How do I know if I have hearing loss or need hearing aids?
The best way to tell if you have hearing loss and need hearing aids is to have a complete hearing evaluation. But there are many signs that indicate your hearing is not as sharp as it should be. You can refer to the Hearing Health Quick Test and see how you score. If you have a score of 3 or more it may be a sign that it is time for a hearing evaluation.
Who do I see for hearing loss?
You should see an Audiologist, although not everyone who tests hearing is an Audiologist.
How do I know the difference?
Someone who is titled a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) may offer hearing evaluations, possibly even FREE, and sell hearing aids; however, they do not have the extensive amount of training as an audiologist does. An audiologist must hold either a Masters Degree (MS) or a Doctorate Degree in Audiology (Au.D.) which requires undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as internships.
Does an audiologist charge more for the hearing aids?
Does Medicare cover hearing aids?
Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids, but some commercial insurance plans have hearing aid coverage. It is best to refer to your benefits booklet, contact your human resource department or contact your insurance carrier prior to your appointment so that you know what to expect.
I can hear I just don’t understand when people mumble. Aren’t hearing aids just amplifiers?
Hearing aids do amplify, but they are programmed to amplify only in frequency or pitch ranges where you need help. If you have good hearing in the lower pitches, but need a little help with high pitches, a hearing aid will be adjusted to match these needs. This can help to clarify other people's voices so they don't sound like they are mumbling any more.
Are there hearing aids that just amplify voices and not the background noises?
Not exactly. Most hearing aids sold today have digital processors which adjust automatically to reduce background noise and enhance speech. Unfortunately, there are NO hearing aids that amplify only voices. Most environments are a combination of both speech and noise. Hearing aids amplify some of both, but many levels of technology are capable of prioritizing speech.
Are the tiny hearing aids that fit inside your ear canal more expensive than the big ones that go behind your ear?
No, not necessarily. Those are two different styles of hearing aids. The style of the hearing aid has to do with what the hearing aid looks like. How much the hearing aid will cost depends on the type of technology or computer chip that is inside it. The size does not matter.
I don’t want my hearing aid to be seen. Can I wear the tiniest one?
Actually, many of the newest styles that have become available in the last few years would surprise most people because of their small size and discreet appearance. And many of these actually fit behind the ear. Your hearing loss will play a role in determining the right style of hearing aid for you, but the new behind the ear styles are often much smaller than the traditional ones, are more comfortable than the older behind-the-ear and in-the-ear styles and can fit a wide range of hearing abilities.
Why is there such a large price range for hearing aids?
In many cases, the price that you pay for the hearing aids includes much more than just the device. The cost may also cover office visits and appointments, extended warranties, supplies and maintenance. Beyond that, the cost variation will be affected by a large range of technology choices.
I heard that digital hearing aids are better. Do you offer digital hearing aids?
Yes. All hearing aids available today are digital hearing aids, which refers to the type of computer chip and sound-processing inside the hearing aid. But there is still a wide variety of options and performance abilities in the digital category. Some hearing aids work well in quiet environments but not so well in background noise. Others may be better suited to noisy environments, changing environments or music, and some are designed to work wirelessly with TV's, cell phones and MP3 players. We take the time with each patient to figure out what type of hearing aid will best suit their hearing loss as well as their lifestyle and interests.
Can I get just one hearing aid?
Some people need only one hearing aid because they only have hearing loss on one ear or because one ear has no hearing left at all. Most people, however, do not fall into either of these categories. They have hearing that is the same in both ears, or a small variation that can be matched by the custom programming of each hearing aid.
What if I can only afford one hearing aid?
For most people, cost will have some influence on their hearing aid selection process. If cost is a priority in your decision, it is best to remember that even with the great improvements in hearing aid technology, our brains are still the best computers. So if two hearing aids are recommended for you, you will likely do better with two lower technology hearing aids than you would with one higher technology hearing aid because our brains hear and understand the best when sound comes in equally to both ears.
I still don’t know if a hearing aid is what I want or need. Can I try it and return it if I don’t like it?
Yes, any hearing aid that you try can be returned within 30 days of purchase. This is called a trial period. We will take the time to discuss all of your options to make the best decision for you before they hearing aid is ordered, but if it does not match your needs or your expectations you will have the option of returning it or exchanging it for something different. If you choose to return it, you will be refunded less a small fee that is used to cover the shipping, ear impression and Audiologist's time. If you exchange for a different instrument, there is no fee applied. You simply pay the difference in cost.
I have seen ads for cheap hearing aids. Are they just as good?
"You get what you pay for" is a dangerous statement when it comes to hearing aids. You really need to make sure you know where you are going and what you are getting for your money. TV ads, internet ads and magazine ads may sound intriguing, but understand that the price you pay also includes the professional services provided by your Audiologist. An ear impression may be needed to custom design your hearing aid, programming adjustments will likely be needed to fine tune the settings to your specific needs and you will probably have questions once you have the hearing aid in your hands. An Audiologist will be able to help you with all of these factors and more. They can also spend the time with you to make sure that what you are paying for is going to meet your needs. So in paying more money up front at an office, you will get a better value because the hearing aid and service will provide you with the best performance for your money. However, the most expensive hearing aid is not necessarily the best one or the best one for you. There can be some price variation from one office to another, but if you compare prices be sure to you are comparing similar packages. Finally, HIS offices typically rely solely on hearing aids to sustain their businesses. Audiologists are qualified to perform and bill for many more services so since they do not rely solely on hearing aids the cost for the hearing aids is frequently less expensive.