Are hearing aids commonly used by Indians with reduced hearing?

#1 Dec 27th, 2015, 14:25
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This thread was prompted by my reflecting on one aspect of my recent holidays in India. Two years ago I started using hearing aids to compensate for lost hearing at higher frequencies. My diminished hearing was/is a common problem of aging.
I realised that it was important to hear traffic warnings when driving a car in my home country. I do not drive in other countries.

In India, I had hearing aids but did not use them. People speak English quite loudly, anticipating that visitors may miss words because of accented speech etc. Announcements on trains, stations, and particularly Delhi Metro are usually clear and at a good level.

I arrived shortly before Diwalli when firecrackers were causing a racket, day and night. Further, I sometimes stayed in areas with congested traffic. Many two wheelers have seriously loud horns which are literally painful to be near. For several reasons, I had cause to not use my hearing aids.

In India I met few older Indians and didn't even notice whether people about were using hearing aids.

I see from a Google search that hearing aids are readily available in India. Are hearing aids in widespread use? What opportunities do low income folk have to obtain hearing aids and their maintenance?
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#2 Dec 27th, 2015, 15:16
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Hearing reduction can be a blessing .. would many in India agree.
#3 Dec 27th, 2015, 20:46
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Originally Posted by old india hand View Post Hearing reduction can be a blessing .. would many in India agree.
Not to a music lover.

There are many people at the concerts that I attend who are older than I am, and have worse hearing. I do see quite a few hearing aids. These people are not necessarily rich, but are not likely to be poor either. I don't know the situation for poor people and aids.

My wife wants me to get a hearing aid, but doesn't understand that, whilst it would actually be good for my social life, all she needs to do is to speak a lttle louder and face me when she speaks. Doesn't seem hard to me. My hearing is nowhere near the point where I should wear an aid all day, around the house, etc.

My last boss used to always address me from just outside my hearing range, so I had to get up and go to him. It was one of his bullying techniques.

unclelach, I would be very interested to hear your experience of hearing aids, and any recommendations.
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#4 Dec 27th, 2015, 23:01
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Are hearing aids in widespread use? What opportunities do low income folk have to obtain hearing aids and their maintenance?
I wouldn't say widespread, but quite a few in the middle economic class and above do use them if they need them.

There is no/little support for anybody, including low income folk, for hearing aids. This includes normal medical insurance and the government, although there are some NGOs helping some. The only additional financial thing is a max 50k a year income tax deduction allowed under 'disability' provided your hearing is certified deteroirated more than a certain amount. (40% or something, I think).

Decent hearing aids are expensive. My father was using one in each year that cost a total of 150,000 rupees, and it was not, by any means, the most advanced. Lower priced ones, starting (I think) at 20k an ear are not too good.

I probably need a hearing aid. But then, I have seen and heard too much.

Nick, a hearing aid such as the 1.5 lac one mentioned above will make a max difference of 80% to your hearing (could be lower), and you will still have problems if in a group, on the phone (may need to take it off) etc. I say this from what I have heard from audiologists and from second hand (father's) practical experience. Cheaper hearing aids will be worse. One good brand is Widex, but there are others.
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#5 Dec 27th, 2015, 23:57
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I had an uncle who was very very deaf and he started using one from the maker "widex" . They needed a bit of calibration and I used to accompany him to the shop as it was close to my office. He used to complain that it had a problem of amplifying "all the sounds" and that used to create a bit of chaos if used in a place full of ambient sounds , like say a bazar. On the other hand in an auditorium it worked perfectly. So a little bit of switching on and off was involved. Quite a pricey model too , six figures in Indian currency. He kept on wearing it till his last day , I haven't "heard" about what happened to the aid since.
#6 Dec 28th, 2015, 04:51
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post
unclelach, I would be very interested to hear your experience of hearing aids, and any recommendations.
Nick-H, I have behind ear devices(Danish made) that were supplied free to me via a government benefit for low income older people. The aids were supplied and fitted by a professional audiologist following full measurements of my hearing. The aids can be set and reset to suit the user's hearing frequency characteristics. I pay a moderate fee annually for checks, adjustments and supply of batteries. A battery lasts two to three weeks with daytime use.

I was advised to use the aids for at least six hours per day but the fitted ear plugs sometimes become uncomfortable in a shorter time. I was told that my hearing would deteriorate yet further if I failed to use the aids regularly.

The aids have good acoustics and are useful when meeting with friends, say in a cafe or social function. They are also beneficial at family gatherings where softly spoken children may be present. The aids are not helpful in large noisy gatherings of people.

I found the aids immediately useful when driving a car e.g. when being approached by an emergency vehicle with siren operating. Australian drivers use horns only as a last resort warning, not as a routine warning of overtaking.

I listen to recorded music without the aids and find them not needed in a cinema. I still enjoy concerts and school performances without the aids.

Some domestic TVs and radios have poor audio performance which can't be compensated for.
#7 Dec 28th, 2015, 05:17
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In Oz hearing aids are serious business with hard sell .. audiologist will tell, better to start early rather than later because easier to adapt .. he even offered me a free trial.
Needed an audiologist report before seeing the Otologist.
#8 Dec 28th, 2015, 06:11
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old india hand, Yes, people(ladies) I know have paid large sums for devices that are fitted entirely within the ear.

I had to google up otology. A friend who relied almost entirely on lip-reading has a cochlear implant nowadays. That device gave little improvement initially but after a year or more the software? was optimized with good results. Must ask the guy about his otologist.
Last edited by unclelach; Dec 28th, 2015 at 07:27.. Reason: typos
#9 Dec 28th, 2015, 07:47
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I had to google too. Otologists are called ENT doctors in India- ear, nose and throat.
#10 Dec 28th, 2015, 08:31
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So I saw the ear logist/wallah .. 5 min .. $100 out of pocket .. and he used a beaut piece of equipment (could call it a vacuum cleaner) to suck in one ear.
He said not to clean my own ear as irritation leads to infection.

Reduced hearing duly noted. Repeat visits are now only $70.
#11 Dec 29th, 2015, 00:18
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How often do you come to India? Perhaps this is something you could do here. It will cost you a lot less.

My ENT man has a wondrous vacuum machine and, being a full-fledged surgeon, wondrous dexterity, but somehow I cannot stand the poking with instruments and I request the old-fashioned squirting with warm water!

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