India Tribune, “Indian doctor develops high-quality and low-cost hearing aid”
Published on Oct. 6, 2010
By J.V. Lakshmana Rao
Indian Doctor Develops High-Quality and Low-Cost Hearing Aid
Chicago: Hearing impairment is a very common ailment. In milder cases, the impairment goes unnoticed. But continuous neglect of hearing impairment leads to serious hearing loss. Hearing loss, if remains untreated, progressively increases. Surgery is one option, but not for most cases of age-related hearing loss. Also in some cases of hearing loss, a surgery cannot be performed. That is why doctors recommend the use of hearing aid if a person is diagnosed with hearing loss. Because of the high cost of hearing aids prevailing in the market, most patients with hearing impairment do not buy them and suffer silently.
But now there is a hope for such patients. Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, a Chicago-based otolaryngologist, who is an expert in treating hearing loss, has created a very high- quality and sensitive hearing aid with an affordable cost that has raised hope for all middle and low-income patients with hearing loss.
In an interview with India Tribune, Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, who is an expert in treating ear, nose and throat ailments, says that he has come across many patients, who are hard of hearing, also hard of buying a hearing aid. “I feel, as a physician, I want all my patients to be able to get the best treatment. While rich patients could buy their hearing aids, after being diagnosed for hearing loss, some poor and middle class patients still remained without being fitted with hearing aids because of their high price tags. I used to feel sorry for them. Such a situation is painful for me. Some inexpensive ones that are available in the market are not efficient and not worth the cost.” Therefore, he says, he has researched for several years and created a very high quality hearing aid that could be affordable by all low and middle income groups. At less than $200 per piece, he says that his MDHearingAid is of high quality and affordable.
Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri says that in the USA approximately 36 million people have reported hearing difficulty or hearing loss. It is up from 28 million in 2000 and this number is expected to grow to almost 40 million by 2020. Despite advances in technology, quality and comfort, hearing instrument adoption rate has stayed stable since 1984 at 23.5 percent. This means that there are 28 million people with a clinical hearing loss that are not using hearing aids.
He says that while the prices of most electronic goods, such as televisions, DVD players and music players have come down over a period, the average price of a single hearing aid now stands at $1904, up from $501 in 1984. As many as 64 percent of respondents to the National Council of Aging survey cited cost as a prohibitive factor in the decision to use hearing aids.”
To help every patient — whether one is rich or poor — with hearing impairment, he created a high-quality hearing aid — Acoustitone PRO* — and floated a company called MDHearingAid.
The MDHearingAid devices are designed to provide the millions of people with hearing difficulty, a low-cost alternative to expensive hearing aids. They are among the very few FDA-registered and cleared medical-grade hearing aids below $200. They have been extensively evaluated by several board-certified Otologists and audiologists, including faculty at the Michigan Ear Institute and Henry Ford Health System, who feel that the sound quality is remarkable given the low cost.
Asked what are the other benefits from Acoustitone PRO hearing aids, he says that priced at less than $200 a piece, it is the most cost effective solution for hearing loss. By wearing an Acoustitone PRO hearing aid, one could avoid negative psychosocial problems that are associated with hearing loss. Generally a person with hearing impairment suffers social isolation resulting in depression. He says that compared to hearing-impaired people who use hearing aids, those who do not use hearing aids are more likely to report depression, anxiety and social seclusion. There is also an association between hearing impairment and Alzheimer’s dementia, supporting the hypothesis that hearing impairment contributes to cognitive dysfunction in older adults. Therefore, to lead a quality life, he recommends to the hearing-impaired to see a physician when possible and obtain a hearing aid.
Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri says Acoustitone PRO hearing aid sits comfortably and is hidden behind the ear. It comes with various sized ear tips so it can fit most ears. And if a more personal fit is required or desired, the Acoustitone PRO hearing aid can be fit with a custom ear mold. While the battery life of expensive hearing aids is limited to a couple of days, the battery life of Acoustitone PRO hearing aid is very long covering more than three weeks. “A pack of 10 batteries at an approximate cost about $10 can cover almost a year.
For customer service and for customer satisfaction, he says, Acoustitone PRO hearing aid will be replaced or a refund will be provided if a patient does not think it is the best hearing aid under $200. The Acoustitone PRO hearing aid comes with a detailed manual.
For more information, please visit Web site: www.MDHearingAid.com or call 888-670-4327.
*Please Note: The Accoustitone PRO has been replaced by the MDHearingAid PRO