Find Out Which Hearing Aid is Best for You
Today you have your choice of almost invisible, comfortable, discreet and high fidelity hearing aids. There are literally hundreds of hearing aid types and styles on the market. With the right hearing aid, your life could be transformed. With the wrong one, your hearing could get worse.
Your options include the traditional behind the ear, receiver in the ear and receiver in your ear canal types. There are even extended wear hearing aids you leave in for months at a time, and hearing aids that wirelessly connect to your TV through your smartphone.
Click on the links below to discover more:
How Hearing Aids Work
The Truth About Hearing Aids
Which Hearing Aid is Right For You?
Types of Hearing Aids
How to Choose a Hearing Aid
Your audiologist or hearing aid specialist can help you choose the one that is right for your hearing needs and your lifestyle. Your hearing expert can fit, adjust and program your hearing aids so you get the best hearing possible.
Discover the discreet, comfortable and powerful digital or wireless hearing aid that will work for you. Call to schedule a visit to get your hearing tested and to hear which hearing solution is right for you.
How Hearing Aids Work
Hearing aids use small microphones to collect sounds and a computer chip converts the incoming sound, analyzes it and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss. Then you hear the audio signals through miniature speakers in your ears.
Which hearing aid is right for you? It depends on the severity of your hearing loss, where you want to hear better, how active you want to be and which technology you are comfortable with.
Joan J., Amherst patient
The Truth About Hearing Aids
Hearing aids work extremely well when they are fitted and adjusted appropriately. All hearing aids should be comfortable with respect to the physical fit and the sound loudness. If there is any discomfort the wearer should return to their audiologist immediately for alterations to provide a comfortable fit. Hearing aids can dramatically improve hearing, they do not provide “perfect” hearing.
Getting Used to Hearing Aids
Some people need a few days to adjust to their new hearing aids, but most take a few weeks. There are some who require several months to make the adjustment. In general, the greater the hearing loss and the longer the hearing loss has been present, the more difficult the transition to using hearing aids. There is no perfect way to learn how to adjust to hearing aids. Audiology professionals are uniquely trained to provide rehabilitative programs that should occur after a hearing aid has been fitted.
Virtually everyone, hearing aid users and non-hearing aid users complain about background noise at one time or another. There is no way for a hearing aid to eliminate the sounds that the wearer does not want to hear. The good news is that there are now hearing aids available that amplify the sounds you do want to hear and minimize some unwanted sounds.
There is a great deal of research that reveals dual microphones effectively reduce background noise for many people with certain types of hearing loss. Your audiologist can help you determine the best circuits and microphone options for your hearing loss and communication needs.
The best and most efficient way to reduce background noise is through the use of assistive listening devices such as FM technology. Ask an audiologist how this technology can work with your hearing aid to improve your ability to hear in difficult listening situations.
One Hearing Aid vs. Two Hearing Aids
You have two ears because you need two ears. If you have hearing loss in each ear that could be reduced by hearing aids, you should wear two hearing aids. Wearing hearing aids bilaterally (in each ear) will improve your ability to hear in noisy settings, allow you to localize sounds in your environment, improve the ability to understand speech, even from a distance and give sound a fuller quality.
Fact: Over 60% of individuals who wear hearing aids are fit binaurally. The benefits of wearing two hearing aids are enhanced ability to (a) hear better in the presence of background noise, (b) determine where sound is coming from, and (c) hear soft sounds at lower levels.
Which Hearing Aid is Right for You?
At the time of your hearing evaluation, a case history will be taken to determine the type of hearing problem that you have. Questions will also be asked about the onset of the hearing loss, presence of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness.
Based on the results of the hearing test and the answers to these questions, our highly trained hearing experts may make a referral to a medical doctor for an examination and possible treatment. If the testing reveals a sensori-neural hearing loss, a hearing aid may be recommended for one or both ears.
Hearing Aid Evaluation
There are literally thousands of hearing aids from which to choose. Our highly trained staff will use the information that was provided in the case history and in the audiological evaluation to help narrow those choices for you. The final decision on which hearing aid is purchased is the choice of the wearer. The two main types of hearing aids available today are conventional analog hearing aids and digital hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Fitting
During the hearing aid fitting the device is programmed to meet the needs of the wearer. The new wearer is provided with instructions regarding how to put the hearing aid in the ear and remove it, how to change batteries and how to care for and clean the device. This is also the time that the audiology professional reiterates the function of the hearing aid as it relates to the individual’s life style.
