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QuickBooks, backing you. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. We're always hearing claims about new technology to make our lives better. Well, this morning we'll be hearing about devices that promise to someday benefit the vast majority of us. Devices designed to turn up the volume of everyday life, as David Pogue will report in our cover story. Sooner or later, two-thirds of us will need hearing aids, but most of us won't get them.
On average, about 20% of adults who have a hearing loss actually use a hearing aid. But there's some good news. Thanks to new technology and a new law, we may no longer have to suffer in silence. Companies like Bose, Samsung, Apple could all enter the market now.
Coming up on Sunday Morning, we'll show you the present and future of hearing aids, loud and clear. And then we'll be hearing from one of the legends of business and media. His name is Ted Turner, and he's looking back with our Ted Koppel.
Hey Taylor, what did we, we were at 15 and 3-8s yesterday? He could have been a role model for Donald Trump. He made and lost billions. A million a day. A million a day for two and a half years? That'd be 700 million.
You're right, 10 million a day. Imagine the Italians at war. I mean, what a joke. They didn't belong. He outraged the establishment with his blatant political incorrectness.
They'd rather be involved in crime than just baking some wine and having a good time. And oh yes, CNN got a great deal of his attention. This is CNN. In fact, he created it. You've always been a bit of a dreamer, haven't you? Well, a lot of my dreams have come true.
Yes, they have. Whatever happened to Ted Turner later on the Sunday Morning? And more, all coming up when our Sunday Morning podcast continues. Turn up the volume is what people with impaired hearing sometimes say while watching TV with family or friends.
But a new generation of hearing aids may soon change all that. Our cover story is reported by David Pogue, tech critic for Yahoo Finance. Meet Dick Pogue, Cleveland lawyer. He's 90 years old. He goes to the office six days a week. And he's my dad. Oh, you dog. My dad doesn't make many concessions to aging. About the only one I've noticed is that he wears hearing aids.
There it is. Under what circumstances do you wear them? Movies? Wear them at movies, yes. And watching TV? I do wear them watching television.
Talking to mom? When I'm listening to her. Most people with hearing loss get it by getting older. Two out of three people over 70 have trouble hearing. But what's really surprising is how many of them don't get hearing aids. On average, about 20 percent of adults who have a hearing loss actually use a hearing aid. I mean 20 percent.
Over a lifetime of damage they can't regenerate. Frank Lin is an ear surgeon, professor, and the director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at Johns Hopkins. His research shows that hearing loss is associated with higher risks of hospitalization, depression, and especially dementia. So why don't more people seek treatment? First, the price. The average cost to get a pair of hearing aids in the United States in the United States is about $4,700, which is remarkable, right? Because that basically means then for the average American that this could be their third largest material purchased in life after housing a car.
So it's incredibly expensive. How much of hearing aids does insurance cover? So the vast majority of insurance companies don't cover hearing aids.
But cost is only one obstacle. Some people are also embarrassed to wear hearing aids. Some people don't realize how much smaller hearing aids have become over the decades.
And some people are put off by the hassle of getting them. In the U.S., you can't get hearing aids without testing and consultation with a doctor or audiologist. Today, most of the world's hearing aids are made by six companies. Only one is headquartered in the U.S., and that's Starkey near Minneapolis. I've been in everybody's ears. Starkey's founder and CEO is Bill Austin.
Ford, Reagan, Clinton. He's had some experience. You didn't treat the pope, did you? Actually, we did. Oh my gosh.
I don't actually need hearing aids yet. So it's a light and a camera? But Starkey's team treated me to a pope-worthy fitting experience. That's amazing. First, a cleaning. You do have narrow hair canals. I know. I wanted to give you a challenge. All right, there's your eardrum. Wow.
That's a sight a lot of TV correspondents never show their viewers right there. I'm ready. Into the chamber. Then the hearing test. You do have small ear canals.
I'm getting that. Say the word skin. Skin. Toe. Toe. Owl. Owl.
Shakespeare at eight. You have a narrow opening here. That seems to be the takeaway today. Then a molding session for hearing aids that will exactly fit into my ears. So this is called taking an impression? Yes.
