Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200 #00119

Submission Number:
David McBride
Tri-City Audiology, LLC
Initiative Name:
Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200
I have been fitting hearing aids as an audiologist since the mid 1980's. Hearing device cost may be a barrier for some to hear better, but the main reason people don't seek help with amplification is that they are unaware they have a hearing loss, they are indifferent to their hearing loss or they are unaware of the implications of untreated hearing loss. I have seen studies in countries with socialized medicine where patients can be fit with good quality hearing instruments for free that show a utilization of less than 40%. In other words, 60% of the patients that would benefit from free hearing instruments do not seek help and are not fit. Most of my patients are over 75 years old, and if no service was available to help these patients with their hearing devices, they simply would eventually stop not using them if there was some sort of problem with them or assume there was a more severe issue with the device when all that was needed was a professional cleaning. The main reason hearing devices cost as much as they do is that the manufacturers charge individual practitioners too much for the product. I have to make a profit to stay in business. If I could purchase the aids for a little more than the Veteran's Administration is able to purchase them for, my patients would have a much lower cost. Unfortunately, I have to pay three times as much for a sophisticated hearing device as our government does. I am opposed to OTC hearing devices.