by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.

Many people have asked me,

Where can I find an affordable hearing aid? They all cost so much, and I’m on a limited income. Can you help me?

Typically hearing aids are expensive, ranging from around $800.00 at the low end, and on up to $3,000 or $4,000 each for high-end models. Such aids are out of the reach of those with severely limited incomes.

I’ve written about sources of help for purchasing hearing aids before, but even some sources of help require the person to put up hundreds of dollars as their “share” of the cost, and even this may be too much for some people to handle.

Fortunately, a new outfit, MDHearingAid, is now producing low-end hearing aids at a price many people can afford, no matter what their income. Marketed under the Acoustitone brand name, these hearing aids were made to the specifications of ENT Dr. Cherukuri, the founder of MDHearingAid.

At present, there are just two models available-the Acoustitone MAX which normally sells for $129.99 (currently on sale on the MDHearingAid web site for $89.99), and the more advanced Acoustitone PRO which normally sells for $259.99 (currently on sale for $149.99). These prices are hard to beat!

The Acoustitone MAX is a very basic unit. Dr. Cherukuri designed it primarily for “home-bound seniors that need help hearing the television and family members.” Its only control is the volume control. Actually, it is somewhat reminiscent of the first behind- the-ear hearing aids that came out in the mid 1950s in that it has a button receiver to which snaps a generic ear tip. (There are 3 ear tips of various sizes.)

The more advanced Acoustitone PRO is a much better value (in my opinion) since it has a directional microphone, and a two-channel tone control which decreases background noise and customizes the output for people with either a predominantly flat “curve” (hearing loss about the same at all frequencies) or the much more typical ski-slope curve (high frequency hearing loss). It also can use a custom-fitted ear mold, although it comes with 3 generic ear tips of various sizes.

Both of these hearing aids amplify the critical speech frequencies between 1,000 Hz and 4,000 Hz.

Note: neither of these hearing aids have t-coils which are so important for coupling hearing aids to the many assistive listening devices that help us hear ever so much better under poor listening conditions when hearing aids by themselves are not that helpful.

The good news is that MDHearingAid will soon be introducing a third hearing aid that will indeed have a t-coil. It might be well worth waiting for this new model whenever it comes out.

To learn more about these very affordable hearing aids, point your browser to the MDHearingaid website.