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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17, 2007

Finding the hearing aid that's right for you

More and more baby boomers are experiencing premature hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds. The unfortunate thing is that many of them may be freaked out by hearing aids and are not willing to use them. Clark knows someone who's slightly younger than himself who has enjoyed loud music all her life. Finally it got to the point that she couldn't hear conversation clearly. When she finally decided to get a hearing aid, it dramatically improved her life.

There are many kinds of hearing aids and many different price ranges from really inexpensive to several thousand dollars per ear! Clark has earned the ire of a lot of professional audiologists who hate him for telling people to go to hunting shops and buy devices for hunters that are essentially hearing aids. You'll pay a few hundred dollars -- a fraction of the cost you'd pay to get one from an audiologist. The audiologists complain that someone could mask a problem that may need serious medical treatment by getting such a hearing aid. So there's a definite caveat to Clark's advice. He once got one of his relatives a cheap hunter's hearing aid. His relative was as unhappy with the cheap one as she was with the one that cost thousands of dollars. There's obviously no magic bullet here. Clark remembers the days when there used to be a disposable hearing aid device called the SongBird that retailed for $49. Unfortunately it's no longer on the market. But if you travel overseas you'll find that hearing aids aren't regulated by the government. So that you means you can go to a drug store and buy one over the counter for a fraction of the cost you'd pay in the United States.