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Topic # 239638 27-Jul-2018 12:45
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A family member (age 65) has noticed that her hearing was perhaps not all it should be. She went to a local audiology business last week who did a 'free hearing test'. There was some hearing loss - I don't have any real details - but most likely some or all of the loss is at the higher-frequency end which is normal loss as we age.

 

They suggested that the ears should be syringed and this was done yesterday. The nurse who did this reported that one ear was 'totally blocked' and the other one was partially blocked. Hearing seemed to be at least slightly better after this.

 

Today she has been back to the audiologist who did another test and found there was some improvement after the cleaning. However they have persuaded her to trial a pair of hearing aids which apparently normally cost $9,000 but which they will let her have for $6,000.

 

Apparently they also have other models and some that are about $2,000. At this stage I don't know what the differences are between $2,000 and $6/9,000 aids but will try and do some research.

 

The cynic in me says that the audiology company is in business to sell hearing aids and that it's very much in their interests to find hearing loss and sell the most expensive model - but maybe I'm being unfair.

 

Would welcome informed comment and advice. Thanks.


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  Reply # 2063611 27-Jul-2018 12:52
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Are they actually having day-to-day difficulties with hearing, or is this just a nicety? May be best for them to see how they go with just the clean...

 

Basically, you expect some hearing loss with age, but it isn't actually problematic for everyone.




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  Reply # 2063614 27-Jul-2018 12:56
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This is exactly what I'm thinking. Also interesting that they didn't get her to trial the $2,000 aids first.

 

There was some loss evident but there wasn't enough time before the trial started today to tell whether the cleaning yesterday had any real effect.


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  Reply # 2063616 27-Jul-2018 13:01
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I can't imagine the firm is offering free tests due to a strong social conscience and desire to do good in this world - very little in this world is truly free!

 

If this was a car and my 'free' safety check had picked up a bunch of issues I had no idea of and the cost associated with fixing them was high I'd go to a different garage to ensure I wasn't being taken for a ride.

 

I'd suggest the same thing applies here, in that it would be wise for your relative to get a second opinion from another audiologist (in a different company), and be willing to pay for the test just to try to avoid that taint...


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  Reply # 2063622 27-Jul-2018 13:10
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I would hold the judgement on whether they're needed or not until they've had the opportunity to see whether they make a noticeable difference; perhaps, if they do make a difference, after trialling the expensive pair she could try the cheaper ones to get a sense as to whether the difference in cost is worth it (and they may not just offer quality of sound benefits, but comfort, remote control features, size, visibility etc).

 

I say that as someone who's trying to persuade my mother, who is in her 80s, to get hearing aids! She so clearly needs them but is quite belligerent in refusing to acknowledge this or do something about it. Her hearing loss is having an impact on her ability to understand and take part in conversations in an increasing number of settings - not only now in larger groups or with high background noise, but increasingly simply one-on-one chats. This leads to increasing social isolation, which has further ramifications.

 

So, if your relative is aware her hearing is not so good, I'd certainly be encouraging them to see what difference hearing aids could make, given what the significant flow-on benefits can be.




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  Reply # 2063623 27-Jul-2018 13:12
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Although I'm grateful for the 'human' responses (all of which so far reflect my own thinking) I'm also interested to hear whether anyone has knowledge of, or experience with, different types of hearing aids.


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  Reply # 2063627 27-Jul-2018 13:23
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i have a Phonak hearing aid which is fitted to my ear canal so it is really comfortable it set me back just over $2,000 but i went through the public hospital were it is subsidised and i have to have it separate on my content insurance as to replace it privately will set me back at just under $5000, so the good ones are not cheap but i have only around 40%  hearing in my bad ear so i needed a expensive one if it was to make any difference. I was like your mother but i was only 50 when i got mine, and i didnt see the point of getting one, but i am lost without it now and it makes a big difference to the family around me.





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  Reply # 2063631 27-Jul-2018 13:32
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@vexxxboy Thanks for that. Can anyone go through the public hospital system for this?

Maybe we should ask the audiologist to be more specific about the nature and extent of the loss. I’m sure they told her but I haven’t heard it (no pun intended).

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  Reply # 2063634 27-Jul-2018 13:38
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Colleague of mine has a fancy one with bluetooth - he think's it's bloody marvelous. It's almost invisible too.

 

 


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  Reply # 2063635 27-Jul-2018 13:40
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They're absolutely in the business of selling hearing aids, especially because most of the shop front audiology business are actually owned by hearing aid manufacturers, and will only sell their own brand or brands.

