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OT-Hearing Aids

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  • OT-Hearing Aids

    Based on past forum age queries, I figure there is a sufficient base of old farts to ask about personal experience with hearing aids. I'm going seriously deaf and need to finally visit this issue. I think I pushed the, "....sorry Hon, I didn't hear you", reason once too often.

    I'd like to know how many people that either tried or use hearing aids, find them beneficial and to what degree. Are higher cost units worth the additional money? Any particular brand that you find as above the rest? Any particular high noise environments that your device can't handle, such as your shop (here come the wife jokes)?


  • #2
    My brother is stone deaf. It happened very quickly and was complete in a matter of days. He's gone through a lot of aids over the years including some very expensive ones ($5k), and they help to this degree - he can understand friends and family somewhat, but strangers, not so much. Without the preconditioning of already knowing what we sound and inflect like, they're just ear plugs.

    And he advises anyone who works around noise to wear the kind of ear plugs that deaden sound so they won't eventually have to wear earplugs like his that cost so damn much


    • #3
      Ahhh Fred! You definitely hit a topic that I'd like to get some info on also, I worked for a 'major airlines' for 35 years and screaming jet engines didnt help my hearing! And as you say, I bet there are several of us in need...

      Hearing aids are in that category with funeral homes and car salesmen and a few others as having a bad reputation for overcharging and faulty/poor quality products. Though obviously, as in those other cases, there are some good products on the market, but with some of the prices - in the thousands - I'd sure like to have some first hand experience!
      If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........


      • #4
        Are higher cost units worth the additional money?
        No. Hearing aids are in the 10,000 percent markup category. If you want something that will actually work well you need a slim pocket amplifier and a noise cancelling headphone on one or both ears. It's called a "body hearing aid" and they can be bought for under $200.

        If you want to try out a hearing aid for dirt cheap to see how it suits you it won't cost squat if you buy one (or two) from DX. A standard ear hook type with batteries included is available for $10.55. That isn't a misprint. It is the same thing that you would pay $500 to $1000 for at a hearing aid clinic with normal markups.

        I have a very good idea what you are needing as I went stone deaf for several months a few years ago due to an ear infection. Fortunately I recovered almost all of my hearing except for some high frequency loss in my right ear.

        See here:
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #5
          Good subject.

          Before you buy anything, go have a hearing checkup by a qualified professional.

          That means DO NOT GO to a hearing aid store and be checked out.

          That is like asking the used cars salesman whether or not you need another car.

          If..and only if the professional testing shows that you have hearing loss that can be helped by an aid should you then start looking at buying anything.

          Hearing loss can be due to many things...some are correctable...some are not.

          Some hearing loss can be due to wax buildup.

's not just the old farts.

          If they can help you, be prepared to respond to the wife..or buy earplugs. ;<)



          • #6
            I think those are not good long term solutions as they don't have or at least don't claim to have compression or limiting, so they can actually advance your hearing degradation by over driving what's left of your inner ear and the all important auditory hair cells. But they are an excellent value and self-prescribed introduction to hearing aids.

            Another solution is to get a personal digital recorder - you get playback that way, and is useful when in a group or presentation.

            I have this:

            and this mic:

            The mic is a stereo dual cardoid unit with interesting directional characteristics.

            This is how it performs when set on a mic stand on stage in front of a group of women singers. The audio on the video was taken from too far away so I spliced my audio stream into the video. The mic is just in front of the director's stand.


            I'm wearing ear buds with it running now, and I'm amazed at the amount of motor noise in this house (refrigerator and freezer) and traffic noise . We have a recirculating water dish for our cats and I hear it splashing which I cannot without this device.

            However - it has the same problem of compression/limiting, so is not a good solution, and because of the size, not particularly convenient.


            • #7
              Im deaf, my friends talk to me and if they dont look at me I dont know what they are saying at all. hearing aids wont do much for me but amp up the background noise and make my problem worse. All I can hear is HHHHHHHHSSSSSSS.


              • #8
                I am deaf in one ear and have a severe loss in the other. With the best correction available I can't understand enough of movies to bother going any more. TV news is ok but I can never hear the punch line of a joke on TV. I can hear one person (on my right side) in a crowded restraunt. I started with the mail order fit-all about 10 years ago and have graduated to something called a Unitron Next 16. It has put up with any kind of noise I could produce in the shop and on the farm. Heat, sweat, dirt, humidity. One $20 repair just lately after 2 or three years. I looked and saw an on-line price of $1349/ ea. Technology changes rapidly. I'm sure I'm a generation out of date.

                It's programmable. I think the 16 in the model number is the number of frequency bands it divides sound into to process separately. The programming screen looks like it has dozens of sliders and tweaks to adjust and sound quality varies a great deal depending on adjustment. I've gotten the last two from hospitals who claim to sell at cost and have no incentive to upsell, etc. Got some supplies for the privious one from a local heavy advertiser who bitched that hospitals were "giving 'em away".

                I wanted to stick one in once in a while when hearing was important but finally bought in to the audiologist rant about requiring a commitment. She was right. They won't work part time. If you don't put 'em in, leave 'em in and stick with the process of programming they will end up in your sock drawer.

                The one I have is tiny, light, tough as nails, nearly impossible to lose, takes a cheap battery a week and allows me to hear a great deal.

                Good luck.


                • #9
                  I don't recommend it either for long term use but it is a very cheap way to do a test drive.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                  • #10
                    +2 the high mark up.
                    I went to a promotional clinic for Oticon, nice but Very expen$$ive( four figures).
                    I got the free audio chart from them and got them from a NY Clinic on ebay that set them up according to the chart for under 50% less.


                    • #11
                      Why does the high mark up exist?

                      Considering that the population is getting older and more people have hearing loss, why isn't the price lower?

                      Will it take the Chinese offering a hearing aid at Harbor Freight to lower prices by increased competition?



                      • #12
                        If you're a vetran, try the VA. I have no personal experience with them, but a lady whose husband died gave me his VA hearing aids. I fashioned my own ear piece from a piece of urethane alligator clip boot and used one of them in my worst ear for a while - until a mouse ate the earpiece one night when I left it laying on the workbench.

                        Just recently, I heard about a local guy who went to the VA. After testing they pronounced him disabled because of hearing loss and awarded him a disability pension. ...??? He was already retired. ...???
                        Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                        ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Weston Bye

                          Just recently, I heard about a local guy who went to the VA. After testing they pronounced him disabled because of hearing loss and awarded him a disability pension. ...??? He was already retired. ...???
                          Our tax dollars hard at work!


                          • #14
                            I have worked around extreme noise machines for 30 years , and I have a ringing or hisss in my right ear, its been getting worse for the last 3 years is this the start of hearing loss?

                            I am 48 years old.



                            • #15
                              I have 30% hearing loss in both ears.
                              I've had one STARKEY hearing aid in my left ear for the past 10 years, and it still does the job.
                              I just 'upgraded' to two new UNITRON hearing aids, but I'm afraid I've grown accustom to the old one.
                              Funny thing about hearing loss, is that your brain will get used to the muffled sounds it's hearing, so if you go a long time long un-aided, and then suddenly get hearing aids, 'normal' sound doesn't sound good at all.