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Medicine The Almighty Buck Technology

Is There a Hearing Aid Price Bubble? 698

Posted by timothy
from the what's-it-worth-to-ya? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The price of a pair of hearing aids in the U.S. ranges from $3,000 to $8,000. To the average American household, this is equivalent to 2-3 months of income! While the price itself seems exorbitant, what is even more grotesque is its continuous pace of growth: in the last decade the price of an average Behind the Ear hearing aid has more than doubled. To the present day, price points are not receding — even though most of its digital components have become increasingly commoditized. Is this a hearing aid price bubble?"
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Is There a Hearing Aid Price Bubble?

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  • Hmmm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by msauve (701917) on Friday September 09, 2011 @06:59PM (#37358514)
    Someone's parents are getting older.
    • Wrong. Someone is getting older. Next year is the year that the first cohort of Baby Boomers turns 65. Perhaps their "Market" will find a price they can bare in the coming months.

      • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

        by jasno (124830) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:45PM (#37358930) Journal

        65? I'm around half that and I'm about ready for a hearing aid. A friend of mine who works on his house more than me needed one about the same age.

        Kids, protect your hearing. It sucks to lose the ability to hear people in a crowded room. Especially you crazy maker-types running to the saw to make a few cuts. Get some foam earmuffs, the kind used for shooting, and put them next to the saw. Use em *every* time.

        • by PPH (736903)

          Get some foam earmuffs, the kind used for shooting, and put them next to the saw. Use em *every* time.

          Good advice! They also save you from having to hear yourself scream when you take a finger off.

          I've worn ear plugs since my days in a rock and roll band. I can still hear just fine (But the drugs have played hell with my understanding).

        • Yes, it's funny to hear people tell you to watch loud power tools and music until... your hearing is 1/2 gone!

          Just curious, the doc says hearing aids only amplify the volume of sounds. I'm only deficient in hearing in a certain small range but it makes talking to certain people (usually women and kids) a chore. Isn't there _something_ that can shift the pitch of a certain frequency into another frequency so I can hear it without amplification?

          • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

            by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:45PM (#37359650)

            Yes, it's funny to hear people tell you to watch loud power tools and music until... your hearing is 1/2 gone!

            Just curious, the doc says hearing aids only amplify the volume of sounds. I'm only deficient in hearing in a certain small range but it makes talking to certain people (usually women and kids) a chore. Isn't there _something_ that can shift the pitch of a certain frequency into another frequency so I can hear it without amplification?

            The more expensive hearing aids have an equalizer which can be tuned. That way, you only amplify the frequency ranges you need. Frequency shifting would be much more complex and really not necessary.

            • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Funny)

              by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @12:43AM (#37360382)

              I'm only deficient in hearing in a certain small range but it makes talking to certain people (usually women and kids) a chore.

              Don't worry, the older you get the more you'll think that's actually a benefit.

            • by femtoguy (751223)

              Actually my daughters' hearing aides are even cooler. They not only have variable amplifiers that are tuned to match their hearing loss, they also have a pitch shifting program that shifts higher frequencies down so that as their high frequency loss increases, we can just move the upper frequencies down to where they are still sensitive. Happily they don't need that yet, but it is available.

              And while I agree that the prices are insane, things are a bit better than they sound. Our audiologist includes all

          • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Informative)

            by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:47PM (#37359660)

            Isn't there _something_ that can shift the pitch of a certain frequency into another frequency so I can hear it without amplification?

            Carry around a balloon full of sulfur hexafluoride.

          • Yes, it's funny to hear people tell you to watch loud power tools and music until... your hearing is 1/2 gone!

            Just curious, the doc says hearing aids only amplify the volume of sounds. I'm only deficient in hearing in a certain small range but it makes talking to certain people (usually women and kids) a chore. Isn't there _something_ that can shift the pitch of a certain frequency into another frequency so I can hear it without amplification?

            Excuse me while I run to the patent office for a totally unrelated reason.

