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Which hearing aid best suits my mother.
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Which hearing aid best suits my mother.

My mother is 78 years old. She is suffering from tinnitus problem. Her audio report shows that she has got hearing loss of 61.6db in the right ear and 66.6 db in the left  ear. She has been advised to use hearing aid for both the ears. I can afford to purchase hearing aids worth Rs 20000/- per ear. I approached Central Government Institute of Indian Hearing Handicapped persons where she underwent audiology test and  Hearing aid test  (they checked only two hearing aids of different companies)  and was suggested to use OTICON - GO PRO- PD - BTE hearing aid which cost 12500/- each. When I consulted another Govt doctor he said why do not you go for more costlier hearing aid as it will be durable and can be used for at least four to  five years and suggested me to go to a private clinic where hearing aid of another company will be prescribed. I am confused. I want value for money. I want to go for a reputed company hearing aid. My doubts are. 1) whether hearing aids of different companies cater to the different degrees of hearing loss and my whether my mother required a particular company made hearing aid which will suite her.  2) what are the minimum features a hearing aid must have so that it can be used by my mother with comfort without any difficulty. What are the extra features a hearing aid must have to suit my mothers problems specially tinnitus problem.  3) In case if I can go for any company then which is the best company available in India who manufacture hearing aids.  4) Whether the OTICON GO PRO PD BTE suggested by the CEN Govt audiologist is ok for my mother or shall i search for much better one. 5) My mother has been diagnosed as having "Bilatoral Moderately Severe Sensoneural hearing loss'. Whether the above mentioned hearing aid of Oticon is special for such type of loss or I can go for any other hearing aid.
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Hello, Thank you for using this forum.  I will start by giving a disclaimer that I am not familiar with what hearing aids are dispensed in India or the cost of hearing aids in India.  I can answer your questions about hearing aids in general and you can take the information to your Audiologist.

Your mother has a moderate to severe hearing loss so I agree with the recommendation of a Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid.  BTE hearing aids have more flexibility and typically come standard with features that you would pay for on a custom in-the-ear hearing aid.  

Some of the features you should look for are:

1-a telecoil-this is a magnetic induction coil in the hearing aid that will connect to land line phones and also outside venues that have hearing loops installed.
2- tinnitus masker-several BTE hearing aids can have built in tinnitus maskers that will sooth her tinnitus. I have used this feature in the Siemens Pure Carat hearing aids.  This hearing aid can have multiple programs for example, a program for general hearing and then a program for the tinnitus masker or tinnitus masker/general hearing combo.  A lot of times tinnitus sufferers find relief through the use of hearing aids in general and do not always need the tinnitus masker but it is nice to have the option.

3-directional microphones which are the only proven feature to improve the speech understanding when in a noisy environment.  I would not buy a hearing aid without this feature.

In terms of cost, I can only speak about the cost of hearing aids in the USA.  Hearing aids can range from around $1300 to over $3000 each.  You can expect the price of each hearing aid to go up as you add more features or move up the technology pyramid.

By far the most important step in purchasing hearing aids is finding a trusting, qualified provider.  You should ask your provider/Audiologist how they verify that the hearing aid is appropriate. You are looking for some form of verification that the hearing aid is programmed to your mother's hearing loss and this is done through real-ear measurements. I do not know if they do this in India but I know we do it as standard protocol on each fitting.  You can also ask if they have a trial period or a return policy if the aids do not work for your mother.

I hope I answered some of your questions. Thank you,

Rachele M. Orsini, Au.D.
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