I’ve been suffering for many years, 10 at the very least, with untreated hearing loss. I do my best to compensate by reading lips, or mentally filling in the blanks in conversations based on context, but the lack of hearing precision does cause a lot of problems for me at home and at work (not to mention socially!)
My hearing loss has gone untreated largely because most employers provide health care plans that exclude hearing aid coverage, and the way the industry works, hearing aids cost thousands of dollars. But now I work for an employer that provides fairly decent hearing aid coverage in the health care plan, and I’m getting this taken care of.
The process is a little off-putting because I feel like everyone involved is hiding information from me. I’m a tech specs kind of guy. Let me review and see what I’m buying. I’m a smart guy; I can handle it. I initially tried looking into Audicus, who sells hearing aids online, but that experience triggered every fight-or-flight instinct in me. They have so overly dominated the search engines with their astroturfing that I’ve found it very hard indeed to find any kind of honest third party review of their products or services, and their contact management system more or less nags you once you initiate contact with them (in a very clumsy way, mind you). I had to contact them to ask basic things like whether or not their hearing aids included a telecoil.
I’m playing the waiting game now. Some Phonaks are coming my way, pending the approval of my health insurance carrier, to the tune of about $5,000 out of the insurance company’s pocket. Another $200 is coming out of my pocket to add a telecoil, and if I want ear moulds that is going to be another $150 out of my pocket.
I did get to demo a set of hearing aids at the audiologist’s office, programmed to my hearing loss profile but at a conservative sound level to avoid accidental damage without the benefit of a full custom fit. I must say, the quality of sound that I was hearing was remarkably improved. I’m very much looking forward to completing this process so I can have their benefit of the hearing aids for more than 5-10 minutes. 😉