  • Oh No! (Score:3, Funny)

    by johnsnails (1715452) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:02PM (#37358540) Homepage
    This outrageous story will fall on deaf ears
  • Insurance/Government pays for it. Why not jack up the price?
    • by Anonymous Codger (96717) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:06PM (#37358568)

      You, sir or madam, are ignorant. Most insurance plans don't cover hearing aids. And try to get one of these digital hearing aids through the gummint. Ain't gonna happen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gr8fulnded (254977)

        You, sir or madam, are ignorant. Most insurance plans don't cover hearing aids. And try to get one of these digital hearing aids through the gummint. Ain't gonna happen.

        True on the insurance part, not so much on the gov't part. I get a digital hearing aid for 100% free (thank you, taxpayers) every two years from the VA. They rolled to full digital HA's a long time ago.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by imroy (755)

        And try to get one of these digital hearing aids through the gummint. Ain't gonna happen.

        It does here in Australia [wikipedia.org]:

        The Australian Department of Health and Ageing provides eligible Australian citizens and residents with a basic hearing aid free-of-charge, though recipients can pay a "top up" charge if they wish to upgrade to a hearing aid with more or better features. Maintenance of these hearing aids and a regular supply of batteries is also provided, on payment of a small annual maintenance fee.

    • by Cyclopedian (163375) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:07PM (#37358586) Journal

      Most insurance plans do not cover purchases of hearing aids.

    • Not necessarily. I was born with hearing loss, and have been denied coverage for my entire life due to pre-existing condition. My family had to scrape up cash when I was a kid. As an adult, (I'm 44 now) I lived in a shithole areas with marginal jobs - it took years to get management to consider health coverage. There was no way I could have afforded insurance on my pay grade, even if they would cover hearing aids.

      I finally got laid off long ago and turned to the government. That fixed the problem.

      As for a p

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sehlat (180760)

      Insurance doesn't "buy them" and much depends on what your plan is and/or covers.

      In my own case, I needed one hearing aid. Total price $4k. My insurance covered exactly half of that. I'm glad to have it, but what we still have here is an FDA-controlled cartel. There is the "Why not jack up the price."

    • by joocemann (1273720) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:20PM (#37358708)

      Capitalism at its finest.... people have needs... you have answers.... gouge em till they stop asking! Or gouge their insurance and drive rates up for everyone.

      CAPITALISM DOES NOT BELONG IN MEDICINE. SINGLE PAYER, NON PROFIT. DO IT.

      • by gd2shoe (747932) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:39PM (#37358874) Journal

        Actual capitalism is fine in medicine. Fraud, bribery, corrupt regulation, and general unchecked avarice drive up prices. We need fewer medical regulations, and more white collar crimes police units.

        Where capitalism has absolutely no place is insurance. Private insurance, yes; for profit insurance, are you @#$% kidding?!?

        • "General unchecked avarice" is pretty much a perfect definition of capitalism.

          The only thing that would hold that avarice in check is a well-informed market that has a reasonable understanding of the products in the market, knows how to estimate things like cost to produce and profit margins, and actually cares enough to walk away when a transaction isn't a roughly equal exchange of value. I don't care how much government regulation you throw at a market, it won't a be a successful inhibition of that avari

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Capitalism, or free market? Not exactly the same thing. Free market does not necessarily work well in health industry because the customer is obligated to buy, sometimes at the expense of their own life if they do not buy. They may not have time to shop around, can't vote with their wallet. In essence it's not a true free market because buyer and seller are not on equal terms. You also have a third party involved which is the doctor. A doctor can make a recommendation that thbe patient needs a procedu

        • by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @03:44AM (#37360894) Homepage

          A regulation-free medical industry is one where you get loads of useless homoeopathic and similar remedies, and there is no guarantee that they will work as described or be safe.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by brainboyz (114458)

        What do you do for a living? What if I told you that you weren't allowed to make a profit? No extras, just a "living" wage. No bonuses, no benefits. How would you feel about that? Would you attempt to be the best you can at your job, or just punch the clock?

        • by joocemann (1273720) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:54PM (#37358996)

          You're too dim to understand the difference between non-profit and capitalism.

          Non-profit means all of the people involved in the work still get paid. The doctors get paid. The nurses. The hospitals. The people who administer payment from the single payer system even get paid.

