Hearing Aids

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Hearing Aids

Postby Lon » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:53 am

After 22 years of buying my own hearing aids I am now wearing hearing aids supplied by the VA for a service connected disability during the Korean War. It never occurred to me to that I might be eligible until another vet mentioned it to me last year. Good hearing aids are pricy little buggers and I wasn't looking forward to replacing my old ones out of pocket.
Any other Boggleheads with a hearing loss?
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby OAG » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:43 am

+1 And the VA furnishes batteries for them and will reevaluate and replace with newer models if deemed appropriate usually on a two year schedule. Remember this benefit is only if you were determined to have a service connected hearing disability.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Cautious Optimist » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:11 am

Pricey little buggers indeed. I suppose I'm fortunate enough that I can save for this expense, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

BTW might anyone know if the hearing aids are tax deductible..?? My return is not complicated (single, no mortgage, etc.) and I usually take the standard deduction, but if I end up purchasing new hearing aids this year might it be worth it to use an accountant and claim the itemized deduction..??
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Sheepdog » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:28 am

I was a Korean War era Marine vet, but I am not eligible for VA care. I would not be surprised, however, that my service did not affect my hearing as no hearing protection was given during infantry nor air wing duty at that time..
My hearing had deteriorated to the point that I finally decided 2 years ago to visit an Otolaryngology specialist. He referred me to an Audiologist for further evaluation and prescribing. My left ear had only 5% normal hearing and the other 36%. Yes, hearing aids are expensive, over $2000 each , but they give me 50% of normal hearing in my left ear and 87% in my right which was a wonderful result.
I do have a friend and neighbor who is a few years older than me and is a veteran. He is eligible and receives hearing aids through VA. His hearing is terrible even with the aids. He said he never received the amount of testing and evaluation and regular scheduled followup adjustments which I have. I wonder if his "free" care is adequate.
Jim
edit: ref tax deductible? Yes, aids are deductible within the 7.5% medical allowance. I do itemize, so I received that benefit.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby ndchamp » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:54 am

BCBS has recently given some coverage for hearing aids. I paid about half price for my Siemens. :moneybag
But most insurances will cover a hearing exam if recommended by your primary physician. Take your audiogram to Costco some great low-cost aids, and an in-store test drive.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Call_Me_Op » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:57 am

Lon wrote:After 22 years of buying my own hearing aids I am now wearing hearing aids supplied by the VA for a service connected disability during the Korean War. It never occurred to me to that I might be eligible until another vet mentioned it to me last year. Good hearing aids are pricy little buggers and I wasn't looking forward to replacing my old ones out of pocket.
Any other Boggleheads with a hearing loss?


Any without one is actually a better question. Everyone over 25 has a hearing loss that can be measured with the right equipment.

What you are really asking is if there are any other Bogleheads with clinically severe hearing loss. That would probably be defined as a pure tone level threshold of 60dBSL or higher at one or more test frequency up to 8 kHz.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Professor Emeritus » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:19 am

Ok, a funny story

I could not hear some of my students so my lovely wife took me to the audiologist. turned out I have a genetic hearing loss with a deep "V" right at the pitch of my wife's voice. Audiologist says to my wife "He really has not been hearing you!!" Lovely wife says "gee too bad. He has been missing all the salacious offers I've been making"

The difference is simply enormous with good hearing aids.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Call_Me_Op » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:07 am

Professor Emeritus wrote:Ok, a funny story

I could not hear some of my students so my lovely wife took me to the audiologist. turned out I have a genetic hearing loss with a deep "V" right at the pitch of my wife's voice. Audiologist says to my wife "He really has not been hearing you!!" Lovely wife says "gee too bad. He has been missing all the salacious offers I've been making"

The difference is simply enormous with good hearing aids.


Does your wife really speak in tones? :)
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Sam I Am » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:43 am

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Ricola » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:46 pm

I have trouble understanding the dialogue on TV and need to turn the volume way up to understand. Also hard to hear folks that talk softly. Took a quick online test using headphones which showed I cannot hear 4000hz in the left of right hear. The 4000hz level is where most consonants are, and which most of language content resides. I am going to try Costco test first to see how I do with a real test.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Lon » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:04 pm

Ricola wrote:I have trouble understanding the dialogue on TV and need to turn the volume way up to understand. Also hard to hear folks that talk softly. Took a quick online test using headphones which showed I cannot hear 4000hz in the left of right hear. The 4000hz level is where most consonants are, and which most of language content resides. I am going to try Costco test first to see how I do with a real test.


