That said, I don't think the FTC stipulates what information must appear on the prescription. Many docs leave off your PD (pupillary distance), which is a necessary measurement if you're buying online. Fortunately, there are a variety of easy ways to take this measurement yourself after the exam, although if you're really concerned about precision, you'll want the doctor's measurement.
And by the way, it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Although the quality of eyewear available online can be comparable to what you'd get in store ... please don't think an online eye exam is an acceptable substitute for visiting an ophthalmologist in person and getting a comprehensive eye exam!
There was a very limited selection of glasses that were available for the 2-for-$60 promotion, and they really tried to upsell me to more expensive frames and lenses. Luckily I was able to resist their sales attempts and bought a nice frame and lenses from Zenni Optical. I keep one pair of the cheap glasses at my office and the other in my car.
As an aside, being able to get inexpensive glasses online has been a huge improvement on my life. I remember growing up when I only had a single pair of glasses (and a "backup" which were with my previous prescription). I had to be very protective of my glasses, and getting a scratch on the lens meant that I was stuck with it until my prescription changed. Now I can get my favorite glasses from Zenni for $25, so I have backups if the lenses get scratched or the frame get bent. I also have prescription sunglasses for the first time! No more dorky clip-on shades!
What I do is buy the frame with cheap lenses to check fit, then I buy it with nice lenses if I like it. They are so cheap there is no reason not to do it this way.
Even ordering multiples it ends up being inexpensive.
Besides the environmental cost, maybe.
It is important to focus on effective actions. For example, a lot of people think that somehow recycling affects climate change, which (AFAIK) is not true in any meaningful sense. That isn't to say one shouldn't recycle -- there are plenty of reasons to do so in many cases.
I'm not saying this is the case here because the original pair of glasses can still be used, but isn't avoiding this kind of behaviour a good thing?
I don't have any idea about plastics/papers.
I'm not aware of any plastics that are recycled in to the same form. I know that PET (1) and HDPE (2) are recycled in to fibres.
It's a similar story to glass, certainly where I live a large amount of glass is recycled in to crushed aggregate rather than new bottles. The energy costs of cleaning don't make it worthwhile.
Consumers didn’t like it because scratches accumulate on the outside of the bottles.
Now that I'm in my mid-40's, I take it all back. Having a pair, even if it isn't the exact right one, always with reach is a godsend.
Decades later those NHS 524 frames became all the hipster (and Morrisey) rage. For hundreds a pair. Sometimes using original repolished frames as apparently they were well enough made to last forever.
That would make you all the rage in a hipster circles.
I would expect none of my data - profile, passwords, or banking info - is safe with them.
I bought three complete pairs of eyeglasses for $105 total, delivered. If you can be patient, about once a year, they'll run a buy-two-get-one-free sale. I now have prescription sunglasses, distance-only, and a set of hidden-line ("transition") bifocals. All with low-reflection coating, and high refraction index plastic. All three are holding up well after three years.
I think it's a state-level law thing. Here in WA State it's illegal for a optician to refuse you a plain eye exam or refuse to give you your prescription information, including pupillary distance: https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=18.195&full=tru...
When I used to do target or lens crafter... I had to ask.
I believe the tear duct check is a loss leader. Most people have dry eyes (Meibomian Gland Dysfunctio) if you work in front of a computer all day. I have it and saw an actual ophthalmologist before so I knew all about it. It cost $$ so I was surprised the optometrist did it as part of the checkup. If you want to get your dry eyes fixed you have to 'melt' the clogged ducts and it cost $300 for the cheapest treatment. $900 for the one that works best (Lipiflow). The treatment isn't permanent so you gotta go back every year for the $300 treatment and every 3 for the $900.
Since the Costco optometrist can't make money from lens, I guess they make money from dry eye treatment. Also he gave me an option to dilate my pupils or he has a fancy imaging machine. The imagine machine costs $45...I opted for the imagine machine grin.
One last point - the Costco optometrist has a fancy digital goggles to check your vision. Another commenter posted that it's a waste of an education for an eye vision check. The goggles show the letters to read (it's not projected on a wall) and has lenses embedded within it. With a keystroke on the computer, it changes the lens. He really just asks "which ones looks better" and hits the keyboard. I was done in a minute.
