Many people who are hard-of-hearing do not have hearing aids. Mostly they are concerned that wearing hearing aids make them look old, so they often choose the smallest model they can find that amplifies sufficiently. Big mistake! Older people typically have trouble dealing with small objects because their fingers are no longer nimble. And many small hearing aids, particularly in-the-ear designs, have control buttons that are difficult or impossible to use. (This problem is mostly solved by well-designed smartphone Apps.) In fact, the best thing that the hard-of-hearing could do is swallow his/her pride and buy a large model so that people speaking with them will be aware of their hearing challenges and speak louder. And they can more easily change batteries and insert/remove the hearing aids. Interestingly, a new company named Neosensory completely does away completely with anything in the ear, using a compact case that can be worn like a wristwatch or put into a pocket.
The CoronaVirus affects almost everyone, but it is especially painful for professions like hairdressers and yoga instructors who come into close contact with their patients. Audiologists are similarly affected, and need to proceed carefully. So are their patients, who may need “hands-on” services such as fitting, adjusting, and earwax removal. Buyers of OTC (over the counter) models are better off, because they do not need personal contact. There are somewhat frequent ads for low-priced hearing aids from companies no one has heard of, and are risky purchases. We ourselves have been customers of two products from Sound World Solutions, some years ago it was their CS50+ PSAPs and more recently it was their HD75 hearing aids, which perform very well.
A half-page “PAID ADVERTISEMENT” in my newspaper (The Mercury News (part of the Bay Area News Group)) on March 25, 2020 is headlined “Greek Inventor’s Eardrops Could Make Hearing Aids Obsolete by 2023”. From an impressive-sounding “Life Sprout Bioceuticals”. At a price of Only $44.95. This was accompanied with eight “reviews” from putative satisfied customers. Decades ago such hucksters were selling snake oil. But these days watchdog Better Business Bureau is wise to these tactics, and has published seven complaints, mostly dealing with the company’s failure to refund customers’ money when they discovered the product doesn’t work.
Why? The folks at Senior Planet, a group of active 60+ people found a bunch of reasons:
1. Hearing Aids Are Too Expensive
2. Hearing Aids Are Unattractive
3. Hearing Aids Don’t Help
4. Hearing Aids Are Uncomfortable
5. Hearing Aids Batteries Are Hard to Handle
6. Hearing Aids Are Easy to Lose
7. Hearing Aids Make Me Feel/Look Old
In summary, there are two groups of reasons: the appearance and performance of hearing aids themselves and the difficulty of using and keeping track of them.
There is a school of thought that hearing aids should be large and visible, so that persons conversing with the wearer are well aware of his/her hearing difficulty.