I Found My Online Hearing Aid Retailer

Static noise coming from my right hearing aid wasn’t normal.

When my older Seimens hearing aid started making strange noises, it was time to replace it. Because hearing aids can be so expensive and aren’t covered by my insurance plan, painfully I had put it off. As I soon figured out, over the last decade, hearing aids have become even more confusing than shopping for a new car and almost as expensive. 🙁 I didn’t know at the time, but I would end up finding my answer with an online hearing aid retailer.

I first visited my local audiologist, in the Chicago area. The audiologist listened to my old hearing aid and advised me that it should be replaced. I initially thought I was in the market for top of the line wiz-bang-wow hearing aids until I heard the prices. I immediately lowered my standards. The price quoted for a set of mid level hearing aids was $4,400. I respectfully declined and thought that I should do a little shopping.

Initially aghast at the prices from my local audiologist, I saw an ad in the local paper for $899 per ear hearing aids at a neighborhood Miracle Ear office. Miracle Ear is a well know national hearing aid sales chain that has been around for many years. There, a fastidious young man spread out a colorful brochure offering several models at different price points. The cheapest, started at $1,300 each and the top-of-the-line model was more than $3,700 each. I choked.

Having worn hearing aids for more than two decades (I have a moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears), so I fancied myself as a savvier hearing aid owner/buyer/shopper than many. I am a middle aged businessman, reasonably computer literate, and was determined to find the best deal on a set of hearing aids that would provide me a reasonably normal active hearing lifestyle.

Aren’t hearing aids basically just a microphone, amplifier, and speaker in your ear? It didn’t make sense to me why they should cost thousands of dollars each.

Modern technology has ushered in a new era of digital nano super duper tiny micro processors, with many hearing aids boasting Bluetooth streaming, automatic environmental programs and a varying array of “channels” and “bands,” processing sounds many thousand of times per second and can be fine-tuned like a high end professional sound equalizer.

Perhaps that was why the Miracle Ear salesperson bristled when I asked what I could get for the advertised $899 per unit promotional price that was advertised in the newspaper. He equated the high end model to listening to a live orchestra, the mid level to model to a good stereo and the lower end model to a car radio.

Feeling pressured, I ordered a set of the lower end models. Within a few hours, I called and canceled the order and begrudgingly began researching hearing aids on the internet. I learned that not only can you buy hearing aids online, but at Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco; places where you typically purchase toilet paper and milk.

Undeniably, lower priced hearing aids are available from online retailers. Generally, prices run from $399 to $999 per unit, discount prices made possible by eliminating the middleman and the inefficient medical office model of dispensing hearing aids. Traditional retail/audiologist overhead may account for up to 70 percent of the total cost of hearing aids, because they bundle into the initial sales price all the anticipated service costs during the entire life cycle of the hearing aid.

There can be a downside to buying hearing aids online: with most online hearing aids, they need to be mailed back into the online dealer for sound or other adjustments, a dismal option.

Ultimately I found an online hearing aid retailer called “HearSource.com.” At HearSource they had several different hearing aid technology levels to choose from with all the normal features, bells and whistles, that I had expected to find in entry to mid level hearing aid offerings. But what made them different and most importantly, they offered a “Personal Programmer Hearing Aid Kit”. This hearing aid programming kit allows me to do the fine tuning of my own hearing aids myself. Who can do it better than me I thought. I spent less than $1,300 on two hearing aids and the programming kit in total. The programming kit came with an eMiniTec hearing aid programmer, software, cables and instruction manual.

I initially needed a little assistance comprehending the hearing aid fitting software, HearSource hooked me up with my very own personal coach. My “Programming Coach” walked me through getting my hearing aids adjusted just right. He even remotely took over my computer and did a few of the adjustments for me. I am not easily wowed, but I was, hearing loss correction “Shangri-La” I perceived. I must say that with my previous hearing aids, I thought they had them adjusted pretty well, until now. I think some things get lost in translation when the audiologist asks you how you are hearing and you try to explain to them what you are hearing and then they try to make the necessary sound adjustments. Now nothing is lost in translation.

I have been wearing my new HearSource hearing aids for several months now and couldn’t be happier. I hear well. I have submitted articles to several hearing aid web review sites without publication. I have also submitted this review to HearSource.com and have authorized them to publish it in their blog.

Walter Fields
Chicago, Illinois


Hearing Loss Sufferers Are At Increased Risk For Accidents

A new study on hearing loss suggests that hearing loss sufferers are at increased risk for accidents.

Recently, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a nationwide survey which indicated that out of 232.2 million American adults, approximately 15.7 percent reported suffering from hearing loss and that of those, 2.8 percent had been injured in an accident within the previous three months.

JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery Report

Additionally, JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, tracked injuries related to driving, work, and leisure/sports. In all three categories, the risk of injury increased with the severaty of hearing loss. Over all, compared to those who rated their hearing as “excellent”, those with a little hearing loss were 60% more likely to have been injured, those with moderate hearing loss were 70% more likely, and those with a lot of  hearing trouble were 90% more likely to suffer a physical injury.

