What's in this blog? Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

"Mankind is terrified of silence, is uncomfortable in the quiet, is this the reason they need so much going on around them that is noisy? "

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Which Hearing Aids Did I Buy?

I have learned that no hearing aid is going to restore my hearing. It's not like buying glasses and having 20/20 corrected vision. The best they can do is help me hear the soft consonants that I can't hear now that sometimes drives me crazy and results in lots of screwed up conversations.

I am a tech head and  love gadgets. I read and browse the Internet daily to keep with the technology I use on the job, my hobbies and now hearing aids. I have spent several days browsing articles and web pages to educate myself about hearing aids and hearing loss.

"TANSTAAFL" There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Austin Diagnostic Clinic did not have the least expensive hearing aids for sale but they do recommend some the best. What I was buying in addition to the hearing aid hardware was the services and experience of the audiologist and an Audiology department. In addition, the price included a Streamer Blue Tooth and Remote Control for which other providers charged extra.  And, cash flow was better since they bill the insurance company for its share.

Penny, my audiologist at the Austin Diagnostic Clinic (ADC) provided me with the most in depth and accurate information about the choices that I had to make concerning what hearing hearing aid would help me the most.

Getting useful and objective information on Hearing Aids turned out to be a real challenge. There are thousands of web pages and other resources on the internet that offer some useful information. A lot of it is advertisement. What I did find was user manuals, videos and other useful stuff on hearing aids I was interested in. Some of the magazines for Hearing Aid providers have some neat articles on-line. Some of the articles are very technical so I had to Google lots of terms. 

The most useful on-line resource I have found is the Hearing Aid Forums. If you have questions and want to read comments and discucssions from other folks about hearing loss and hearing aids check out this forum. I highly recommend it.

I read  "The Consumer Handbook on Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids" edited by Richard Carmen, worth reading, ISBN 9780966182682. You might be able to get a free copy from your audiologist. The companion web site is www.hearingproblems.com

The 2010 Consumers Guide to Hearing Aids published by the James Wilson Group Strategic Solutions for features and listings of hearing aids. Great resource if you like comparing features and stats. Very useful glossary of Hearing Aid Industry buzz words in the back.

Consumer Reports also had reviews of some hearing aids last Summer. Typical CR report.

After talking to Penny, I decided  to try a pair of Auticon Dual WX Hearing Aids. These are high end Hearing Aids that have a decent reputation and some pretty neat technology. After insurance the hearing aids will cost me about $1300 after the FedEx Health Insurance contributed $5000.00. I am going to be wearing the hearing aids 16 hours a day, every day of the the rest of my life.  Some quick number crunching revealed that the difference between adequate and the premium hearing aids is about $1 a day over the expected life of the hearing aids. It's worth it to me.

Oticon Dual XW link on Oticon web site

Coping with a wide variety of environments  including very noisy loading docks, server rooms lots of time on the phone made the choices a bit tougher.  Blue Tooth is a necessity for me because my Blackberry is my link to customers and FedEx and I use it about 14 hours a day according to my wife.

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