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Harvard Health Blog
Hearing loss may affect brain health
- By James Naples, MD, Contributor
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Hearing loss is bi-neural requiring (2) hearing aids which may cost up to $2500.00 each. These professional HA last about 5 years before replacement or repair. Senior citizens on a fixed income may decline such an expense. One remedy is to include HA coverage in all Medicare Plans.
Annual checkup (which is included in Medicare) should include an audiology report. HA batteries are also not cheap…I pay $0.56 each battery replaced weekly ($1.12/wk) at a local warehouse club….higher
priced at retail stores.
There is a direct correlation between hearing loss and brain inactivity creating cognitive decline. HA will help.
For those contemplating HA, please examine via a trial each brand.
There are several high quality HA on the market, but the highest priced does not always reflect the best quality. Your hearing loss determined by an audiologist is a starting point. Once you have selected a particular brand of HA, get a 30-day trial to “feel” comfortable with the new sounds. Different brands will react differently with your hearing loss. Personally, I have landed on a quality HA (both ears) that work well with a profound hearing loss.
When I tried to “upgrade” to newer electronics in HA with a different brand, I found my brain was “hardwired” to that particular brand…changing brands not an option.
“Unfortunately, hearing aid use is very low despite the high incidence of hearing loss. ” Possibly that’s because Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of hearings aids, and like prescription medication, there’s no regulation or limitations of costs.
Many people can’t afford hearing aids. I’ve been told by a friend who finally got one that associated costs of use are out of control: the batteries, which aren’t standardized for hearing aids, last a short time, high cost. His HA has a remote which is intended to adjust the aid for increased background noise & other environmental changes, is again, non-standardized and therefore costs something like $300 to replace. That means for quite a few people not only being tested but purchasing a hearing aid AND maintaining it for use is going to represent a hefty chunk of their retirement income.
Just another tale of poor regulation fostering poor health in the US.
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Coping with Hearing Loss: A guide to prevention and treatment
If you think you might need a hearing checkup, you probably do. This Special Health Report, Coping with Hearing Loss: A guide to prevention and treatment, contains in-depth information on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss. You'll learn how to prevent hearing loss and preserve the hearing you have now. You'll also learn about the latest advances in hearing aid technology and find out which kind of hearing device may be best for you.
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