Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Body Not So Beautiful Anymore Part Two

What? What? WHAT?

OK, I admit it. I do not hear everything anymore. (Not that I always heard everything - I never did - but that is beside the point.)

Age works against our ears. 30 percent of adults 65-74 experience some level of hearing loss. 47 percent of seniors 75 and older suffer a certain degree of hearing loss. 

I am not yet 65 and already a statistic.

Last week I walked into a classroom and sat down. A woman strolled in and took a seat in front of me, next to the instructor. She asked if I minded, and mentioned she recently purchased new hearing aids, were still adjusting them, and strained at times to hear what was going on.

Of course I did not mind.

I am her.

I realize hearing aids will not completely solve my hearing problems.

Hearing aids will not correct the fact that I am tone deaf. I still will be unable to sing one note correctly or hear music the way ‘normal’ people experience the sounds.

I will probably continue to get so engrossed in certain activities – reading, writing, watching TV, daydreaming, that everything else is tuned out and I do not hear people approach and talk to me.

My ‘selective hearing’, a problem that can probably be traced to childhood, will persist. It happens occasionally when asked to do something I am not motivated to do immediately. The words do not register or make it to the brain.

I do not yet have new hearing aids. I am thinking about it. Reading about devices. Planning the acquisition. Examining my checkbook. Everything but actually making a purchase.

The average price in the U.S. for digital hearing aids is $1,500; top-of-the-line devices can set a buyer back $3,000 to $5,000.

That is marginally more than coffee money. OK, it is a whole lot more than lots of Starbucks latte ventis.

The idea of spending so much money hurts.

Is there any way to dull the pain?

I am searching for cheap/reasonably priced hearing aids. Nowadays less expensive (less than $1,500) ones can be purchased online. Costco sells hearing aids. Are they comparable to more expensive ones or is the quality inferior? The data is unclear.

AARP even has a consumer guide to hearing aids. 

I am working on an alternative, looking for a foreign country to enjoy a great vacation and buy quality hearing aids at a reasonable price.

Travel for medical procedures is not unusual. India and other Asian countries are known for orthopedic work and bypass surgery. Costa Rica and Hungary are destinations for dental work. Hungary has more dentists per capita than any other country in the world. Brazil is well-known worldwide for cosmetic surgery. Other countries foreigners travel to for medical treatment include Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, and Mexico. Most of these countries have Western-trained doctors fluent in English.

I have not yet found a place for hearing aids. But I am not ready to give up and head for my nearest Costco.

My quest for workable, reasonably priced, quality devices continues.

And so does what what WHAT? 


  1. Art and I will have our hearing checked this spring. I think we are both ready. I'll be following your blog with interest to find out what kind of hearing aids you choose.

  2. Good Luck. We have a gal in the complex that has the ones from Cosco and she is very happy with them.

  3. Hearing aids seem to be somewhat cheaper here in Florida--the volume factor, I would say. I had a shock when I went with Mike for his first hearing aid evaluation. I was thinking he just tuned me out, but he really couldn't hear.

  4. One of my ears hears better than the other. I notice that I often turn my head towards the better ear. But I have still not gotten to the point of looking at hearing aids. I look forward to hearing (figuratively) more about your journey. :-)