Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200 #00033

Submission Number:
00033
Commenter:
ASHER ELKAYAM
State:
Maryland
Initiative Name:
Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200
I AGREE THERE ARE SOME SIMPLE DEVICES WHICH CAN MAKE PEOPLE HEAR BETTER- ESPECIALLY IF THOSE PEOPLE HAVE A MILD TO MODERATE HEARING LOSS- NEVERTHELESS, WHOEVER BUYS THIS DEVICE NEEDS TO HAVE SOME KIND OF CARE, FOLLOW UP AND SUPERVISION. THAT EXTRA WORK HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN INCLUDED WITHIN THE HEARING AID PURCHASE. THIS MIGHT BE ONE OF THE REASONS SOME HEARING AIDS MAY BE COSTLY. THE ABOVE DEVICES MIGHT NOT HELP THE SEVERELY HARD OF HEARING FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS- TODAY'S ADVANCED/DIGITAL HEARING TECHNOLOGY NECESSITATES SPECIAL CARE, FOLLOW UP, GUIDANCE, TECHNICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO WEAR THE ADVANCED DEVICES. SENIOR CITIZENS IN PARTICULAR NEED SPECIAL ATTENTION SOME SENIORS NEED BETWEEN 10 AND 40 HOURS YEARLY OF TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE, ESPECIALLY IF THOSE SENIORS HAVE A DEXTERITY PROBLEMS AND OTHER AGE PROBLEMS. MY FEELING IS THAT IT IS OK TO HAVE RELATIVELY YOUNG PEOPLE WEAR SIMPLE DEVICES AS LONG AS THEY MANAGE ON THEIR OWN TO OPERATE THEM. MY EXPERIENCE OF 40 YEARS TELLS ME THAT THE AVERAGE PATIENT NEEDS AT LEAST SOME 12 HOURS OF CARE BETWEEN THE FITTING TIME AND SEVERAL FOLLOW UPS DURING THE YEAR. I CAN JUSTIFY A HIGHER PRICE FOR THOSE SPECIAL NEEDS; I ALSO THINK THAT HEARING DEVICES OVER THE COUNTER MIGHT CREATE A PROBLEM FOR ANY ONE, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY REQUIRE SERVICE. .EVERY HEARING DEVICE REQUIRES SERVICE, NO MATTER HOW SIMPLE OR INEXPENSIVE IT CAN BE. MY SUGGESTION IS TO ALLOW A TRIAL PERIOD (LET US SAY ONE TO 2 YEARS) FOR ANY LAW ON OTC (OVER THE COUNTER) DEVICES, CONDITIONAL TO CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. IF THOSE DEVICES END UP NOT HELPING THEIR BUYERS OVER A 2 YEAR PERIOD, WE NEED TO CONSIDER THE TRADITIONAL METHOD OF BEING SEEN BY A CERTIFIED SPECIALIST ON HEARING AIDS AND AUDIOLOGY. FURTHERMORE, SINCE HEARING DEVICES ARE SOLD IN A COMPETITIVE MARKET, IT IS THE BUYER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO SHOP AROUND FOR THE BEST PRICE AVAILABLE. FINALLY, IT IS ALSO THE MANUFACTURER'S RESPONSIBILITY AND THAT OF THE HEARING AID DISPENSER TO DO THEIR BEST SO THAT PRICES BECOME AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE.