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Study finds not all hearing aids are created equal
Date:8/13/2008

hazard."

The authors state in their article that aids costing $100 to $500 often control the amount of sound sent into the ear better, but without a precise and knowledge-based fitting of the device by an audiologist, consumers can expect to experience hit-or-miss success, Punch said. "Based on the research, the best advice for consumers is to talk to an audiologist. Because hearing aids have complex technical features, they need to be fitted and customized to the individual."

The study measured how well the electronic features of the devices could compensate for commonly occurring types of hearing loss, employing methods that audiologists use to fit conventional hearing aids - a process audiologists call prescriptive fitting. Specifically, the researchers found that only a few of the aids they studied met the basic fitting requirements, and, for the few that did, that was true only for a specific degree of hearing loss.

"Currently, more than 32 million people have a hearing impairment, yet only about 25 percent of those use hearing aids," Punch said. "Meanwhile, the aging population is growing - and hearing loss becomes more common as we become older."

Although the Food and Drug Administration officially regulates hearing aids, those regulations are not enforced for low-cost amplifying devices that are sold through mail order and on the Internet, Punch said. He thinks that people with hearing loss should have more information about these devices.


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Contact: Tom Oswald
oswald@msu.edu
517-432-0920
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

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