Hearing Aid Facts
THE SUCCESS YOU WILL HAVE WITH ANY HEARING AID IS DEPENDENT ON THE FOLLOWING FACTORS:
- Realistic hearing expectations
- The fitting expertise, experience & counselling skills of the dispenser you purchase a hearing aid from.
- Choosing a hearing aid with the features and benefits that compliment your lifestyle, cosmetic wishes and pocket book.
Hearing aids are basically prescription lenses for your ears. The benefit a hearing aid provides is in direct proportion to the amount of damage done to your organ of hearing. For example if you have an 80% speech understanding score with hearing aids, no hearing aid will change your speech understanding from 80% to 100% regardless of how much you spend. The key difference in hearing aid features, cost, and benefits is how well you will hear and what speech understanding you have left in a variety of noise environments.
In 2014 approximately 11.3 million hearing aids were sold worldwide and 2.6 million hearing aids were sold in the United States. 90% of the worldwide production of hearing aids is controlled by 6 multi-national hearing aid conglomerates who market their hearing aids under 27 different brand names. These six companies are Siemens, Oticon, Starkey, Widex, Phonak and GN-Resound. All of these hearing aids manufacturers purchase microphones, receivers, circuits and volume controls from the same component suppliers. All six of these manufacturers produce quality products. Some of these products have more features than others; however the actual discernible consumer listening/understanding difference is essentially the same.
Consumer Reports Magazine, July 2009 report on hearing aids stated, “There are differences between hearing aid brands but they are not significant enough that you can say what the best brands are.” There is very little difference, if any, in hearing aids today because of computer-aided design and computer aided manufacturing/production. All hearing aid factories have computerized quality control.
If one hearing aid was clearly superior to all the others, it would be broadcast all over the national news media. There is no best hearing aid. Period.
To increase their profitability, hearing aids are now manufactured with surplus complexity. This means that manufacturers bundle more functions into a single product in hopes of widening their market share. The more complex the product, the more expensive it is. Hearing aid companies make more profit from more expensive products. The people who dispense hearing aids make more profit from expensive products. The BOTTOM LINE: YOU, THE CONSUMER, PAY MORE for a hearing aid than YOU need to, because everyone is trying to convince you to buy all the bells and whistles – whether you need them or not!
Your Hearing Aid Specialist
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