All: Interesting input copied from another Forum
References: <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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If I wish to buy a computer or headphones, etc, I can go to CNET, or
PCMAG, where I will find prices, comparisons, details, specifications,
recommendations, and etc. In fact there are many more places where I can
find this information including the manufacturers themselves. Tons of
technical information is available. That is because these items are in
If I try getting details and specifications for hearing aids (like
detailed gain curves across the bandwidth) I hit a blank wall.
Comparisons between manufacturers – no way! I am an engineer and I find
it impossible to make a choice based on fast hard data. I am at the
mercy of the vendors (which I hate).
The hearing aid market is a closed cartel! You are at the mercy of the
audiologist and hearing aid vendors when you buy. If the market was open
and competive You would be amazed at how prices would drop and quality
would improve. There is no reason why a person should not be able to
obtain software to program his hearing aids himself. Patients who “want”
to do that should be able to do it without any problem. There is no magic
involved, although the manufacturers would have you believe so.
Constraints can be built into the software to prevent injury.
I’m an electrical engineer, involved for years in consumer products, I say
that hearing aid prices would be in the range of $200 to $500 if the
market was competitive – likely less. The quality would be better,
comparitive shopping would be easier, and your satisfaction would be
greater. That’s the magic of competive markets! Can the manufacturers do
this? Of course they can. Don’t listen to their excuses. Badger them
every time you go in for new hearing aids. They will find a way
to make even more profit at the lower prices! Pressure them! write your
In my estimation the complexity of a hearing aid is less than that of a
hard disk. You can buy a terabyte hard disk for $100! The track
searching mechanism on a hard disk is far more complex than a hearing aid
will ever be. Don’t be fooled by the fact that hearing aids are small.
Lead spacing in a hard disk circuit board component is the same order of
magitude and the techniques for dealing with it are commonplace. The gain
and frequency of a hearing aid is likely controlled by programming a DSP.
The (digital filtering) algorithms are well known from the field of
telephony. What do you think Skype, Verizon, and AT&T do? Many
programmers know how to design the digital filters required. There is no
magic at all involved.
Google “write your congressman”. There are many websites that will tell
you who they are and how to write to them. Ask them to open up the
hearing aid market. Five or ten personally written emails to a
congressman on the same subject will flag the subject and do more good
than a thousand “fill it out” coupons. Action is needed to help us who
suffer hearing loss. Writing your congresman might save you $2000 the
next tie you buy hearing aids. Well worth the effort!
When you buy hearing aids complain about the price. Go to a vendor you
don’t like and just walk out when you hear the price. Do that even if you
have to go back later. Pressure them. Word will get around.
Mr. Watts is full of it! Everything he says is an excuse to keep the
price up. Don’t believe him. There are manufacturing ways around
everything he says. You will be rewarded when prices come down to $200.
Believe me they can! Competition and openess is the magic! I am an
engineer who has worked in competive markets. Believe me Watts is wrong!
He talks like a hearing aid vendor.
I see no real reason that you can’t go the mall and be fitted by a vending
machine! I am not in favor of that idea but I see no reason whatever to
prevent it. Everything rquired can be done with today’s
technology. Engineers are magic people who can do magic in the
Do write your congressmen. It’s time for us to take control!