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  #1  
Old 02-03-2011, 07:52 PM
JCorre JCorre is offline
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Recommendations for over the counter hearing aids.

Something happened to me last month that severely degraded my hearing. I can't hear people who speak to me in normal volumes. Lots of times I tell coworkers who come to my desk to go back to their desk and give me a call. (I do better on the phone since i have a speaker right next to my ear.)

The doctors haven't figured out what the problem is yet. I just had an MRI yesterday.

While they get this figured out I've been looking into hearing aids that I can get over-the-counter to help me function at work and socially.

My search has mainly been on amazon. Here's an example.

Has anyone on the board had any experience with these types of devices? Would anyone care to make a recommendation? This is pretty debilitating so price isn't a factor.
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2011, 08:39 PM
faithfool faithfool is offline
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My aunt bought one out of the back of an AARP magazine. I can't remember the name, but it was from somewhere common like Sharper Image. However, the price was pretty steep at over $500.00, although she swears by it. It took her a while to get used to the increased ambient noise, but that eventually has subsided and she wears it all the time. She no longer has to ask people to constantly repeat themselves and there's no longer any arguments over what she can't hear.
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2011, 10:20 PM
JCorre JCorre is offline
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Thanks Faithfool!

I'll try to check the AARP and shaper image sites.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2011, 12:17 AM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Actually you can get tiny OTC hearing aids that are as small and every bit as effective as the multi-thousand-dollar prescription hearing aids. They are called "Game Ears" and are sold in sporting goods stores for less than $200. From my cite:

Quote:
Dr. Killion says many stores already sell "listening devices" for people with normal hearing that differ little from hearing aids. For example, sporting-goods stores sell ear devices for hunters that muffle the sound of gun shots but also amplify quiet sounds, such as animals rustling in vegetation. Dr. Killion says the hunters' device is actually quite effective for people who have trouble hearing and illustrates his point
that there's no technological barrier to an inexpensive over-the-counter hearing aid.

To prove his point, he recently played two recordings before an audience of 50 audiologists. One was of a person speaking in cafeteria noise, amplified by a $149 sporting-goods device. The other was of the same speech amplified through a popular $2,000 digital hearing aid. The audience rated the $149 device as having clearer sound. "The point is, there are reasonably good OTC aids out there now," Dr. Killion said.
There is no need for you to have to use something that makes you look like you are listening to a 1960 AM radio. Mead Killion is one of my heroes, someone who is genuinely trying to make the world a better place.

I personally wouldn't buy anything from Sharper Image OR anything advertised in the back pages of the AARP magazine. Read a bunch of reviews of Game Ears decide for yourself though.

If price truly is not an object, check these out at $599. Still a fraction of the professionally fitted ones.

Last edited by gaffa; 02-04-2011 at 12:21 AM..
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2011, 10:47 AM
faithfool faithfool is offline
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JCorre, I talked to my aunt this morning and she said the product name is Neutronic Ear. So I did a google search and it has a website, which lists it for $499. And just like I thought, she did say she'd highly recommend it. Good luck and let us know which one you pick!

Last edited by faithfool; 02-04-2011 at 10:47 AM..
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2011, 08:15 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faithfool View Post
JCorre, I talked to my aunt this morning and she said the product name is Neutronic Ear. So I did a google search and it has a website, which lists it for $499. And just like I thought, she did say she'd highly recommend it. Good luck and let us know which one you pick!
Seconded. I've been recommending the Game Ears for a while and I'd really like to hear back. I wonder if Cabella's or Bass Pro Shops would have demo models you could try in the store?
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2011, 08:44 PM
JCorre JCorre is offline
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Thanks for the responses guys. I went to my doctor again today and he set me up with a loaner pair of hearing aids to tie me over while this gets worked out.

Thanks again!
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2011, 09:09 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCorre View Post
Thanks for the responses guys. I went to my doctor again today and he set me up with a loaner pair of hearing aids to tie me over while this gets worked out.

Thanks again!
Ah, even better! It would be interesting if you could do an A/B comparison, a Consumer's Report on the official ones versus the cheap alternatives.
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2011, 09:45 PM
JCorre JCorre is offline
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
Ah, even better! It would be interesting if you could do an A/B comparison, a Consumer's Report on the official ones versus the cheap alternatives.
I hear you (haha!).

However at $199 that's an expensive A/B test. I did mention them to the audiologist and she said that I'm way past the point where those types of products would be better than real hearing aids. The ones I got loaned go for $8000 and they're pretty good. They'll at least make me functional at work again.
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2011, 11:39 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Originally Posted by JCorre View Post
I hear you (haha!).

However at $199 that's an expensive A/B test.
I was suggesting you could visit a brick and mortar Cabella's or Bass Pro Shop, both of which are all over the place around here. Or you could order a pair from their web sites. Both Bass and Cabella's have liberal 30 day return policies.

Quote:
I did mention them to the audiologist and she said that I'm way past the point where those types of products would be better than real hearing aids.
Did she give you a full test and a chart of your frequency response? Did she give you some idea where your loss is?

This is the same technology, and as mentioned in my cite, in some cases actually superior. I, for the life of me, cannot imagine what piece of electronics could fit into a hearing aid that would make it worth that kind of mark-up. It makes audiophile cable woo-woo seem reasonable.

