KC man finally gets a refund for bad hearing aids — and a free new pair from a new company

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Dan Conninghton was at the Beltone office in Independence this week, getting fitted for a new pair of hearing aids -- free of charge.

It all comes after a FOX4 Problem Solver report on the 88-year-old man's problems with an online hearing aid company.

Conninghton ordered rechargeable hearing aids from Nano in April for $399, about one-tenth of what hearings usually cost. That first pair of Nano hearing aids broke after just a month of use.

Since they were still under warranty, Conninghton mailed them back to Nano to be repaired. After weeks of waiting, he finally got a replacement pair, only to find out they were actually "refurbished" and never worked.

That was in late May. He demanded a refund, but struggled to get it until just recently. After FOX4's story aired earlier this month, Nano finally helped him get his money back.

But the best part: The story also prompted a major hearing aid retailer to come to Conninghton's rescue.

"Very nice of them," said Conninghton, a retired firefighter. "It's wonderful that they volunteered to do this."

After running a battery of tests, Glen Roe, a hearing aid specialist with Beltone, determined that Conninghton had lost as much as 56% of his hearing in one ear.

"People with your hearing loss tell me they can always hear, but they can't always understand," Roe told Conninghton.

That much hearing loss, if left untreated, can lead to isolation and even an increased risk of dementia, Roe said.

Roe then fitted Conninghton with a pair of rechargeable Beltone hearing aids -- free of charge.

The hearing aids never need batteries. They appeared to make an immediate difference in Conninghton's hearing -- at least to those watching.

After putting them in, Conninghton stopped asking to have sentences repeated, something he had to regularly do before.

But the challenge will be convincing Conninghton to wear the hearing aids every day -- even when he thinks he doesn't need them.

If he doesn't wear them, his hearing loss could get worse. Conninghton said he plans to follow Beltone's instructions.

"I've been given my marching orders," he said. "I'll do it."

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