Just a thought, but those folks that you think are talking softly are most likely talking at a normal level and you hear them as soft. That's all part of the hearing problem. Get a good testing.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby wilpat » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:34 pm

Sam I Am wrote:My MIL has United Healthcare Medicare PPO and it includes hearing aids. Co-pay was $390 IIRC.


I use those same ones. They are cheap and not nearly as good as the $2,000.00 each ones, but they are good enough for me. I got them at Hihealth.com through United Health care.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby meebers » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:40 pm

I am retired military, but not disabled. I was really impressed with the VA and how they treated me. I tried for a service connected hearing loss and was denied when I realized I had a hard time understanding normal conversation. However, the VA called me in for an initial appointment, a hearing test and general exam. My hearing in both ears has a drop off beyond 1500 hz, I can hear the lows well, but not the highs. I forgot which way it is but was told either the nouns or vowels need the high frequency element, if not, understanding normal conversation without hearing the nouns or vowels correctly becomes difficult. If someone is looking at me, I can get most of it because, by default, you start reading lips. In about 4 weeks, the VA called me back for a fitting, issued 2 hearing aids, a remote control to change the environment settings on the hearing aid and free batteries for life. Was told by the VA that their costs was $1700. The VA is tops in my book :sharebeer
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Call_Me_Op » Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:08 pm

Meebers,

I believe it is the consonants that are most affected by high-frequency hearing loss.
Best regards, -Op

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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby ndchamp » Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:52 pm

Call_Me_Op wrote:Meebers,
I believe it is the consonants that are most affected by high-frequency hearing loss.


The High-Freq loss is a big problem with women's and children's voices. Especially in a noisy environment.
If you are having issues understanding the waitress in a restaurant, that may be the reason. It certainly was in my case. :sharebeer
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Fallible » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:21 pm

Call_Me_Op wrote:Meebers,

I believe it is the consonants that are most affected by high-frequency hearing loss.


That's true and a good example is the letter 's' - although only someone with hearing loss would appreciate what that means.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby likegarden » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:16 am

I have hearing loss, especially the high frequencies, am 73 years old, work no longer. I am not a military veteran, obtained that hearing loss in a jet engine lab in college 49 years ago when suing the college was not practical. I have a Siemens hearing aid in each ear, $3,200 total, BCBS only paid $300. They improve my hearing nicely when needed, but usually I am not wearing them because of inconvenience, and have them stored without batteries in. In respect to viewing TV with sound, I do not view it with sound, because my now 10 year old grandson lives with us and when very young would wake up with TV very loud.

Being an engineer working in controls for a long time, I was impressed how the audiologist could tune and download software into these mini devices from his desk-top computer showing all programming and data on that large screen.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby mickeyd » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:51 pm

Any other Boggleheads with a hearing loss?


A portion of my VA disability is hearing loss suffered in 1968. The VA says that my loss is not substantial (mostly Tinnitus) and may not deteriorate any more. That said, it will never get better either.

The reason that I even filed a VA claim is to just establish myself with the VA and get them to update/evaluate me. If I ever am in real need of a hearing aid, I will go to the VA and hope that they will drop a machine in my ear.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Jeanz » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:13 pm

I included the cost of my hearing aids (the non-reimbursed part, that is) in my medical expenses a couple of years ago, and, as it worked out, we did have a medical deduction after subtracting the required percent of our income. So it's worth looking at the IRS Web site to find the current regulations.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby ret&uneasy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:53 pm

