My Dad + Hearing Aids = Torture!

My dad tried hearing aids for the first time about ten years ago. They
didn’t work properly (don’t know why) so they refunded his money.

Recently, my mother threatened to leave him (she wasn’t kidding)
if he didn’t try hearing aids again.

He went to Beltone and purchased one of their multi-thousand dollar
models. Again, he had lots of problems. Me (his son) has an extensive
background in electronics, so I have no trouble understanding the
technical aspects of hearing aids. I studied many schematic diagrams
and read several articles about these devices.

The model he purchased uses tiny red and blue plugs called Sentry II
Wax Guards. Supposedly, they prevent wax from entering the sound
outlet. (The part with the hole that’s inserted into your ear.) I used a
fiber optic scope to see if wax was getting past these guards. Wax is
going right through these plugs and imbedding itself deeply into the
sound outlet!

Beltone says there is nothing wrong with the hearing aids, and my dad
doesn’t seem to care about the money or his severe hearing problems.

I’ve cleaned all sorts of tiny electronic components in our lab. (I’m a
partner in an electronics design company.) It’s obvious to me that the
wax cannot be removed from the hearing aids my dad purchased. If you
insert a probe into the sound outlet all you’ll accomplish is to push the
wax deeper into the hole.

My dad needs hearing aids that will work with disposible cleaners like these:

The cleaning probe is pulled completely through a vent hole in one end and
exits from the sound outlet. The Beltone instruction booklet shows an “optional”
vent hole. My dad’s hearing aids don’t have this optional hole.

Before anyone gets upset with me, I may know a lot about electronic devices,
but I have absolutely no practical experience with hearing aids. In fact, I
don’t know anyone who uses hearing aids.

It seems logical that if something is clogging a small hole or tube it must
be completely cleared out. Since ear wax is very moist and almost acts like a
weak adhesive, it should be cleaned by passing a probe completely through
the hearing device.

I printed out all the info about these Clear Sound cleaners, and practically
begged my dad to show it to the people at Beltone. I’m sure there are
other products similar to these disposible cleaners.

My dad needs a different model hearing aid that can be cleaned properly.
My mother tells me that Beltone hopes my dad will “throw them in a
drawer.” They keep his money, and he continues to have no relief for
his horrendous hearing loss.

What can I do? I’m thinking about having my lawyer send Beltone a letter
asking them to refund my dad’s money. Frankly, I don’t care about the
money. I’ll write a check for the full amount and give it to my dad. All
I want is some of my dad’s hearing to be restored. My poor mother has
to write everything down, or shout in his hear!

Welcome to the forum.

It would help if you posted your dad’s audiogram. That would help the members help you. There is a great bunch of people here that can help you big time.

Your dad has to want to be helped to be helped. My dad was tough about being told what to do.

Good luck

Does he use a hearing aid dryer? I have a similar type of hearing aid, though I don’t currently wear it as my primary aid. It’s next to impossible to clean the wax out normally, but once it’s been dried out in a drying tub the wax loses its adhesive-type properties and you just poke it with a brush and it all falls out.

Were you given a set of replacement filters to use as soon as the wax obstructed the filter?

Failing that, have you suggested that the aids go back to Beltone to be fitted with a different style of wax-trap. If they are ITE aids it ought to be possible to get a more resistant type fitted. Whichever way, regularly changing the traps will minimise wax ingress.

My opinion of Beltone is not so hot. Google Beltone problems/complaints and they will overload your computer. Your analysis is dead on, and you haven’t discovered the half of it yet. Funny thing is this company is owned or connected with GN Resound who makes good HA’s.

Return them NOW! before the return time runs out and find a different dealer. Yes I know you have a political problem with your Dad. Typical old guy syndrome , good luck with that.

The new digitals from most companies are wonderful compared to Analogs 10 years ago.

It’s nothing but hard work to figure out what is the best unit for your Dad’s needs. This industry sucks however. Overpriced, incompetent dealers according to Consumer Reports, and full of schemers using used car sales techniques.

Was your Dad in the US Military 2 years more? If so he can get good aids for free from the VA. Why pay for them?

I would like to know the State you live in so I can research it. If you don’t want to post it here maybe a PM. The laws on returns vary from State to State. !/3 of States have no laws on returns and your dead with out a lawyer. Don’t mess around on this. That’s exactly the ploy the dealers use. Stall you until the times runs out. Get moving today.

Did you take your dad first to see an ENT prior to going to Beltone to make sure there are no medical issues causing his hearing loss? The beltone rep should have insisted on that. Does everyone in your family, Mom included, understand that from the way you describe it your dad has in all likelihood a profound hearing loss and that aids will only help, to a certain degree but will never return his hearing back to normal. As was stated am audiogram posted here would help. You should also look into purchasing a product like dry and store for your dad to put his aids in every night. It sounds like very little maintanence is being performed on the aids. Last but not least Beltone. Beltone to me is like the used car salesman of the hearing aid world and in my opinion is a train wreck waiting to happen. Their salesmen are just that, they deal in high pressure sales. They don’t really care about your dad and his needs they just want to make a sale. That’s why they always advertise free hearing tests to draw you in. They won’t give a damn about your dad or his ear wax problem. Many States, by law, say you must be given a trial period, during which time you can return the aids for a full refund. The first thing I would try to do is get out from under Beltone, take your dad to a specialist, ENT, and then have either the ENT or your family doctor recommend a good audiologist. a good audiologist will make you dad feel comfortable, will explain all the issue regarding your dad’s loss, will give you numerous alternatives as to which aids your dad should try. Will allow your dad to test drive different aids. Will understand that your dad will need to come in at least 3 or 4 times for programming adjustments, and that if your dad has a wax issue then he will deal with that too. You should not have to do all the research, try to find things online, examine the aids yourself for wax buildup, etc., an audiologist would do all of that. I know your Mom made some threats but rushing into a hearing aid purchase is not the way to go.

