“Several of my patients have asked me about over the counter hearing aids. Because they are less expensive, many people think that a hearing aid is the answer and all you have to do is put it on. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Hearing aids must be programmed correctly and even the most sophisticated person has to learn how to use hearing aids properly. Ongoing care is the key to success with hearing aids. The attached letter from the Wall Street Journal helps to explain this.” Dr. Susan Terry
The Wall Street Journal recently published a letter in its opinion column in response to an article on how the new Trump administration is likely to facilitate large-scale access to hearing aids at a much lower cost.
The letter points out that cost is not the sole barrier to hearing aid acceptance and says that this false assumption is consistent among “well-intentioned consumer advocates”.
A comparison is made between the situation in the United States and that in Norway and Switzerland. In the US, data show that hearing aid use among adults with self-admitted hearing impairment is less than one-third. In Norway and Switzerland, the countries with the highest hearing aid usage rates worldwide of 43% and 39%, respectively, the figures are not drastically higher, even though these devices are provided free-of-charge to all residents in these countries, without means testing.
According to Roy F. Sullivan, PhD, the reader who sent in the letter, this shows that hearing aid acceptance is not simply a matter of cost but involves a number of other factors. Examples include negative experiences with poorly adjusted or poorly suited devices, along with other psychological or practical aspects. Sullivan believes that successful audiology practice involves patient recognition of the long-term professional care component that audiologists apply.
The opinion is summed up as follows: “A hearing aid is one-third product and two-thirds process”.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Susan E. Terry, Au.D., F-AAA
Doctor of Audiology
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