This is an interesting subject though maybe not one for this site. But my story: Seven years ago I was retired but doing a lot to consulting work and in a confernce room setting or listening to presentations could not hear. At wife's urging and my own work place difficulty went to an audiologist. Don't understand their Hertz to Decibel charts but mine went from 250 to 8000 hertz as a sloping curve beginning at 10 decibels at 250 hertz to 60 decibels at 8000 hertz. So paid over $5K for aids for both ears. Got some strange sounds when I was working in a SCIF which I could not describe to the company rep and so returned them. Moved south and in 2007 re-did the test with results a little worse but purchased another set (Unitron Moxi E16 for $4.1K). Stopped consulting in January because I just can't hear (Read the church bulletin during the sermon)and turned 75. A friend suggested the VA to me as well but after submitting all the required info, including financial, was rated lowest to get any help, basically denied. So what do you do? No consumer reports on hearing aids or any comparative info in any respect anywhere. Any thoughts out there? And was able to include all hearing aid cost in my medical deductions.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby johnep » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:15 am

Ricola wrote:I have trouble understanding the dialogue on TV and need to turn the volume way up to understand. Also hard to hear folks that talk softly. Took a quick online test using headphones which showed I cannot hear 4000hz in the left of right hear. The 4000hz level is where most consonants are, and which most of language content resides. I am going to try Costco test first to see how I do with a real test.


I had a bad experience in my initial hearing test at Costco. They turned the volume so high that it stirred up my tinnitis so bad I could hardly hear anything. The examiner finally told me to go to a EENT doctor because he was concerned I had a tumor. The EENT examined me and said I did not have a tumor. He had a doctor of audiology test me. She was surprised at how Costco had conducted the exam. Her test was different and revealed a moderate hearing loss and I purchased one hearing aid at $1900. Yes, I paid more than I would have at Costco, but hearing aids must be setup and tuned for your particular situation. I would much prefer to have a doctor of audiology do that than someone with a 2 year tech certificate. Based upon my experience, there was a big difference in the competency of Costco and the doctor of audiology. Also, over time your hearing aid may require adjustments. Again, better to have an expert do that.

The cost of a hearing aid includes the service and expertise of the technician who determines the type of device you need, sets it up and maintains it for you. Make sure you consider all of that when buying a hearing aid.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Cautious Optimist » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:33 pm

I'm curious as to others experience with how long their hearing aids last - My rule of thumb has been 4-6 years...I currently have ReSound ITE shell models...

I'm also curious as to others experience with knowing whether/when a hearing aid is dying (i.e., warning signs) and thus time for a replacement...Obviously I'd rather not pay for them today if I can delay it to tomorrow but I suspect it may be getting to that time...

Thanks...
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby 1530jesup » Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:16 pm

Cautious Optimist wrote:I'm curious as to others experience with how long their hearing aids last - My rule of thumb has been 4-6 years...I currently have ReSound ITE shell models...

I'm also curious as to others experience with knowing whether/when a hearing aid is dying (i.e., warning signs) and thus time for a replacement...Obviously I'd rather not pay for them today if I can delay it to tomorrow but I suspect it may be getting to that time...

Thanks...


Over the years my hearing has deteriorated to the point where answering a phone or carrying on a person to person conversation without my aids in place is - at my advanced age of 74 - living dangerously. TV is also a challenge, especially some of those PBS shows from the BBC. My experience is that at four to five years the aids are still a help but like computer technology (which they depend on) are a couple of generations behind the times. Sometimes it is hard to tell that their effectiveness is slowly diminishing. Wearing in the ear canal aids show their age and after five years most places are reluctant to service them. The behind the ear models - my current aids - probably hold up longer physically but as your hearing loss gets worse you will realize the aids need to be boosted to another level. As part of their high cost, a good provider will continue to service the units and adjust the functions annually. If your hearing loss is clarity (as mine is) as well as sound level, there is just so much these aids can do even with their bells & whistles and $3-$5 thousand cost. For the really challenging sounds on TV I use a wireless headset.

The best story I heard about hearing aids was told by Carrie Fisher (she of Star Wars fame and daughter of singer Eddie Fisher). On a TV talk show she told how her father somehow had his tiny aids costing $5,000 EACH wind up on his dinner plate. She then described the effort that went into recovering the aids as they passed through his digestive system...
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Cautious Optimist » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:51 pm

1530jesup wrote:
Cautious Optimist wrote:I'm curious as to others experience with how long their hearing aids last - My rule of thumb has been 4-6 years...I currently have ReSound ITE shell models...