My recommendation, fix your hearing loss, the benefits more than outweigh the cost.


Internet Hearing Aid Sales Disrupt Traditional Market

The internet hearing aid sales industry is encroaching on the traditional hearing aid dispensing business model, offering hearing aids that are far less expensive and available without the involvement of audiologists or other hearing aid professionals. The industry is re-examining the entire hearing aid distribution system, which critics argue is too cumbersome and costly, hindering reasonable and affordable access to the hearing help that so many older Americans need.

“The audiology profession is obviously scared, for good reason, right now,” said Abram Bailey, an audiologist and chief executive of Hearing Tracker.

One of the major players in internet based affordable hearing aid market is HearSource. HearSource has been providing quality hearing aids to the hearing impaired market for over ten years. Most notably HearSource leads the industry in the “Personal Programmable” hearing aid market.

For more information on affordable hearing aids or Personal Programmable hearing visit HearSource.com.

Program Your Own Hearing Aids

Would you buy a television if the salesperson insisted that they would be the only one that could change the channel, adjust the volume, tone or brightness? Would you be submit yourself to hour long appointments traveling back and forth to the T.V. store for the smallest adjustment? Then why do we surrender control in this way for our hearing aid sound adjustments?

With modern personal electronics, smartphones, automobile media centers, etc. we can reconfigure the sound beyond the default manufacturer settings to our heart’s content, yet as hearing aid wearers we have little control over them.

I would like explain to you the reasons why hearing aid wearers should program your own hearing aids.

First, I program my own hearing aids, so I speak from experience. Trust me, I am far happier with my own choices about my hearing aid sound settings than I ever could be if someone else did them for me.

Basically, hearing aid programming consists of two basic groupings:

1. Sound Settings: These settings affect how you hear – such as gain and frequency, including loud sound compression.

2. Operational Settings: These settings don’t necessarily affect the sound, but the physical operation of the hearing aid itself.

Here are a few reasons you might want to program your own hearing aids:

Financial. By avoiding multiple visits to the hearing care professional’s office, you save time and money.

Timeliness. Why tolerate bad sound while you wait for an appointment at the hearing aid office, making the desired sound changes is quick and easy.

Control. Answering the hearing care professional’s favorite question, “How does that sound?” is like trying to explain what an orange tastes like. You know exactly what you’re hearing; the hearing professional can only guess.

Curiosity. Wouldn’t it be nice to experiment a little with the sound settings to see how the sound could be adjusted and optimized just for you? Wouldn’t it be nice to explore the hearing aid software with or without the hearing aids being connected. Wearers who have explored the hearing aid fitting software will be better at taking advantage of all the features that the hearing aid and the hearing aid fitting software have to offer. If your hearing aid has “data logging”, you can see specifically how much time you spend wearing your heading aids in different sound environments, at what volume and using which program.

Real world. Sounds in a hearing care professional’s office don’t necessarily represent MY world. I can program my hearing aids based on my real world experiences, where my dog barks, my wife and grandchildren talk and scream, not that quiet little sales/testing/programming room at the hearing aid sales office.

If you have ever desired to take control of your hearing correction, are reasonably computer literate, experimental, and patient, learning to program your own hearing aids is for you.

Here is a link to an article that the BBC wrote of people adjusting their own hearing aids. Article Link Here.

Here is a link to HearSource’s Personal Programmable Hearing Aids

Memory, Dementia and Hearing Loss

I am seeing new brain-training products on the market attempting to keep our brains sharp. May I suggest “better hearing”. There is mounting evidence that links memory, dementia, and hearing loss—especially untreated hearing loss.

Research indicates that when people with untreated hearing loss strain to hear, they have more difficulty remembering what they heard. Researchers believe this has to do with what is called “cognitive load”. In order to compensate, people with untreated hearing loss draw on mental resources that they would have normally used to remember what was just said.

Hearing loss and dementia
A study from Johns Hopkins Hospital found that older adults with untreated hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing. Hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults. Some experts believe that hearing aids use may potentially help.


Cheap Hearing Aid Repairs

Hearing aids contain small discreet electronic parts. Over time, it is not uncommon for all hearing aids to need to be professionally repaired. You may try to turn the hearing aid on and find that there is no sound or the battery door may become broken. Even when hearing aids are properly cared for, things happen. If your hearing aid is in need of repair, send your hearing aid(s) to HearSource.com. They are a full service hearing aid repair lab well equipped to provide cheap hearing aid repairs.

HearSource is able to repair ALL hearing aid manufacturers devices. If your original hearing aid manufacturer warranty has expired, your hearing aid most often can still be repaired. HearSource discount hearing aid repair charges start out at only $199 per hearing aid and come with a Standard 6 month warranty (Optional 1 year Premium warranty is available).



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