The following offers more about hearing aid costs. The article suggests several ways to save on prescription hearing aids. One of their recommendations is to shop around. This only works if you can compare apples to apples. When you get a price quote, get the name of the manufacturer, the exact model, and the style. Top brands include Oticon, Unitron, Phonak, Widex, and Starkey. I can fit and service any of these. [Read more…]
In this article on hearing loss and hearing aids, Consumer Reports cites papers from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the reasons why hearing aids are not used by many people who self-report hearing loss. I’ll begin by addressing cost. According to NAS and PCAST, hearing aids cost an average of $4,700 a pair, and can be almost twice that price.
I’d like to state for the record, that it is possible to keep an audiology practice in business without charging $7,000 or $8,000 for two hearing aids at the high end. I do it every day, by offering the best hearing technology available and the best fitting processes in Hampton Roads, and every pair is under $4,300.
The article offers one comparison that does not seem fair, but that may stem from a lack of understanding. Consumer Reports quotes the PCAST report as saying that, while the retail cost of hearing aids ranges from $3,300 – $8,000 a pair, the cost of the components that go into a hearing aid is $100.00. This is probably true for the basic hearing aid that I buy for about $200.00 and sell for a small markup plus fees for professional services. But I seriously doubt that it is true for the latest, top-of-the line technology. The top hearing aid manufacturers spend millions of dollars on research and development and need to amortize that cost over the life span of of the models they’ve developed from that research. They also need to make enough profit to stay in business and do further research.
I’ll go further into the cost factor in the next post.
A recent article in our local paper, the Daily Press reported that “…geriatricians, and other health and social service providers are growing increasingly worried about loneliness among seniors…their concerns are fueled by studies showing it is linked to serious health problems…” The article listed memory loss, strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure as possible consequences, and hearing loss or life changes such as retirement among possible causes.
Seniors don’t have to take loneliness sitting down. The article tells about an organization called the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly that connects seniors and volunteers. There are only a few chapters around the nation, however, just knowing about a work like this may motivate someone to start a local chapter or an organization like it. The article also tells of an AARP Foundation online network called Connect2Affect. This network allows people to do a self-assessment and reach out to others who feel disconnected. A quote from the AARP’s chief medical officer summarizes the problem, “Loneliness is a huge issue we don’t talk enough about,” said Charlotte Yeh, “There is a huge stigma.”
The effect of hearing loss on loneliness depends on the amount of hearing loss, the personality, and the social network of the one affected. Friends and family need to recognize when a senior they know is beginning to show signs of hearing loss. One indication is the volume level on the television. An assessment and treatment by an audiologist can dramatically reduce loneliness, improve a senior’s relationships, and get them back to activities they love.
The article was written by Anna Gorman of Kaiser Health.
If you’ve purchased hearing aids in Hampton Roads, but not from Ears to You, then try not to cry when you get to the last paragraph:
“I can not tell you how impressed I am with your hearing aids. I can hear perfectly to include the microwave beeping when it is done, the backup warning on our car, clocks all over the house, street noise from Denbigh (3 blocks away), ALL conversations. The list goes on and on.” Clyde in Newport News
“Hi David! How nice of you to check in. So far, I’m LOVING being able to hear. I’ve worked a couple afternoon shifts wearing them and am able to hear things I can’t recall hearing before.” Cheryl in Ohio
It’s obvious that Clyde and Cheryl want to hear as well as they can. Their results can only be obtained by combining great technology with a great fitting process. Clyde is an experienced hearing aid user; he’s purchased hearing aids from two other area providers over the last 10 years, but he’s never been able to get the results he wants until now. Cheryl is a new hearing aid user who is just starting her journey with better hearing. She drove to Virginia on the advice of her brother who had seen me recently.