I'm also curious as to others experience with knowing whether/when a hearing aid is dying (i.e., warning signs) and thus time for a replacement...Obviously I'd rather not pay for them today if I can delay it to tomorrow but I suspect it may be getting to that time...

Thanks...


Over the years my hearing has deteriorated to the point where answering a phone or carrying on a person to person conversation without my aids in place is - at my advanced age of 74 - living dangerously. TV is also a challenge, especially some of those PBS shows from the BBC. My experience is that at four to five years the aids are still a help but like computer technology (which they depend on) are a couple of generations behind the times. Sometimes it is hard to tell that their effectiveness is slowly diminishing. Wearing in the ear canal aids show their age and after five years most places are reluctant to service them. The behind the ear models - my current aids - probably hold up longer physically but as your hearing loss gets worse you will realize the aids need to be boosted to another level. As part of their high cost, a good provider will continue to service the units and adjust the functions annually. If your hearing loss is clarity (as mine is) as well as sound level, there is just so much these aids can do even with their bells & whistles and $3-$5 thousand cost. For the really challenging sounds on TV I use a wireless headset.

The best story I heard about hearing aids was told by Carrie Fisher (she of Star Wars fame and daughter of singer Eddie Fisher). On a TV talk show she told how her father somehow had his tiny aids costing $5,000 EACH wind up on his dinner plate. She then described the effort that went into recovering the aids as they passed through his digestive system...


Thank you for your reply. I haven't had a BTE model since I was in elementary school (over 30 yrs ago) but my next set probably will be, simply b/c I've heard they are more durable...and nowadays at least they are smaller than they were circa early 80's (yes I'm somewhat vain)...

Of course I hate that I have to dip into saved money for this but I really have no choice...I guess for me this is a predictable emergency...
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby OAG » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:09 am

Cautious Optimist wrote:I'm curious as to others experience with how long their hearing aids last - My rule of thumb has been 4-6 years...I currently have ReSound ITE shell models...

I'm also curious as to others experience with knowing whether/when a hearing aid is dying (i.e., warning signs) and thus time for a replacement...Obviously I'd rather not pay for them today if I can delay it to tomorrow but I suspect it may be getting to that time...

Thanks...


Currently have GN Resound BTE units (behind the ear type - larger batteries). This is the second issue by the VA. First set (not Resound and were in the ear like yours) which I used for about 5 years. When I was reevaluated by the VA in 2011 they said those should have been replaced after about 3 years and gave me the current Resound units. They gave me the option of either ITE or BTE units. In my case the only hint the old ones were failing was because others were telling me I needed to get my hearing rechecked.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Lon » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:51 pm

I have been wearing my new Starkey---series 30 Behind The Ear /BTE------receiver in the ear VA supplied hearing aids since the 28th of June. They are working well for normal conversation and the dulling feature for restaurants and crowded rooms is OK. I will be getting them adjusted for better TV & Music. TV is not too bad but music is really distorted. My hearing loss is classed as profound.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Cautious Optimist » Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:43 pm

OAG wrote:
Cautious Optimist wrote:I'm curious as to others experience with how long their hearing aids last - My rule of thumb has been 4-6 years...I currently have ReSound ITE shell models...

I'm also curious as to others experience with knowing whether/when a hearing aid is dying (i.e., warning signs) and thus time for a replacement...Obviously I'd rather not pay for them today if I can delay it to tomorrow but I suspect it may be getting to that time...

Thanks...


Currently have GN Resound BTE units (behind the ear type - larger batteries). This is the second issue by the VA. First set (not Resound and were in the ear like yours) which I used for about 5 years. When I was reevaluated by the VA in 2011 they said those should have been replaced after about 3 years and gave me the current Resound units. They gave me the option of either ITE or BTE units. In my case the only hint the old ones were failing was because others were telling me I needed to get my hearing rechecked.


Interesting you were told your first set of ITE's needed replacement after 3 years...Curious why you went with BTE's over ITE's this time around...
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby 1530jesup » Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:05 pm

Cautious Optimist wrote:
Interesting you were told your first set of ITE's needed replacement after 3 years...Curious why you went with BTE's over ITE's this time around...


