Hearing Aids - A Ripoff????

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

I have had hearing problems for over the past 15 years. I recently had a complete audiology test and it was determined that my hearing loss was affecting my ability to discriminate words. The audiologist determined that I needed (2) Unitron (sp?) hearing aids at $1200.00 each. This seems awfully high. I know my father got two for about 1600.00 several years before he died but do not know the brand.

I asked why most people I know only wore one hearing aid and was told that this would cause some sorta sound discrimination. Am I being ripped off?

Please respond if you have had any experience re: Hearing aids. I do want to improve my hearing ability but feel $2400.00 for hearing aids is exorbitant.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

hearing problems run in my family. My grandmother, mother, father & sister all have hearing aides.
All of them have them in both ears.

I've sent mom an email asking for her recommendation of brand. I do know I've heard both my
mom & sister talking about the benefits of digital ones... must have come out well over 5yrs ago.

Its amazing how expensive those hearing aides are! Perhaps as more baby boomers need them,
they'll get cheaper.

My mom has a Cap Tel phone that translates the voice of whoever is talking to her to text she can
read. This has enabled us to talk to her though its very painful. There's a time lag and the words
don't translate very accurately.

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

I'd appreciate that Tammy, I do not need the latest and greatest Just a good one that works - even if it is more unsightly then the new ones that looks like little slugs. LOL

(Judith) Denver, CO(Zone 5b)

DH is getting ready for hearing aids too, but we don't know where to start.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Mom says that two is significantly better than one. Here's the text of the email from her.

"If it is possible, it is best to have two hearing aids - this enables the wearer to tell where sound is coming from - so you can locate which smoke/carbon-monoxide detector needs a battery changed or where other sounds originate. REALLY helpful! Of course, it is necessary that each hearing aid is well adjusted. Aids are NOT necessarily interchangeable since the loss won't necessarily be the same for each ear.

There are so many brands - it is such a personal thing as to which is best for an individual. I think it is best to shop where the audiologist has many different brands to try.

Personally, my favorites over the years were Sieman's, Widex and Opticon, with Sieman's being the best in my opinion.

There are two basic models out now - one is supposed to adjust to sound and has NO volume adjustment on it.

The other adjusts to sounds, but DOES have a volume control. Once you get used to the volume control, it is very hard to adjust to having a hearing aid without it.

Before I lost so much of my hearing, it was good to have just voice-range being amplified. Now that I have lost so much more, I need to get a hearing aid that amplifies a much broader range of frequencies so I can hear the alarms etc.

My left ear has such a severe loss that when sound is amplified enough that I can detect it, it is somewhat painful on the ear drum and what is amplified is so distorted by my personal hearing apparatus that is makes it confusing to me.

Maybe this is what has happened to the lady who said two caused distortion. Or perhaps one of her aids isn't properly adjusted"

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks Tammy, I really have to go to at least one other dealer. I understand the new digital hearing aids are able to be fine tuned to specific loses, but holy cow - who wants to put 2400 into hearing aids. My dad had two that cost less than 1600.00. I know I definitely need one for my right ear- hearing is good via bone conduction, but speech discrimination is poor. Guess it is the old story - shop around before making a choice.

Your help is greatly appreciated as a lot of these audiological shops are rip offs.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

It sounds like Mom thinks you should be able to try your hearing aid before
purchasing. Be sure to ask about this option. THey are very expensive indeed!

My DH is now getting to the point where he probably needs hearing aids. But of
course our insurance doesn't cover them.

Oakland, CA(Zone 9b)

My MIL is 81 and has hearing loss. We took her to a top-quality audiologist (referred by her doctor, who is a geriatrician) for testing and fitting. She has them in both ears. They are so light she often forgets they are even on!

Batteries last 10 days. Might be worthwhile looking into the rechargeable models, I think. The audiologist programs the hearing aids with a computer, customizing it to match your own test results. He has her come back (for free) every six monhs to clean and readjust the hearing aids.

They are still no substitute for pre-loss hearing, but her comprehension of conversation has helped her dramatically. Cost was $1500 for each aid.

