Self-Programming of Hearing Aids

By Curtis Dickinson

I and several others have programmed our own hearing aids. We all believe it IS worth the learning curve. There are many of us who have the will to do the same but do not have the  means. Money is not necessarily the problem here. . 

The first problem is getting the programming software and equipment. Much is proprietary. It just is not made available for non-sellers of hearing aids. 

The second problem is getting access to hearing aids without having to go through a middleman/audiologist--with their mark-up as high as 400%

 I will bet my last thin dime that if we had access to the above, many more people would have hearing aids which would lower the statistical rate of only 20% of the millions of consumers who need them actually have them. This would drop precipitously by putting hearing aids onto the open market. 

This fosters another dismal statistic, that 46% of those using hearing aids are not satisfied with them. This too could change precipitously with self-programming. Self-programming gives us the control we need to help our hearing loss. Currently we get tired of going to and fro with the audiologist who, at some point, could very well say, "Get used to it." 

If there was an open market of hearing aids and programming equipment, we would NOT bad-mouth the sellers or wonder if they knew what they were doing. We would not feel guilty for our unforgiving hearing loss. We would all feel better when we have an open source of information about the hundreds of hearing aids available and the means to program them ourselves. Even the audiologists could be more honest with themselves and to us. 

But I'm being polite towards the audiologists. 

The audiologists won't let us have access to this.

The audiologists won't let us have access to this programming software and equipment because of the golden eggs they get from keeping their fist around the golden goose--a golden goose promoted by manufacturers only to the audiologists of which savings are not passed on to the consumer.  Again I am being polite. 

The audiologists have formed another golden goose by passing laws that allow them to keep up to 10% the retail value of all returned hearing aids--each egg with a potential of $600. Who else receives dollars for failure? This does not promote a learning curve – rather, it promotes lackadaisical attitudes. If the economic loss to our society caused by the closed-fist market selling of hearing aids were known to Congress, the audiologists would be tarred and feathered for their contribution. 

If you need further proof, look at the statistics of those wearing hearing aids and those buying hearing aids since the digital hearing aids came onto the market. It has not changed in any dramatic way. Digital hearing aids have made it easier to sell hearing aids at a profit greater than the analogs. This further promotes the lackadaisical attitude amongst audiologists. It really seems that that the audiologists have found it easier to protect their turf through laws and razzle-dazzle then to dispense compassion to the HOH consumer. 




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