From my experience, BTE is the newer technology although I heard (no pun there) that the BTE technology is being shrunk down to go into the ear canal. In private - no VA or insurance coverage - those suckers will be something like $6,000 for the pair.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Ricola » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:09 pm

Anybody ever try those TV Ears products? I see they sell them at Costco.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby bakersma » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:02 pm

I am curious...why do hearing aids need to be replaced after 3-5 years (or whatever). They are all solid-state so there are no vacuum tubes to "wear out" over time. Likewise, there are no moving parts (switches, controls, etc.) are there ? I thought everything was set digitally by the provider. Is it just from the wear and tear of putting them on and taking them off every day, or installing new batteries when needed ? Seems like a device which retails for serveral thousand dollars each should have a much longer service life....but I probably am overlooking the obvious. Anyhow, M-I-L just got hearing aids last year and has been pleased with the improvement (as have we; no more shouting over the TV at full volume :-)) but I'd like to understand this aspect of the situation better. Thanks !
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby astrohip » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:40 pm

Late to the thread... first some background:

I am 57. Started losing my hearing in my late 30's, for no detectable reason. Started with small ITC aids, driven by vanity to get the smallest aid I could. As my loss worsened, I finally went with BTE. I realized I wanted to hear, and didn't care what people thought. I got newer, more powerful aids every 4-6 years.

Finally, one ear no longer had enough hearing to amplify. I had a cochlear implant (right ear) in 2008. Absolutely amazing. It restored hearing I hadn't realized I had lost. Clocks ticking, birds tweeting, things hearing aids will never do. I love it, and would be happy to discuss it with anyone who is interested.

My other ear has a little bit of hearing left, so I still have an aid in that one (Phonak Naida). My loss is about 90-110 decibels in the lower hertz, with total loss above 2000-3000.

* Hearing aids are deductible like any other medical expense, which means for most of us, to the extent they exceed 7.5% of your AGI.

* Didn't know about BCBS covering some HA expenses. Will have to check it out next time.

* Hearing aids can easily last 4-6 years, but often one's hearing will worsen, requiring a stronger aid before the current one is totally dead. High humidity, sweaty situations, being outdoors a lot, all of these contribute to hearing aids wearing out sooner. They do have moving parts--microphones, volume controls and more. And they are subject to tough environmental conditions--sweat, oils, heat & cold, rain, dust. They get handled multiple times every day, 365 days a year. They simply wear out.

* If one's loss is significant enough, you need a stronger hearing aid. BTE are the only ones able to provide the needed boost. ITC are ok for mild losses, but if you are 40-50 decibels down, get a good pair of BTE. I've worn both, and nothing boosts like a good BTE. I'm currently using a Phonak Naida in my hearing ear.

Advice: ALWAYS go to an audiologist. whether you buy your aids thru Costco or not, use an audiologist for the testing. Your hearing is one of your most valuable senses, don't shortchange their care.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby 1530jesup » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:19 pm

astrohip wrote:Advice: ALWAYS go to an audiologist. whether you buy your aids thru Costco or not, use an audiologist for the testing. Your hearing is one of your most valuable senses, don't shortchange their care.


Added advice, always make sure the provider will check and re-set the functions - usually yearly - at no cost.
And minor repairs; a malfunction, a cracked case or a problem with the sound tube leading to the ear should be cost free.
Yes, diminished hearing or loss of clarity may make it necessary to keep up with the technology - now with added goodies like Bluetooth where it is possible (for a price) to have your cell phone and TV send sound directly to your aids along with a remote control device.

As to the TV ears, I use a Sennheiser wireless headset which can be connected to the TV or cable box. I believe some TV ears are less costly but I saw a set at Costco that was in the same price range as the headsets.
Google 'Sennheiser headphones' or go to Amazon for the best prices - make sure you use the Amazon connection at the top of the Bogleheads page for the small referral fee that our site collects.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Cautious Optimist » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:46 pm

astrohip wrote: * Hearing aids are deductible like any other medical expense, which means for most of us, to the extent they exceed 7.5% of your AGI.

