What is the best kind of hearing aid that isn’t terribly expensive?

Question by janeisadoe: What is the best kind of hearing aid that isn’t terribly expensive?
I do have a hearing loss. I have looked at the digital (very expensive) and the amplifier that goes in your ear. I don’t have any experience, and would like to hear from those who have tried different kinds to find out what is the best.

Best answer:

Answer by ZCT
It depends what you call expensive. Generally quality hearing aids are at least $ 3,000 for a pair but can be as much as $ 9,000. Remember that not all digital hearing aids are the same, they vary from brand to brand and also even within brands there are dozens of different kinds that all fall into the category of digital.

I have fitted hundreds of patients over the past 12 years. For the first six years I worked for the two largest independent hearing aid companies in the UK (I now work in the US). When there I got to fit most of the major brands and see the results. My favorite brand is Starkey/Audibel. They appear to last a long time, have very low distortion and are a huge all American company that only make hearing aids. They fitted four US presidents.

When you go and see a hearing instrument specialist you should insist on a free trial of at least 30 days, you should be concerned if (s)he doesn’t arrange for follow up appointments or lets you wear the aids home the first time. You should also be concerned if they are not equipped to fit you with a real digital hearing aid system right there on the day of the test so you can listen to it before buying. The real system will probably have to be special ordered to fit your ear, but a good dispenser should be able to rig up a real hearing aid system with disposable ear pieces so you can at least experience a real hearing aid system.

The bottom line is that if you have a real hearing loss the best way to help yourself is to bite the bullet and spend the money on a decent system. I have never yet met a patient who got any satisfaction from the kind of amplifiers that you can buy online. Most hearing loss varies from one frequency to another, so an amplifier will not correct that. It would be like buying a magnifying glass instead of a set of prescription glasses.

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