This blue liquid plastic takes about five minutes to solidify. Oh, I can hear again. And voila, you make a good impression.
Technicians have to fit all the electronics into a tiny shell that will disappear completely inside your ear. That's it. That's all you need. All right. I'm going to slip this in your right ear. Okay.
Can you see it? You can't see any hearing aids there. Or you can get the kind that slips over your ear. There you go.
Oh, that's nice. They have room for a lot more features. You can listen to music from your phone or make phone calls. They even have different presets for different sonic environments. I'll have one that would be more for crowd or when you're in a noisy area.
Think that sounds fancy? You ain't heard nothing yet. We'll transform the hearing aid with sensors and artificial intelligence to become a true gateway to your health. Starkey's chief technology officer, Achin Bhaumik, met me inside one of the company's echo-proof testing chambers. He's adding more sensors to their hearing aids. This new model, for example, can monitor your steps like a Fitbit. Eventually, it will even be able to notify loved ones if you've fallen.
But probably the number one technology most hearing loss sufferers would like to see now is just the ability to understand someone talking across the table from you in a restaurant. Why can't we lick that? Yes. I think we are close to cracking the problem. We will be able to do that by detecting where are you looking? Are you looking at me?
Are you looking at the person over there? But even basic hearing aids cost an ear and a leg. And this is why.
That looks good. Two-thirds of the price is all those doctor services, testing, customization, and follow-up, all bundled in that price. But Frank Lin became convinced that people with mild hearing loss don't need all that. They might be content with something more generic that costs a tenth as much. The importance of the present bill instructing the FDA to...
So his team worked with Congress to successfully pass a new bill. For the first time, you'll be able to buy hearing aids over the counter. Which effectively means by August of 2020 that we will have the ability for companies to basically sell hearing aids directly to consumers. Companies like Bose, Samsung, Apple could all enter the market now. One, it helps the access, obviously, because you don't need a prescription. Two, the costs would come way down, right? The six big companies who make hearing aids, you're taking direct aim at their spreadsheet. Yes and no. It's an industry and a profession and a practice that's built up over the last several decades.
And now we're disrupting the model. If we think hearing is so important for public health, then that's how we need to advance the field. The new law will create a new class of hearing aids, much less customized but also much less expensive. They may resemble these devices. So these are PSAPs, personal sound amplification product.
Nicholas Reed is an audiologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. These PSAPs are on the market today, but legally they can't be called or marketed as hearing aids. But when this new law kicks in, some of these things on the table here might now be allowed to be called hearing aids. I think several of these items on the table would meet the standards that will be set up. Some of these over-the-counter devices have some pretty cool features too.
I tried them out. This is the super ear. Oh this is the microphone? That's the mic, yeah.
So I could kind of sit like this and it's bulky, but you get a nice signal. And it feels kind of cheap. It can't be that expensive.
I think these retail at $79.99, yeah $80. This is Bose. I think it's a $500 device.
Let's turn on the device. So wait a minute, are these noise canceling? These have noise cancellation. Because all of a sudden the general hiss of the room went away. You yourself did a study.
Yeah. And you compared these two, three, four, five hundred dollar things with these multi-thousand dollar hearing aids. And what were the results? In a controlled environment, they improved speech understanding about as well as a hearing aid. As you could probably guess, the big hearing aid companies say they're not as good as their products. In a restaurant or backgrounds of noise, they just don't perform.
Chris McCormick is the chief marketing officer at Starkey. So what's going to happen when people are allowed to buy hearing aids without the audiologist services? The concern is people trying to self-diagnose, people trying to self-program. The products will have to be standardized. And the problem with that is everybody's hearing is different. So everyone noticed a difference when you tried them on. Bottom line, the world of hearing aids is about to improve dramatically. They recharge in their case.
Both at the expensive end and thanks to that new law, over the counter. We're going to switch to your left ear, okay? In the meantime, if you're among the 80 percent who could use hearing aids but haven't looked into it, say the word room. Room.
Well, I'll give the last word to my dad. Are you able for a minute to imagine your life without the hearing aids? Well, I wouldn't be able to work. I mean, I couldn't go to meetings.
I couldn't hear people. It would just cause me to isolate myself and be at home and very seldom go out. It would be a dramatically different life.
