Starkey Hearing Aids

Susan Moore smoore at otolaryngology-po.oto.uiowa.edu
Fri Sep 13 16:52:29 EST 1996


You asked about what type/model (in-the-ear, in-the-canal, etc.) your wife should 
get for her hearing aids....

This is a difficult question to answer over the net.  It depends on many factors, 
such as how important cosmetic concerns (i.e. how big the aid looks in her ear), and 
concerns over prices.  There is an excellent article from the 1992 Consumer Reports 
called "How to Buy a Hearing Aid."  I advise all my patients to read this article 
before purchasing a hearing aid.

It's very good that your wife is being seen by an audiologist.  It is important, 
though, for you to educate yourself as a consumer in the hearing health industry.  
The bad reputation that the field is given from time to time didn't come from 
nowhere.  There ARE people out there who are out to make a quick buck.  There are 
also a lot of people who are honestly trying to improve the lives of the hearing 
impaired (and make a living doing it).

In VERY general terms, the smaller the hearing aid, the more expensive it is.  Also, 
the fancier the "guts" are that are in the hearing aid, the more expensive the 
hearing aid will be.  I believe someone else posted to you that your wife should by 
all means have some sort of a trial period with the hearing aid.  She should also be 
informed of the manufacturer's warrenty on the instrument.  Most aids come with a 
1 year warrenty that will cover loss or damage...but there are variations and it is 
important for you to find out what is covered in your warrenty and what isn't.  If 
you wish to by a 2nd year or even a 3rd year warrenty, how much does it cost and 
what does it cover?  Can you get hearing aid insurance through the office your wife 
is considering purchasing a hearing aid from?

Also in VERY general terms, the worse the hearing loss, the larger the hearing aid 
needs to be.  Someone with a moderate-severe hearing loss typically will not be a 
candidate for the very small completely in the canal hearing aids.  They need more 
power than the mfg.s can stuff into a circuit and get it into a shell that small.  
Also, the larger hearing aid may provide a better seal with the ear and help prevent 
that annoying squeal known as "feedback" which happens when some of the amplified 
signal from the hearing aid gets reamplified by the hearing aid continuously.

It will be important for you and your wife to feel comfortable talking/working with 
the audiologist.  If you do not feel comfortable with the person, you will be less 
likely to return to that person if your wife is not 100% satisfied, but at the same 
time, is not 100% unsatisfied.  There's some mystery level in there where patients 
like the aid enough to wear it "when they want to hear" but not enough to wear it 
most of their waking hours like we often would recommend, and then we see the person 
back (typically after their warrenty has expired) and they tell us all the things 
wrong with their aid and it's too late to do anything without the patient spending 
additional money when all this could've been avoided if the patient had communicated 
 his/her needs to the audiologist more effectively in the first place.

And finally, (and I will get off my soapbox, I promise!), if your wife has a hearing 
loss on both sides, is she considering hearing aids on both sides?

Good luck, best wishes, and here's to better hearing!

Susan in Iowa




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