In the whole world, there are currently an estimated about 1.5 billion people(nearly 20% of the global population) who face hearing loss in their daily lives. Of the 1.5 billion people, an estimate 360000 which is Singapore citizens are facing hearing loss. Of the 360000 people, a quarter of them faces difficulty affording hearing aids in Singapore.
Average Markup of Hearing Aids
There are many different types of hearing aids in Singapore hence it is difficult to quote an exact price but the price ranges from S$800 for a basic device to S$8000 for an advanced premium device depending on the brand and model.
Factors influencing the cost of hearing aids
The first factor that influences the cost of hearing aids is the type. There is a wide range of hearing aid types such as in-the-canal (ITC), behind-the-ear (BTE), completely-in-canal (CIC), and more. Each type differs in design and uses hence choosing the right type should follow the severity of the hearing loss and the lifestyle you have on a daily basis.
Another factor that would influence the cost would be the features. The number of features a hearing aid has would determine the cost. The more features the device has, the pricier it can be as compared to basic models. Most of the functions are optional however allow the wearer to interact with their device through their daily lives efficiently.
Performance is also a factor that affects the cost of the device. Due to the advancements in hearing aid technology, there are digital versions of the device that are able to carry out features such as noise reduction and directional microphones that allow the wearer to listen more efficiently.
Design is also another factor that affects hearing aid prices. Most hearing aid companies are investing in device styles that are sleek, modern, and discreet to the public. However, design should not necessarily be the main priority when choosing hearing aids as it should be prioritized towards the wearer’s needs first. Wearers that face dexterity problems should opt for more significant hearing devices.
Research and Development
A huge percentage of the cost of hearing devices is also due to the research and development that is carried out behind the scenes. Every year, millions of dollars are spent by the industry to work on advancing hearing aid technology to make it more powerful, compact, comfortable, and more natural sounding. The process of research and development also involves a lot of parties such as electrical engineers, audiologists, programmers, sound engineers, and more.
Another factor that affects the cost is the customization of hearing aids. Many expensive hearing aids must be custom molded to each particular ear. Customizing individual hearing aids takes skill, time, and effort by a certified audiologist which also makes the hearing aids more expensive.
Some hearing aids are more expensive than others due to the presence of a warranty. Depending on the terms and conditions of the warranty, the wearer can be more assured that he/she will get a well-functioning device. Warranties can go up from a month to 3 years depending on the place you are getting it from.
Does COVID-19 not affect hearing, or does it?
Coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, is now a part of everyone’s live all around the world. It is a disease that is still ongoing and can spread through mouth or nose from someone who is infected whether be it by cough or by speech. This disease has led to many long-term complications.
Many says that getting COVID-19 caused them to have difficulty in breathing, coughing, chest pain, etc. But does covid effect hearing?
Loss of hearing caused by Covid
Although it has yet to be scientifically proven that COVID-19 could be a direct cause of hearing loss, it does not mean that it couldn’t, instead, these cases are rarely seen.
The virus can enter the ear – likely through the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of your nose. What this could cause would be an infection of both the cochlear, which affects hearing by the damage done to the inner ear or the nerve from the ear to the brain, causing permanent hearing loss and vestibular hair cells, which would affect the balance of hearing.
The first sign of sudden hearing loss
Cases have shown that it is very rare to have sudden hearing loss as a symptom of COVID-19 onset, but it is still possible.
In June 2020, it was reported that several citizens of Iran had hearing loss in one side of the ear, also had vertigo, and an Egyptian man that had only developed sudden hearing loss, without any other symptoms, tested positive for covid.
Loss of hearing as an after-effect of Covid
Hearing loss being an after-effect of COVID-19 is still rare, but more common than having it as a symptom of COVID-19 onset. Symptoms such as hearing loss, tinnitus, or dizziness could develop a few days or weeks later.
In October 2020, BMJ Journals reports a case study of a British man, 45 years old, who developed tinnitus and sudden hearing loss in one side of his ear, after being critically ill with COVID-19. Fortunately, after receiving steroid treatment for the hearing loss, he has restored part of his hearing.
Despite it not being scientifically proven that COVID-19 could be a direct cause of hearing loss, the case study has shown it is very likely that he had gotten hearing loss from COVID-19, as he did not consume any drugs that would have affect his hearing.
The price of the hearing aid does not only consist of the cost to produce it but also consisting the cost to develop and advance it further. The number of features, the warranty of the device, initial fitting which falls under customization all affect the pricing of a hearing aid. However, the hearing aid should always be suited to your daily needs. Nonetheless, hearing aids are a long-term investment that will benefit and change the wearer’s style of living in the best way.