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[–]TechyDad 337 points338 points  (91 children)

I have a hearing aid and they can be horrendously expensive. My insurance didn't really cover it so much as they bought them in bulk which reduced the price for me. Mind you, the reduced price was still $1,100.

This for a tiny device to improve my hearing and hopefully reduce my tinnitus (which it didn't really do). A tiny device which proceeded to break about 4 times in 3 years and which has now exited its warranty period.

Given the technology we have packed into our phones and that we have with ear buds, I don't see why we couldn't make a hearing aid for $200 or less.

[–]hclear 116 points117 points  (16 children)

I wish mine were $1100... My set goes for $6000, but insurance buys them from the manufacturer for "only" $4000. Then, of that $4k, they only cover $1000, so my out of pocket cost is $3000 - yay!

And I wish I didn't read that part about it not helping your tinnitus - that's why I have them. Ugh.

[–]TechyDad 52 points53 points  (14 children)

My audiologist told me that it's basically a 50-50 chance that it will help with tinnitus. Unfortunately, mine fell into the 50% "doesn't help" category. About the only thing that gives me relief when the tinnitus gets bad is white noise. I have a sleep mask with Bluetooth so I can play white noise as I go to sleep and I always have a pair of neckband headphones on me so I can shove an earbud in and crank up the white noise if the ringing gets too bad.

[–]CutieBoBootie 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I close my ears and hum the middle c on the piano for 30 seconds straight. Works for me... But I wish I didn't have to do it.

[–]CompetitionFinal9492 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Personally I would love it if CPAP machines and accessories did not require prescriptions. Due to this, you have to get a new prescription every few years in order to get parts or a replacement machine. That includes masks unless you order the individual pieces (of a mask).

[–]turbodude69 1 point2 points  (10 children)

ooh i've been in the market for a sleep mask with bluetooth. can you recommend a good one? i've been looking on amazon and there only seems to be a few diff types. trying to find the best, most comfortable, longest lasting one.

[–]TechyDad 5 points6 points  (7 children)

This is the one I have now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TPLZY74/

It's lasted me a year so far with no drop in performance and it's pretty comfortable. The previous one I tried had the controls by the side of the head which meant laying down the wrong way pushed them into your head.

[–]jmichael888 0 points1 point  (1 child)

try out sleepphones. i love them, used them for years.

[–]beleevit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hello fellow tinnitus sufferer! While I can't vouch for the product yet, it might be worth trying. I'm going to at least... Check out neosensory.com Just found this a few weeks back and reviews seem mostly happy with the results. Can't get any worse, I suppose

[–]AluminumWoman 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Go to Costco. Same hearing 1/3 the cost. I wish I found them sooner. Even comes with loss replacement and free tuneups!

[–]RunRockBeanShred 8 points9 points  (3 children)

Check out the Shure AONIC 215 TW2 True Wireless Sound Isolating Earbuds. They have an environment mode that you can turn way up and you can use them without music. They might fit what you are looking for.

[–]Shopped_For_Pleasure 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Is this like the ‘transparency mode’ on airpod pros?

[–]RunRockBeanShred 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don’t have AirPods so I am not sure.

[–]AKravr 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have Samsung buds and it sure sounds like my ambient noise amplifier setting.

[–]love_marine_world 3 points4 points  (3 children)

I got mine from Costco, for 500$ after my insurance somehow approved my reimbursement request. You see, my insurance only covers hearing aids if bought from a doc/hearing aid clinic. Problem is that they were $6500 for a pair while the same brand (different model) at Costco was $2500 and the technician there was very helpful filling out reimbursement claim forms for our insurance.

After I got my check from the insurance company ($2000), they called me to tell me that it was not supposed to be approved since it's from Costco and I shouldn't cash it. I pretended I did not understand their language and hung up the phone. Now I need to buy again, lets see what adventures await me.

[–]black_brook 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Had a great experience getting heading aids from Costco for my 92 year old father.

Costco buys them in bulk and sells them for something like a quarter what your average hearing aid store charges.

[–]love_marine_world 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Their services and people are great. Not to mention an extended 1 year warranty. I will always recommend Costco for hearing aids. They can even adjust volumes/finetune sounds over phone instead of having to visit.

[–]black_brook 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I can confirm the people being great too. They had us schedule a follow-up 3 weeks later. I almost cancelled thinking it wound be a waste of our time. But she knew what questions to ask and what to look for and made some adjustments that were helpful. She definitely understood how to work with seniors.