Funny enough, back in my home country, "optometrists" don't exist. Everybody goes to an actual eye doctor (Ophthalmologist) to get eye prescriptions. Of course, you pay the price, as the consultations cost as much as any other doctor visit.
Edit: somebody beat me to it below :) I'll leave it here because of my second anecdata above.
Optometrists are different from Ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (i.e. they have an MD), optometrists are not. Optometry also involves post-graduate training, and results in an OD (Doctorate of Optometry).
In the type of store you're talking about, it's much more likely you'll see an optometrist, not an ophthalmologist.
I get my eye exam checked every year for other more serious and complex diseases so I think there is a role for the more trained medical professionals but these exams need to be disentangled from the expensive professionals. That is the way to bring the costs down to a fraction of what they are...
Ophthalmologists also have specialized training for cutting the eye that they learn in medical school (eg: lasik), but for eye exams, an optometrist has the skill-set necessary to perform these kinds of screenings.
A lot of people just get auto-refracted or a checkup by an optician and assume that's enough to get new glasses, but those people can be among the tens of millions of Americans who don't realize they have pre-diabetes.
My ophtalmologist wouldn't only perform measurements to see if my prescription had changed. She would do a proper eye checkup. Retina, pressure and a host of other things.
It wasn't expensive. Of course, it was also not in the US.
You are only there once a year at most, so it is an opportunity to catch things before they go wrong.
I've seen the theory float around that VSP works a lot like Kohls: start from inflated prices, discount to actual market, and claim you're doing the customer a solid with that "what you saved" report you get. Once you add the premium, not even sure you break even.
My guess is what you're seeing is a bit of a misrepresentation. My wife would be thrilled if VSP (or any other vision insurance) reimbursed even near that amount. You might be seeing a statement that the insurance plan saved you a certain amount (the standard price of the exam), but the optometrist is not making that money.
Instead, what they do is if the doctor wants to accept their insurance (VSP, EyeMed, Superior, etc), they have to agree to a contractual amount of reimbursement for a standard comprehensive vision and eye health exam, which is often on the order of $35-45 on average. The doctor also would get the copay amount (often $10). Similarly, if you add in contact lens evaluation into your exam, they will reimburse a bit more for that portion. However, it is very rarely even close to $258 unless you have a very specific condition/situation (for example medically-necessary contact lenses, etc).
Your optometrist will have had 4 years of post-graduate education (and probably the 6-figure student loans to match), where they would have learned how to diagnose and treat a wide variety of ocular and even systemic conditions that may first present themselves in the eye. So for the $50, you're getting a steal of a deal. While it is not entirely a loss-leader (an Optometrist can make an OK living this way if they have enough patients--though still lower than what most Software Engineers make), this is why you will often see an Optical in private practices, rather than exams only.
My wife's office obviously sells glasses, however it is worth mentioning that the prices that are presented are largely a result of the underlying wholesale costs of the materials, with some margin to account for labor and facilities. I cannot say that some of the materials from the manufacturers are not overpriced, but there are substantial quality differences between different frames and different lenses.
The advantage of getting your frames from the same place as your doctor is that any lens recommendations for your best quality of life can be relayed directly. Ideally the optician will then help you sort through the pros and cons of different lenses and frames, along with what your insurance may cover, to ultimately get you something that you'll love at a price you are comfortable with. This often is more important as you get older and have a need for progressive lenses. The measurements get trickier, and each lens type may have different advantages. Single-vision lenses are much less particular, and you may have more success with the online shops if you are in this life-stage.
This kind of personalization is not required by everyone, but some people really appreciate it.
Basically, some people will probably have success with the online shops. That's OK. However, they don't work well for everyone.
One more thought: very few purchases will have as much impact on your daily life as your glasses, they literally affect the way you perceive the world, as well as potentially how others perceive you (fashion). We all wish things we buy were cheaper, however the cost/value proposition on glasses is not that bad when you think of it this way. The final decision on how to spend your money is up to you, as the consumer, in the end.
I find this opinion to be abhorrent when applied to durable medical devices and medical treatment. Eyeglasses are a vision prosthetic, not an optional purchase. Many people must have at least one pair in order to function normally in society. If you're rent-seeking on that necessity, that makes you a parasite. If you're providing it at or below cost, that makes you a living saint.