Crossville, TN

I'm a long time hearing aid user...but not being able to afford the "upscale" type...I go to Miricle Ear in Sears for mine....and buy the cheapest one....

I have not had any trouble with my hearing aid...except for taking it in for cleaning....although I have friends with the digital ones that are always complaing about theirs.

Usually in the Month of September Miricle Ear puts their cheaper model on sale for about half price....worth waiting on! I paid $500.00 for mine that way.

Another note...Some states (I know that Florida and Arizona does) will give to the Hearing Impaired a FREE Clarity phone....they are wonderful...they don't just set the volume but the clarity...to make it easier to hear different people at different octaves. Check with your state.

Marysville, WA(Zone 7a)

I went to digital hearing aids several years ago and find them much better than the previous analog ones. These (Canta 4 I think) can be programed to meet the needs of each ear and help a great deal. Still, it is nothing like pre-loss. One problem is loss of word comprehension. Seems like no matter how much amplification there is it is still difficult to comprehend most conversations, especially telephone conversations. Seeds, I agree with your comment "who wants to put $2,400 into hearing aids". We didn't want to pay the exorbitant fee for my aids either but it was a matter of doing so or not hearing, and luckily we were able to pay for them over time. Above all I would suggest going to an Audiologist rather than a "technician", which you have done, and even getting a second opinion from another one. As to Roadrunners choice from Sears, well if they work for you what more do you need? Wish I could have gotten mine at Sears. As an aside, yesterday I had to go to the Audiologist to have a new earmold put on and have the hearing aid on that side looked at. Seems the 'filter' was plugged and the 'speaker' was bad. Repair on it will run about $250.00, with an extra years warranty included. Not cheap and I don't care much for the loaner, but at least I can understand DW and respond with the required "yes dear".

I know well where you are coming from Seeds, and wish I had something encouraging to offer. All I can say is they are expensive, hearing doesn't improve on its own, and as with everything else, you get what you pay for.
I have nothing to substantiate it, but I wonder if chocolate might help ones hearing ? It seems to help with many other situations. lol

(Judith) Denver, CO(Zone 5b)

Chocoloate as a first line of defense is a stellar idea! It will tide us over until we get to an audiologist. lol

Crossville, TN

Chocolate works for me...I may not care what one is saying...but the chocolate makes me not CARE! LOL

I didn't mean to imply that SEARS sold the hearing aids...they just host the space for Mirecle Ear..

Now to face the subject of pricing...Rip-off YES...I doesn't cost any where near what they charge to make a hearing aid...no more than a pair of glasses, or a set of dentures!! You would think the US Govt would stick their noses into this busineess...since they are sticking their nose in lots of other things. Jo

(Robert....send more chocolate!)

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

Kudoos on the chocolate. I know I will have to get one soon. But am willing to do the Sears or (In our Area) Boscov's) route rather than the digitals. For anyone with a hearing loss, the longer you do without one, the less speech discrimination you have. I have a brother who is almost totally deaf. He has been 'doing' hearing aids for the past 40 years. According to him there are only two major hearing aid manufacturers in the U.S. Siemens, and I forget the other one. They are the manufacturers of them all. Unfortunately for my brother, his only option is a cochlea implant. And he doesn't want to do that. He is very adept at reading lips. I often feel bad about his hearing loss. He was a violinist as a young person, and although he can still 'hear' some music through bone conduction, misses his music.

Crossville, TN

I wish I was a canidate for the Cochlear implant...but was told I wasn't...a friend was and he loves it. Jo

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

My hearing must be pretty good, I can still hear Jo saying, "Which pan has the fudge".
Still thinking about the good times at Prizer Point.

Crossville, TN

....and what good fudge it was! LOL Jo

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

hey.. no fair talking about fudge I didn't get to sample! :-)

Mom was told she could go the cochlear implant route but she's
in her mid 70s and was afraid it would be too difficult to learn to
hear again.


Crossville, TN

Mid 70's? I am 74 and would love that opportunity!! My friend did have to work at it for about 9 months. Jo

Greensboro, AL

I have hearing damage and I have been told I should get a hearing aid. I live alone and rarely talk to anyone except dogs. I listen to music & tv, and I talk to my sister in Michigan about once a month - only reason for a telephone other than hooking my computer up.

the conversation became strained and I could barely understand what she was saying. I started checking out the price of hearing aids. Not something I could afford. My insurance would not cover it.