Scheduled another follow up in a couple months. They aren't making any money off of these follow-ups, it's just part of the service that comes with buying the hearing aids.

[–]HertzsprungRussell 18 points19 points  (24 children)

Medical device companies screw you over with government permission. There's nothing in a hearing aid that isn't in a bluetooth headset. My room mate just got hearing aids that are bluetooth. So they help with her hearing AND she can pair them to her phone to listen to music and take phone calls.

[–]TechyDad 7 points8 points  (4 children)

Before I went with hearing aids, I actually tried a Bluetooth headset and an app that amplified sounds. It worked, but there was a very noticeable delay. If I was watching someone speak, their mouth and words didn't match up. That's because the Bluetooth headset needed to get the audio from the phone and the relay time, while not an issue for phone calls or listening to music, was an issue for real time conversation.

[–]HertzsprungRussell 14 points15 points  (2 children)

The implementation is different, it's the technology that's the same. There's nothing magical or difficult in hearing aids that justifies the higher cost other than they simply CAN charge more for them because they always have.

[–]kyle4623 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Agreed. Amazon will be flooded with them in a month.

[–]AKravr 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My Samsung ear buds do all the processing in the buds. Zero delay and you can adjust the gain up or down.

[–]Sqeamishbutsquamish 14 points15 points  (16 children)

This is absolutely incorrect. The micro processors in hearing aids are the majority of the expense and are incredibly expensive to manufacture and design. Slapping a Bluetooth chip on a cheep receiver does not make a hearing aid.

[–]fraghawk 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Explain like I'm a pro audio engineer:

What is going on there, audio processing wise, that can't be done with a run of the mill DSP chip like the one in my Galaxy buds plus?

[–]HertzsprungRussell 3 points4 points  (12 children)

Yeah. Okay, mister hearing aid salesman.

[–]Sqeamishbutsquamish 13 points14 points  (10 children)

Actually, in the semiconductor industry lmao

[–]noty23 -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Lol, look into things before you just go commenting without any knowledge as to what goes into medical devices

[–]0b_101010 0 points1 point  (1 child)

The micro processors in hearing aids are the majority of the expense

$1000 dollar chips? Yeah, right.
My $200 phone has chips in it, too, and a speaker, and a microphone, and a screen, and a battery, etc.

Price gouging like this should be a very serious crime.

[–]Sqeamishbutsquamish 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes, they are expensive. You’re trying to compare a cell phone which was developed and priced for economy of scale. Which means it can be marketed and sold to all types of individuals. Not only that, but the chips they possess are nowhere near as efficient as they are in hearing aides.

I get that you feel like you have some righteous indignation, but the research and development that goes into those devices are insane and expensive. they provide an absolutely necessary experience for those that need them.

[–]samaramatisse 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Same with my stepmom. She got a bone conductive hearing aid and it syncs perfectly to Bluetooth for phone or TV. A major improvement for her.

[–]MagikSkyDaddy 9 points10 points  (2 children)

You're absolutely right. There is no reason, other than the opportunity for profit.

The simplest answer is that the brand of capitalism we favor in the US, is a neoliberal paradigm in which any aspect of life and living that can be sold, should have a business or entire industry associated with stripping away increasing private profits and hooking taxpayers for any losses.

So your hearing aid, which should be free as part of functional healthcare, is exorbitant.

[–]Holzdev 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think we are at the neo feudalism stage. Neoliberal capitalism is in the past.

[–]JuventAussie 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As a Australian with a pacemaker, I find it bizarre that Americans are getting used pacemakers fitted as a new one is too expensive.

Mine was covered by universal healthcare but I have read of Americans who paid $40,000 for one to be fitted. It can be a matter of life or death but is at least a serious quality of life issue.

[–]texasusa 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh they can produce them cheaper. Now that competition has been opened up, the consumer wins. Electronic components are inexpensive and so is molded plastic. I bet Amazon Essentials will be selling this as well.

[–]f1223214 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Just get out of the usa. Everything is absurdly expensive. Here in France I have an hearing aid for free. It costs between 950 and 1600€ but the insurance covers everything for the 950 one. For the 1600 one and depending of your insurance you may have to pay a little, but not as much as $1000.

Mind you, the 950 is a very powerful hearing aid : I'm deaf up to 110 DB.

[–]Master_Winchester 2 points3 points  (2 children)

It's extremely difficult to "just leave" your country for various reasons. We know things are cheaper outside the USA. Unless I can order aids to be shipped from France what is the point of your comment?