~~These prosthetic legs will allow you to walk again. We have decided to charge you only slightly more than you can possibly afford for them. The difference will likely be made up by a charity of some sort, funded by people who would rather pay us to help you walk again than spend the exact same amount on independently making prosthetics and giving them away. But walking is so incredibly valuable in one's daily life, that the cost/value proposition is really not that bad for you. You're only paying us everything you have, in order to live like a normal person, and we also get to use your hard-luck story to suck some more money out of a few chumps that feel sorry for you, or maybe the government. We all wish things we buy were cheaper. You, of course, also have to option to scoot yourself around on an old furniture dolly with a junked riding-lawnmower seat strapped onto it with zip-ties. The final decision on how to spend your money is up to you.~~
Optometrists and ophthalmologists should cartelize ASAP, and erect a firewall between their eye exams and the opticians and eyeglasses manufacturers. If every supplier of eyeglasses prescriptions were to refuse to conjoin themselves to an optician business, Luxottica and VSP and their ilk could not extract money from that portion of the industry that supplies the most value. If I would pay $10 for an exam (copay, with VSP) and $120 for just one pair of glasses (from Luxottica, even after VSP allowance), I would almost certainly be willing to pay ~$200 (or $20/month) for a 30-min annual exam (direct to optometrist, without VSP), and 1-4 pairs of glasses at ~$40 apiece (from someone other than Luxottica). Pay the optometrist $50-80 per exam, and the rest on business overhead and support staff. Current US average is about 1800 patients per optometrist. So the cartel can refuse to sanction more than 1 member per 6000 in the local population, which sets a floor of about 1500 patients per optometrist, if they all distribute evenly.
So an average optometrist, in an average town, charging cartel prices, should be able to clear $100k per year personally, seeing an average of 6.5 patients a day, while still taking 4 weeks vacation, working only weekdays, and taking 9 holidays, while providing $250k to support their own business. That can probably support a $70k business manager, and a decent independent office--with no frame showroom taking up most of the usable space. Maybe also a lower-paid assistant. This is very reasonable for a profession which requires post-graduate education. There is no particular reason why an optometrist with two employees should not be able to operate as a small business, without also having to also sell overpriced eyeglasses, other than the manufacturer monopolist putting the squeeze on them, by paying some optometrists to put the rest out of business if they don't agree to join the scheme. Luxottica doesn't need to be the cartel enforcer; optometrists could create their own, and use it to benefit themselves--and maybe also the patients, just a little.
I also know of instances where you get charged more if you have insurance, just because the provider knows they can get more money.
Is that low? Ophthalmologists get 28€ per consultation in France for something basic like that (although they can charge more but the patient will only get reimbursed for 28€, so they will try to avoid those who overcharge).
When they do, Walmart/Costco may find it worthwhile to own/operate the clinic themselves.
They’ll give you your prescription and literally wouldn’t sell me glasses even if I wanted them, since I wasn’t a store member. I did have to measure my own IPD though, which I did with a ruler and a mirror.
EDIT: another reply notes that they did get their IPD at Costco, so this might vary by location. As they mentioned, the optometrists are independent.
I first saw a sign declaration in Sams Club stating that. When I went to the front desk, it was much gnashing of teeth to get the manual override for "alcohol exception".
And then they demanded I do the mandatory member search. Members agree to. I'm not a member. I dont consent to searches. Maybe it makes me an asshole ; they're free to make it truly member only by removing alcohol.
And also as another note, any alcohol sales in Indiana must be offered to all legal-to-purchase people. You cannot say "10% off with a kroger card". That's just as illegal as requiring a membership card.
If you are not a member, you have not consented to it, and the transfer of ownership already occurred at the point of sale. So you can walk past the exit line and right out the doors. Attempting to hold you in the store against your will could be considered kidnapping.
Some states have https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shopkeeper's_privilege
But that still requires cause to believe you stole something, and as far as I understand it, declining to be searched on its own doesn’t provide cause for that.
Costco has a membership agreement where you consent to being searched, Walmart does not.
They get away with it by training the vast majority to consent for no particular reason.
The worst that's ever happened was that I once had a Best Buy guard yell at me and start trying to chase me out into the parking lot, but I just ignored him and he eventually gave up and went back. Flaunting fake authority like that makes me very happy for some reason.
