Only Five States Require Insurers to cover Hearing Aids

As of January 1, 2020 Maine became the fifth state to require private health insurers to cover hearing aids.Of the total Maine population of 1,340,000 as of January 2020, about 173,000 had impaired hearing as of 2014. BTW, we personally lost one of our Widex hearing aids in June 2019, and it cost us $600 to replace it. Interestingly, Widex has a “find my hearing aid” capability in its app. We weren’t initially aware of that capability (which has a very fine geographic  resolution, and by the time we used it the hearing aid had been destroyed or moved to an inaccessible location.

Smart Hearing Aids Focus on Person Speaking and Muffle Other Noise

Despite their usual high prices, hearing aids have many imperfections, among them their inability to deal with challenging environments, in particular rooms with predominantly hard surfaces and little or no acoustic designs (acoustic ceiling tiles are pretty much a joke). And hearing tests today are conducting in insulated “closets” so the resulting hearing aid “prescriptions” miss the boat. Fortunately hearing specialists at Stanford University and elsewhere are developing standards based on “Hearing in Noise” or “Sound in Noise” (SIN is easier to remember, no?). And an Israeli company, OrCam, is using artificial intelligence to identify and isolate a person’s voice within a crowd (using lip reading and body gestures) and sending their speech to Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.