I’m a little skeptical, member80/Publius, that you need hearing aids, particularly for tinnitus.
Hearing aids are not primary treatments for tinnitus. They will not cure tinnitus or reduce it. They make it less annoying for some people. But you said you’re not bothered by your tinnitus. So why spend $3600 on hearing aids to treat your tinnitus on the pretext that it may make you have less anxiety you say you don’t feel? Some practitioners particularly those working for chains or group practices push unnecessary hearing aids, and that may be part of what’s going on here.
I don’t know much about notch-filter tinnitus treatment with hearing aids. Most patients don’t have this form of tinnitus that covers a narrow frequency of sound. With the more common form of multi-frequency tinnitus management, hearing aids marketed as managing tinnitus pipe quiet chimes, white noise, or other electronic sound into the ear to mask the tinnitus. Some people who developed loud tinnitus overnight and are really annoyed by it find this helpful. Other people with tinnitus don’t like the effect. Of course generally the tinnitus-management hearing aids also are designed to help with hearing loss and speech comprehension; the tinnitus management is just an optionally added (and more expensive) feature to these aids. If you buy tinnitus hearing aids and then decide six months from now that you don’t like the tinnitus noise, they can turn it off; you’ve only paid for a feature you no longer want. The aids would still work for hearing loss.
I don’t have a link but recall reading that customer satisfaction with tinnitus management through hearing aids is lower than satisfaction with management of hearing loss through hearing aids. Hearing aids with tinnitus management occupy a relatively low segment of the market. I believe I’ve heard that for these two reasons (lower demand and lower satisfaction), Costco chooses not to sell aids with tinnitus management. They don’t want the aids being returned. Again, though, some people really like hearing aids that do tinnitus management. By the way, if you have a Costco nearby, are willing to forgo the tinnitus management add-on feature, and just treat hearing loss, you can probably get hearing aids as good as the ones you’ll be trying for half the cost you are being quoted, and also get a free trial.
I have had multi-frequency tinnitus for 10-20 years. It has slowly gotten worse, but is no worse than moderate in intensity, and I too am not annoyed by it. I also have moderate hearing loss and find that the non-tinnitus hearing aids do help a lot with that. I have never tried hearing aids with tinnitus management features, and maybe if I had, I’d be a big booster. But I’m skeptical that it would reduce my anxiety (already none) about tinnitus or help me with speech comprehension, for which I do need hearing aids. I like to use a white noise machine while sleeping, and it does help mask my tinnitus then. (You won’t wear your hearing aids overnight, anyway–feedback issues with your ear against a pillow.) But running a white noise machine also makes speech comprehension harder. And I would think introducing new sound into the ear would also reduce speech comprehension.
Your hearing was tested and showed a mild loss in conversational frequencies, but you believe you are not having a problem with speech comprehension, which is the main reason most people benefit from hearing aids. Now the question is: what exactly are the audiogram numbers on this mild hearing loss? Did the audiologist test your speech comprehension? You can enter your audiogram by clicking on your green-M avatar and editing your profile. If you post your audiogram and speech comprehension numbers, some of our hearing pros (which I am not) may be able to give you unbiased advice about the benefit to you of hearing aids.
There is a continuum that every hearing-loss patient goes through with slow, gradually progressing loss. There was a range of time that getting aids would have helped. It’s like the gaslighting effect. When something changes very gradually, it’s not very noticeable. But most people who get their first hearing aids are shocked at how much they were missing and what a difference the aids make, and say they should have gotten them years ago. Most people, again. You don’t want to wait that long. So you may benefit from a trial of hearing aids now and say, yes, these help me understand speech–a lot. Or you may say, yeah, they help some, but not $3600 some. And by the way, in thinking about the cost, something else they may not have told you: generally the life expectancy for hearing aids is about five years before replacement is needed–some get more–some get less. But it’s not like you spend $3600 and then are all set for 20 years.