Q&A – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are hearing aids so expensive?  Are they covered by insurance?

A: Most insurance companies currently do not cover 100% of hearing aid costs.  Some private insurance policies (i.e., BCBS Federal, United Healthcare, and Tricare Prime) cover a large portion of hearing aid costs.  Hearing aids are digital now, which means you are essentially purchasing mini computers to wear on or in your ears.  Older, less advanced hearing aids had only 1-3 channels or frequency bands that could be adjusted in the device, whereas newer digital hearing aids can have up to 20 channels of sound to control/adjust.  There are a lot of components that go into making hearing aid devices.  Hearing aid manufacturers put a lot of money into research and development of new and improved technology.  All new hearing aids are required to come with at least a one-year warranty from the date it was purchased.  The cost also covers any repairs that may be needed over the life of the warranty if something were to get damaged.

Q: Can hearing aids cure my hearing loss?

A: Amplification is designed to AID in hearing problems.  It cannot restore hearing or make your hearing “normal”.  Our main goal is to give patients realistic expectations regarding their hearing aids and hearing loss.  Every patient’s hearing loss is different, and goals may vary.  We strive to improve the ease of listening and sound quality with amplification.  We want the patient to experience less strain and stress with communication in multiple listening environments.

Q: Should I put off getting a hearing evaluation until my hearing difficulties become more of an issue?

A: No, it is not recommended to wait until your hearing gets worse.  There are health risks to untreated hearing loss.  Ignoring hearing loss can raise the risk of dementia, falls, and other serious health concerns.  In addition, many patients who pursue hearing aids upon identification have a more positive hearing aid experience than those patients who wait to pursue amplification.  If you or a loved one is experiencing trouble hearing, schedule a hearing evaluation today.

Q: How long should a digital hearing aid last?

A: Hearing aids typically last 5-7 years, depending on patient use and care.  We recommend seeing your hearing healthcare professional every 3-6 months for a hearing aid check and cleaning.

Q: Can I purchase an extended warranty on my hearing aid?

A:  Yes, most of the time, but can vary depending on hearing aid manufacturer.  Prices vary depending on age of the hearing aid(s) and typically have to be purchased before the current warranty runs out.

Q: I have ringing in my ears, do hearing aids help with that?

A: Tinnitus, a ringing or hissing sound, is very common in people who suffer from hearing loss.  If you have tinnitus, it is important to be evaluated by and Audiologist and a physician.  Physicians may recommend other tests to see if there is something anatomically abnormal that is causing the ringing/hissing in the ears.  There are varying degrees of tinnitus and individuals manage the subjective sounds differently.  A lot of the time, amplification alone can significantly reduce the intensity (or loudness) of one’s tinnitus.  In addition, some hearing aids have “maskers” that can be programmed to help distract the brain from recognizing the tinnitus.  A great source for general tinnitus information is the American Tinnitus Association.

Q: Why do some people have success with hearing aids and others dislike them?

A: There are individual characteristics that will affect a patient’s outcome with hearing devices.  The anatomy of everyone’s ears are different as well as the type and degree of hearing loss.  A major part that goes into hearing aid success is the competency level of the person fitting you with the hearing aid(s).  During the selection and fitting process, it is the audiologist’s job to educate the patient on realistic expectations with hearing aid use.

Q: I (or someone I know) tried hearing aids several years ago and did not have success.  Should I try again?

A: Yes, absolutely!  Hearing aid technology has improved tremendously.  Hearing aids have become more advanced in speech processing, noise reduction ability, and size.  Feedback (unwanted whistling or noise) management has become extremely advanced.  If hearing aids are properly fit, there should be no reason for feedback once the aids are properly placed in the ears.  In addition, hearing aids are a lot more sophisticated in dealing with background noise, making it a lot easier to understand speech in the presence of noise.  Lastly, they are much smaller and less discrete then use to be.

 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact our office.  We will be more than happy to assist you.