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Another business that does this is the hearing aid racket. An audiologist examines a patient, comes up with a patient's profile (some kind of EQ / convolution map), and then loads that into the hearing aid using proprietary programming cable and software.

There are other settings more under the preferences category than DSP, like what profiles go on what switch setting, beeps, things like that. But these are all guarded jealously.

The aids are very expensive, more than $5k, for what's now ancient tech. They've only recently gotten BT and only then at the high end, more like $8k for the BT models.

We really need open hardware and software, so home users can get an audiologist to compute their profile and then do what they want with it.




I saw this kind of predation secondhand when my maternal grandmother (I know her as “babcia”) went in for hearing aids. Her main problem was actually earwax buildup, not general hearing loss. But there’s no money in giving a patient a script for ear drops, so they managed to convince her to drop thousands in insurance dollars and no small amount of her personal dollars as well. <sigh>

But, she can hear, and she’s happy. I guess that’s how these companies get away with it—you can satisfy a customer without doing a whole lot of actual good for them.


Yes you are right, this sector is full of scam artists. See here http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbrief...

My father who is in the age group now pretty much confirmed all of this when recently shopping for one. As it was covered by his health care they were trying to flog him one at a ridiculous price.


I wonder how different the hearing aids are from a custom IEM designed for live performances... That market is vastly more competitive.


As I understand it, the audiologist prescription includes an EQ map as well as few different types of filters for different situations: music, conversation in crowded room, 1:1 conversation, etc. Hearing impairments are not totally amplitude dips but also comprehension ones. SO I suspect aids have a few extra DSP filters available to the programmer that IEM's don't, while IEM's probably have wider range and better reproduction for the musician's taste.




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