Finally, I started getting flashes on my phone, so I knew I needed a new battery.

But there was some other damage as well, so I decided to get a phone that does not need batteries.

New Phone. Voila. I hear perfectly!

Lafayette, NJ(Zone 6a)

My Dad has hearing aids in both ears. He just got new digital ones and is getting used to them. He gets his hearing aids and eyeglasses through the VA for free. It's a bit of a drive but well worth it.

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

That is great about the VA. My husband has hearing loss and was offered hearing aids from the VA but said he didn't want them. LOL I guess because my hearing is so bad that he considers himself lucky!

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

My DH has 2 and they were $1200.00,But has to pay $30.00 every 6 months for new tubes. Bev

Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

We have been the route and found nothing that DH could tolerate.

This is my plan. The world of electronics with every kind of hearing device for phones, ipods, etc, etc is overloaded with high quality sound. If we would all just harrass Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, iPod, iPhone and who knows what else....we might get a real hearing device for very little money. Everything on the market today is a rip off. High priced and low quality. The intelligence is there....just not directed at those that need it.
With the upcoming baby boomers loosing their hearing...well, you get the point.

In the meantime, we purchased two devices from Costco for the tv's. One for his and one for mine. Infrared, wireless earphones where we each can hear and the neighbors don't have to listen to our choices.

Sure don't intend to be facetious. DH is almost deaf and I am not far behind. We have been the gamunt with his hearing and yet to find a solution.


Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

LouC, am interested in the devices you purchased for the TV. This would help me and my husband out. Name? manufacturer? how they hook up???

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Check out the TVEARS website. A real good product for tv listening

Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

I believe that is the name. Costco price $69.95. Very simple to hook up. We have already thrown the boxes away but I will try to see if they have anything actually on them.


Found them on this website. I believe they are probably available other places for less than this price. http://www.asseenontv.com/prod-pages/tv_ears2.html

This message was edited Dec 14, 2008 10:10 PM

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

My DH uses these simply so I can do other things (like read or do computer stuff) while he watches action- (and noise-) packed movies.
It's great.
The Sennheiser brand is best, expensive though.

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

I bought Listen Up. They are adds on tv and you put it in your pocket and it has radio ear phones. They are really good for $15.00. They have a web site. BEV

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

I already bought the Listen Up. Could not stand the ear plugs, so replaced them with a pair of Ipod ear buds. They keep falling out of my ears, but are a big help. I am going to check our TVears.

Thanks for your help,

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

Welcome. BEV

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

We watch TV with the captions turned on. That saves a lot of arguing over
the volume

Olympia, WA

Interesting thread ......... and my need for the information is becoming more evident. I, too, live alone. That means there is little need for amplification. My cats don't say much. I get to chose the volume on TV/radio. Only when I socialize am I becoming aware of the problem. Hmmmm. I think the first thing is to get hearing checked. I will earmark this thread, and may come back to reread the shared information in time. Thank you.

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

wannadanc, that was my problem. My husband and I had 'adjusted' to our hearing losses here at home. However, I recently joined a computer class at a local senior citizens center and have one heck of a time following the program. Luckily they have a printout of each session.

Nurmo, Finland(Zone 4b)

I lived in England for my first seventy years, and in Finland for the past two. I've had hearing loss in both ears since I had measles aged six. I've worn aids for about thirty years. Nowadays I have two; but 90% of the time I only wear one. My current pair are Widex, and they're very good. I had a Siemens in-ear aid for a time; but I was not happy with it. I much prefer behind the ear ones. The only reason I can see for in-ear models is vanity.

In England, if your hearing loss is severe enough you can get aids free on the NHS. However they only supply very basic models, you have to wait a long time for them, and repairs can take a long time. I got my current pair from a commercial audiologist. They cost 1200 GB pounds five years ago. (When the pound was still worth something!) The price is high; but after sales service is excellent.

I also use wireless headphones for listening to the TV. Mine are Sony. I''m delighted with them.

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