Hearing aid satisfaction--Just thought I'd stir things up :>)


#45

Fascinating!! I think I’ve stumbled into a whole new world. So you get enough low frequency amplification, lots of nice bass in music, with your double domes and thin wire (no need for traditional thick BTE tubing?). Guess I am late to the party on this one :rofl::rofl::rofl:


#46

I think probably the receivers have gotten better. It was only 3 years ago that I moved from tubes to RIC’s. Before that the receivers were too big for my canal and hearing loss. I do have custom molds with a small 1mm vent. The sound did get better, but the hearing aids improved also. Many variables, but I hear speech better than I used to and frequency compression has brought the birds back. Feedback is controlled, but probably at a small cost.


#47

There are soft, silicone molds around. They do have durability issues.

Shoes originally came without being made for left and right.

Seems like cobblers and providers don’t like options. :slight_smile:


#48

Soft silicone can last really well if properly finished.

However if the whole canal swells then there’s still the same volume of material in there which will stress the surrounding structures.

Why not a carved shell canal mould or at the very least something like the Oticon grip fit -minifit tips?


#49

^^^ Just curious. Do you see that “grip tip” on this page at Oticon?
It looks like it may be the cone shaped dome pictured next to the tulip lineup.

(If that doesn’t sound like a skit from SNL …!)


#50

The Grip-tip is the fourth one - farthest to the right.

https://www.oticon.ca/-/media/oticon/main/images/support/imagespot/about-domes.jpg?h=309&la=en-CA&w=960&hash=1F31024A729C663C44D3D3219E0D73A86822F9FD


#51

YES - that is the dome I’m referring to. Is this made from some kind of silicone or semi-flexible material or is it hard case plastic?

I’m very allergic to any kind of “hypo-allergenic” clear (or rosy-tinted) plastic casing. The ugly flesh-toned ones I have no problem with, and THANK GOD my ear canals tolerate the smoke-topaz silicone domes. (or did I just jinx that?)


#52

It’s a medium shore silicone. Not a hard plastic.


#53

I’d like to add a few thoughts. Though I’m new to using a hearing aid, I’ve been an audio expert for over half a century so my world view is quite unlike that of an average aid wearer. I started to take the survey but gave up when it because obvious that the surveyor makes silly assumptions like: Buyer tested a variety of models before purchase. Buyer knows what’s out there, how they compare in features, performance and cost. Buyers is willing to put up with almost anything in order to restore the ability to converse with others. I know what modern electronics cost because I deal in a wide range of it. For example, I just bought a little pocket MP3 player that has 8GB of internal memory, an FM radio with 10 presets, and blutooth to send its output to a blutooth receiver. It also has on board rechargeable battery so one never needs to buy batteries for it. I say “never” because this thing sells NEW for less than $28 (so you can just buy a new device when the battery fails) while many hearing aids with less sophisticated technology regularly sell for thousands of dollars! It’s not because of the technology. It’s because it’s a captive market controlled by makers and special sellers who simply don’t have to compete. Products for “medical” or disability markets can be priced at vastly more than they can possibly justify based on cost of manufacture and reasonable markup. I bought a $3000 hearing aid on eBay for $370. Even $370 is far more than this item would sell for NEW in a truly competitive market. Since it came with too short a connecting wire and too high output for my needs, I shopped the Internet and bought a NEW RIE for $77 from England instead of paying my local dealer a couple of hundred bucks.
Am I satisfied with my device? Of course, not. Though it’s been “tuned” for my hearing, the sound is highly metallic and artificial with no low end so I can better hear my wife and the TV but certainly can’t listen to music with it. It sounds AWFUL. The only saving grace is that I did NOT pay thousands of dollars to get 19th century “ear horn” sound quality.


#54

I’m late to the game, having not even popped on the board since back in Feb … but there’s a LOT of truth in what you say. Being a 30-yr+ HA wearer myself, I can relate. When you look at other electronic devices: TVs, cell phones, Apple devices, et al, the price has really come down dramatically over the decades to make these affordable to the masses.

We - the hearing challenged - may still be the minority for now, but our numbers are growing, thanks to ear-bud use by the younger generation, and us all living longer.

Am I happy paying $6 grand for my Phonak Audeo B-Direct aids? YOU betcha! But would I rather have paid $600 for the pair? ABSOLUTELY.

I would also like to have aids that are custom fit, in better colors, more comfy, in short, devices that truly meet our medical, cosmetic and day-to-day needs & preferences. How 'bout aids for swimming/water sports? And dual streaming for devices? It seems that in the year 2018, we still stand in line at the soup kitchen, grateful for our tin cup filled with whatever is in the kettle.

This has to change as demand increases and competition rises to meet that demand. I see the day when Apple, Samsung, who knows even Amazon will come out with reasonably-priced, user-programmable aids. There is a tiny snowball at the top of the mountain, but it is poised, and has not yet started to roll.