This was very disappointing to learn as I fully expected more generosity considering hearing aids are expensive, need be replaced every few years, and are commonly an out of pocket cost...

astrohip wrote:* Hearing aids can easily last 4-6 years
I'm on year 4 with my current pair but I feel they need replacing...I really want to squeeze out every last dime I can from the initial investment but I also don't want to be caught in a situation where these die and I have nothing until the new ones arrive...

1530jesup wrote: As to the TV ears, I use a Sennheiser wireless headset which can be connected to the TV or cable box. .
This is interesting - I don't use anything like this for TV and over the years have become used to using the closed captioning...
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby JamesSFO » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:49 pm

1530jesup wrote: As to the TV ears, I use a Sennheiser wireless headset which can be connected to the TV or cable box. .


Some of the newest hearing aids are bluetooth compatible and directly pair with a TV or phone.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby AuDDoc » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:33 pm

1530jesup wrote:
astrohip wrote:Advice: ALWAYS go to an audiologist. whether you buy your aids thru Costco or not, use an audiologist for the testing. Your hearing is one of your most valuable senses, don't shortchange their care.


Added advice, always make sure the provider will check and re-set the functions - usually yearly - at no cost.
And minor repairs; a malfunction, a cracked case or a problem with the sound tube leading to the ear should be cost free.


Be aware that there is a big push in the audiology community to separate the cost of the initial services and the follow up care from the cost of the hearing aids themselves. You might save quite a lot up front if you are willing to pay as you go for periodic maintenance checkups, re-programming and minor repairs not covered by warranty. This care is valuable (particularly the programming and in the initial month or two of adjusting to new aids), but often not included when you buy hearing aids online or through some discount plans. Plus, discount plans often don't save you money, even when these services are subtracted.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Fallible » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:41 pm

astrohip wrote:Late to the thread... first some background:

I am 57. Started losing my hearing in my late 30's, for no detectable reason. Started with small ITC aids, driven by vanity to get the smallest aid I could. As my loss worsened, I finally went with BTE. I realized I wanted to hear, and didn't care what people thought. I got newer, more powerful aids every 4-6 years.

...


You might be interested in a book that came out recently on hearing loss written by a former New York Times editor who lost her hearing in her 30s and had an implant. Beautifully written and of interest to everyone who suffers to one degree or another from hearing loss. My partial hearing loss is congenital and an implant would not help me, but I still thought the book helpful.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/books ... .html?_r=0
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby nonnie » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:55 am

Cautious Optimist wrote:
BTW might anyone know if the hearing aids are tax deductible..??


Not only are hearing aids deductible – as noted earlier – but the batteries are also deductible.

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Born that way...

Postby roymeo » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:05 am

I've "always" had hearing loss, likely due to a case of mumps or measles as an infant. Wasn't recognized 'til tested in kindergarten, and I got to go out to the hearing bus every year. One ear is completely gone (for all practical purposes, sure I can feel it if you pump the speaker up loud enough that I can also 'hear' it with my elbow). As a kid, this was mostly solved by sitting on the right side of the classroom, rarely did someone notice. As an adult I'd get my hearing tested every ~5 years just to check and I'd learn a lot more about what was going on each time (just finished a medical educational multimedia CD-ROM when I went in one time so the inner workings were pretty clear in my head). Turns out the other ear has loss in the significant-to-understanding-speech upper range, too. Though I carry an earplug in most of my jackets in case I end up at a concert, the 'good' ear's been losing more of the upper range than age would predict.

So ~4 years ago my partner and I took a year of American Sign Language, because she didn't want our conversations in 40 years to consist primarily of me saying "WHAT?" That's been remarkably useful in a variety of situations, even where we could hear each other clearly if we were speaking.

2 months ago I also started realizing how much of my overall personality/likes were driven by not being able to hear in noisy situations/avoiding potential confusion, etc. so I finally got hearing aids at 42. (I'd committed myself a couple of years ago to start polling my friends to see if I needed them yet so I'd not be the annoying old guy you shout at but refuses to get hearing aids, though no one would say I was that bad, yet.) The night I wore a test set home my wife noticed something was weird when I arrived because I was responding to her statements/questions more quickly instead of the usual delay where my Broca's Area was trying to make sense of the limited input I was getting. One way of reading that is that hearing aids make me appear to be smarter/less dense.

