I would normally save my money and shop for the best low-priced hearing aids I could find, but I have received a generous, once in a lifetime offer from my new employer, Wingate Wilderness Therapy (in Kanab UT). An anonymous supporter from Wingate will match the total of all donations I receive toward buying new hearing aids, so I only need to raise half the amount it will cost to buy two new hearing aids.
With this wonderful offer in mind, I decided to set my sights on the best hearing aids money can buy, instead of buying lower-cost mid-level hearing aids. I also found an online business (https://hearstore.com/) that sells the best hearing aids at a lower price than audiologists charge. Most people buy hearing aids from an audiologist, and the price for the aids is bundled with the service the audiologist provides in fitting and adjusting the aids as long as you have them. Hearstore sells just the hearing aids, and the customer can purchase service packages as they desire.
The hearing aid model I have decided to buy is the Oticon OPN1 (https://hearstore.com/oticon-opn/). Oticon OPN1 uses a new technology called open sound, which presents amplified sounds in the environment to the wearer in a more natural manner than other aids do. Most hearing aids focus on one speaker and lower all other sounds. The open sound technology picks out multiple sources of speech to amplify, and lowers other background noise. I hope that this will help my brain to process speech better, and reduce the effort it takes for me to listen. If this plan backfires, I can return the Oticon OPN aids, and try a different model.
In addition to the hearing aids, I plan to buy an accessory called the ConnectClip (https://www.oticon.global/professionals/opn/connectivity/connectclip). This is a small device that acts as a remote microphone for the hearing aids. A person who is speaking can wear the ConnectClip on their collar, and it will send the sounds to my hearing aids, making it sound as if I were right next to the speaker. This could be a huge help to me in group situations, where I often struggle to hear. I am very excited to try this new device, because I miss so much of what people say in small group discussions.
Here is a list of the cost of the hearing aids, the ConnectClip, and extra service plans:
Oticon OPN aids: $1999 each, $3998 total
1 year audiologist service: $225
Extended Warranty: $150 (extends warranty to 4 years, plus 3 years loss and damage)
half of total: $2336.50 - This is my fundraising goal, which will be matched to cover the total cost!
I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity to improve my ability to hear people! I love to connect with people, to be involved in group conversations, and to be involved in all the everyday conversations that life offers. It is a struggle for me that this is not always possible. In addition, better hearing could help me at work. Sometimes when people say something vulnerable, they are unable to repeat themselves. Hearing it the first time could be a blessing.
Thank you so very much to everyone who reads this. Please do not be afraid to donate just a small amount. Everything helps, and your donation will be doubled! If you can't give money now, that is ok too. Just send your good wishes, and visualize me hearing and connecting better!
Love to you all,
- Susan Healy
- Jenny Healy
- Jacqueline Dickert
- Susan Arnsten-Russell
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