Why do hearing aids cost so much more then a bluetooth ear piece?

Question by sn4p: Why do hearing aids cost so much more then a bluetooth ear piece?
IF you look at the two devices it really doesn’t seem like the technology is all that different…

why in the heck does a hearing aid cost 5,000 bucks compared to a bluetooth thing that you can get for 100 bucks or much less…

Best answer:

Answer by SuperSweetPeaches
probably because a hearing aid is a necessity. it’s a medical thing rather than a convenience like a bluetooth.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

One Response to “Why do hearing aids cost so much more then a bluetooth ear piece?”

  1. Bobby C says:

    A hearding aid is not $ 5,000 but to old people, and even the parents of young people with hearing problems, it may seem like it costs that much. When a normal person gets a hearing aid they are getting a medical device from a medical professional. It is understandable that someone would be bitter when they have $ 700-$ 800 in hearing aid and $ 200 in doctor bills and can get a Jawbone for $ 130 from AT&T.

    A bluetooth headset has a microphone that takes your voice and transmits it to a handheld device; if you have ever been on the recieving end these are sometimes really crappy. The device transmits what the other person said on their end and is processed and comes through the phone to the headset. With the exception of the Jawbone I haven’t been impressed with many headsets and certainly have yet to find one that is truly comfortable; the jawbone is close. That having been said these devices don’t come with the same expectations and service expectations we have for medical devices going in our ears. Most people are proud of the little roach on their ear (I like the Motorola that looks like a blue roach, too!) and wear it as a status symbol. They can hear perfectly fine and hearing in mono out of just 1 ear is fine, too. Most older people or young kids want to hide the fact they are hard of hearing.

    Hearing aids are medical devices certified by the FDA and FCC. They are not just a speaker into the ear and a microphone in the jaw but contain very small and very sensitive microphones as well as very small transmitters and very small speakers. It has noise cancellation as well as the ability to be fine tuned for frequencies that are difficult for the wearer to hear. It has stereo capabilities and synchs the communication between the two earpieces by transmitting a weak FM signal over the head (usually).

    The audiologist is a trained professional that has 4 years of undergrad, and if they are an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor/surgeon) have had 4 years of med school, and 3-6 years of residency and fellowship. While we were getting our hearing shot by artillery and helicopter blades and jet engines (or just loud stereos in our cars) they were in college for 12 years of their life earning zero bucks and running up a ton of debt to become a medical professional.

    Hearing can be affected by disease, illness, injury, leaking cerebrospinal fluid (requires a neurosurgeon to fix, not an ENT). I digress… their qualifications mean about $ 200k in med school debt, $ 40k a year in malpractice (or more), $ 100’s of thousands in office expenses, $ 100-200k/yr in office worker expenses (audiology tech and maybe a nurse), $ 10’s of thousands in medical equipment and maintenance contracts. The bill to the insurance may be $ 700-$ 800 but the audiologist may only see $ 300 of that and you may only have a $ 10/$ 20 copay. The average audiologist working in private practice makes $ 64,500 according to a US News & World report article. In all honesty you can make more than that per year by spending 12 years in the Army, using your G.I Bill or going Green to Gold and becoming an Officer (referring to my past post) and have the previous 11 years behind you getting paid for that. An E-7 with 12 years in makes a base of nearly $ 45k per year! That’s before hazardous duty pay, war zone benefits, jump pay, etc.

    I digress…
    When it is all said and done the person getting a hearing aid has likely had a physical of sorts on their ears and other body parts performed by a medical doctor or licensed medical prodessional that just happens to practice audiology. The cost of the device is likely small when compared to the pre-work required such as the office visit, making of the tubes, and the custom work they do. They are also the people you go to if there is a problem and when there is a problem it is likely big because someone can’t hear. …and I can’t replace a battery in my bluetooth headset or get it repaired in the store. When the battery goes it is gone until I recharge and AT&T will just sell me a new one while mine goes back to the manufacturer.

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