High-priced devices

August 25, 2009 

Your Aug. 18 reprint of a New York Times article on the high price of hearing instruments was timely but far from complete. Firstly, most all hearing devices are produced overseas and might be assembled by child labor. Secondly, our illustrious Food and Drug Administration requires all sales and examinations to be conducted by a licensed audiologist.

The pieces and parts of these devices are rather simple compared to the new electronic gadgets available like iPods, Blackberries, GPS units, cell phones and an old standby, our TV remote. I estimate the total cost of all pieces and parts would not exceed $85. If K-Mart, Sears, Walmart, Penny's and the like were allowed to sell these instruments one could probably purchase a set of good workable units for less than $200.

What we hard-of-hearing people need is a crusader. I have challenged local, state and federal legislators to no avail. My bet is when congresspeople or Supreme Court members need hearing assistance, they are directed to a friendly audiologist who fits them with an experimental set.

James A. McGrath


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