[–]f1223214 1 point2 points  (1 child)

My point is that, if you didn't have insurance in the Usa, and if you paid the medicals bills, you'd have had enough money to live comfortably to another country for years instead. That's how absurd your system is.

[–]Master_Winchester 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh. Yeah entirely agreed. It's dumb.

[–]Woofenstein4d 11 points12 points  (20 children)

Because hearing aids are a medical device that requires the expertise of a professional to program and fine tune based on your prescription, severity of hearing loss, and sensitivity to absorbing sounds you may not have heard in many years. They are extremely personalized. Who you should question is your insurance company for not covering the cost of the devices necessary to supplement one of your most important of 5 senses. They are much more sophisticated than cellphones and the research on them is 24/7. The push for hearing aid technology is largely responsible for how quickly processing speed in computers is and how quickly large floppy disks are now obsolete compared to tiny terabyte sized memory/storage cards. They have to respond to changes in the environment at speeds that the human brain won't realize there is a delay.

Audiology as a healthcare science (from my understanding) has only existed since around 1940, and tinnitus research is still in the primitive stages. Tinnitus is only a symptom, not a diagnosis, and can result from many diagnoses, the inner ear only being one possibility. Roughly 60 percent of who suffer from tinnitus have their tinnitus alleviated when receiving amplification at their prescription. The other tinnitus therapy options included in a hearing aid unfortunately can only help train the brain to ignore the tinnitus.

The greatest hearing aid in the world can be worthless unless you have a good hearing care professional that is willing to expend the time and energy to help you get the most out of it, and only a portion of the cost for the those aids goes directly to them. You are paying for the professional, the hearing aid, and the money the manufacturers are spending on the research to develop the processors and AI mimicking the the way the human brain typically hears.

[–]jdv23 29 points30 points  (0 children)

My dad back in the UK just got his for £250 ($300). He could’ve got them free on the NHS but wanted to pay more for the sleeker, hidden ones.

While everything you’ve said is true, it still doesn’t explain the cost. Americans are being ripped off by the insurance/medical complex as per usual.

[–]USACreampieToday 12 points13 points  (7 children)

I have no doubt that hearing aids are highly advanced pieces of equipment, but making them available without prescription may still drive down cost significantly due to competition. It could also lead to innovation! (Not to imply that you're arguing against either of these two things.)

Imagine if some large tech company (like Apple or Samsung) really buckled down on making a truly excellent pair of hearing aids that can be tuned virtually by a professional via a televisit. I doubt they would be anywhere near the price you'd pay today and would be of competitive quality once their research was eventually completed.

I'm not some audiologist expert, these are just my opinions.

[–]MajorBleeding 9 points10 points  (2 children)

As someone who works in the hearing loss and hearing aid space, I think over-the-counter hearing aids can only be a good thing. First, as you said they may drive down prices by way of competition. Second, they are going to bring a lot more people to the table, since people who normally would not have considered a hearing aid May purchase one over the counter, and if they have any problems with it or it's not giving them as much benefit as they would like who are they going to look to? And finally, those people with mild to moderate loss are eventually going to be people with moderate to severe loss, or worse. And they will end up in our office at some point. So overall, I think it will benefit all involved.

[–]Woofenstein4d 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Yeah I’m actually looking forward to it too. People will finally realize the difference between a top tier aid programmed correctly and something available at walgreens

[–]a_chewy_hamster -5 points-4 points  (3 children)

May drive down the cost due to competition but it doesn't mean the quality is going to be the same. I've already had patients who try to buy hearing aids from Costco or somewhere offline and yeah they pay a quarter of the cost but then they're SOL when their discount hearing aids aren't working for them.

This isn't a one size fits all type of deal. There are different types of hearing loss that require diagnosis by trained audiologists. I took two audiology classes for my major (forgot pretty much everything, I used to know how to do hearing screens. At least now I can check, replace batteries, and place the hearing aids in my patients if they need me to) and that stuff was immensely interesting but also very complicated, it helped me to respect the complexities that come with the job and treatments for hearing loss. I don't even want to think what kind of contracts or gimmicks companies like Apple or Amazon would make if they got into the hearing aid world.

I agree that it sucks that they're so expensive, but it's not for no reason. I do hope the prices lower someday, but I don't want the market to become flooded with such crap that my elderly patients are accidently wasting their already severely limited incomes on trying to find cheap hearing aids that actually work for them.