Most of my friends are subconsciously used to me always sitting/walking on one side of them, it feels wrong to them as well as me to be on the other side. Coping mechanisms run deep...I also lip-read to help build context a lot more than I realize. And struggle with unexpected names. Have always hated noisy restaurants/clubs especially those that other people can function in but cut me out, etc.

With the technology available today, I'm Very Glad I stepped up and got them. I've got the crossover setup so the deaf-side aid is mostly just a mic that wirelessly transmits over to the good ear. I'm not sure that the old technology this would have been as beneficial 20+ years ago though I'd have gotten something out of today's technology even as a kid (though I don't think they would have lasted very long under the conditions). I went for the external ones, which last a bit better than the internal and went for black rather than a fakey flesh tone. I sort of threw my hands up and said to myself that if all those jackasses I see walking around with bluetooth headsets in their ears have those blinking blue lights in a desperate plea for attention, I can deal with something that a couple people may notice. I'm also bald enough that I'm generally close buzzed or shaved so I don't have hair to hide them in, though the nerdy glasses do a pretty good job.

My company/health care plan covers us $1K (or was it 2K?) per ear for hearing aids so it was definitely time to take advantage of it and not leave that "money on the table".
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby johnep » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:54 am

Ricola wrote:Anybody ever try those TV Ears products? I see they sell them at Costco.


I am not sure what these are, but I bought a BTE device at Bass Pro Shop for $15. It works surprisingly good. I used it while my regular $1900 hearing aid was in the shop. It is simply an amplifier but might work well with someone who cannot afford regular hearing aid or who only has a mild hearing loss.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby astrohip » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:58 am

Fallible wrote:
astrohip wrote:Late to the thread... first some background:

I am 57. Started losing my hearing in my late 30's, for no detectable reason. Started with small ITC aids, driven by vanity to get the smallest aid I could. As my loss worsened, I finally went with BTE. I realized I wanted to hear, and didn't care what people thought. I got newer, more powerful aids every 4-6 years.

...


You might be interested in a book that came out recently on hearing loss written by a former New York Times editor who lost her hearing in her 30s and had an implant. Beautifully written and of interest to everyone who suffers to one degree or another from hearing loss. My partial hearing loss is congenital and an implant would not help me, but I still thought the book helpful.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/books ... .html?_r=0


Ordered it two weeks ago, and it's sitting on my dresser now, waiting for me to finish "A Dance With Dragons". Which is taking forever--great book, but 1,000+ pages.

Thanks for thinking of me, can't wait to read it.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby bungalow10 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:43 pm

My youngest child (he's six months old) was born with hearing loss in one ear. We don't know yet if he's hearing aid-eligible (they can't test for the type of loss until he's a little older and can participate in the tests), but I've been warned that hearing aids are around $20k (I'm assuming that's for one since one is all he'd need).
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby roymeo » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:24 pm

bungalow10 wrote:My youngest child (he's six months old) was born with hearing loss in one ear. We don't know yet if he's hearing aid-eligible (they can't test for the type of loss until he's a little older and can participate in the tests), but I've been warned that hearing aids are around $20k (I'm assuming that's for one since one is all he'd need).


Uh...Maybe a cochlear implant, but a standard Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aid, etc. isn't going to run that much.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Cautious Optimist » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:04 pm

I made a consultation appt. for next week for a hearing test and to "discuss" buying new hearing aids. I currently use ITE aids but am considering BTE. Can anyone speak to experiences with BTE i.e., durability, etc. in comparison to ITE's..??
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Lon » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:32 pm

Cautious Optimist wrote:I made a consultation appt. for next week for a hearing test and to "discuss" buying new hearing aids. I currently use ITE aids but am considering BTE. Can anyone speak to experiences with BTE i.e., durability, etc. in comparison to ITE's..??


As one's hearing gets worse over time BTE's are necessary because they are larger, more powerful and can hold more circuitry. I started years ago with in the canal, then in the ear and now to my present BTE.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby 1530jesup » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:59 am

Lon wrote:
Cautious Optimist wrote:I made a consultation appt. for next week for a hearing test and to "discuss" buying new hearing aids. I currently use ITE aids but am considering BTE. Can anyone speak to experiences with BTE i.e., durability, etc. in comparison to ITE's..??