          What DOESN'T exist is MORE MONEY/COSTS being taken out for people who do not actually do the work. These are the stockholders to insurance companies.

          I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to explain this to you so now you understand.

          I do stem cell research for a living. I am paid a WAGE not a PROFIT, for my work; and if I were to produce something patentable, I would be able to be well paid based on negotiations between me, the patent owner, and the firms that purchase the product. Compensation and Wage are NOT profit.

          • by bgat (123664)

            I do stem cell research for a living. I am paid a WAGE not a PROFIT, for my work; and if I were to produce something patentable, I would be able to be well paid based on negotiations between me, the patent owner, and the firms that purchase the product. Compensation and Wage are NOT profit.

            How exactly would the patent owner recover the expense of your research? Drug _manufacturing_ isn't where the expense lies, the cost is in identifying the compound to manufacture. If you base the price on the manufacturing cost, then there is no money left for research on new products.

            And I dispute your suggestion that stockholders and insurance companies don't contribute meaningfully to the process. Stockholders provide their cold, hard cash that helps the company e.g. make payroll during the research p

        • by GSloop (165220)

          Really, when was the last time you talked to an insurance company and thought: "They really attempt to be the best they can at their job.

          Ah, me neither.

          -Greg

          • What is the "best they can at their job" mean for an insurance company?

            It means achieving excellence in raising prices and not paying claims while simultaneously limiting quantified regulatory and legal liability to an acceptable fraction of revenue.

            I think US health insurance companies are very good at their jobs.

        • by sjames (1099)

          I guess I'd feel about like the vast majority of the workforce.

      • by friedmud (512466)

        If the components "have become increasingly commoditized"... then capitalism will fix this. Some enterprising person will come along and start up a new company making hearing aids for half the current asking price and the market will fix itself. If the components really are specialized enough that they can demand the prices they have now then that won't happen (and then there is nothing wrong with the current prices).

        This is actually exactly what the "story" is about... it is asking if the current market

      • Except that this is not the result of capitalism. This is the result of government regulation.
      • by trout007 (975317) on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:41PM (#37359630)

        Hearing aids are regulated by the FDA which is why it costs $5k or so in paperwork.

        Here is capitalism. It looks like a hearing aid but it is really a sound amplifier so it is not regulated by the FDA. It costs $70.
        http://www.amazon.com/Voxom-Hearing-Aid-Sound-Amplifier/dp/B005AM7S3K/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1315622221&sr=8-9 [amazon.com]

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:06PM (#37358570) Homepage

    I remember my mom and her husband went on vacation and had some trouble with his hearing aid. Basically, he plugged it in to recharge it and the charger burnt out; it could only handle U.S. voltages. The couple staying in the room next door saw the blackened charger sitting in front of their door and asked what had happened. They found the whole thing very strange. They were European, and their hearing aid charger could adapt to any global voltage, and they had never heard of one that worked otherwise. If I remember right, the woman's own hearing aid was also significantly higher-tech than my mom's husband's. It was not only smaller, but it fit deep into the ear canal (I'm not talking about a cochlear implant, this was a hearing aid). The important thing here is that my parents, living in the U.S., had neither seen nor heard of either technology. Their doctor had given them a couple of choices for a hearing aid and they chose the better one -- which obviously wasn't as good as what you could pick up in Europe. I don't know what they paid for the hearing aid, but it seems to me like something funny is going on.

    • And my mother-in-law spent about $3K for her hearing aid, got something that basically hid in her ear, and used replaceable batteries.

      Don't know what my dad's cost, but he a notorious tightwad, so I doubt it was $3K, and his also fit into his ear and used replaceable batteries.

      Sounds like your dad made a bad choice in hearing aids.

      It should also be pointed out that getting a standard American plug into a 220V socket is the next best thing to impossible. It certainly wasn't done without some work on your

      • And my mother-in-law spent about $3K for her hearing aid, got something that basically hid in her ear, and used replaceable batteries.

