A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Aids, gadgets and technology, OH WOW!

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2008 at 9:30 am

When u look at all the technology out there from the beginning of their creation to its current status, u’ll note that most technology started out large and clutsy looking and eventually the product was reduced in size BUT improved in its functioning purposes .  For example, Look at computers, headphones, cellphones, xerox machines, fax machines, TTY’s, even televisions and radios.   They all went from large to small and improved.

 Now, lets look at the hearing aid.  Hearing aids started out as horns, something looking like the Shofa used on the Jewish holidays.  The first real hearing aid  by Sonotone with a transistor was put on the market in 1952 for $229.   In fact, AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph……remember them?)  gave out free transistor licenses in honor of Alexander Graham Bell.

 Without losing a beat, companies began producing their own aids and competing. Acousticon put an aid out soon after for $74.50.  The hearing aids were powered by batteries worn around the waist.  Could u imagine if the competition continued with prices like these to this day?   Anyway, my point is that hearing aids have always been small, but they never quite improved and never got cheaper the way other technology has.  In fact, the hearing aid price is so varied and so steep and so difficult to shop around for, that most buyers will not price them the way we do when buying a car.

Sure, we have the directional microphones and the programming of the aids for different environments and background noise reductions.  We have the options of digital, digital programming and analog.  All promising maximum speech understanding.  Did u ever wonder whether it was all a gimmick?  I mean, after all, hearing aids don’t provide 20/20 hearing, so why make promises u can’t keep?

All I know is that when I cut the background noise out on my hearing aid, with that advantage comes the downside of the voice i’m listening to being lower as well.  Or when there are two speakers, one behind me and one in front of me, my directional mics seem to get a little ditsy and neurotic. 

Point being that for some reason, the hearing aid industry has changed asthetically but not really technically.  They have their new state of the art micro style differences, the ergonomic designs made especially for the boomer generation who has become so vain and forgotten their roots.  And I just love when a company states, u won’t even know you’re wearing them……duh! never in a million years.   I am constantly reminded that I’m wearing my aid.  Whether from someone’s dumb question of “are u wearing your aid today” to “is your aid working.”

Naturally, I’ve accepted that hearing aids are not the perfect solution but they give me the best situation for my hearing loss.  I would have preferred the aids have been more miraculously improved without convincing us they are so dynamically tuned for our specific hearing loss and that our ability to hear will be a miracle.   And whats with the tiny battery? How do they expect the largest population of hearing impaired people to put that little battery into that little thingie compartment?  And don’t forget about what happens when dropping that little battery on the floor.  It’s amazing to watch a group of seniors on hands and knees looking for that stinker.  It’s also amazing to see how far that little battery can travel when its not even on.

I never lead anyone to believe that hearing aids are the all or nothing solution.  Its just a temporary solution to a problem that can’t seem to be fixed by medical science thru other means, yet.  In the meantime, all I want is a hearing aid that works and works to my benefit.  I couldn’t care less about all these ergodynamic state of the art designs.  After all, I don’t expect anyone to say, ay Pearl, cool hearing aid you got there in your ear!

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  1. Nice article. Thanks. Keep up the good work. Some out there must be listening 🙂

  2. This is a great article! Thanks!

    Kim 🙂

  3. What a thought provoking article. It seems that one needs a degree in Audiology to keep abreast of all the latest bells and whistles (features) offered by the hearing aid manufacturers. Even those who are techno geeks (not a negative term) might have a hard time sorting through what specific features might be best suited for their particular hearing loss. Just think how daunting it is for us regular folks!! Also, it seems there is a trade off for each beneficial feature. You are forced to give up something in order to gain benefit in another area. This one fact might be why I can’t seem to hone in on a good setting, making hearing aids worth their high price??? I will keep trying!!

  4. Great article! Me, I just keep wishing the technology would improve for hearing aids, like CI’s have. I have hearing loss just on the cusp of profound and wear an analog aid.

    In fact, I’ve worn digitals only to freak out when I can’t hear the environmental sounds that digitals often screen out when voices are in the environment. That was not normal for me, so I went back to analog’s. Prefer that I do my own filtering, not the aid. Too bad aid technology is not as intuitive in the way the mind hears.

    Indeed hearing aids have become pricier than ever, but has the technology really advanced to make aids worth the price? Don’t think so. It’s analogous to the bank teller telling me that an endorsed check is gonna take ten days, and I wink, oh, yeah, sure, in this day and age of computers. Uh-huh…

  5. Nice information there! I just thought of to become your regular reader but the problem is your site doesn’t seem compatible /friendly when it show in KMeleon browser which I use regularly other than internet explorer, hope you can get it fix soon, thanks in advance.

  6. This is a great article! Thank blog.

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