DR SHIP: Mr H is a 73-year-old man who has
had hearing loss for 8 years. He immigrated to the United States from Taiwan
about 40 years ago. He lives in a suburb of Boston with his wife and is retired
from work in scientific research. He has Medicare and supplemental preferred
provider organization insurance.
In 1994, Mr H noticed that he was having difficulty hearing at laboratory
seminars and at home. He found it difficult to distinguish consonants, especially d from t and p from b. Unless the topic of discussion was
familiar, he had difficulty understanding it. He sought care from his primary
care physician, who referred him to an audiologist. Audiometry results confirmed
hearing loss sufficient to benefit from a hearing aid, so he began to wear
these in both ears. Every 2 to 3 years, each subsequent audiology examination
has showed worsened hearing loss. In 1997, Mr H purchased a new set of hearing
aids with a more sophisticated amplifier. His most recent set of hearing aids
is digital with a dual control for frequency and volume, which he states improves
the quality of sound.