Why Are Digital Hearing Aids So Expensive?
sglines writes “Over the last couple of years I’ve been slowly getting deaf. Too much loud rock and roll I suppose. After flubbing a couple of job interviews because I couldn’t understand my inquisitors I had a hearing test which confirmed what I already knew, I’m deaf. So I tried on a set of behind the ear hearing aids, wow, my keyboard makes clacks as I type and my wife doesn’t mumble to herself. Then I asked how much: $3700 for the pair. Hey I’m unemployed. The cheapest digital hearing aids thy had were $1200 each. WYF? If you look at the specs they are not very impressive. A digital hearing aid has a low power A to D converter. Output consists of D to A conversion with volume passing through an equalizer that inversely matches your hearing loss. Most hearing loss, mine included, is frequency dependent so an equalizer does wonders. The ‘cheap’ hearing aids had only 4 channels while the high end one had 12. My 1970 amplifier had more than that. I suppose they have some kind of noise reduction circuitry too but that’s pretty much it. So my question is this — when I can get a very good netbook computer for under $400 why do I need to pay $1200 per ear for a hearing aid? Alternatives would be welcome.”