Friday, April 04, 2008
Now don't hear this
…What? Come again? Everyone is getting a little deaf around here. Actually, HA has been since teenage years—especially on one side.
…According to Jim Miller (www.inrich.com), a third of those over 60 and half of those over 85 have some hearing loss.
…So, now, it’s the dreaded hearing aids. Did you ever have a conversation with your parents with these things screeching into the phone?
…The first step is the doctor, which means a referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist (otolaryngologist). He or she will check your ears for damage or maybe (happily) waxy yellow buildup, which can be removed without getting a second mortgage.
…Then you will get a hearing test. The audiologist will help you decide which hearing aid is best.
…Behind-the-ear models are those big honkers you see on people. These help with all types of hearing loss.
…In-the ear types fill most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear ad work well with mild to severe loss. They are easy to adjust, but pick up wind noise (and look funky).
…In-the-canal models are smaller and are OK for mild to severe. But their small size, while making them unobtrusive, make them hard to clean and the batteries hard to replace.
…Completely-in-the-canal are for people with mild to moderate impairment. Tiny batteries with a short life—but they are pretty invisible.
…Open fit models are for people with high-frequency loss (kids’ voices, etc), the most common kind as we age. They go behind the ear, but are very subtle.
…These babies are spendy—ask for a two-week trial. Lots of insurance companies won’t cover them and you can expect to pay thousands.
…You might qualify for a boost from Audient, though, a nonprofit service for lower income people. www.audientalliance.org or dial (877) 283-4368. If you make less than $24,500 for an individual you may qualify.
…That’s TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND...