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Re: Affordable hearing aids extant?

Songbird claims their aids fit about 80% of patients - however perhaps only about 50% of these actually get on with the product in
real life.

So at the end of the day around 60% of patients may still need to follow the "traditional" route.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Marvit, Peter" <PMarvit@SOM.UMARYLAND.EDU>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 3:33 PM
Subject: Affordable hearing aids extant?

> I am a bit confused by the discussion (including the article about
> "Killion's fight" and Magilen's erudite paper) about "affordable hearing
> aids." Introduced a few years ago, the Songbird line seems exactly what
> Killion wants. These throw-away aids last about 90 days, are a
> one-size-fits-all amplification, and cost about $60. The company's stated
> policy is that "The US Food and Drug Administration recommends that you have
> a medical evaluation prior to purchasing or using any hearing aid. Songbird
> Hearing, Inc., recommends that you have your hearing checked annually."
> However, these apparently do not need to be dispensed by a licensed
> practitioner (though some/many audiologists do sell them).
> One of the original pitches for this product was that audiologists could
> provide an low-cost "entry" to aids to clients who balk at the substantial
> monetary investment in their first set of aids. This low-cost device would
> presumably offer some modicum of improvement, and would potentially lead the
> clients into wanting a better (full)  fitting at a higher cost. The analogy
> to the drugstore reading glasses was made clear; OTC quality was adequate to
> start with a low entry cost, and would generate demand for better quality
> leading to professional services. Indeed, Magilen's argument and experience
> seems to support this marketing rationale.
> Clearly the Songbird products have many limitations, and the idea of people
> "treating themselves" raises many professional's eyebrows (in hearing and
> nearly all medically-related fields). However, it still seems to me that at
> least one company has fulfilled Killion's desire, while at least nominally
> following some of Magilen's suggestions for OTC informational packets. I am
> confused why Killion and his company cannot follow suit within the existing
> set of regulations.
> For the record, I have no affiliation with any of the companies or
> participants. I admit to being slightly more sympathetic toward Magilen's
> desire for tighter regulation, though I think offering a low-cost entry
> device makes a great deal of sense.
> Cheers,
> Peter
> : Peter Marvit, PhD                          <pmarvit@som.umaryland.edu> :
> : Dept. Anatomy and Neurobiology    University of Maryland Medical School:
> : 685 W. Baltimore Street, HSF 222                   Baltimore, MD 21201 :
> : phone 410-706-1272                                    fax 410-706-2512 :

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