HEARING AIDS are devices designed to receive normal levels of sound and selectively amplify them. Hearing aids have changed enormously since they were first designed. Today’s hearing aids, while varying in technology level, are sophisticated real-time digital sound processors, and do not compare to the original analog hearing aids of more than 20 years ago. They are totally different to any “preset” or “internet- sold” amplifier, which are erroneously marketed as ‘hearing aids’. Real hearing aids require an Audiologists’ intervention to program them to create an optimum world of sound for you.
Reconnect Audiologists recommend choosing devices based on your specific needs. Everyone is different. We programme products to your unique settings, which is critical to your success. Consulting a professional who understands your hearing loss, your lifestyle requirements and the hearing aids that are available, is the most important step you can take, to ensure that the quantitative and qualitative information about your experience is reflected in your management.
Our Reconnect Audiologists provide patients with a wide variety of hearing aids from a number of local and international suppliers, so that we are able to give our patients choice among the best possible range of products available.
HEARING AID PRICES
The cost of hearing aids is an area which is often of concern to prospective hearing aid users. The more we know about what the hearing aid is and what the fitting of a hearing aid consists of, the easier it is to understand and direct the decisions that are made.
A hearing aid is part of a therapeutic programme to address hearing health and communication issues and not a device to be purchased in isolation. The cost of a hearing aid varies based on the sophistication of the microchip and the features that this provides. Together with your audiologist and following a full investigation, a decision needs to be made on which type of hearing aid technology and style best suits your hearing loss, listening need, lifestyle and budget. A carefully selected device will ensure that you invest wisely in appropriate hearing aid technology which can last you many years.
Hearing aids in South Africa range in price from R 5000.00 to R 60 000.00 per ear and may require additional accessories such as remote microphone technology or TV connectivity. The greater your budget the higher the level of sophistication you will be able to experience.
A large part of the cost of the hearing aids comes from research and development. Hearing aid manufacturers invest millions of dollars and countless man-hours making their devices suit peoples hearing needs more comfortably and effectively with constant software updates and more tech-focused devices. The manufacturers also have to cover the cost of the warranties and services plans, licensing in different countries and meet customs regulations of importing countries – all of which attract large costs in addition to the actual cost of the computer chip. In addition, a reputable manufacturer will have an easily accessible laboratory which is equipped and staffed with trained professionals to provide you with the follow-up services you may need to maintain your hearing aids and train the audiologists who will be involved in the hearing aid fitting.
The most important part of the programme is that the hearing aid needs to be selected, fitted and verified by a skilled, qualified practitioner who has the correct equipment to provide this. As a hearing aid user, you may expect a great deal from your hearing instruments – from the minute you put them in, you want to be able to hear as normally as possible by recreating a function of both the ear and the brain. You will need appropriate training and education to enable you to get the most out of the devices that have been prescribed for you, with realistic expectations of their abilities.
The Health Professions Council of South Africa advises against the illegal sales and purchase of internet hearing aids or hearing aids purchased from unregistered practitioners in this country. Unregistered devices and people create risks for the patient due to the lack of clinical knowledge and lack of professional support. While it may seem cheaper, it may cost more in the long run, as medical conditions affecting hearing which may require medical treatment, may be missed or incorrectly diagnosed in favour of fitting a device. Remember the saying: “buy cheap, pay twice”.
Let’s consider the cost of a pair of hearing aids in relation to another item we use every day:
A mid-sized family car costs R 300 000.00 and is paid off over 5 years. On average, we may drive the car for an hour or two a day. This is a cost of R 164.38 per day, or R 82.19 per hour used.
A mid-range pair of hearing instruments may cost R 55 000.00. On average, we would use the hearing aids 14 hours a day. Over a 5-year period, this is a cost of R 30.14 per day or R 2.15 per hours used.
Isn’t it worth investing this amount into improving your quality of life and that of those around you?