Over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t for everyone – The Virginian-Pilot

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There have recently been articles about over-the-counter hearing aids that will be available soon. We knew they were coming; it’s nothing new. In fact, hearing “amplifiers” have been available since the internet has existed. Over-the-counter hearing aids will not be the ultimate, inexpensive alternative to hearing aids that you purchase from an experienced and knowledgeable hearing healthcare professional. This is an over-the-counter device that can potentially improve hearing for people with mild hearing loss.

We have already seen the invention of do-it-yourself braces, do-it-yourself glasses, so why not introduce do-it-yourself hearing aids now? That’s exactly what you’re going to do. You’ll download an app to your smartphone, pair your over-the-counter device to your smartphone, and set up your own amplification and controls. As a hearing care professional, my mantra has always been that your improvement with hearing aids is only as good as the professional performing the fitting. How will this equate to a do-it-yourself style of hearing aids? I guess we will find out soon.

Remember that when the devices are not working or you or your loved ones are unable to set them up on the smartphone, your local hearing care professional will be there to help. Remember that you will be charged a fee for the appointment and there is no guarantee of a positive outcome. Just because a product is available doesn’t mean it’s the best option for everyone.

Theresa Bartlett, owner of Virginia Hearing Consultants, Virginia Beach

Regarding the “proposed rezoning” (Your Views, August 24): While I have no opinion on what the decision of Suffolk City Council should be regarding the 500 acres in question, I take issue with the fact that the University of Norfolk State has not been included in your statement about excellent universities in our area producing quality graduates.

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Your statement suggests to readers like me that Norfolk State University does not or cannot produce graduate students who can compete in a high-tech research environment. These are the types of opinions that make diversity and inclusion so hard to come by.

Robert Bryant, Chesapeake

On “Student Debt Reduction is an Investment in Our Future” (Our View, August 30): You ask the question, “Why is a college education so expensive in the first place?” however, you never answer the question. The reason a college education is so expensive is because it’s so easy to get a government loan. Colleges can raise tuition all they want, and people will pay because the government gives them the money. This cycle will get worse because prospective students can borrow from the government and may not have to repay the money.

What is the plan for the future to prevent this cycle from repeating itself? The “welfare” notion of debt relief is temporary at best and will never solve the problem. Why not investigate what colleges are doing with all the extra money they get? Why not require an employment contract from colleges to demonstrate that their product is effective? Colleges need to be held accountable because they are the ones who benefit from the government loan program.

Walter Hudson, Virginia Beach

On “Student Debt Reduction is an Investment in Our Future” (Our View, August 30): Warning those of us who pay taxes not to adopt the following attitude: “I had to pay my student loans, then you too. ” as not being useful to the conversation is laughable. My wife and I never had a joint income of $250,000 a year. Still, the president’s loan forgiveness plan will allow a winning couple just below that cap to be forgiven up to $20,000 each if they are Pell Grant recipients. Teaching young people that it is okay to transfer a debt that they have promised to pay to others without their consent is unfair. If the college tuition system is broken, pass laws to fix it.

Scott McKinley, Norfolk

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