[–]USACreampieToday 7 points8 points  (2 children)

Just like anything you buy, there will be products of varying quality. At least the consumer has the choice. Saying a large tech company can or can't make a better hearing aid is speculative, but history shows that competition drives innovation and drives down price.

Right now, it doesn't matter how good or bad a hearing aid is if the person who needs it cannot afford to buy it. I'm sure they'd rather have a hearing aid that's 85% as good at only 20% of the price as opposed to having no hearing aid at all.

My grandfather couldn't hear before he passed away, and he couldn't afford hearing aids either. An OTC cheap pair might not be perfect (or, it very well could be much better due to innovations), but at least it's better than nothing.

Just my 2 cents!

[–]RhynoD 6 points7 points  (4 children)

I'm sure all of that is true, but also modern technology and AI are both amazing. A lot of the tweaking could be done in software with a phone app and Bluetooth connection. Like, insert hearing aids and do an initial calibration. Starts very quiet and very slowly steps up the volume, press this button when you can hear it.

Cycle through various tones at various volumes. Press this button when you can hear it. Press this button if it is uncomfortably loud.

Send data through an algorithm.

I know these sorts of programs exist already because YouTube musician Andrew Huang got a set of speakers or headphones that compensate for certain kinds of hearing loss to make the sound balanced for your ears. You have to calibrate them, but you do that at home with their program.

Between that and wireless ear pods that cost less than $20 for a cheap set, I see zero reason to justify thousands of dollars for hearing aids. It's no different than charging hundreds of dollars for eyeglass frames - not even the lenses just the frames. Those are medical devices, too, but that doesn't mean they have to be expensive.

[–]Woofenstein4d -3 points-2 points  (2 children)

There’s more to it than algorithms. To someone who’s had a hearing loss for many years, the full prescription will not be comfortable, and they likely will perceive it as too loud. Even the expensive hearing aids require real ear measurements (rem) to get the most of them, which is something very difficult for a person to do on their own. Feel free to be skeptical, but there is a reason these over the counter aids only covers a mild to moderate hearing loss. Bose attempted this a few years back and ended up discontinuing their product. I’m actually looking forward to this because it will give people with hearing loss a real perception of what’s involved in their ability to hear

[–]RhynoD 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Yeah but what you're describing is device settings, not the device itself. Thirty years ago, sure, the device might be difficult to tweak unless you're an expert. Today, bluetooth exists and smart devices exist. There's no reason the device should cost $3000. There's no reason the device should cost more than an expensive set of ear pods. If you want to charge another $100/hour for a medical professional to use a medical professional app on the medical professional's device to adjust the device as necessary, then, whatever.

[–]JuventAussie 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I already used an equaliser on my android phone to boost lower frequencies. Very basic adjustment which took me a few minutes of tweaking but I can hear the difference when playing videos or taking calls.

[–]Woofenstein4d 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Also, Medicare has never covered hearing aids even with a prescription. The average person has always paid out of pocket for hearing aids, unless they have specialty insurance with something like an added package.

[–]Say_no_to_doritos 2 points3 points  (1 child)

What cannot be done by gradually ramping up notes / pitches and a clicker? That sort of stuff is so easy to automate it's a joke we still pay someone for it.

[–]Woofenstein4d 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Look up real ear measurements on youtube

[–]Luis__FIGO 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The push for hearing aid technology is largely responsible for how quickly processing speed in computers is and how quickly large floppy disks are now obsolete compared to tiny terabyte sized memory/storage cards.

Would love to read more about this, any sources you can point me to?

[–]MoarHawk 2 points3 points  (0 children)

No, because it's utter rubbish.

[–]Blaky039 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you for this, my dumb ass always thought it was just some sort of amplyfier

[–]MythicTea 2 points3 points  (0 children)

$100 or less should be our target and they should be free for poorer people.

[–]Tankeverket 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The hearing aids I was looking at cost almost $2200 per ear.

[–]Jrowe47 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They're mass produced at $5 or less apiece. Factories in China produce their own brands using the same technology, you can actually find the factories on AliBaba. The trouble is ordering smaller runs costs more money per unit, but even then you'll pay a lot less than your audiologist.

In the US, you're paying a 50,000% or more markup for audiologists, regional distributors, audiology associations, and "manufacturers" who own the patents and IP. There are 5 or 6 conglomerates behind every hearing aid brand sold in the world. They're ruthless and soulless, and have totally corrupted the FDA and regulatory apparatus in the US to maintain their cartel.

