My 81-yr old MIL began living with us in 2007 and we discovered she had fairly bad hearing loss she wasn't aware of (she's in denial about everything to do with aging). We insisted she get hearing aids which cost $1500 apiece. They are very small, light and comfortable to wear.
Be aware they do not solve everything. Telephones may still be difficult. A good audiologist will do adjustments for free; sometimes it's tricky to get the right 'balance'. In any situation with high ambient noise - a bistro or cafe, for example - hearing will still be difficult, especially if the person talking is not facing you.
Also, batteries have to be replaced every ten days. Cleaning should be done regularly, and again, a good audiologist will clean and replace any parts (some of the plastic will stiffen after months of use and need replacement) for free.
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