I just realized that the digital hearing aid industry has taken the same turn as the personal computing industry in that they have worked in “planned obsolescence” into the very guts of industry practices.
Regardless of the price of these digital hearing aids–and they range from $600/each to as much as $3500/each–the hearing aids are supported by the manufacturer and audiologists for about five years (maximum!) After those five years are up the customer is on his/her own, that is if the devices haven’t given up their lives yet. Reprogramming the hearing aids becomes impossible because the fitting software is no longer available (or unavailable for the versions of MS Windows/etc. since released and installed). The audiologists and manufacturers are more interested in steering you to the “next hot thing” than in fixing what they sold you a mere few years ago. In fact they throw up their hands at seeing the very devices they sold you earlier, claim they can’t do anything about it, and suggest you are an anomaly in the general scheme of things for desiring to fix-and-use than discard-and-buy-new.
It’s no fun to swim against the tide, tilt against windmills. So my question to you concerns the decision making at the time of purchase.
a) are those five years from date of introduction of device? In which case, aren’t we better off buying the most recently introduced device than one introduced a year (or more) earlier?
b) what do people do with hearing aids that are older than five years, work well (mostly), and need the tune-up? is there the equivalent of mechanics/restorers that, for a fee, tune-up hearing aids no longer supported by manufacturers/audiologists? We are not talking of devices that are decades old…
As I consider my next set of aids, I’ve concluded the pricier ones don’t offer any more life than their less expensive cousins. All of them are governed by the five-year lifetimes! So, for the price I pay I’ve to make sure the devices deliver value I consider critical within those five years!