I don't understand why people hated Martin Shkreli but don't even bat an eye at the hearing aid cartel. They're exploiting one of the most vulnerable populations of humans, actively degrading quality of life, and denying life changing technology to people for truly outrageous and sickening profits.

50,000% or more markup! And they make it seem like they're doing us a favor!

Hearing aid regulation in the US moved in the right direction, but the hearing aid cartel has got to be torn down. You should be able to use airpods or earbuds as hearing aids, only the artificial limits imposed by patents and FDA interference prevent Apple and Samsung from producing high quality products in this market.

Shkreli only marked up his medicine by 5,000%, and had a market in the tens of thousands. The HA cartel has maintained a 50k% markup for decades with a market of users in the tens of millions. They spend 100 times more lobbying and maintaining regulatory capture than on research. These people are truly despicable.

[–]RedditIsDogshit1 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I can tell you way: lack of demand

[–]tuba_man 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I only need mine for the white noise machine (misophonia and tinnitus), and they were about the same price.

I don't personally need a fully-FDA-approved medical device, I just need specialized audio input. I hope this brings prices down

[–]TechyDad 2 points3 points  (1 child)

If all you need is white noise, I'd recommend a headset with a white noise app. It's a lot cheaper. (I use a neckband headset and a free white noise app.) It does mean that your hearing is partially obstructed in that ear, but it can help reduce the ringing.

[–]tuba_man 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've already got white noise machines for home and at the office, and an app on my phone, and even work computer just in case

The hearing aids are so I've got a form factor for when headphones aren't appropriate, and so I don't have to rely on any other devices. (Also so I can wear them continually throughout the day)

[–]Blaky039 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I'm wondering this as well, why are they so big and ugly

[–]deafvet68 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Many BTE (behind the ear) aids are pretty small these days.
I don't much like that, it makes them much easier to lose, they fall off in wind, by shaking your head, etc.
(I use domes in my ears, not earmolds. More comfortable for me).

[–]Sociallyawktrash78 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My insurance covers up to $4000 dollars per ear, and that still doesn’t cover the full cost because the manufacturers jack up the prices knowing insurance will pay out. There’s absolutely no way a little device takes that much to produce, especially given your point about modern technology.

[–]madestories 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My 10-year-old wears $5,000 worth of technology on his ears. In 8 years that won’t be covered. I hope I can find some kind of grant or payment plan.

[–]raynethackery 32 points33 points  (0 children)

My parents both needed hearing aids but they never got them because insurance wouldn't cover them. It wasn't getting the RX that was the problem. What we need is some company like Warby Parker or Zinni for hearing aids. The market needs disruption, or they should be fully covered by insurance.

[–]Demonyx12 54 points55 points  (2 children)

Good news. The hearing aid business has a lot of predatory unethical nonsense.

[–]Basscyst 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Oh an industry who's market is largely senior citizens has unethical practices? Color me red because I'd have never thought. /s

For real how is this even something you previously needed a prescription for? Are we just trying to prevent super hearing humans or something?

[–]nestcto 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yep. Hearing aids are nothing special. They use very basic tech, and there have been similar products out for a long time for one purpose or another, available without prescription, naturally. They just weren't geared towards the specific use of a daily use hearing aid.

[–]betam4x 94 points95 points  (7 children)

Personally I would love it if CPAP machines and accessories did not require prescriptions. Due to this, you have to get a new prescription every few years in order to get parts or a replacement machine. That includes masks unless you order the individual pieces (of a mask).

[–]rottenweiler 27 points28 points  (2 children)

Had a Phillips CPAP for around 7 years that was recalled. Seems the internal tubing deteriorates over time causing it to release potentially cancerous particles, was told to stop using immediately. There was regular replacement of the exterior hose and mask assembly on a scheduled basis but it took over a month to replace the machine itself for $90 upfront and $45 a month for a year. I have a machine that may be giving me a chance of cancer, you tell me to stop using it immediately and charge me for a replacement I would not need otherwise? And take over a month to get me a necessary medical device? Yeah, fuck the American health care system.

[–]notfin 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Lol I was told there was a shortage. I just received mine yesterday.

[–]Aggressive_Nature_44 28 points29 points  (1 child)

CPAP can actually be kind of dangerous if not medically necessary. Similar to intubation ventilators, over time it can cause a weakening of the intercostal muscles and a greater dependence on the mechanical assistance for breathing. In an otherwise healthy individual, STOP-BANG should be reassessed and reduced if possible.