        I have behind-the-ear hearing aids that use replaceable batteries; they last ten to fifteen days. My mother used an older style that fit inside the ear and needed to be molded to fit. They used batteries too. In fact, I've never seen a hearing aid that needed a charger. The OP's story must be very, very old.
        • by PCM2 (4486)

          In fact, I've never seen a hearing aid that needed a charger. The OP's story must be very, very old.

          They're pretty commonplace. Like anything rechargeable, they're sold on the basis of "no more worrying about buying/replacing batteries." Think about people who travel and find themselves staying in RV parks in unfamiliar parts of the country, or who have arthritis and have trouble messing around with little batteries. A hearing aid that you can plug in and charge up from a wall socket is very handy -- provided, that is, it isn't built like crap.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Sounds like your dad made a bad choice in hearing aids.

        My point is, he chose from the only choices that were offered to him. I'm not sure if this was before or after he was forced onto Medicare -- but even then, he does pay extra for supplemental care. Nobody showed him anything high-tech. (He's not my dad, BTW.)

        It should also be pointed out that getting a standard American plug into a 220V socket is the next best thing to impossible. It certainly wasn't done without some work on your dad's part....

        Pretty much any hotel will give you an adapter. Some of the adapters will have warnings on them telling you only to use this or that type of device, but many don't. They probably should have known better, but then, all my high-tech equipment seems to be

    • by dcollins (135727) on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:36PM (#37359296) Homepage

      "... obviously wasn't as good as what you could pick up in Europe. I don't know what they paid for the hearing aid, but it seems to me like something funny is going on."

      I would say that the "something funny" is just raw American ignorance. There's lots of higher-tech products and infrastructure in other countries. But we're brainwashed to believe that it's not, by definition, possible for America to be behind the curve. In many ways.

      • by AchilleTalon (540925) on Friday September 09, 2011 @11:01PM (#37360014) Homepage
        This guy compares hearing aids not targetted at the same audience. The smaller is not better than the behind the ear one. The smaller device is for hearing impaired with low to medium hearing loss, while the behind the ear devices are designed for low to severe hearing loss. Both are available worldwide. The reason his mother's husband is not wearing a small in-ear device is probably his condition is too severe and this smaller device is not appropriate. Also, the behind the ear devices are having some buttons to switch functions, while this doesn't exist on in-ear devices. Often, eldery peoples prefer the behind the ear devices because they are easier to manipulate than the in-ear devices which cannot be turned off without removing them from the ear. And removing them requires some agility since you have a small nylon wire to pull to remove the device.

        Bottom line, your conclusion is not well founded given the original post.

    • by AchilleTalon (540925) on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:44PM (#37359338) Homepage
      You cannot compare hearing aids only on the basis of the size and cutenest factor. The main point is your mom's husband may have a greater hearing loss than the European woman. The small device entering deep in the ear canal are suitable for those not having a too severe hearing loss condition. I know, I did own one and since my hearing loss is progressive it eventually needs to be replaced by a behind the ear device with much more amplification power. So, avoid this kind of comparisons. You must compare devices of a kind with devices of the same kind. They are targetted at different audiences.

      Here, we have coverage for hearing aids from the government. However, there is restrictions on the make, models and types of hearing aids we can pick from. There is a list reviewed every two years or so. Usually, the government make a deal with few manufacturers after asking them to answer to a public RFP (Request for proposals). They set guidelines and the manufacturers must bid as well on a 6 years maintenance plan for their own devices. Those with the lowest prices meeting the requirements for each category win. The drawbacks of this approach is the devices are always end-of-line models. If you want to pick one not on the list, you have to pay it in full. This permit most individuals with hearing loss to have access to hearing aids devices at the price of having access to low-end models only.

  • This.
  • and it's a rip off on many levels.

    • by Adambomb (118938) on Friday September 09, 2011 @10:27PM (#37359844) Journal

      Simply put, but this is the actual answer to the question posed in the summary. The cost of health service and supplies are greatly inflated in the states compared to most of the modern world. I don't mean in the sense of "oh, in other countries it's paid for by taxes" sense or the "yeah but it is inferior quality care" sense but the actual amount that the provider gets paid for exactly the same supplies or service, regardless of who is paying it in the end. As an outsider looking in at America i really do not understand how the health provider industry in the states managed to pull it off.

