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Needed: Some Input from Our Readers

I am puzzled by something and would appreciate some input from our readers. Did you know that only 1 in 5 people who need hearing help, actually get it? Today’s hearing aids are so small, they really can’t be seen. They work incredibly well, and make life so much more enjoyable everywhere people go—but especially in places where it’s hard to hear, like busy restaurants. And, for individuals still working, they’re absolutely essential to performing well on the job. It’s not even necessary to touch one’s hearing aids to adjust them, because they adjust automatically as you change locations. So, why are so many people who need hearing help, reluctant to get it? Why are people who clearly struggle with their hearing, unwilling to admit it, much less get their hearing checked? People who need glasses wear glasses. People who need blood pressure medication take it daily. But people with difficulty hearing would prefer to think everyone is mumbling. We at Beltone wrestle with this question every day. We spend millions of dollars researching ways to make our hearing instruments tinier and tinier, and to provide incredibly natural hearing. We are hoping to gain some insight on this subject from you. Please let us know why you think there is such resistance to getting hearing help, when it’s clearly needed.

We have received a good amount of feedback on this subject, take a look below at the comments from our readers and our responses.

Keep your questions and comments coming.

John Cariola, Au.D.
John has been working in the audiology industry since 1983 and has a true love and passion for everything the hearing health world has to offer. He grew up witnessing the British Invasion of The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, etc. which really means he started out life with sound, really loud sound. And his passion for all sound continues today. John is currently Beltone's Director of Product Management. More About John

13 Replies

  • Ask Belone
    Reply

    Comment from Dennis Smith: I’ve worn hearing aids for about 6 years now. The past year has been a new set of Beltone. I think there is still that “stigma” for of looking old if they have hearing aids. The other thing is obviously vanity on the part of some. Personally, I am proud to let people know that although I have a severe hearing loss, my Beltone hearings aids are the best thing that ever happened to me – thanks to Beltone in Aiea, HI!

    John Cariola reply: Thank you for your input. We’re so glad you like your Beltone hearing aids and Beltone Hearing Care Center. A lot of people share your opinion about the “stigma” of looking “old”. What many may not realize is that constantly saying What?, or responding inappropriately during a conversation, can really make someone look “old”. The fact is, wearing a hearing aid that no one can see, and hearing everything correctly, makes you look young!

    Can you tell us what prompted you to get your first pair of hearing aids?

    • Mitchell Ziegler
      Reply

      I went to a surgeon to get my ears checked. He said you can have surgery that may or may not work to correct your hearing problems. The alternative is to get hearing aids which would give me a semblance of a life. He wasn’t kidding. Hearing Aids have giving me a life worth living because now I can hear.

      • Ask Beltone
        Reply

        John Cariola reply: Thank you for sharing how much hearing aids mean to your quality of life. Thanks to microprocessor technology, today’s hearing aids are tiny, light, comfortable and easy to conceal. Like our ears, they adjust automatically as you move from place to place, and sound quality is subtle and natural. As you suggest, it’s nice to stay connected with the people in our lives! Also, hearing well helps keep the brain engaged, and helps with balance. That lowers the risk of unwanted health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and falls.

    • Dennis Smith
      Reply

      I noticed it getting harder and harder to hear the TV, my wife, kids, etc. I’m a retired law enforcement officer and attribute most if not all of the loss to the lack of hearing protection on the firing range when I started in that business back in the early 70’s. Luckily I was able to get Workmen’s comp. to pay for these. The worst part was when I got my first set about 7 years ago, they “lowest” bidder got the contract, and while I won’t say who that was, they were crap – and it certainly wasn’t Beltone. I couldn’t be happier with Beltone and Beltone in Aiea, HI

      • Ask Beltone
        Reply

        John Cariola reply: Hi, Mr. Smith—
        Thank you so much for your kind words about Beltone and Beltone hearing aids. You are so right about how harmful loud noise can be to hearing. In fact, the number one cause of hearing loss is the cumulative effect of noise, not advancing age, as many people believe. Occupations such as yours, as well as factory work, fire fighting and military service, are known to contribute to hearing loss. Also, loud music, frequent air travel, even regularly mowing one’s lawn with a loud lawn mower can all add up to hearing loss. Because hearing loss is now linked to a higher risk for unwanted conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and balance issues, it’s important for everyone over age 50 to get a baseline hearing exam. By nipping hearing loss in the bud, good hearing is preserved, and overall health is enhanced. Plus, it’s so much nicer to hear with ease and confidence, especially when no one can see your “secret.”

  • Ask Beltone
    Reply

    Comment from Bettina: When people live alone and seldom interact with others (like many senior widowers and widows), they lack the motivation to hear. As a result of longstanding, untreated hearing loss, the person has become so inward focused that he or she no longer want to interact with other people or hear what they have to say because they’ll be alone again tomorrow.

    John Cariola reply: Thank you for your response. Hearing loss often affects older people. We know that when individuals struggle to hear, they may become reluctant to leave home and socialize with others. This leads to isolation, loneliness and depression. That’s why it’s so important to catch and treat hearing loss. Good hearing gives people the motivation and confidence to get out and spend time with others. And that leads to a much better quality of life.

