“I can hear very well from that ear,” said Kessler, whose sudden hearing loss was caused by an autoimmune disease. “But I can’t tell where the sound is coming from.”
Unlike hearing aids which amplify sound and typically aren’t covered by insurance, the device, called SoundBite, is covered by some insurance plans, though usually with a copayment. Kessler said she paid $600 for the fitting procedure and device and has yet to hear from her insurance company, Harvard Pilgrim, about whether she’ll get a refund or will be billed for an additional amount.
Dr. Kenneth Grundfast, who fitted Kessler with the device at Boston Medical Center, said he’s so far had good results with most of his patients. “Some complain about hearing feedback if they use a Bluetooth device, and they tell me it takes time to get used to having the device in their mouth, that they can feel it with their tongue.”