#55

I’ve been involved in consumer electronics for over 60 years including manufacture, sales and mostly repair so I’ve seen a LOT. While we’ve reached the point where a typical thousand dollar smart phone is several orders of magnitude more powerful that the computers that took men to the moon and cost many millions, one thing that costs far more today than in the past is items for the medical and disability worlds. These things are regulated to preclude competition so the prices have skyrocketed. In one example, I use two devices to dispense an out of patent drug. One is a nasal pump spray that contains about an ounce of the drug and costs about $18 while the other is a metered dose hand-held inhaler containing far less medication but because the dispenser is under patent costs $450. Each of these lasts a month and must be replaced each month. These abuses and those that drive the price of hearing aids, handheld computers for the blind, electric wheelchairs, etc. will continue until and unless the public forces government to listen to us instead of the donor class. Only then will these products be priced at rational levels and NOT at artificially inflated prices. Of course, in the meantime, some of us can buy and sell used products. I sell a few used electric wheelchairs and scooters and many refurbished computers for the blind and sell all of these at the lowest price I can sustain. I actually make a living from the sale and service of electronics that entertain and represent discretionary spending.


#56

^^^It’s all about demand. We are still not MIGHTY enough to grab the attention of manufacturers or gov’t intervention. With so many medical devices and needs partially covered by insurance or other benefit programs, manufacturers feel free to GOUGE the end-user, knowing they’ll get the cash from some source if they really, truly need the device. It’s a form of taking advantage of the situation, which is just not right.

I’ve also railed about the insurance coverage (or lack thereof!) for HEARING issues. Geez, mental, drug, vision, gastric - am I missing anything? - issues are covered by insurance, but for us hearing impaired, unless you’re a vet or over 80, you’re on your own. Stumble through life with a critical sense not functioning. Just try to get a decent job or advance your career not being able to hear. It boggles my mind how short-sighted (and yes, that IS covered by insurance!) it is to leave us out in the cold. There. I’ve ranted again.


#57

Regarding the insurance aspect. I’m definitley of mixed feelings. 1) For people who qualify for MedicAid, hearing aids are covered if one meets whatever criteria the state sets. 2) It’s really hard to insure things that almost everybody will need. Instead of insurance, it really ends up as a benefit that you’re paying for ahead of time. You can accomplish this yourself and save the overhead costs by putting money in a savings account every month. 3) Costco really has made remarkable strides in making hearing aids more affordable. I believe for the past 5 models they have dropped the price of their KS model by $100. It truly is remarkable that one can purchase a pretty high end made for iPhone hearing aid for $1599. Not that long ago, that was the realm of $6-8,000 hearing aids. It would be pretty expensive to fund high end hearing aids for everybody who wants/needs them (and a lot of effort to sort out the difference between want and need) I don’t see universal coverage for high end hearing aids coming anytime soon and I’m not convinced it would be a good thing and pretty convinced it would be very expensive.


#58

While I’m lucky not to be a Medicaid patient, it’s still almost out of my reach to afford aids. So I feel a little discriminated against. YES it is a blessing that Costco makes aids ridiculously affordable, and I would be first in line to try them out, except … I’ve been a patient of my loyal, personable, very responsive aud-guy for about 12 years now. He (and his staff) are like family to me. I not only have confidence in him as an audiologist, but he knows my story: issues, goals, quirks. Costco is more detached, and so I have not gone that route, trading off the $6 grand for a pair of aids with instant service from my aud-guy vs one-third the price for Costco with very little rapport or relationship.

Also, it bugs me that other conditions that “almost everybody will need” are covered. Think of vision plans, dental, doctor visits. Why single out HEARING as something that would not be a good idea to insure? Is it cuz our issues can never be fixed like wearing glasses? I am puzzled as to why we have to struggle to afford such a critical medical device.

You are right that in a sense insurance is a benefit, but then that’s what taxes should be spent on. We work, earn, (lucky ones save money), pay taxes, and should get some kind of payback from our gov’t. I don’t mean to whine, but it’s the discriminatory nature I object to, where in most insurance plans they literally spell it out: NO COVERAGE FOR HEARING ISSUES! We only get coverage to see an ENT if there is infection. Ongoing health issues cost more than single-purchase events … altho I guess one could amortize the cost of aids and say, “You’re costing too much!”

What if those needing vision coverage had a similar scenario: Costco vision or NADA - cuz you’re on your own paying for the eye exam and glasses/contacts.

It’s not like I’m a rock musician or groupie. I was born with defective hearing from generations of others in the family with the same defect. So even if I pay for Anthem coverage, I should just assume that my health condition is something I need to take care of on my own?