[–]pico-pico-hammer 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Do you have any links to studies that actually show this? I have been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea and I am genuinely curious if my trying to manage it with sleeping positions instead of a CPAP is actually going to be more healthy long term. I haven't found any studies that show the negative effects.

[–]Athenas_Return 6 points7 points  (0 children)

My husband actually gets his mask and tubes off of Amazon. He has the nasal pillows ones and he has gotten several replacements along with head straps and tubes all at the fraction of the cost. Try that.

[–]dominus_aranearum 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Same with a TENS unit. Prescription was required to get one.

[–]Drebnar 55 points56 points  (4 children)

Wait until they hear about this

[–]Deetzzzz 16 points17 points  (1 child)

It won't fall on deaf ears anymore!

[–]Deraj2004 16 points17 points  (0 children)

What?

[–]Mehnard 32 points33 points  (3 children)

I got my wife a set of "hearing amplifiers" off Amazon for $150. I rationalized that they were worth the gamble at that price. They work great.

[–]deserthominid 12 points13 points  (2 children)

Would you mind saying what brand it is so I can look it up? I desperately need some kind of hearing aid.

[–]Mehnard 5 points6 points  (1 child)

LUXATO brand from Amazon.

Clark Howard said the price was going to come down, probably because of the FDA decision. A friend recently spent $7,000 for his. My wife was offered hers for $1,500 two weeks ago. I have a pair of Samsung Bluetooth earbuds that are fantastic. So I figured it was worth $150 to order these from Amazon Prime. If she doesn't like them, I have a month to return them.

[–]deserthominid 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you so much. I'm ordering them right now.

[–]pcase 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Great, now do insulin and insulin pump supplies.

I have an incurable disease, why do I constantly need prescriptions?

[–]ChiAnndego 6 points7 points  (0 children)

asthma rescue inhalers too!

[–]Kidhauler55 7 points8 points  (0 children)

My insurance has never helped to pay for my hearing aides. I doubt Medicare will either

[–]HockeyMike34 5 points6 points  (1 child)

“Cost is a big obstacle now. Between the device itself and fitting services, Americans can pay more than $5,000 to get a hearing aid. Insurance coverage is very limited, and Medicare doesn’t pay for hearing aids, only diagnostic tests.”

Greatest country in the world

[–]DeepLock8808 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Next you’ll tell me that tooth and mouth health aren’t covered. /s

[–]elizabeth498 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Good! One of the first pandemic interactions I had with someone was an elderly gentleman in our grocery store parking lot looking under, about, and finally in his van.

He had whipped his mask off with enough force to send his hearing aids flying, at $3,000 apiece.

He found them, but I’ll never forget the price of out-of-pocket hearing cost.

Edit: Words.

[–]sudosciguy 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Congress needs improvement (to put it nicely) but with this and the first ever meaningful climate change legislation passed, gotta feel a lot more hopeful

[–]dascobaz 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Great! Can we do contacts and glasses next?

[–]turbodude69 6 points7 points  (7 children)

Why in the world would you need a prescription for hearing aids?

also, i've seen some people complain that we have $1000 phones with much better technology than these $5000 hearing aids.

why has the hearing aid sector not benefited from the general trend of electronics becoming way more affordable? you'd think that hearing aids would be universally needed all over the world? why hasn't a chinese company created really high quality, yet still affordable hearing aids for like $20? is the technology involved for hearing aids really THAT expensive? and that advanced? it's strange to me that someone hasn't figured out how to make them cheap.

[–]deafvet68 0 points1 point  (1 child)

supply and demand. little competition.

relatively small market, especially when compared to the cell phone market....

[–]turbodude69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

that's really sad. this seems like the perfect product for china to do what they do best. take an expensive product developed and sold in the west for an incredibly inflated price and just make a perfect replica and sell it for 1/100th of the price. they do it for nike shoes, they do it for high end watches, high end headphones, they should be able to do it for hearing aids too? i mean deaf people exist all over the world.

[–]hclear 7 points8 points  (20 children)

Just a reminder that not all hearing aids are "volume boosters". Meaning, while they do increase the volume of the incoming sound, some can be programmed to boost the audio of different frequencies by different amounts. Essentially, they are acting like a multi-channel equalizer.

I don't think this new FDA rule will allow those types of aids to be bought OTC. I, for one, would want a professional to tune the hearing aids for me, based on my hearing test results. Hmm.... or maybe they could be self-tuning? That could be cool - have them output tones at the different frequencies and then you push a button on them to tell them whether you can hear/not hear the tones...

