by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
Here’s some good news. If you have a mild to moderate sloping hearing loss, and can’t afford expensive hearing aids costing several thousand dollars, here is another option available to you.
General Hearing Instruments, Inc, an American company based in Harahan, Louisiana has teamed up with Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in Texas to bring you affordable hearing aids. You can buy them in any of the Walmart or Sam’s Club stores in Texas, or via the Internet if you live elsewhere.
These pre-programmed digital ReadyWear line of hearing aids come in two styles—OTE (over-the-ear) and ITE (in-the-ear). You do not have to have a hearing test, although it would be wise to do so. (How else will you know whether these hearing aids have the power you need for your hearing loss?)
The Simplicity line are open-fit over-the-ear hearing aids. The open fit format allows you to hear natural sounds without occluding your ear canal and make it sound like you are hearing in a barrel. It comes in four models, the SmartTouch/Premier, the Digital, the Hi Fidelity and the Classic.
The Simply Soft line are in-the-ear hearing aids. The Simply Soft aids have a soft, silicone body that fits comfortably into your ear. Furthermore, its soft design allows it to constantly flex inside of your ear canal. Thus, you will not have to constantly reposition it while eating or talking. It comes in two models, the Premier/Smart Touch Digital and the Classic/Select.
Both of these hearing aids come with four settings allowing users to adjust to their environment, whether in restaurants, office meetings, or movie theaters.
You can try them without any risk as these hearing aids come with a 90-day, 100% money back guarantee.
As opposed to hearing aids sold through traditional channels and cost from $1500.00 to $3,500.00 per aid, the General Hearing Instruments aids typically cost considerably less at about $400.00 each.
I went to the Walmart website by clicking on the Walmart Company logo and found the prices for the Simplicity line ranged from $798.00 to $883.00 a pair depending on the models. The Simply Soft models were $688 a pair.
The Sam’s Club website prices, also accessed by clicking on the Sam’s Club company logo on the General Hearing Instruments website, were a bit less, ranging from $718.00 to $758.00 for a pair of Simplicity aids, and $688.00 for a pair of Simply Soft Aids.
How good are these aids? Perhaps the best way to determine that is customer satisfaction. On the Sam’s Club site, there are 153 customer reviews for the Premier Simplicity aids.
Reading through these reviews is revealing. Although the vast majority of people gave a 5 star rating, there were numbers of people that weren’t so happy. Most negative reviews had to do with hearing in noise (a problem for most people with most aids so this is not peculiar to these aids), with the aids not being powerful enough (I think these people had more than just a moderate hearing loss), and reliability. However, from what I read, company service was excellent so they try hard to please you if you have any problems.
For more information about these General Hearing Instruments, Inc. hearing aids, click here.
Finally, these are one-size-fits all hearing aids. They are not custom-fit to your exact hearing loss. Nor do they have all the bells and whistles that expensive aids have. So, if you are interested, investigate these hearing aids with your eyes open. However, if you have the appropriate hearing loss and appropriate lifestyle, you may be very happy with these lower cost hearing aids.