I was in the military for four years and even exposed to some loud noises. I started getting tennitis during this time. About seven years ago I contacted the local VA rep and he told me I did not qualify for VA benefits because I made too much money. He said that it you had an income over $32k you could not qualify for VA benefits. There is nothing in my record to show that my hearing was effected in the military so I guess I am out of luck. I guess the VA has turned into another “welfare” program. I did not try to sign up for VA benefits until I retired when I was 62. I guess I should have signed up earlier. I did not think that necessary as I had insurance from my employer. Do you know anything different other than what I have described? Thanks

From what I hear it does seem to be a relatively recent decision to start paying for hearing aids for vets, 7 years is a long time in politics, ask again! Might also be worth a chat to a lawyer. It depends what the standard of evidence is if you wanted to bring action for your hearing loss. Presumably you had a hearing test at least once as part of your entry medical? You would have to have passed that to be admitted to the military in the first place. If you need to demonstrate “beyond reasonable doubt” that you sustained your hearing loss in service then you need some hard evidence, however if you only need to demonstrate it by “preponderance of the evidence” then it just need to be more likely than it is not likely that you sustained your hearing loss in the military. They’d find it hard to defend it if you were firing shells in a sealed vehicle.

If it can be proven that your hearing loss is service related then it does not matter what you income is. My hearing loss was determined to be service related. So I get my hearing aids and all of my hearing supplies and checkups. But if it can not be determined to be a service related loss then Aaron is correct. I got into the VA just before they changes some of the rules and was able to get my medical and meds from the VA but I did have to pay a small co-pay. But once that my hearing was determined to be service related then all of that changed and I was given my aids and as for as I know I do not have to pay a co-pay for other medical visits. But at this time I am working and have medical thru my employer so I go to a private doctor.

lookinglass: The holes you are talking about are vents. Your dad doesn’t have vents because his hearing loss is too great. You mention your mom has to scream at him so he can hear her, but most likely he doesn’t understand her very well even if she is screaming. From what you mention your dad most likely was given In-The-Ear hearing aids, judging from you mentioning no vents and the wax guard. The wax guard is meant to be changed, not cleaned out. But that’s beside the point. From what you have said, your dad probably needs Behind-The-Ear hearing aids (and I don’t mean the tiny ones they call Open-Fit). He needs the real Behind-The-Ear, with silicone earmolds, no vent, and standard 13M tubes. He still will need the correct prescription in them, but the In-The-Ear hearing aids will not have enough power in all the frequencies for him to hear well even when he wears them. Good luck. Oh, and the cleaning things you mentioned, they are only for BTE hearing aids. Pushing them through the vent hole (if he had one) will not do anything to clean the wax from the receiver port. It’s a totally different area.

I have qualified for VA healthcare even though I make considerably more that 32k. I was in the RVN area in the 60s and you’re old enough to have been there too. If you were in country or in certain other places / times / activities, you may have been exposed to agent orange and there is a long list of ailments associated wit AO exposure. Having those qualifies you for healthcare and a disability rating. That qualifies you for HAs. Check it out carefully.

Good Luck,

I would like to say that maybe i can help you as soon as you tell me something about your dad’s audiogram , after understanding your dad’s problem , maybe i can recommend you a hearing aids which fit for your dad .

Terry B,
My problem is I did not approach the VA until after the implementation of the new income limit (around 2003 or so). If you were already in the VA system, they “grandfathered” you. This is probably your case. Just my bad luck.

Such a very amazing link!
Thanks you for the post.:slight_smile:

Well it’s been a long time since I wore an ITE type aid but back then a wax guard would be a tiny metal piece that could carefully be removed and then cleaned off. The metal piece would be wide on one end and would narrow as it got closer to the microphone, thus trapping the ear was. Sounds to me like the Beltone aids don’t have such a device. Did I mention before that I would never buy from Beltone? The other option might be to buy a product called Dry and Store. It’s basically a dehumidifier, but it also disinfects. It would take all the moisture out of the embedded ear wax, making it dry and flaky, and hopefully making it easier to brush it out. You Dad should walk away from Beltone and start seeing a recommended audiologist. One who will take the time to clean wax out of your Dad’s ears but will also remove ear wax from the aid. He will also show your dad or you how to maintain the aids, and keep them clean.

BS to Beltone

Hearing Aids can be vacumed out. Some hearing aid offices do that as well as having special other ways of removing the wax. p.s. there are lots of great options for hearing aids many more then Beltone will ever tell you about. Arm yourself with some knowledge about hearing aids. check out an e book I recently heard about that help people really understand about hearing aids. The ebook is only 20 bucks but will save you hundreds if not more and point you in the right directions. good luck and yes
play tuff with Beltone because there tough and thats the only way you will get anywhere. I would start fresh … and now that you have been scewed you will really enjoy this ebook because it will show you how to get clear and never be scewed again. good luck my friend and givem hell ! Chuck


Aaron, drop me a line
206.369.3261 Hawaii time 8 pm here is a good time Elijah

I don’t think you will hear from him, Lookinglass hasn’t been on the Forum since 2010, and Aaron hasn’t been here since 2011.

thanks, seb

i must learn to pay attention to dates!