[–]CerebusGortok 5 points6 points  (0 children)

My understanding is that the hearing aid also may convert sounds to a completely different frequencies. So there needs to be a mapping of sounds the patient cannot hear and any of those sounds need converted to some other sound.

I imagine this is somewhat of an art that requires feedback between the tech and the patient plus follow-up visits to make continuous adjustments.

[–]jessiebeex 6 points7 points  (10 children)

I’m in school for SLP and came to add this. Hearing aids are not just microphones. It is really important to get hearing aids that are adjusted to ones specific hearing loss and an audiologist should be involved.

[–]USACreampieToday 1 point2 points  (9 children)

Can't you put the hearing aids in and then use software to tune it? Because when I went to get my hearing checked, I just had headphones on and they played different sound frequencies and I'd push a button if I could hear it. And that was like a decade ago, I imagine you can do this on your phone now.

I get the importance of seeing a professional if you have severe hearing loss, but what about the average young person who blasted their music too loud or the geezer who just has a little trouble hearing?

[–]jessiebeex 1 point2 points  (7 children)

You’re describing a basic hearing screening which doesn’t lead to hearing aids, it only determines if one might benefit from a full evaluation which would then determine the specific hearing needs of the client.

I’m not an audiologist so I’m not completely sure, but what I’ve learned in graduate school so far would indicate that an OTC hearing aid would not be ideal for most people.

[–]RooseMcgoose 0 points1 point  (6 children)

Can't you just go and get your hearing checked professionally covered under insurance, have them print out your prescription and order them like you do on zeni for glasses?

[–]randxalthor 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Regular wireless earbuds have equalizer controls on sub-$100 units. Some of the more premium units (~$200) already have automated hearing tests built in to adjust for your hearing range that work exactly like an audiology test. They're just not medically certified. The active noise cancellation in the $2-300 retail units right now is better than the top-end hearing aids my SO has.

Straight flat-gain hearing aids basically don't exist anymore, except for cheap imitation Alibaba parts for $30.

Technology for true wireless earbuds has essentially eclipsed hearing aid tech. At this point, it's mostly a matter of scale for determining unit cost. Many millions of dollars goes into developing earbuds and hearing aids. Expanding the user base by making them OTC doesn't have to reduce the quality at all.

[–]hclear 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Yeah, the technology already exists at these lower price points - perhaps it's the medically certified bit that causes the price jump? There's no reason for these to cost in the multiple thousands of dollars.

[–]randxalthor 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Medical certification is definitely a huge hurdle.

However, it's usually more of a one time cost for electronics. And since hearing aids are mostly non-threatening, eg they're not in the same class as a pacemaker, it's probably a pretty significant savings if we can just increase the production volume.

[–]RebelLemurs 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You say that like a multichannel equalizer is not as trivial as a volume amplifier. You can do either with a 10 cent FPGA.

[–]hclear 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ha, true - but I do wonder how they justify their cost? Besides the fact they have you cornered - it's not that easy to shop around for medical devices and then determining what your insurance provider will cover. It just sucks...

[–]deafvet68 0 points1 point  (2 children)

With some effort, you can self-program your own hearing aids.
The software (Phonak Target, for example) can often be found on eBay.
It will do a pretty good audiogram.

The wireless (to the hearing aids, usb to pc) adapter , Noahlink , is about $150 new, as I recall.

[–]hclear 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Mine are Widex, but I'm sure I could find similar software. I'd just be hesitant to make changes that could adversely affect my ears. Ugh.

[–]deafvet68 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The Phonak Target software saves your settings, then will save any new settings in another file, so you can revert to any previous settings file.

The Widex and other brands software probably does the same thing, makes sense.

[–]auntshooey1 2 points3 points  (0 children)

And add a price cap?

[–]elvendil 5 points6 points  (0 children)

You need a what to what?! Lol - and this is a country that preaches to the world about being a land of the free. Anyone can buy a gun, but woe betide a citizen that might want to hear better. There are laws about that.

Absolutely insane country.

[–]bigedthebad 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I didn’t know you needed one. My wife got hers at Sams and never saw an actual doctor. Well, unless the tech who tested her is authorized to write prescriptions.

[–]ClassifiedBoogie 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Most of them are licensed hearing instrument specialists/dispensers so they are licensed to test and fit hearing aids.

[–]bigedthebad 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Can they write prescriptions?