I would not like it. And now a page from our Sunday morning almanac. September 30th, 1882. 136 years ago today.
And counting. The day the future physicist Johannes Wilhelm Hans Geiger was born in Germany. Geiger developed a method for detecting and measuring radioactivity. An invention that eventually led to the device known as the Geiger counter. A mainstay of science ever since. The Geiger counter became a pop culture mainstay as well. What in the world is that? It's a Geiger counter. As in the 1950 movie Bells of Coronado, starring those seemingly unlikely cowpoke science cowpoke scientists Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. When you get close to it with this tube, it registers right here. Say it sure is popping now. Listen.
What? Hans Geiger died in 1945, just a few days short of his 63rd birthday. But the invention that bears his name lives on. Any list of the legends of American business would have to include the name Ted Turner.
Bold and frequently controversial, Turner was very much a disruptor in his prime. But time and age have put him in a reflective mood as senior contributor Ted Koppel found when he visited Turner at his Montana ranch. You ever ride your whole property here?
No, but I've ridden quite a bit of it. You need a wide lens on your camera to capture the many sides of Ted Turner. Especially especially out here on his sprawling 113,000 acre ranch outside Bozeman, Montana. You've always been a bit of a dreamer, haven't you? Well, a lot of my dreams have come true. Yes, they have.
Hey Taylor, what did we, we were at 15 and three eights yesterday. 60 Minutes has been covering the fulfillment of those dreams for almost 40 years. He's just convinced he can do almost anything he sets out to do. And so far he's been right.
Get the bullpen ready, Dodgers. When Harry Reasoner made that observation, Ted Turner had not yet created CNN, but he had bought the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks. And by transmitting all those baseball and basketball games via satellite to cable stations around the country, Turner transformed his not very successful local Atlanta TV station. Super family entertainment comes your way on Atlanta's WTBS. Into his own creation, which he dubbed a super station. Programming, you know we've got the best of any independent station.
Around the same time, Turner, a man of many parts, had already skippered the yacht courageous to a four nothing sweep of Australia in the America's Cup, arguably the world's most prestigious yachting race. I'm a lot of different people. If you don't know that by now, I'm a multifaceted person.
I've got a lot of different personalities. You ought to see me at midnight on the full moon. By the time Diane Sawyer got to Turner in 1986, CNN was well up and running. We intend to cover all the news all the time. And Ted had his sights on acquiring CBS. What happened to the man who said that CBS was a cheap whorehouse taken over by sleaze artists? I said that years ago. I was more of a crusader then than I am now, but I really felt that way at the time.
Ted Turner was a loud practitioner of political incorrectness years before Donald Trump rode that pony into the White House. Italians, Italians, imagine the Italians at war. I mean, what a joke. They didn't belong in the last war. They were sorry they were in it. They were glad to get out of it.
You know, they'd rather be involved in crime than just making some wine and having a good time. They called him the Mouse from the South, Captain Outrageous. But when Turner sat down with Mike Wallace in 2003, CNN was already an international powerhouse, and Ted Turner had begun putting his money where his mouth had been. I got a letter saying that I was going to be honored by the United Nations Association as their Man of the Year, and I thought, well, what am I going to say?
Because I had to make a little speech. And since money talks... Give him some money. Give him a lot of money. I said, how much are you going to give him? I said, he's got to, you know, he's got to be in the newspapers. It's got to be a big figure. How about a, how about a billion?
You know, I mean... And he did. Turner fulfilled his pledge of $1 billion to the United Nations. He also contributed somewhere north of $250 million toward limiting the spread of nuclear weapons out of the former Soviet Union.
That's a real nice fish. As Morley Safer discovered in 2008, though, Turner sometimes got his numbers a little confused, as in this conversation about the disastrous merger between Time Warner, CNN and AOL. You were losing nearly $10 million a day for two and a half years. A million a day. A million a day for two and a half years? Wait a minute, that'd be $700 million. You're right, $10 million a day.