It's when you're dealing with something that requires medical intervention (glaucoma, pars planitis, etc.) that you need to shell out for an ophthalmologist. An optometrist can still catch that stuff, but will need to refer you for treatment.
I was getting my contact lens exam/fitting recently and the optometrist wanted me to get something checked later by an ophthalmologist. He said it was probably nothing to worry about but made it clear that it was outside his scope of expertise to diagnose or make medical recommendations.
it's amazing the stuff she finds. she's found brain tumors and literally saved people's lives by referring them early to a neuro-ophthalmologist when they came in just to update their prescription. many latent systemic problems are also clearly visible in the eye: hypertension, diabetes, etc.
Make sure they code it correctly! I once had a rather large bill because the ophthalmologist's office accidentally billed me under a "routine" code that my medical insurance didn't cover. It took several hours of phone calls with the insurer and the ophthalmologist to get it corrected.
> (g) A prescription is the written specifications for lenses for eyeglasses which are derived from an eye examination, including all of the information specified by state law, if any, necessary to obtain lenses for eyeglasses.
In years past, those optical departments were a major part of the ophthalmologist's/optometrist's business model. With the rise of big-box store optical, though, that changed. (And has now changed MORE with folks like Zenni and Warby Parker, etc.)
For example, my late stepfather's business (he retired in '99) depended on that optical department, but for most of his career (and his father's before him) there WEREN'T places outside doctors' offices to get glasses, especially where I grew up.
OTOH, the eye doctors I've used in Houston, where I've lived since the mid 90s, have generally not even HAD an optical department.
Oh, and one more bit: ISTR that Warby Parker will do a PD measurement for you gratis if you visit one of their stores. You might even find glasses you like -- not as cheap as Zenni, but definitely cheaper than a traditional provider.
at that point just visit a better eye doctor.
It's not a scam. It's just overpriced in the US, because they can't get their stuff together in the health department.
Doesn't using the wrong prescription worsen eyesight faster?
At least, it's been my general experience that when a child is curious about people's glasses and is given the glasses so they can experience the effect, they only let them try it for a couple seconds and are explained that using them for too long can cause damage to their eyesight (because it's the wrong prescription for them who have perfect eyesight). Is that a myth?
Modern research does point in the direction of the eye remodelling itself based on what kind of input you give it on a longer scale, though. This includes the amount of light seen during the day and whether it is able to focus rays or not. There are indications these play a role in the development of myopia.
When I ordered glasses a year ago, I also played around with the idea of eliminating astigmatism from my prescription by adjusting the cylinder value to 0 (it was only .25 in one eye and .50 in the other) and offsetting the sphere value by half of the difference. Because their buy-one get-one free sale, I got one pair with astigmatism and one without, and got to decide which I liked better.
If I remember correctly, thr Warby Parker storefront near me accepted a glasses prescriptions given out less than either five or ten years prior.
I got a new prescription in 2017-07-07, and just took a look at it. It says it expires 2019-07-07.
I'm in Washington, and got it at Walmart.
Not that I would advocate anyone taking shortcuts on eye exams, but assuming online US providers insist on appropriate documentation and doctors' names, there's always ordering from Canada.
In NJ mine always dates a year, so I got fed up and found a supplier to buy from that doesn't give a shit what my prescription says.
In regard to the above quote, I wonder how effective or if anyone is familiar with: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/eyeque-visioncheck-world-...
It essentially promises to not only cut out the doctor's exam visit but actually improve the prescription (since measurements are taken throughout the day).
note: not affiliated but seems like an interesting product (if not now then certainly as the field of self-testing improves, example: https://tricorder.xprize.org/prizes/tricorder)
Never needed glasses until I was in my late forties and had to start using reading ones.
I bought the Personal Vision Tracker (the black one) on the Indiegogo campaign. It's not very easy to use but gives fairly consistent data if handled with care. I did not yet compare the device data with the ones from a doctor's visit.
(The data for my right eye are slightly worse than for the left, and I have indeed not ideal results with standard reading glasses.)
I bought prescription glasses on a UK site (I live in Europe) based on the device data. Both the reading glasses (short distance) and the computer glasses (medium distance) are perfect: I have not seen this good in years.
Because of that excellent result I have also ordered the VisionCheck (the new, white one) on the Indiegogo campaign. It is purportedly easier to use, not gotten it yet.
Meanwhile I had also got the Insight model (larger white one). That is for visual acuity and it confirmed that I have 20/20. Interestingly, it also showed I have a light form of tritanopia, which might explain past naming disagreements around colors between green and blue.
Their product page: https://www.eyeque.com/pvt/
First, I asked, and they denied it. Then I literally had to pull out this law and they finally granted it. But they did everything they could to obstruct me. Literally they refused to scan it and wanted me to show up in person. Then while writing it, the doctor himself said "sad to see you don't support our business". (For people living in Boston, the place was Custom Eyes in Central Square.)
I was surprised by the divergence between the law and how pissy the doctor got when I tried to exercise my rights.
That I would want to question him about. Does he mean that the medical service is the loss-leader and that he gets a kickback off our purchase of eyewear?
So sad to see how that place changed.
The eye glass seller in longwood boston will measure your pupil distance, and check that your online glasses match the prescription when you get them. He charges a small fee for this.
There may be a different problem: though parallel, those two lines of sight may not be exactly perpendicular to the ruler/mirror. This is not going to make a huge difference.
Suppose the mirror/ruler is rotated five degrees off relative to the plane of your pupils, which is quite a lot. For an pupillary distance of 65 mm, this introduces only a 0.25 mm error on the low side: basically the measurement shrinks by the cosine of 5 degrees which is 0.996.
Pupillary distances are typically given to the millimeter.
> If you are closer then 1 meter to the mirror you should compensate.
If you're 1 meter away from the mirror, you won't be able to read the ruler, at least if you're doing all this because of near-sightedness. :) This technique is best if your face is right up to the mirror. If you press your forehead to the mirror so your head doesn't move, that's probably best. If you're far sighted and can't read the ruler from that close, then you have to back off. If you can't read the ruler at any distance, you may have to do this with contact lenses on.
I've seen that left off a couple times, and I just ask one of the people up front to just measure it for me and tell me what it is. I usually buy my main glasses from them anyway, and just say I'll get sunglasses or computer glasses online (which is when I use Zenni), so that helps, but even without mentioning that, I haven't gotten any pushback when I've asked for it.
See kazinator's dead accurate, no-friend-required method here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13092902
It reminds me of collimating a telescope with a laser or your eye. You basically look down the optics of the telescope and you should be staring into your own eye, or if you use a laser the laser should be reflected by the mirrors exactly back into the emitter.
Even cheap mirrors from a dollar store are more than good enough for this, as long as they are glass. Most plate glass glass is made by floating melted glass on a bath of molten metal (which is heavier). The molten metal, if undisturbed, provides a perfectly level surface.
Just don't use a plastic mirror, or a cheap polished metal one, not to mention a magnifying mirror.
Even fairly noticeable distortion will not matter at the distances involved in this measurement. Let's say that your mirror is so horribly warped over the tiny ~65 mm pupillary distance that the pupil-to-ruler lines of sight are an entire degree away from being parallel. The measurement will then be off by about 1.7% of the distance from your pupils to the ruler. If you get your eyes within 15 mm of the ruler, the error is only about 0.25 mm; below what you can resolve with that ruler.
If the mirror is fair, but tilted, the effect is negligible because the lines of sight remain parallel. The measurement is diminished according to the cosine of the tilt angle. For a rather significant five degree tilt, it will be only around 0.25 mm short.
They've been closed for years.
See this eye-opening 60 Minutes story on Luxottica: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDdq2rIqAlM
Luxottica retail brands: http://www.luxottica.com/en/retail-brands
Luxottica eyewear brands: http://www.luxottica.com/en/eyewear-brands
Luxottica vision insurance: http://www.luxottica.com/en/node/6336
In the US, only Costco and Walmart's optical departments are independent of Luxottica.
Oakley puts an INSANE amount of R&D into their products, particularly their eyewear. They have laser stations to make sure the optics of the lens doesnt change the perspective of things (the difference between catching a baseball in the glove and in the mouth), "shotgun" tests, weighted spikes, and even have a machine that opens/closes the sunglasses several million times. They test each design and material very thoroughly. Or, at least, they did when I worked there.