      Americans are getting ripped off on health care hard, to the tune of 2 to 10 times the prices paid out to suppliers or service providers in other countries. I think given the amount of discussion on HOW or WHO will be paying for health care in past years, some groups had to be lobbying very hard to keep the topic of "Why is it so damned expensive here to begin with" out of the limelight.

      And they succeeded.

  • A story about hearing aids that links to the glorified blog of a company that makes...hearing aids?

    I'm about ready to join the throng of sardonic malcontents who greet every new story with "This is what we get now that Taco's gone?"
  • It's just supply and demand. About 1/3 of the people I see on my daily commute have headphones on, and most of them are almost certainly too loud. This has been going on since the walkman appeared in the mid/late 80's, so those early adopters are now leading the pack in early adoption of hearing aids.
  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:11PM (#37358628) Homepage
    I wear hearing aids in both ears, as a souvenir of my time in the Navy back in '72. If my hearing loss weren't service connected I'd have had to buy my own, and there's no way I could possibly have afforded them. As it is, I got them from the VA (The biggest buyer of hearing aids in the USA.) for free. Hearing aids are overpriced because it's a seller's market and health insurance companies are willing to shell out whatever the manufacturer asks. And, of course, if your insurance doesn't cover them, you're stuck with two unpleasant choices: either you pay full retail price or you do without.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dfenstrate (202098)

      'Full Retail Price' in the medical world is often less than you would imagine. Hospitals routinely offer a 30% or better discount for paying in cash. Many medical establishments are likely the same way, for the same reason- dealing with insurance companies, medicare, or the VA requires a great deal of administrative overhead.

      Yes, I've asked a few times. The next few times you find yourself in the business office of a medical establishment, ask them what the cash discount is. You might be surprised at what

    • by garcia (6573) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:38PM (#37358866) Homepage

      It's like this for everything. We had a baby 1.5 years ago. He wouldn't breastfeed so my wife rented a hospital grade pump to do the hard work.

      Our insurance didn't cover it 100% because it wasn't "medically necessary" (they'd rather you use formula) and it would have been around $125/month out of pocket for us.

      We told the medical equipment company we didn't have insurance and suddenly the price was just under $60/month. What does that mean? They overcharge the insurance companies by at least 3x what their actual costs are because they can.

      Our insurance companies aren't exactly the problem. It's the companies that the insurance companies pay. They're robbing us all blind.

      • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:44PM (#37358918)

        They're robbing us all blind.

        And, apparently, robbing some of us deaf.

      • That's nothing (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Fished (574624) <amphigory@gmail. ... m minus language> on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:14PM (#37359150)
        I have a bill here from LabCorp. Price before insurance: $327.60 (for some routine bloodwork.) Price after insurance "adjustments": $14.88. So it's not just that they overcharge, it's that they deliberately overcharge the uninsured who have no idea what anything should cost.
  • 1. Insurance pays that much, so all get priced at that level

    2. It lets them do the "50%" bit. If you shop around and make it clear you are not using insurance, you can get these special deals.

    3.None of them are really good enough. So when the technology improves, they keep the price the same and upgrade the quality.

  • a little fishy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by antant007 (1702214) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:13PM (#37358650)
    An article on how expensive hearing aids are from a hearing aid company that advertises their low costs.
  • While hearing aids (and many other medical items and drugs) are ludicrously overpriced, the article is too shallow to merit the front page of /. - it's around what I'd expect of a USA Today slow news day item if only they didn't have ads from hearing aid manufacturers.
    • Lol. Neither is half the programming crap that gets discussed, but you don't hear me complaining. It would appear that medical concerns are a popular topic; I agree, and you don't. It would appear that programming slander/gossip/biz is a popular topic; I disagree, you probably like it.
      Move on.

  • There is no inflation, according to the Fed. Just don't look at the farm prices which have increased 30% year over year, and never at energy prices. Or technology prices. The government justifies the cost of these new hearing aids as being the same as before because today's hearing aids are _so_much_better. This is called hedonics. So while your wage hasn't gone up at all, your standard of living is being flushed down the toilet. But don't worry the government is printing lots more money for you so that you
  • I've been wearing the suckers in both ears since I was in 2nd grade due to a high level of conductive hearing loss. I'm lucky that my family can afford them.

