David’s hearing aids

Straub Medical Center.

After a 6-month delay, David finally underwent a hearing test at Straub Medical Center in March. He was diagnosed with hearing loss at the highest frequencies. He was told that, in his case, hearing aids were optional, and it was not critically necessary to wear them. However, David told the physician’s assistant that he wanted to try them, because he suffered from tinnitus. He was then told that there was no guarantee that hearing aids would cure his tinnitus.

Anyway, David learned that Straub does not participate with our Humana Insurance, and, therefore, Straub would charge him $2,500 for a pair. Expensive!

Signia hearing aids and charger.

David decided to contact Humana and learned that they participate with Tru Hearing, which David decided to hire. He submitted his Straub hearing test to Dr. L. in New Jersey, and she sent him a pair of Signia hearing aids and a battery charger for $2,100. The aids were small and inconspicuous and color coded, blue for the left ear and red for the right. A thin wire attached the aids to a battery behind each ear. Then, the whole thing was connected remotely to David’s iPhone.

After 40 days, the left side stopped working. When he contacted Tru Hearing, he was told it could not be repaired. He would have to return the aids for either a new pair or a full refund. He decided to ask for a full refund, because the hearing aids were flimsy and might break again. Besides, they had not alleviated his tinnitus, at all.

David is no longer using hearing aids and is still experiencing tinnitus. It’s aggravating, but what can he do? Just grin and bear it, I guess.

16 Responses to “David’s hearing aids”

  1. DavidH Says:

    The tinnitus is always here. Sometimes are worse than others. Just today I found out that hearing aids will be sold over the counter. Prices are sure to drop. Maybe I can find a good pair with trial and error in the store.

  2. tomthebackroadstraveller Says:

    …I have a number of problems, but this fortunately isn’t one of them.

  3. AC Says:

    It would take special hearing aid to stop tinnitus. I don’t have them. The tinnitus is worse without them, however, and it’s still bad with them. Those are relatively inexpensive hearing aids that he had. Mine are much more expensive, and I don’t have top grade either. Of course, things are always more expensive in Canada, so it is hard to compare.

  4. Christine Says:

    Too bad this didnt work out

  5. Valerie-Jael Says:

    I have hearing aids with a special filter to reduce tinnitus. It doesn’t cure it, but makes it more bearable. Sorry David’s didn’t work! Valerie

  6. Olga Says:

    I had just heard on the news that hearing aids were going to be sold OTC. I thought that hearing aids were prescribed to match specific patterns of hearing loss so I don’t exactly understand how the OTCs will work.

    Tinnitus must be terribly annoying. I don’t understand why our bodies play these terrible tricks on us either.

  7. Arkansas Patti Says:

    My neighbor just bought OTC aids at Walmart and she said they really helped her hearing but she finds them uncomfortable. She paid under $100 though and oddly after wearing them a while, her natural hearing has greatly improved. I wish there was an answer for tinnitus. I don’t really hear it till I hear or read the word. Gee thanks, ringing up a storm now:) Seriously I have learned to ignore it most of the time.

  8. Doug M Says:

    My God. $2000 for hearing aids! That’s ridiculously expensive, I’m sorry David is still dealing with tinnitus but I’m actually glad he returned those overpriced things. Gigi, please keep us posted on this. I really want to know if David gets some better and cheaper hearing aids.

  9. Linda Reeder Says:

    When I got my hearing aids about five years ago they were $6000 a pair. With a bit of insurance and a discount for getting two – hilarious because I have two ears, Duh!- I paid just over $5000. Soon I will need to replace them but the cost will be about $2000. They are much less costly than they used to be. I won’t be buying them over the counter. I have KP insurance for the exams and for continued service. I can work with an actual technician.

  10. Iris Flavia Says:

    Tinnitus is awful, I only have it for a minute here and there – good luck it somehow stops?
    Can acupuncture help? It helped with my migraines…

  11. dkzody Says:

    I know of no one, until David, who has gotten two hearing aides under $5000. Usually that’s the cost of ONE and bought through Costco. Most of the people I know who have had to get hearing aides for both ears paid $10,000, and as you said, that’s without insurance. The hearing tests and diagnosis, though, is covered by our insurance, but not the hearing aides themselves.

  12. Elephant's Child Says:

    Good luck with finding something to alleviate the tinnitus. And hooray for only minimal hearing loss.

  13. Sandy E. Says:

    I trust the Mayo Clinic for information, so went to their website at mayoclinic.org. I put tinnitus in their search box, and some interesting suggestions came up. I recommend David taking a look at what they recommend since his tinnitus sounds very severe. Any relief he could get would be worthwhile. Hopefully there is some useful information there that would benefit him.

  14. marmeladegypsy Says:

    I have terrible tinnitus and have had it for decades. I feel for David. It must be frustrating, dealing with the price and insurance.

  15. Joared Says:

    Sounds like David has age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) unlike a type of loss due to other causes that does not remediate with hearing aids. Often the high-frequency sounds are the ones that decline with presbycusis. Surprisingly, ear wax accounts for hearing loss for many, too, so the advantage of a hearing exam and test would ideally have ruled that out.

    David seems to have received some good recommendations. OTC hearing aids may be a double-edged sword. They will be less expensive which is certainly welcome, but the consumer must educate themselves well. They will need to determine the type of loss they have with a knowledgeable professional who can tell them if aids will even help as David did. Degree of loss may be different in each ear. Aids can be far more than devices to just amplify sound and don’t necessarily eliminate tinnitus as David found.

    FWIW in some cases consistently wearing the aids can be important as the brain has to be retrained to interpret what they hear. As a Speech-Language-Hearing Pathologist I often encountered individuals whose aids were in a drawer because they became impatient adapting to them; complained their aids didn’t help.

  16. DJan Says:

    I have a buzzing in my left ear now and then that I figure must be a form of tinnitus. It comes and goes and doesn’t bother me all that much. Hearing aids are such a pain, I wouldn’t try them for tinnitus.

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