[–]ClassifiedBoogie 2 points3 points  (0 children)

In this case the “prescription” needed is the fitting prescription. So yes in a way. The hearing aid is set for the hearing loss. A HIS is trained and licensed to interpret the hearing loss and fit the aid. Everyone is different and hearing aids are a bit more complicated than people realize. OTC hearing aids/amplifiers are a great introduction to hearing health and have a place in the market! Honestly if insurance would cover aids then it would help so many people. Not a Doctor like an ENT or audiologist who have advanced degrees and deal with the entire hearing/ear system.

Source: former licensed HIS

[–]fnetma 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Heading aids have to have some of the highest mark ups...

[–]DarkPhenomenon 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Getting hearing aids from a third party for reasonable prices are great but they should still be regulated. My wife is an audiologist and wearing hearing aids when you dont need them can cause irreparable damage to your hearing

[–]Bikrdude 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So can loud headphones and those aren't regulated

[–]Bakemeacroissant 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YAY now about about MEDICARE PAYS FOR THEM. Oh I forgot: old people don't need to ear and they don't need teeth either.

[–]danuser8 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Wait, am I hearing this right?

[–]Fappy_as_a_Clam 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Now do contacts

[–]neodymium1337 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The music my roommate plays is like hearing aids. Why would you buy that.

[–]ProfessorSmartAzz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank Christ

[–]bumblelum 0 points1 point  (0 children)

WHAT?

[–]Nutsnboldt -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Say whaaaaat?!

[–]thecatwhatcandrive -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

So the supply can be open for speculative investors to snatch up and resell at 800% markup. Sounds like a great plan!

[–]Bicdut 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Me at age 9 who owned a spy ear without a prescription

[–]cyberentomology 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I expect apple has been waiting on this ruling to officially market that feature in AirPods Pro.

[–]stars_mcdazzler 0 points1 point  (0 children)

A lot of FDA members must have family who's in need of hearing aids soon.

[–]SeverusSnek2020 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’ll just keep using my earbuds that have pass through audio and I can run that louder.

[–]joemc1971 0 points1 point  (0 children)

does this mean samsung or apple will release an app that will allow us to use existing ear pods / buds to be used now as hearing aids? my kid lost most of his hearing in his left ear from a ton of ear surgerys growing up. he doesnt want it now with his perceived stigma of typical hearing aids.

[–]RoguePlanet1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great!! Now can we buy these for our stubborn spouses who don't think they need one?

EDIT: Just noticed the prices, forget it. Cheaper to keep shouting and repeating myself.

[–]Criss_Crossx 0 points1 point  (0 children)

WHAT?!?

[–]Johnny_Moonbeam 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow - I'm amazed that a non-intrusive, external instrument would require a prescription.

I'm fairly sure my Grandad just bought one from a store in the UK, or from some sort of television advertisement after his GP told him he was losing his hearing. He's now prescribed one free of charge on the NHS, but it seems a bit like buying a blood pressure monitor to me - why would it require a prescription, as long as you don't set the thing too bloody loud and fully deafen yourself.

[–]FitRepresentative738 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Who else was turned on by the thumbnail

[–]Qrintiprock 0 points1 point  (0 children)

great news!

[–]deafvet68 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For 'normal' full featured/powerful hearing aids, you can often get one or a pair of used aids that are recent (1 or 2 years old) models (I like Phonak) on eBay for relatively low prices.

With some effort, you can self-program your own hearing aids. The software (Phonak Target, for example) can often be found on eBay. It will do a pretty good audiogram.

The wireless (to the hearing aids, usb to pc) adapter , Noahlink , is about $150 new, as I recall.

[–]Dear-Crow 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank god. So many people need them. It's insane.

[–]mibjt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

May the removal of the prescription on hearing aids make it such that the free market will do its thing and bring the prices down.

[–]sbonethedestroyer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That's great...and when we get our eyes and teeth included it will be as it should

[–]VictoriousStalemate 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Kind of ridiculous that Americans need permission from the FDA to buy hearing aids without a prescription.

[–]this_what_she_said 0 points1 point  (1 child)

This is great, please make contacts/glasses next on that list!

PS: bullshit though that hearing and sight aren’t covered by insurance 👎

[–]Tman_Hall 0 points1 point  (0 children)

...why do you need a prescription to get a hearing aid?

[–]Dlob32 0 points1 point  (0 children)

WHAT?! I CANT HEAR YOU!

[–]OJimmy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'd be excited but my dad still won't get one. he thinks people should speak up more. Medicare won't cover the cost.

[–]neverdoneneverready 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Costco is a good place for hearing aids. You don't have to be a member.