Follow
Share

My 102 year old aunt cannot afford $6000. Any ideas?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
We use Pocketalker Ultra by Williams Sound. Our local Access to Independance office has catalogs to choose sound amplification devices out of. This one comes with both ear phones and a speaker that you can hang around your neck so you don't have to wear anything. There is a reciever unit that is wireless so you can set it in the middle of the room or on the TV.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Oops. Having named names, I'd better take it back about Amplifon in Hereford, in case anyone's reading this: for five years they have doggedly maintained, adjusted, cleaned and repaired my mother's (dizzyingly expensive) hearing aids free of charge, testing her hearing at 6-monthly intervals, and I cannot fault their service. The one thing they haven't done is figure out how to make her WEAR the d*mn-and-blast things...
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

GA I couldn't agree more about the companies' marketing tactics - they turn me into a rabid frothing-at-the-mouth I shall write to The Times! maniac quicker than almost anything except home improvements salesmen. In the UK we have a sort of weird divide, though; because it's a kept-quiet fact that anyone can get a referral to a proper audiologist AND have a hearing aid prescribed if they need it (or, crucially, not if they don't but simply could do with having the wax cleared out); but NHS hearing aids have been traditionally so clunky, squeaky and hideous that no-one with any choice would wear them. So the market is also populated with your Hidden Hearing and Amplifon type companies (some branches being considerably more ethical and vocational than others); and the net net is that only very poor people who are extremely deaf or very rich people who don't notice what they're shelling out end up with functioning, helpful hearing aids, and in the middle you've got lots of people who've tried to economise and keep their (still pretty expensive) kit in a draw because it doesn't work for them.

I think the health policy is called "muddling through." It's a treasured national tradition.

And that thing about $xxxxxxx off! but not mentioning the price drives me up the WALL. Rip off bastard con artist bastards!!! Especially if dutiful daughter hem-hem rings up specifically to ask for price guidelines and they still won't tell you, like it's an unfathomable mystery and they have no idea what they've ever charged previous customers. Grrr gnash snarl spit….
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

CM, get a prescription?? That's an excellent idea!

The audiologists we've seen don't write prescriptions, as if they were glasses. The only details are in their notes. So, no, it's not possible to shop for a better price but that's an excellent suggestion. I'm going to try that the next time we see an audiologist.

What they generally do is insulting - they send out marketing propaganda offering $1k or so off the price of a hearing aid. There's no indication of what that price is. Then after the exam, they drop the bomb that the aids cost $4k or so, but there's this great deal to get $1k off each aid. As if we're dumb enough to believe that.

I think the issue is that they have a monopoly. Generally speaking it's the older people who need hearing aids, although I suspect that anyone who listens to rap is going to need hearing aids in a decade or so.

When there's a limited market, the suppliers can be price controlling, and they are.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

GA, that's shocking :( - but I suppose not surprising. Is it still possible to take your prescription and shop around?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Henrietta, I'm with Mr. Bray on that. My current aid, which is a Phonak and its about that old, works quite well; I am saving up to switch to receiver-in-canal because I could use something a little stronger and that would also help with phones and stethoscopes, plus might be safer from moisture in very light rain. My colleague with normal ears (and a lower pitched voice that I can always hear incredibly well, especially while I am trying to hear a soft spoken young resident trying to present a case to me :-) does find it a little annoying to have to turn down the volume all the time on the phone we share in clinic.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Beware of simple amplifiers if you have high frequency loss, which is what I have - low pitch sounds may be amplified so much that speech is unintelligible, just louder, which is not what you want. I will even get headaches from amplification of low pitches. no if they would create a little portable "treble boost" device of some sort, I would probably be able to use it, customized or no! My car radio is turned all the way down on the bass and up on the treble and that works for me.

You can look on e-bay for ideas but make sure your own audiologist is willing and able to do adjustment on whatever you purchase.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Ronnie, "the long and the short and the tall.." ??
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

CM, audiologists are definitely not at arm's length from hearing aid manufacturers. In fact some audiologists we've seen only recommend specific brands.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

bless 'em all .....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My wife's audiologists, here in the US, are the principle agents for hearing aid manufacturers. they ever arrange credit terms on the premises.

They receive a commission for every hearing aid sold. How's that for disinterest?

The British - bless 'e, all! - have a much better system of healthcare than the US in which healthcare per se is a service and not a business.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Henrietta, what's more important than their age is how much your mother's current hearing aids actually help her. If they're working well - especially if they can be adjusted - cling to them. But also seek the audiologist's advice about how your mother's particular hearing loss (this can be complicated by dementia, by the way, if that's an issue) can best be helped. I'm not sure if the same is true in the States, but as far as I know audiologists are at arm's length from hearing aid providers so you should be able to get an objective opinion.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Henrietta - if your Mum's hearing aid is still working, then why replace it? I am old but I am still working!

Don't let them pressure you. Listen to your Mum on this one.

:)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I am so lost. My mom is 90 years old and will be having an appt w her ENT on Tues. Her current hearing aids are old and I know the physician will turn her over to the Audiology dept. Question...I want the best for my mom. Reading all these thread I am lost. Is there anyplace that has comparative ratings? (She currently wears middle of the line, 5 year old, Phonak brand)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Ronnie, I am not and never have been employed by the hearing aid industry! On the contrary, I bear the scars from battling their exploitative hard-sell practices myself on behalf of several relatives, including my mother. But modern digital hearing aids are NOT just amplifiers, and if you have an elder who wants the in-ear discreet type they ARE made to measure, from impressions, like dentures.