#59

A lot of people do not have vision or dental insurance including myself. Fortunately my vision has been stable and haven’t needed new glasses for years. My wife and I have used $20 exams from Stanton Optical and she gets her glasses from Zenni Optical at less than Costco prices.


#60

In my opinion, hearing aid insurance would likely be a bad thing for good-quality audiologists and HA fitters, and it would also be bad for most of us who need HAs. The reason is that health care insurance of this sort in the US usually ends up being a three-way extortion game. The insurance companies understandably focus on large employers who provide insurance to employees as a benefit. These employers tell insurance companies seeking contracts, “Lower your price or no contract.” And of course these contracts are confidential. So these insurance companies offer deals to (in this example) audiologists and HA providers to accept their reimbursement rates, which are really low. Providers protest the low reimbursement schedules, and insurance companies say, “Fine. You’ll have no access to the 100,000 Ajax Inc. employees in your area who we insure.” So providers are effectively forced to join large groups, which have the size-clout to negotiate with insurance companies. Then the other two phases of this extortion game go like this: Insurance Co. to health care group, “Accept our low reimbursement schedule or have no access to all the people we insure.” Big health care group to insurance Co., “Accept our counter offer or those you insure will have no access to the hundreds of providers in our well-respected group.” And of course the compromise contract is confidential. To make money, the health care group develops practices (e.g., min audiologists, max fitters) and metrics (e.g., patients in-out in no more than 15 min, and no more than 2 return visits for HA adjustments, or fitter gets bad performance review) that force audiologists and fitters to behave like robots. Note that the insured person (who needs HAs in this example) doesn’t have much of a role in this scenario.


#61

This is interesting. While I of course recognize that there’s a whole load of profiteering in this area, medical research is also drastically expensive, probably more so now than it was in the past because of increased safety and regulation. The number of people involved in the development of medical research is enormous (including a lot of graduate student slave labour, frankly).

So, to cut the cost of hearing aids are we willing to just completely cut the R&D at this point? Hearing aids are pretty good now. Should we say, “That’s as good as we need them to be. Let’s stop all the expensive R&D and just let the cost of hearing aids decline over time until they are super affordable”?

And yet, they don’t do everything we want them to do. But the remaining problems sometimes get to be more like that last ten pounds that you want to lose–so much harder than all the rest. Should we stop?

There’s an interesting and related problem in Canadian healthcare that I often think about. We want to be able to provide healthcare to everyone who needs it (and we do a pretty good job), but at some point you get into the territory of disorders that are so difficult and so expensive that we can’t afford to offer free treatment. But how do we draw that line where we say, “we want to do as much as we can, but we can’t do this.” Similar with care for premature infants. We are getting better and better at maintaining the lives of pre-term infants, but the earlier it gets the more expensive it gets. And yet if we are trying to provide free, egalitarian care for all, who gets to say “that’s the limit”?


#62

Cheaper aids and aging population means morepeople buy and more profit so it does not have to be dumping R & D.


#63

I have top private health cover in Australia and recently bought progressive glasses and a set of readers. They cost about $Au1,200 of which I got funding for $250 yearly but lenses cannot be reprogrammed. Hearing aids I can only get $1200 back every 5 years. The cover for glasses is better but not anywhere near the real cost. If I chose a cheap provider I could get one pair fully covered but I don’t take that risk as the lenses are complex and the large professional lab has enough problems getting the lenses perfect. No one seems to cover the combination of both readers and the progressives. Unfortunately doing any long reading stint without dedicated readers is very impractical but none of the insurance companies seem to recognise that.

In short, I don’t think vision correction is perfectly covered either. At least in Australia the biggest problem for private health care is the gaps people end up paying.


#64

You saw Zenni mentioned above. Chinese company. Readers start at $9.95 complete. My progressives with titanium frames were under $60.

As to R&D etc: the last time disclosed, the VA here paid around $360/pair of current aids. If you go back a generation or two you have the English model and I doubt their cost is that much. Yet, there is no way for average people to get low cost aids in the current model

I had an MRI last year which the hospital build at ~$6000 and Medicare reimbursed over $3000. The local radio runs ads for MRI shops that do it for $600.

When I was young I could go to a doctor and pay for simple procedures. I’ve always had some form of major medical. Today, that is only available in a few walk in clinics. The indigent are poorly covered going to ER’s in not-for-profit hospitals.

Our local hospital in my youth was run by an order of nuns who were all over the place including an old gnome of a nun that everybody ran from. That order has declined and while they own the hospital the order is shrunken and aged. They outsource everything and are very wealthy. I knew people that have dealt with them providing services and not-for-profit is a joke. If they passed the Good Samaritan and friend on the road to Damascus they’d keep going if they didn’t see an insurance card.

Healthcare is broken. Attorney and government action have moved treatment to a secondary category behind insurance and billing.