    I've been approached many times – both domestically and while abroad – by people who needed them, but couldn't afford them. This may make sense in third world countries where people may not have access to more advanced technology, but it makes zero sense in "first world" countries.

    One possible reason why the technology is so expensive is tha

  • take out a loan while you still can, and foreclose it when the bubble bursts.

  • Just get one on dealextreme for 5 bucks. Even better get a dozen, and pray for one of them not to be DOA.
  • by nbauman (624611) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:40PM (#37358886) Homepage Journal

    Here's the Consumer Reports article on hearing aids
    http://www.consumerreports.org/health/healthy-living/home-medical-supplies/hearing/hearing-aids/overview/hearing-aids-ov.htm [consumerreports.org]

    and here's a Washington Post article about it.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/22/AR2009062201623.html [washingtonpost.com]

    Unfortunately it's 2 years old, and the ratings are behind a paywall (CR doesn't take ads, and they've got to pay the bills somehow).

    Also unfortunately they only tested hearing aids selling for $1,800 to $6,800 per pair.

    They said there's about a 100% markup, so there's room to negotiate.

    What I was really looking for, and what I couldn't find, was an article from an audiology journal which rated the low-priced hearing aids. They said that there were $500 hearing aids that were quite adequate for most people.

    Can anybody who follows this research help me out with some cites?

  • by DdJ (10790) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:51PM (#37358968) Homepage Journal

    Hm... seems like an opportunity...

  • by wangmaster (760932) on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:54PM (#37359692)

    I used to work for a hearing aid company in IT.
    The most expensive programmable digital hearing aid with all the options topped out at around $1200. That's the cost to the hearing care professional. So yeah, that hearing aid would turn around and sell for at least 3 to 4 times that.

    Also, the company had an extended warranty that we sold to the hearing care professional. Most of them don't turn around and sell that to the customer. Instead, they pay for it themselves and then when a customer brings a hearing aid back they sent it to us for free to fix and they charged the customer for it. It seemed like quite a nice racket. Especially when you consider they also charge for the hearing checkup, fitting, and all of that other usual crap above and beyond what the hearing aid itself cost.

    I'm not sure what the rest of the medical device industry looks like, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was fairly similar. I know the markup on my glasses frames is pretty crazy.

  • by rcpitt (711863) on Friday September 09, 2011 @10:50PM (#37359956) Homepage Journal
    My wife has a hearing aid - so I'm sensitive to this.

    When she got it, we were fairly well off - just sold a company and to be frank, I didn't notice how much it cost.

    recent problems with it put me on the front lines - and getting a bill for $800 just to fix is gave me a lot of angst. I have to say I railed at the person on the front counter quite a bit considering I know a lot about analog, digital, integrated circuits, and such - and basically told her that IMHO the components she was quoting as retail in the $3000 range were worth about $10 or less.

    Then she loaned us an "over the ear" unit while the in-the-ear one was out for repair - and when I went to give it back, said "keep it" - so confirming that the actual hardware cost is trivial (unit is about 3 times the size of the current one but otherwise similar capabilities - and given the progress in IC units, represents maybe 3 years' progress)

    So... when I heard an ad on the radio last week for an in-ear hearing aid for $500, I figured "about time" and so the poster is correct - there is a revolution coming.

    Question is - what patents will be held over the heads of those trying to break this cartel - because it truly must be a cartel.

    Note that I can now (despite the eye-glass cartel of yesteryear) purchase more than useful eye-glasses in various basic diopters at the local dollar store - to the point where I have enough around the house that I have achieve "maxiumum vapour pressure" of eye-glasses (i.e. there is a pair at hand any time/where I need them)

    richard

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <muitnias>> on Saturday September 10, 2011 @10:52AM (#37362566)

    All of these posts about how your countries give hearing aids to elderly and poor is just rude. If the U.S. was a AAA country we would do it too. Showing off your wealth is lame.

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