Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Free Hearing Aids

I live near two state schools. Both received free hearing aids for all of the students and staff. Nice. OSD's gift was made very public on a TV show.

So I was at a friend's house yesterday and she was showing me her daughter's. They are light weight and small. Nice. She said although she was grateful it was a pain to turn them off because you need to remove the battery which isn't all that great for kids.

She was also wondering how much it would cost to replace the earmolds which house the microphone? When my son wore hearing aides he would just go to the school audiologist to get new molds.

I don't ever think about this kind of stuff.


  1. Yeah, remember that, too. Also, dropping my aids in the drawer a final time felt more feedback, no more irritating explosions of noise, endless tubes, batteries, cleaning and washing parts, cords, earmolds, drying boxes or strange looks. Just plain ol' me and the world.

    These days, the biggest drawback to being deaf are lack of captions on the internet. Soon that should be resolved, too.

    Certainly there are others who appreciate their residual hearing, plus aids and CI's, though over the years some give them up for various reasons. That's when the hassle factor starts to outweigh the hearing gain.

  2. When the oldest I used to nanny for got loaner aids from the county the earmolds were about $40 each - for plain red ones. They weren't provided and they had to pay for the fitting and appointment as well. It also required being rescheduled several times because he kept having wax in his ears.

    He had a 6 month trial with them, then they had to be returned. His parents (so far) haven't ended up getting him his own.

    Hearing aids (or CIs) work out well for some kids and the kids really like them, and not so much for others.

    I think I saw the same TV episode you did and was puzzled as to why they sent kids to get free hearing aids instead of on a trip/vacation like they do with every other family or school.

  3. Please tell me I am wrong.

    So thinking about these earmolds I am reminded of the Easy Bake Oven syndrome. Your child gets the oven pretty cheap. Nice. The you realize the mix is really expensive so you have to pay $7.00 every time you use it.

    The earmolds my friend has have an important piece of the device embedded in the earmold. So they donate the device knowing that the kids will need to replace the molds? I may be really off base. That was just my first thought when I saw them. I haven't looked into the cost or investigated at all.

    Alicia I wonder what would have happened if my son was a student? Would they have left him behind? Just a funny thought. I do think it is a great gesture since hearing aids are so expensive.

  4. The last ear mold I paid for was about three months ago, and the cost was $65 each ear mold. Now, that includes fitting and guaranteed fit: several ear mold impressions included until the earmold is just the perfect fit, no feedback, no irritations, and so forth.
    Initially, I didn't want to comment on this because I understand how the gesture of donating hearing aids may be received by the Deaf community since Deafness is not a disease needing medical intervention. However, hearing aids are so expensive and are NOT covered by any medical insurance which is rediculous since CIs are fully covered. I see so many students with mild to moderate loss who would benefit from the hearing aids, and their parents just cannot affort the $5000 (average cost)of hearing aids. Yes these students can learn ASL, yet they have this tremendous amount of residual hearing that they want to utilize.
    I suppose I am saying I see both sides!

  5. Hey Colette thanks for the comment! So I have no clue about this stuff and my question is about this particular earmold. When we bought aids it was REALLY expensive and insurance didn't cover it. The earmolds didn't cost much.

    My question is about the earlods of this hearing aid. So a poor family or a middle class family gets this hearing aid. Cool. What happens when they need to get new earmolds with a microphone in it? I am wondering what the cost is when part of the aid is in the mold? They don't have the old earmold I am familiar with.

    I am just curious and don't have a side. Does that make sense?

  6. I also believe hearing aids should be covered by insurance. That drives me nuts.

  7. The hearing aid you posted is a behind the ear aide, so the plastic part is the replacable part and should be replaced once a year for adults, children another story as their ears grow, they might need 2 or more a year. I live in California, and California Children services provides free hearing aids, earmolds, and batteries to low income families. The middle class is basically on their own, however the Lyons club and other organizations sometimes help with the cost for middle class families if they prove hardship (long tedious process).
    Back to your question the microphone is not attached to the earmold unless the hearing aid is worn inside the ear, the behind the ear aide BTE is connected with a tube, and only the mold is replaced. At least for all the hearing aides I have purchased over the years and beleive me I have purchased my fair share over the past two decades.
    I would love to see legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for hearing aids for children; I know for the elderly insurance companies cover some of the costs. Otherwise many families will opt to implant their children at a young age not knowing if their children are capable of becoming oral.
    I worry!

  8. The particular hearing aide device Mel is talking about is by Starkey. It is an S series and called, Reciever-in-Canal absolute power device. RIC AP. The mold is different than traditional types. Part of the hearing device is actualy embeded in the ear mold. Very interesting. I know many people who recieved these hearing aides and many have claimed clearer sound. I believe that the Starkey Foundation had good intentions, but I am too curious to know what the cost is to replace this style of ear mold. I can't imagine it being the same as a regular mold. Anyone have any idea on what the cost is to replace this particular type of mold?

    hearing mom

  9. Now I am very curious! too bad its a holiday weekend to call a hearing aid center.