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Cost vs Benefit of New Hearing Aids

For the past month I have been working with two patients who have almost identical hearing losses and they tried almost identical hearing aid technologies. Both patients have normal hearing for the low and mid pitched sounds, but a severe loss for the high pitched sounds. This type of hearing loss affects each person differently. Depending on lifestyle and family, the loss may be a social handicap, or it may simply be a frustration.

Ms. E was first seen in our Crystal River office of Gardner Audiology in 2008 for a hearing screening. Results indicated a very high frequency hearing loss that, at the time, was simply an inconvenience. She returned to the Crystal River office of Gardner Audiology in February 2013 for a rescreening. Results indicated a decrease in hearing and we discussed trial use of hearing aids. With today’s technology, we are more effectively fitting these high frequency hearing losses. We reviewed options and she left to consider all. She returned in August to trial Starkey X110 RIC hearing aids. After four weeks of trial and follow up, Ms. E returned the hearing aids. While she did see improvement in many listening situations, she did not feel the amount of improvement justified the expense of the hearing aids. She was very pleased with the opportunity to experiment with hearing aids in her personal listening situations.

Mr. M was first seen in the Inverness office of Gardner Audiology. He is very active and is in a variety of social situations and meetings on a regular basis. He decided to trial Starkey Wi110 RIC hearing aids with a remote control because he was feeling frustrated trying to understand conversation. After four weeks of trial use and follow up, Mr. M returned to the Crystal River office of Gardner Audiology and purchased his Starkey hearing aids. He saw improvement, but also realized that the longer he went without amplification, the harder it would be to adapt. For these reasons, he saw value and benefit in purchasing his hearing aids.

Regardless of their degree of hearing loss, a patient’s perception of hearing aid value is very dependent on their perception of social handicap. Below is a video of a person who definitely heard better with new Wi 110 Starkey aids but did not perceive enough value to purchase them.

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Jodi Conter, Au.D., Audiologist

Jodi Conter, Au.D., Audiologist

Doctor of Audiology from A.T. Still University
Jodi Conter, Au.D., Audiologist

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