Quote:
The ones I got loaned go for $8000 and they're pretty good. They'll at least make me functional at work again.
Really? The person who wants to sell you something for $8000 thinks the $8000 device is better? It is possible that she is not going to sell you them directly, but if that is the case, she probably has a dispenser that she would receive a referral fee from. Most insurance does not cover hearing aids. It's not as if they are performing a cochlear implant.

If I were in your position, I'd spend a bit of time looking at every alternative. True, I'm a cheap bastard, but if my vision problems could be corrected with off-the-shelf reading glasses, I'd be buying those instead of having custom glasses made. In my book, hearing aid providers are right down there with funeral home directors in that they provide a service to people when they are at their most vulnerable and charge out the ass for it.
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  #11  
Old 02-04-2011, 11:54 PM
JCorre JCorre is offline
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Thanks for the feedback Gaffa.

Yes the advice she gave me was based on two separate hearing tests and the resulting charts of my responses.

The place I got this advice is the California Ear Institute (formerly the Stanford Ear Institute). They did this consultation with their audiologist (with the resulting loaner aids)and the MRI review with their Sr. Fellow for free. I'm a good friend of an employee there.


This is probably the premier clinic for cochlear implants on the west coast. I trust their advice.
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2011, 12:07 AM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Originally Posted by JCorre View Post
Thanks for the feedback Gaffa.

Yes the advice she gave me was based on two separate hearing tests and the resulting charts of my responses.

The place I got this advice is the California Ear Institute (formerly the Stanford Ear Institute). They did this consultation with their audiologist (with the resulting loaner aids)and the MRI review with their Sr. Fellow for free. I'm a good friend of an employee there.

This is probably the premier clinic for cochlear implants on the west coast. I trust their advice.
OK.
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2011, 09:24 AM
enipla enipla is offline
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I just ordered the Walker Game ear that gaffa linked to in post 4. I ordered them through Amazon.com. 30 day return policy. What the heck, nothing to lose.

I have been to an audiologist. I was told that I am right on the cusp for needing aids. I need something, I know that. From what audiologist said, the aids that I would get would just increase volume and drown out my tinnitus. Well, it’s more complex than that I know. But I think trying these Walker Game ears is worth a shot. I’ll report back. I should have them in a week or so.


Backstory….

About 5 years ago, I took a fall on my chin that I think has caused my tinnitus and some neck issues. I very nearly lost consciousness. You do see ‘stars’ by the way.

The river was swollen, the parents were not watching, and the kids were about to be swept away.

I got them out of the river before they just disappeared. I fell on slippery grass climbing up and out of the river. Fucked myself up quite good. (This was at a big going away party for some friends of ours. Teachers)

Perhaps I saved some young lives. Three of them. Hope so.

Anyway, very little seems to be known about tinnitus. I think that fall caused mine.
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  #14  
Old 02-06-2011, 04:40 AM
AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet is offline
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Quote:
I did mention them to the audiologist and she said that I'm way past the point where those types of products would be better than real hearing aids. The ones I got loaned go for $8000 and they're pretty good. They'll at least make me functional at work again.
My best advice....experiment a ton with different types of aids...like ITE vs BTE. BTEs are much more powerful. Plus you can get them (both the actual aid and the molds) in colors, so you don't look like an old person....LOL
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  #15  
Old 06-04-2011, 09:58 PM
AceofShades AceofShades is offline
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Looks like the BEST cheap hearing aid is the MDHearingAid

On Amazon - the MDHearingAid is rated the top OTC hearing aid

http://www.amazon.com/MDHearingAid-A...pr_product_top
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  #16  
Old 06-04-2011, 10:58 PM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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FWIW, I had similar hearing issues that cleared up when I went back to using real Claritin-D for my allergies. Nothing but the real, pseudoepinephrine, stuff would work.
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  #17  
Old 06-05-2011, 07:47 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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IMHO, the main problem with hearing aids is that they are trying to b unnoticeable. If my glasses were trying to be invisible they would probably be lousy. Imagine all the fancy electronics you could build in if it were something you wore around your head like glasses. And then you could use AA batteries that would last much longer and be much cheaper. A friend of mine is quite hard of hearing but avoids using his hearing aid because it eats these tiny, expensive batteries.
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  #18  
Old 06-05-2011, 07:58 PM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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True, but look at what they've done with Bluetooth headsets, and what are they but hearingaids with a little different secret sauce?
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  #19  
Old 06-05-2011, 11:40 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
IMHO, the main problem with hearing aids is that they are trying to b unnoticeable. If my glasses were trying to be invisible they would probably be lousy. Imagine all the fancy electronics you could build in if it were something you wore around your head like glasses. And then you could use AA batteries that would last much longer and be much cheaper. A friend of mine is quite hard of hearing but avoids using his hearing aid because it eats these tiny, expensive batteries.
I love my hearing aids. They are not really noticeable. I have to point out that I am now using them. I no longer use my blue tooth, my hearing aids are cell phone compatable, all though it is starange to hear telephone consevations in both ears.

Last edited by Snnipe 70E; 06-05-2011 at 11:41 PM..
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