If you or your elder don't need the bells-and-whistles variety then good luck to you - some people also do have visual impairments that are easily corrected by off the shelf magnifying glasses, too, that are as cheap as chips, and good for them. All I'm saying is, find out what you need, how it works and what you're paying for before you buy.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

It is a myth and an expensive one that another's hearing aid is of no use to a new owner.

It is an amplifier, for Pete's sake.

Go cheap, go used, just use a new plastic ear insert. These are cheap and easy to buy.

Comparing hearing aids to dentures is sheer opportunism and sound as though it originated in the hearing aid industry!

We don't have to have radios and TVs tailored to our ears, and hearing aids, provided that they have the right amount of amplification are likely to serve very well.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

In Connecticut, BRS will pay for hearing aids if the aids are required for a job. christine
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Some of the advice here is to try assistive listening devices. You might want to try this first and see if it makes a difference for your aunt before pursuing hearing aids. You can google personal listening device to see what the different systems are. You can try something cheap, but it might also be good to try a little better quality listening device.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Ladylee, is this amplifier another device that can be purchased at Radioshack?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

There is a wireless amplifier that has a simple speaker worn around the neck. It works well for TV watching and general conversations.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My elderly relative has severe hearing loss and dementia and those tiny hearing aids just didn't work for him. Now on occasion he uses the amplifier with headphones -- sometimes it helps a lot and other times not so good. He doesn't like wearing them but at times it makes it easier to communicate. They are much, much cheaper than hearing aids.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

We are coming up to a year with my mom's hearing aids from Costco. They were $2495 for both ears. With the exception of getting used to them and replacing the batteries once a week, she has been very happy with both Costco and the guy who runs the department. They have a replacement policy for one set. I know my mom was worried about losing them but she didn't and she is in the routine of using them, taking them out if she gets her hair done, etc. Still expensive but they work great and we were treated great.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Whatever type you get for your aunt, don't expect miracles. As my cousin pointed out to me, if you draw a parallel between seeing and hearing, then wearing a hearing aid isn't like putting on a pair of glasses - it's more like turning on a bright light. It's uncomfortable, and it takes time and effort to gain any real benefit. Meanwhile, if your aunt's hearing loss is severe and has been for some time, then there won't be just an ear problem - the brain functions that perceive and interpret sound will also have deteriorated and again it takes perseverance to get much of it back.

If your aunt has got to 102 without one, then by all means try them but to be honest the chances of its doing her much good are not great.

This is also a heads-up about hearing aids in general - get one the minute you think you need one. And about the prices: it's not that simple. If you want an amplifier, fine; get an amplifier. But modern digital hearing aids are miniature computers that sit virtually invisibly in your ears and achieve prodigies of sound reproduction. I agree the prices are inflated, but a) there's nothing wrong with asking for a discount and b) you're not getting nothing for your money. When hearing aids don't work too well it's generally either because people aren't following their audiologists' instructions in full or because their audiologist failed to manage expectations sensibly.

Can you get a used one? It depends what you're after. But the top end ones are made to measure (it would be like buying used dentures and expecting them to fit); and any aid with a microprocessor, as Pam S pointed out, is going to need adjusting by a technician - and they'll only do that free of charge for original customers, I should think.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

ebay/sch/i.html?_trksid=p3984.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H1.Xused+hearing+aid.TRS0&_nkw=used+hearing+aid&_sacat=0&_from=R40
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Go to eBay.

There, all your want shall be supplied. Don't be tempted to buy a new hearing aid for $9.99 because the audio quality is very poor on these.

Put 'used hearing aid' in the search box and keep looking until you find a good quality reputable name brand. Don't pay more than $30.00 for it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Garden Artist, they're one-size-fits-all. His comes with headphones. Some of them come with a piece that fits in or over the ear. Connected with wires. Volume adjustable. Here's a number of them (as seen on TV): ebay/itm/like/360746674035?lpid=82

Here's one with a little video: asseenontv/msa-30x-sound-amplifier-discreet-sound-amplifier/detail.php?p=448979

I know he got his at Radio Shack, but I don't see it online. *shrug*
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The price of hearing aides is just plain stupid and exploitative. My husband has had them for over ten years and there should be some way to avoid what I consider an excessively costly purchase for everyone. I had no idea the Lions Club accepted hearing aide donations, thanks!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

There are plenty of them on ebay. What makes them so expensive? The cost of setup and adjustments by a technician.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Lions Club offers hearing aids for $300 each. That might be more affordable. Your aunt would see an audiologist selected by the Lions Club for testing. Aids have to be paid for prior to the testing though.

Maggie, I'm interested in these amplifiers. Are they "one size fits all", or are they like hearing aids that are adjusted for the individual?

We too balked at paying $3K to $4K per hearing aid. That's just exploitive.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You might be able to buy a used digital hearing aid through a hearing aid specialist store; but hearing aids aren't generic. The VALUE from them comes in being properly adjusted for each person. It's not one-size-fits-all.

Have you tried some of the amplifiers on the market? You might try them. I know someone wearing one, and it works for him. I think they paid about $50 for it at Radio Shack.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter