A subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group has launched an online hearing test and a line of lower-cost hearing devices that are generating alarm about patient safety among otolaryngologists.
Explore this issue:March 2012
In an Oct. 2011 release announcing its products, hi HealthInnovations said its goal is to reduce the cost of hearing aids so that more people have access to them. About 36 million American adults have hearing loss, but only one of five people who could benefit from hearing aids wears one, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Anyone can take the hearing test at hi HealthInnovations’ website, using earphones and most computers, tablets or smartphones. After completing the test, users are shown a summary of their “hearing health” and, if applicable, hearing devices that may work well for them. People who have had a hearing test within the past year can enter their audiogram results into the computer to see device recommendations. The website states that if consumers decide to purchase any of hi HealthInnovations’ four hearing devices, their test results will allow the company to custom program the devices to their specific hearing levels.