet when the initial bidding was done they only listed the initial cost of hearing aids to win the contract, THEY DID NOT INCLUDING THE COST OF FREQUENT REPAIRS DUE TO DESIGN FLAWS IN THEIR BIDDING!
following is main cause for damage and failures:
The kind of moisture that does the most damage is moisture coming from the skin(sweat) for it contains several ingredients that are catastrophic to the sensitive inner workings of hearing aids. the 3 main ones that come to my mind is acid, oil, and salt. Plain water from rain or the tap doesn’t have these properties so it doesn’t have as damaging effect as sweat.
Now I want to point out the design defects. Take a look at numbers 4 and 5 on the diagram on the linked page. those are the mic holes they are on both sides, because it was cost cutting(increases profit) to make one hearing aid casing for both ears. So in order to use 1 housing for both ears the mic holes is on both right and left sides of the SAME CASE (4 holes all together), which means that 2 funnel holes rest right against sweaty skin funneling sweat into the internal housing. Because the rest of the housing is water resistant once the moisture gets inside it nearly imposible to dry it out quickly enough before damage is done. Why does it take so long to dry out you ask : Here is the answer the only evaporation point for the internal workings is the mic hole and the oil in the sweat slows evaporation.
The other major defect is the battery housing which #8 points too on the diagram I linked to. It does not seal tightly to prevent moisture from penetrating. Every single night when I go to bed, I open my hearing aid battery compartment before putting it in a dry-aid container to see that it is completely soaked in sweat from the days use. (I never had this problem with my hearing aids from the 80’s)
I have absolutely no problem pointing out these major design flaws out in that these design flaws would have been picked up with in the first half Hour of testing being worn by a person taking it through its paces in the real world.
I picked these flaws out before I ever got them. I had no choice because all the options available to MA clients had similar DEFECTS. and the alternative is to be practically deaf.(severe hearing loss)
current medical device law has a major loophole that allows companies to bring products to the market without testing because the one brought to the market is similar to another but not the same.
For the crazy prices we are forced to dish out these medical devices need better custom designing and Thorough testing before ever being released to the public. Medical devices need to be as free from design flaws as possible and have rock solid reliability. These devices should not fail for its entire life of use our lives depend on these devices that the haring world takes for granted. Last thing you want is say having a hearing aid fail just before you go through a cross walk and your not able to hear the car screeching its breaks, who is about to hit you.