Both new and experienced hearing aid users are often confused about the massive confusion of the hearing aid marketplace. Starting with:
"Do I need a hearing aid? How do I buy a hearing aid?, Do I need an audiologist? How do I find a good one? Is there any reason not to go to a big box store for hearing aids? How about the internet? Aren't there any alternatives to a $3000 hearing aid? Why do they cost so much? You mean insurance won't cover any of the cost?"
The answers to all these questions are complex. Over the next few months I'll try to discuss them one by one.
But meanwhile, last week in Washington DC, the Insititute of Medicine hosted a two-day conference for hearing loss professionals. The title was "Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging." The speakers and attendees, as well as the sponsors, were an impressive array, including the organizers, Frank Lin of Hopkins and Alan M. Jette of the Boston University of Public Health. Presenters included James Firman of the National Council on Aging, Luigi Ferrucci of the National Institute on Aging, Charlotte Yeh, the medical director of AARP. The innovations and ideas discussed are applicable to anyone with hearing loss, not just the aging. In fact many of them are applicable to anyone with any kind of disability.
You can watch the webcast of the entire conference here. Click on Day One or Day Two and you can pick and choose which speakers covered topics of interest to you.
When I have time, I'll try to summarize some of the most interesting presentations. The whole conference was full of innovative ideas and gave all of us some important issues to think about.