Questions to Ask Before You Buy
Before you buy a hearing aid, ask your audiology professional these important questions:
- How do I know when to have my hearing tested?
- What features would be most useful to me?
- What is the total cost of the hearing aid?
- Do the benefits of newer technologies outweigh the higher costs?
- Is there a trial period to test the hearing aids? (Most manufacturers allow a 30-to 60-day trial period during which aids can be returned for a refund.)
- What fees are nonrefundable if the aids are returned after the trial period?
- How long is the warranty?
- Can it be extended?
- Does the warranty cover future maintenance and repairs?
- What service do they provide after the sale?
- Can the audiologist make adjustments and provide servicing and minor repairs?
- Will loaner aids be provided when repairs are needed?
- What instruction does the audiologist provide?
Attitude is the key to the hearing aid user’s success.
A hearing aid is exactly what it says—it is an “aid” to help you hear better.
How Much to Pay for a Hearing Aid?
How much you should spend to enhance your hearing with hearing aids or assistive listening devices depends on many factors. If you live alone, in the woods, rarely talk on the phone, never listen to the radio or watch TV, rarely venture out, then your hearing aid use will probably be low and it doesn’t make sense to opt for “top shelf” hearing aids.
On the other hand, even if you live by yourself, but you’re constantly watching TV, talking on the phone or listening to the news on the radio and socializing with friends and family—your use is going to be high. In fact you’ll probably wear your hearing aids for 12-16 hours a day—you’ll want hearing aids that consistently perform well.
Given your high use, paying a bit more is going to be a good investment.
Digital Hearing Aids: 21st Century Solutions
If you only plan on using your hearing aids at home, the more basic units may suffice. On the other hand, if you want it to enhance your listening at home, in the car, at the supermarket, at a restaurant, at concerts, at the football games you attend, in the yard and across a wide variety of listening environments, then you’ll want a more full-featured advanced digital hearing aid.
Of course the more you use your hearing aids, the more they will help you, the more you’ll be engaged with your friends and family, and the more you’ll get out of life.
The Price and Value of Hearing Aids
Cost and value are two different things. Take out a piece of paper, list how much of the day and week you could benefit from using hearing aids and the variety of situations where they would help you enjoy life more. Then calculate what it’d be worth to you, per day, to be part of the conversation. That’s the value.
What Determines the Cost of a Hearing Aid?
Cost is determined by features and function. The more features you want and the higher level of performance you’d like, the more you’ll pay. Almost invisible hearing aids that work well across a broad spectrum of listening environments and are designed for someone with an active lifestyle are likely to be more costly (and work better) than cheap imitations.
What Determines the Cost?
Just like any other technology, your hearing aid price depends on which features you choose and, more importantly, what your hearing healthcare professional decides is right for you. The more features you receive, the more the hearing aids will cost. For example, if you live a very active lifestyle, your hearing healthcare professional will most likely recommend dual microphones to help you hear better in noisy environments. (Patient-satisfaction is very high with this feature.)
All hearing aids come with an adjustment or trial period, typically 30 days from date of purchase. During this adjustment period, you’re welcome to visit your hearing aid professional for any necessary fitting issues or if for any reason you are not satisfied with the hearing aids you buy, you can return them for a refund minus a small fitting/restocking fee.
Be realistic. Hearing loss typically develops over many years. Becoming re-acquainted with sounds while using hearing aids will take practice and time. It is important not to become disillusioned or frustrated while your brain adjusts to the sounds provided by your hearing aids.
Which Brands Are Best?
We’ve spent the last decade or longer selecting the few hearing aid manufacturers that we know from experience are the cream of the crop.
Why do we only carry the best? Because we want to help you truly get more out of life. Call us to get a free demo and find out which individual hearing aid type and brand is right for you.
Does Insurance Cover Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids are generally not covered by health insurance companies, although some do. For eligible children and young adults ages 21 and under, Medicaid will pay for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, including hearing aids, under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) service. Also, children may be covered by their state’s early intervention program or State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Medicare does not cover hearing aids for adults; however, diagnostic evaluations are covered if they are ordered by a physician to assist in developing a treatment plan. Since Medicare has declared the bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) a prosthetic device and not a hearing aid, Medicare will cover the BAHA if other coverage policies are met.
Some nonprofit organizations provide financial assistance for hearing aids, while others may help provide used or refurbished aids.