 

That said, $6000 for a pair of modern, digital hearing aids sounds fairly realistic.  If you go for the cut price versions, what you're likely to get is older technology without the sound processing capabilities of a modern hearing aid.  This is important because a modern digital aid can be configured to match the profile of a person's hearing loss, so that the sound they end up hearing feels natural and balanced. In your family member's case, their hearing aid would be set up to amplify high frequencies more than low frequencies to compensate for the hearing they've actually lost.  Modern hearing aids also have better noise cancelling features, helping to suppress wind noise, and focusing more on sounds in front of the wearer, rather than picking up sounds from all around them.

 

Older hearing aids just amplified everything, which can be really unpleasant, and I can say from experience is really hard to adapt to, especially for someone who has lived without a hearing aid for a long time.

 

I've been wearing a hearing aid on and off since the 1980's, and I can say that the unit I have now is the best that I've ever had.  I use a BiCROS aid which has a transmitter on my bad side, (because of the type of hearing loss I have, a standard hearing aid won't work on that side) and a digital aid on my good side, acting as a receiver and compensating for a small amount of loss on that side.  I paid about $5000 for that three years ago, which worked out at $1000 for the transmitter (Phonak CROS), $3500 for the digital hearing aid (Phonak Audeo Q50), and about $500 for consulting and services.

 

My experience with hearing aids is that they're like reading glasses for my ears.  I can get by without them, but they make it so much easier to hear and make it much easier and less tiring to understand when people are speaking.


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  Reply # 2063693 27-Jul-2018 14:58
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If she can hear the TV or radio, with no difficulties, and if she can have an intelligent conversation with relatives or friends, then a hearing aid is probably not yet necessary. If her hearing is starting to cause social isolation, then a trial of hearing aids will be worthwhile. And, yes, the aids can be expensive. As a general rule, the more expensive aids have more functions (such as Bluetooth), and probably are more effective. Referral to a hospital can be a long and tortuous process. When her hearing becomes frustrating for her, and for her family, then hearing aids could change her life.

 

I am deaf and have hearing aids, and I am a retired Medical Professional.


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  Reply # 2063697 27-Jul-2018 15:07
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I think though, that some hearing impaired people don't believe that they are hearing impaired, and older people get grumpy if you try to tell them they are (especially after they've been telling you to speak up when you're already yelling).

 

Listening to the TV with the volume rather loud is an obvious clue. In my case, the problem is one sided deafness. I can hear you pretty well in a quiet room, and quite well in a noisy area if you are on my good side or I am looking at your face. But if you are on my deaf side in a noisy environment... forget about it!

 

 

 

 




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  Reply # 2063706 27-Jul-2018 15:32
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idle:

If she can hear the TV or radio, with no difficulties, and if she can have an intelligent conversation with relatives or friends, then a hearing aid is probably not yet necessary. If her hearing is starting to cause social isolation, then a trial of hearing aids will be worthwhile. And, yes, the aids can be expensive. As a general rule, the more expensive aids have more functions (such as Bluetooth), and probably are more effective. Referral to a hospital can be a long and tortuous process. When her hearing becomes frustrating for her, and for her family, then hearing aids could change her life.


I am deaf and have hearing aids, and I am a retired Medical Professional.



Thanks for this - she is nowhere near social isolation, can hear TV fine and can easily converse - so probably not at the stage yet where aids are needed. Makes me wonder about the ‘diagnosis’ and business self-interest.

I don’t doubt she may need them later but let’s wait and see. In the meantime hopefully we can agree to just let the trial lapse.



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  Reply # 2063709 27-Jul-2018 15:34
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@stevenk Thanks for your reply too - very helpful and interesting. Answers from actual users like you and @idle are what I was hoping for.

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  Reply # 2063716 27-Jul-2018 15:45
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you can go through the hospital but it would take a least 6 months as they make children with Glue ear priority but if you havent the money then i guess you have to wait. My hearing aid is amazing it was set up exactly to whats wrong with my hearing and it is fine tuned by hooking it up to program on a PC and tinkering with settings to get it right, takes about an hour to fine tune it.





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Reply # 2065565 31-Jul-2018 11:27
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My father has used aids for years, Has Phonak now I think.

 

We ended up getting him some bluetooth Bose QC35 headphones for watching TV which connect to the Panasonic TV and can be synced. Helps a bit.

 

 

 

His common complaint is the aid batteries wear out pretty quick and right when he needs them but that could be him not planning ahead. H also feels he was 'upsold' the over priced remote and not worth it. Prefers to reach up and press the button. I think it's something crazy like $500 or something and very very basic.

 

 

 

If shes at all tech savy or has someone close to help I'd say look into bluetooth enabled aids even to then get a cheap phone or iPad to control them with an App as then you might be able to adjust the 'curve' to lower or boost some frequencies in an easy to read graphical interface.

 

Any model that can be somewhat 'futureproofed' as hearing changes with an EQ over time would be good. 

 

Unfortunately they will be $$$$. Resound Linx 3D look good. Here's a review. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxqgfyal_Wo

 

 

 

Best of luck!!!


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