Fully half the first section of the June 6 Ledger was consumed with full-page hearing aid ads.
As a senior citizen dependent upon hearing aids for civil discourse, I applaud The Ledger for its extraordinary revenue obtained through this competitive industry, but well understand that this revenue is available through prices of the product that I feel more often than not is predatory. Hearing aids are vital to those whose hearing becomes progressively worse as age takes its toll.
These aids are not covered by insurance, at least my policy. Studies show that fully 20 percent of those over 60 have significant hearing loss, so the market is enormous. What also is enormous is price. The ads tout free trials. I imagine the trials involve the premium models, which will find customer satisfaction. But when asked about less expensive models, clients will be told they do not bring the same excellence as the model tested.
To my knowledge there is no regulation of this industry. But when my iPhone performs myriad functions for about one-fifth the cost of a hearing aid that has but one function, the question of cost is relevant.
Studies show incipient dementia is heightened by loss of hearing. It is vital, therefore, that seniors, particularly, have access to these aids, even the lower-priced ones that still provide some assistance.
Perhaps cost can be reduced through tax deductions, or included in Medicare, but for now seniors with hearing loss should explore the various markets available and advertised so robustly in local and national media.
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