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July 4, 1980

Two Views Toward the Hard-of-Hearing

Author Affiliations

Clark University Worcester, Mass

JAMA. 1980;244(1):28. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310010018009

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To the Editor.—  An elderly man began having hearing problems, and at 82 years, after consulting with top ear, nose, and throat specialists and an audiologist at a university hospital in a large city, purchased twin hearing aids at the considerable price of $400 each. But that was not the end of the problem. At their best, after repeated adjustments, the hearing aids were useful to this man in a one-to-one conversation, but in a family group he most often resigned himself to isolation—frustrated by trying to hear while intrusive background noises drowned out the meaningful conversation.This summer there was a breakthrough of sorts. I wondered if a relatively simple idea—using ordinary hi-fidelity equipment for communication—might not pay off. Most hi-fi systems allow the use of headphones, and, with a simple adapter, a microphone. As one person talks into the microphone, the other person wears the headphones and adjusts