If the design didn't survive all of the tolerance parameters, back to the drawing board.
We also subjected our competitors glasses to the same tests. You wouldn't believe how many name brands just fell apart, or blew up into shards of plastic into our dummies' eyes, etc.
When Lux bought us, they made us take down the videos of exploding ray-bans we had on our website (And some other brands). Then they ran our entire department into the ground. Real piece of shit company. Those of us who didn't leave between 08-12 got laid off in ~16 or so.
I probably watched all those videos, you could see the amount of work dedicated to each item.
I don’t believe any sunglasses company will ever put the same effort in R&D like them.
Seems to me that since the acquisition they started to use cheaper materials. Maybe I’am right?
EssilorLuxottica is probably about 70% Sunglass Hut, 30% Vision when it comes to retail sales (I'm not factoring in Oakley). They also sell their frames on the wholesale market for independent DO's to purchase; pre-merger Luxottica did have some "house" lenses, but, they were just as expensive as Essilor lenses.
Ironically enough, Luxottica did attempt to be Costco's Vision provider for a few years back in the early 2000's, but, they did back out of it after only two years.
I recommend them as well. Persol (obviously from Luxottica so no good if you don't went to support them but I just couldn't find as stylish, foldable sunglasses elsewhere) and Ace & Tate are my favorite brands but I don't need prescription lenses so that may vary.
Still, I can't imagine paying 1000 USD for a pair of glasses. In Poland 100 EUR gives you a decent pair, 200 EUR is already a bit much.
It's a recurring theme in HN discussions about fines that all the Americans think the evil EU is unfairly fining fine American companies, and all the Europeans think the evil Americans are unfairly fining their countries' fine companies :)
The US however slaps huge fines on foreign companies for breaching sanctions or bribery of foreign officials.
On the other hand my latest glasses where neither lenses nor frame come from E-L cost an arm and a leg, too.
I've recently bought a pair of regular glasses as well as prescription sunglasses. Regular ones use Mont Blanc frames(considered expensive) + some pretty good lenses(best ones they offered anyway). Total cost: £400 for everything.
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban frames + their own Ray-Ban G15 prescription lens(again, pretty expensive) - total cost £320 for everything.
I just don't understand - how are those people you mention paying 1000 euro for glasses(I assume you mean lenses)????? Are they some incredibly complex custom lenses that they are getting? Mine are for nearsightedness + slight astigmatism in one eye.
I got a pair of $100 Warby Parker frames w/ lenses last week that are every bit as nice as any good designer pair I've seen in an optical shop.
Where is that?
I have strong short-sightness and astigmatism so I need special lenses, and on top of it I usually ask for the thinner model.
Together with frame it cost me about 300EUR just recently, in Madrid, Spain.
The vast majority of my glasses' cost is the lenses, last time around they cost me >$200 each IIRC. I didn't even change the frames, just got the lenses replaced.
If you're paying $400 for just lenses, you're badly over-paying.
It's a combination of prescription and comfort: I have a strong prescription, thinned lenses, and because I'm pretty sensitive to light (clear eyes) photochromic and AR. Possibly a few other bits I don't remember.
I'm not saying there's no inflation, but going on zenni with my old prescription (and trying to roughly match the options / add-ons) still yields lenses around $200, and I got my current glasses almost 5 years ago.
Imagine if glasses cost $2-3000 per lens. PER LENS. And your company insurance offered to cover some of it, but limited you to ONE PAIR IN YOUR LIFETIME. That's the policy of my Fortune 50 employer believe it or not.
Also, many people purchase hearing aids and then never wear them, because they can't stand the "new" influx of noise and most of it doesn't seem necessary or even desirable. So they effectively spend the money and then feel ripped off, in a sense. Or their spouse, who paid for the hearing aids and basically feels like they burned up thousands of dollars for nothing, is very upset.
It's also changed my perception of noise, in that the expected noise level of the roadway is what I hear with them in, for better or for worse. In truly loud environments, such as bars, I find that I actually hear better.
I've always wanted the ability to just "turn down" the sound of everyday life. I've actually wondered if some of my social anxiety has come from hearing sounds a little more intensely than some people, since after a hearing exam I apparently have super good hearing.
At times I've done audio recording without a monitor to hear my own voice. The result is me having in earbuds while speaking, and so I can't hear myself as well.
