I, like many of you, I own a modern portable phone. I don't pretend to be an expert with my 'phone but for app. $500 a person can use their modern I-phone or Smart phone like they would a lap-top. There are literally hundreds of functions on todays phones that enable you to do banking, surf the internet, send mail or texts, talk to people practically anywhere in the world, in any language. etc, etc ,etc. The functions are endless. All for a $500 expenditure. Now, as you get a little older (as we all are), your hearing might begin to suffer. It may be just one affected ear or maybe both, but either way your choices for a solution are pretty limited. You pretty well have to look into buying a hearing aid. Herein lies the problem. For anywhere from $1000 to $3000 (per ear) you can be outfitted with a hearing aid. A little device that has probably less than $100 worth of parts, that never seems to work to your satisfaction, that goes thru batteries like crazy, that the salesperson is continually trying to get you to upgrade to a more expensive model, that really is no end of aggravation. Are we being ripped off or what? I'd enjoy reading your comments.