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Hearing Aid Suggestions?

Dr Thomas A Clark (W3IWI) tac at clark.net
Sat Jan 2 20:35:45 EST 1999

Don't know if this is the place to ask, but here goes. I'm a scientist
(geophysics & astronomy) and a typical techno-nerd, age in late 50's.

For some years the hearing in my right ear has been getting progressively
worse, and I have developed unilateral tinnitus. Brain/stem scans have
shown nothing although contralateral and ipsilateral reflexes are absent.
The high-pitched screaming in my right ear sometimnes becomes almost

I've had an analog in-the-ear Siemens aid for ~5 years, and have 
cranked its amplication up to the maximum. The doctor recommended one
of the new digital aids as a good idea. A visit today to my audioligist
confirmed that things have declined over the past year, and he says that
a good digital aid will cost ~$2200. Although he has in the past
recommended Oticon, he indicated that Danavox was now becoming available 
in the USA and said he would check on it.

So here are some questions:

(1) Do any of the digital aids offer any user programmability (like from
    a PC)? Like I noted earlier, I'm a techno-nerd, and I'd really like 
    to have the ability to fine-tune a DSP unit to my own requirements.

(2) Do any of the digital aids offer a tinnitus masking option? Again,
    can it be activated/tuned by the user?

(3) I'm curious about in-the-ear vs. BTE models. I think I would prefer
    the in-the-ear for cosmetic reasons.

(4) I often wear headphones (amateur radio, airline movies, walkman, etc).
    Which models offer direct magnetic coil pickups? How well do they

(5) Based on what I can glean from the web, the Danavox is a top-line
    unit, meeting may of my desires. Can anyone suggest yea/nea comments
    so I can make sure it is worth shelling out $2200? Any other

(6) Does $2200 for a fitted unit sound like a fair price?

Thanks in advance for all the help/advice & Happy New Year! --- Tom Clark

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