I noticed that I spoke louder and more confidently. So I've wondered if wearing something like these could be an effective way to help with social anxiety? Guess we'll see. Cheers!
A caucasian friend got a ride home by his Chinese friend and dad to visit them.
Once the dad was out of sight, he asked his friend what he was arguing with his dad about.
Chinese friend was confused about the question and didn't understand why he was asking. Then he said: "Oh, we were just talking about how nice the wedding was that we went to".
It's probably convenient for voice calls, though.
Even if that capability doesn't specifically address the range frequency required for music listening adequately, I imagine there are specialty hearing aids (likely at a hefty price increase) that do, catering to musicians that suffer hearing loss.
And for a lot of live music, it's plenty loud enough and protection from (further) hearing loss would be more of an issue.
The main issue I have with my hearing aid when playing music is that the feedback cancelation isn't as good as I'd like for pure, higher pitched notes. (Feedback protection is needed because sound goes out the vent as well as in and that reaches the microphone.)
I will add, that getting access to the frequency curve adjustment software for each device is difficult (everybody needs a different adjustment curve and other params tweaked), prohibited and also expensive. They are often set incorrectly in the first instance and require repeat visits to an audiologist and tweaking.
So much so that I've been considering at all sorts of dodgy routes to getting control of this myself, including reverse engineering and ordering device-coupling hardware from shady non-western web sites, so that I can program them myself.
I'm really really hoping that this market will be disrupted soon, but I'm not holding my breath.
Fixing this is my dream job.
The person above wasn't being hyperbolic when they said it can be $3K e.g.: https://www.healthyhearing.com/help/hearing-aids/prices
Although, much like the TI-84, $3,000 hearing aids probably are overpriced.
A magnifying glass might do the job good enough, and I know people who decided to not buy glasses but just use a magnifying glass to read.
But cheap, small, low power DSPs can do an amazing amount of work these days. Even if the AirPods don't have such a DSP, they're a good example of a reasonably complex piece of electronics with speakers and a microphone that sits in your ear, but costs an order of magnitude less than hearing aids. I think they're a good datapoint to argue that a truly free market could make much cheaper hearing aids.
I do think that the prices are inflated, and will drop, I just also think that they're complicated devices that aren't so easy to make.
Not that this is any excuse for them costing $20,000, but its something to keep in mind, cheap abibaba ones likely just make all frequencies louder.
For those who are interested, The Amp Hour has a great episode with Jørgen Jakobsen who talks about his experience in the industry and its quirks.
It's a tall people problem too. You can hear everyone in the bar except person in front of you, 30cm below.
Parts are a minor piece of the puzzle.
I had a $6000 pair of hearing aids that were lost. I replaced them with $1600 pair from Costco. Most of the time I can’t tell the difference. When I can, I wouldn’t be able to say which is better, just that I notice they didn’t sound the same.
I have Phonak HAs so I can buy the programmer (iCube) and software (Target) off ebay for $450 and a pair of hearing aids two generations old for $500-$1000. And if they break or I lose them, buy a replacement and the total is still less than buying from an audiologist.
It's also more flexible. Hearing feedback? Run the feedback test/modeling program. Can swap hearing aids between ears. Friend lose a hearing aid? Let them borrow yours (suitably programmed) and use foam inserts for earmolds (can buy or take a soldering iron to foam earplugs).
Initially it was very hard, but after a while you create habits around them and they become very natural. But still, even with a hearing aid, dont' forget that it doesn't improve your hearing, it just normalizes to a level where you can hear normal. In fact, because you're now running all the sound through a filter, a lot of frequencies get lost (in addition to the ones you're not able to hear anymore).
Anyway, I agree that nobody talks about the pricing. A good pair (say Oticon OPN 1) would cost me minimum $6.5K. Looking forward to see how Bose disrupts the whole industry with their entry level "hearphones".
bose might be poised to get in to that market. their 'hearphones' struck me as a first attempt, although it's not marketed as a medical device (AFAIR).
Also nearly jumped out of my seat in a terminal when a gate announcement was made. Guy across from me pulled out his IEM and said "you know airports increased the volumes on their announcements because people wearing headphones were missing their flights?"
IEMs - best invention ever. Can't wait for adblock glasses.