As one's hearing gets worse over time BTE's are necessary because they are larger, more powerful and can hold more circuitry. I started years ago with in the canal, then in the ear and now to my present BTE.


Had in the canal for more than ten years (two sets); now have BTE's which are just fine except every once in awhile adjusting my glasses has popped the unit off the ear and it hangs by the sound tube until I place it back. No big deal.
As I mentioned before, the BTE is being shrunk down (a relative is an audiologist working for a major provider) to fit in the canal. Technology keeps getting better and smaller as in computers. For those of us without insurance, cost will be way up there and I expect to have the BTE's for years to come...
These units have more complex controls for different hearing environments but if like me you can hear the sounds but cannot process all the words, an aid can help but does not solve the issue. I like the BTE because it allows you to hear with your ears (whatever natural sound you have left) since the unit does not block the whole canal. The mics sit atop the BTE unit and feeds sound into the ear via the clear tube.
Good luck
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby Cautious Optimist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:42 am

1530jesup wrote: I like the BTE because it allows you to hear with your ears (whatever natural sound you have left) since the unit does not block the whole canal. The mics sit atop the BTE unit and feeds sound into the ear via the clear tube.
Good luck

Thanks for your reply. On the BTE's do the tubes need regular replacement (wax clogging, etc.)..??
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Re: Born that way...

Postby Fallible » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:50 pm

roymeo wrote:...
2 months ago I also started realizing how much of my overall personality/likes were driven by not being able to hear in noisy situations/avoiding potential confusion, etc. so I finally got hearing aids at 42. ...

Most of my friends are subconsciously used to me always sitting/walking on one side of them, it feels wrong to them as well as me to be on the other side. Coping mechanisms run deep...I also lip-read to help build context a lot more than I realize. And struggle with unexpected names. Have always hated noisy restaurants/clubs especially those that other people can function in but cut me out, etc....


If you read up on how the ear and the brain work together, I think you'll understand better how hearing loss leads to behavioral adjustments, or as you say, "coping mechanisms." It also helps to explain why current hearing aids still can't replace normal hearing.
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby gkaplan » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:06 pm

I have only skimmed this thread, so I don't know if someone has posted this Consumer Reports review on hearing aids. If someone has, I'll delete the following link:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/hear-well-in-a-noisy-world/index.htm
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Re: Hearing Aids

Postby 1530jesup » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:57 pm

Cautious Optimist wrote:
1530jesup wrote: I like the BTE because it allows you to hear with your ears (whatever natural sound you have left) since the unit does not block the whole canal. The mics sit atop the BTE unit and feeds sound into the ear via the clear tube.
Good luck

Thanks for your reply. On the BTE's do the tubes need regular replacement (wax clogging, etc.)..??


The tube has a gizmo (technical term) at the end that delivers the enhanced sound; it connects to a plastic cap that fits into the canal (one size fits all). This plastic cap guides the sound into the ear and has several holes that allow 'normal' sound to enter the ear as well. This plastic cap needs to be brushed off to keep it clean. I have had the BTE unit for less than a year and have not had a need to clean the tubes - the tubes are snapped into the unit on one end and the cap on the other. The caps are usually changed say every few months as they collect the assorted stuff that winds up in our ears. I guess the tube can be replaced if needed.

There is something called an ear mold which I believe is similar to the In The Canal units that replaces the plastic caps. The mold is formed to fit the ear and does a better job of delivering the sound AND is easier to keep clean. I am getting a set of molds in the next week or so.
I hope this helps, Rich
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Re: Born that way...

Postby astrohip » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:55 pm

roymeo wrote:I've "always" had hearing loss, likely due to a case of mumps or measles as an infant. Wasn't recognized 'til tested in kindergarten, and I got to go out to the hearing bus every year. One ear is completely gone (for all practical purposes, sure I can feel it if you pump the speaker up loud enough that I can also 'hear' it with my elbow).

You may be a good candidate for a cochlear implant in that ear. If the loss was caused by nerve damage, a CI won't work. But if it was something else, a CI is a miracle.
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