Another reason to buy two at the same time.
As I have mentioned previously, a particular hearing aid chain closed its doors recently and have left the rest of us to clean up the messes they left behind. And the messes they left were, in some cases, beyond ridiculous.
Yesterday presented a client from this defunct chain that had two hearing aids which were sold within a year of one another. That in itself is not so bad, except in cases where the technology level of the two instruments is different. There is little benefit to paying twice as much for the left hearing aid as you did for the right, unless you plan to stagger them every few years, but then you’re never going to have a set that fully matches functionality. But this person didn’t have either of those issues; she had a right side hearing aid from Unitron and a left side hearing aid from Bernafon. Two completely separate and distinct companies, with two different methods and algorithms of amplification. Her complaint was that the left side never seemed to work as well as the right. Further investigation found that the right side was the one she purchased first, and therefore had gotten used to it much earlier than the new one. The left side, the Bernafon, has a different digital algorithm for amplification, which, when matched with a second Bernafon, (preferably the same one), sounds much clearer. I could go into the detail as to why, but this article would be significantly longer and significantly less interesting, so suffice to say for now that the Bernafon adjusts a little more to noise by lowering the overall volume, whereas the Untiron achieves its goal by amplifying the external voices over the noise. It would be akin to walking around with cotton in one ear; it feels unbalanced.
It also means that in order to have any control over the hearing aids she had to carry two remote controls! One from Unitron, one from Bernafon. What?!?!?!? It also means that she can’t use the other accessories that she should be able to use – TV connections, Bluetooth telephone connectors and a variety of other connectables.
My instinct was to jump all over the dispenser that did this, but then it hit me, probably what happened is that the manufacturer of the first instrument, in this case Unitron, probably stopped giving this clinic credit, which meant they had no choice but to order from someone else. This is an ethical question; knowing that it may not be what’s best for the client, should I do as my boss, (who wasn’t paying them because they ran out of money), instructs or should I send them somewhere where they can get a match to the other side? From an ethical perspective, I know I would send them somewhere else. In the long run, I would be doing right by the patient, who really is my boss.
Buying a pair at the same time is a bit harder financially, however at least you will have matching technologies. It also makes it easier for the clinician to match the hearing aids capabilities and thereby give you a better hearing experience.
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