  • Ask Beltone
    Reply

    Comment from Robin Slinkard: It’s the affordability. Our daughter needs a hearing aid in both ears and so far because of the cost we have bought out of catalogs. We don’t like to work with financing companies because of finance charges. So if you could help us that would be great.

    John Cariola reply: Thank you for your answer. It’s best when hearing aids are customized to fit a person’s hearing loss because all hearing impairments are different. Hearing aids “off the shelf” or from a catalog may not give you the proper fit. Beltone offers extremely good hearing aids at many different price levels. The hearing screening is free. And, you always get the benefit of a trained hearing care professional to make sure the fit is exactly right. Also, most Beltone offices offer financing plans with no interest for one year, so a call to your local Beltone could really pay off.

  • Ask Beltone
    Reply

    Comment from Joanne: My biggest reluctance is a perception of expense. The possible cost factor has made hearing aids seem out of reach.

    John Cariola reply: Hi, Joanne- Thank you for your comment. Regarding the cost of hearing aids, Beltone hearing aids range in cost so all people who need hearing help can get it. We also offer payment plans, and work with many insurance companies, as well as unions and associations that offer hearing care programs to their members. But, before worrying about cost, we suggest you find out if you even have a hearing loss. At Beltone, the hearing evaluation is free. And, many people are surprised to learn they don’t have a hearing loss that requires hearing aids, but have another issue, such an accumulation of ear wax.

  • Ask Beltone
    Reply

    Comment from Geri Jones: I am a female, 72 years old and need hearing aids but here are my reasons for not purchasing them.

    I own two now, they are in the canal type and I have lots of problems wearing them. My head feels stopped up and also I seem to accumulate lots of ear wax which has to be removed by my local ENT doctors. I do not like the feel of in the ear type at all but I first tried behind the ear type and for some reason I was allergic to them. My ears got very red and burned while wearing them so they were returned and then I got the in the canal type.

    My next reason for not purchasing again is the cost. I would love to have a good pair that would accept TV sound because I cannot hear TV without turning up the sound way too loud for my husband. From all I have checked on, the cost is far more than I can afford from my social security income. We have Medicare and also BC/BS but neither helps at all with hearing aids.

    At the present time I am not wearing any hearing device at all so I have to ask everyone to repeat or speak up, that’s not the way I would like to hear!

    When you are retired without a good income the cost is too much for seniors on such limited funds.

    Sincerely,
    Geri

    John Cariola reply: Dear Ms. Jones,

    We are sorry to hear about your difficulties with hearing instruments. Often, the “plugged-up” feeling you get from wearing custom hearing aids in your ear canal is due to a fit issue. Changing the canal length and/or the vent in the hearing instruments can help eliminate the occluded sensation. Also, there are several different styles of “behind-the-ear” hearing aids; one may be better for you. “Receiver-in-the-ear” style hearing aids offer the most open feeling of any hearing aid model.

    Finally, Beltone hearing instruments are priced at a variety of levels, and most all Beltone offices offer interest-free financing plans. Please feel free to call your local Beltone Hearing Care office to discuss your options.

  • david brinkley
    Reply

    I would like more info on micro-invisa

    • Ask Beltone
      Reply

      John Cariola reply:

      Thank you for asking about Beltone micro-Invisa™ – our smallest-ever hearing instrument.

      Beltone micro-Invisa is custom-formed to hide comfortably and completely within your ear canal, out of sight.

      It is hand sculpted to match the exact contours of your ear anatomy. As with any custom-tailored product, the fit is superb. You get maximum comfort, stellar acoustics, and a top-of-the-line listening experience.

      It uses an advanced digital processing chip for superior sound quality. Here are a few more of its sound-enhancing features:

      Smart Gain Pro – A state-of-the-art technology that analyzes your surroundings, then automatically adjusts the volume accordingly. You touch nothing.

      Sound Cleaner Pro – Reduces background noise to help you hear exactly what you want to hear.

      Natural Ear Directionality – Because nothing blocks the ear canal opening, sound is gathered and transmitted as nature intended, for a highly natural listening experience.

      HPF80 NanoBlock™ – Protects your hearing aids, inside and out. NanoBlock coating repels moisture and dirt — giving you peak performance over time.

      Feedback Eraser with WhistleStop™ – Unlike some hearing instruments, Beltone micro-Invisa stays quiet when objects come close to it.

      AFX Music Mode – Delivers a robust musical experience that’s layered and true sounding.

  • robert millar
    Reply

    im on my second set of hearing aids and love them 6 months ago my latest set gave up on me when i went to my hearing aid center i found out that my medicaid run by molina is not covered . im fully covered by medicare and medicaid but i cant get my aids repaired. any ideas? thanks bob

    • Brittany Kovalcik
      Reply

      Hi Robert,
      We would love to help. Can you give us a call at 800-BELTONE and we will see what we can do.
      Thanks!

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