I listen, I get thousands, millions and billions mixed up. The confusion, the episodes of outrageous behavior, the euphoric highs and dark lows were initially diagnosed as symptoms of manic depression. Turner says that was a misdiagnosis, but he openly acknowledges having a progressive brain disorder called Lewy Body Dementia. Can you tell us what that is? It's a mild case of what people have is Alzheimer's. It's similar to that, but not nearly as bad. Alzheimer's is fatal. Thank goodness that I don't have that.
But I also have got... I can't remember the name of it. That's all right.
Tell me what the... It's dementia. I can't remember what my disease is. It's an unpleasant thing to remember. You bet.
Yeah. So just tell me what the symptoms are. I mean, one of the symptoms we're seeing right now, you can't remember what it was you wanted to tell me. But frankly, Ted, at our age, not being able to remember things... Is pretty common. Is pretty common. I know that.
But it's more extreme with you? I'm tired, exhausted. That's the main symptoms. And forgetfulness.
Lift six, down and hold. Ted Turner begins most mornings these days with some yoga. He has never been a quitter. His willingness to be shown on network television in what is certainly a diminished state is a testament to courage and a surprising absence of vanity. What do you think?
It looks pretty good. Turner has been and remains to this day a passionate environmentalist. I'm not buying any more land. I've got enough.
Yes. Over the years, Turner has acquired roughly two million acres of land, most but not all of it in the United States, much of it devoted to restoring the American bison. Once, there were literally tens of millions of bison in the American West.
By the early 1900s, they'd been slaughtered almost to the point of extinction. Only a few hundred left. And so how many bison do we have now in the United States? Roughly. I think it's about 300,000.
Really? And there's 200,000 in Canada. So there's about a half a million. So you saved the bison race. Well, I don't know.
We did it together. Turner has a national chain of 45 restaurants under the name Ted's Montana Grill. They serve bison. If we make money raising bison, and we make more money raising bison than we do raising cattle on the same amount of acreage, then the bison will be protected. Turner has more than 50,000 bison grazing on his various ranches.
Early one evening, we drove to a remote section of the ranch in the hope of seeing, or at least hearing, some wolves. It's hit or miss. It's hit or miss. It's a patient man's game. Right now, we're a couple of old geezers looking into the sun. We can't see a damn thing.
We were just killing time, chewing the fat. I wondered if Turner had ever considered politics. What about you? Were you ever tempted to get into the rain? Not really, a little bit. Closest I came to running for office was when I was married to Jane Fonda, and when I discussed it with her, she was married to one politician.
Tom Hayden. Yeah. And she said, you know, if you run for office, you run alone. Were you thinking about going for the brass ring for the big job?
I didn't think very much about it, but I didn't see any point in doing anything else but that. So you were thinking about the White House? Sure. Drive and ambition were qualities his father instilled in Ted Turner. I think your father may have had the greatest impact on your life. Would you agree with that? Would you agree with that of any individual? Of any individual, probably. Yeah. And he took his own life at a young age. 53.
Yeah, well, that's young. You told me yesterday that he'd left you a note. Do you mind telling me what was in the note? Well, he just said he was sorry that he got in. He felt like he was in over his head, but he wasn't.
He just apologized, sad. I loved him very much, and he was a hero of mine. As you get older now, as you go into the last few chapters of your life, do you ever think about suicide? No. I've got five children and 14 grandchildren, and I wouldn't put them through that. That was painful. It was painful for me, I know, when my father did it.
And I'm not going to even think about doing anything like that for my children and grandchildren. Even as he struggles with the symptoms of Lewy body dementia, Ted Turner continues to engage great challenges, threats to the environment, nuclear war, echoes perhaps of a poem he memorized as a classics major at Brown University, recalling an ancient hero confronting insurmountable odds. Then stepped forward Horatius, the captain of the gate.
He said to every man and woman born, death cometh soon or late, and how can man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods? You down the bridge, Sir Council, with all the speeds you may, I would but two beside me will hold the foe in play. On yon narrow span a thousand might well be stopped by three. Now who will stand on either hand and guard the bridge with me? I was Horatius at the bridge. And that, on the eve of his 80th birthday, is Ted Turner. I'm Jane Pauley. Thank you for listening, and please join us again next Sunday morning. We kind of know analytically and empirically as our strategic situation, our military situation, is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts.
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