Hearing Loss

What To Know Before Buying Hearing Aids

by: Dr. Kent Collins, Au.D.
Director of TeleHear℠

I see all these newspaper ads…
I receive all these ads in the mail…
I don’t know where to begin…

Confused About Hearing Aids?

In today’s blog, we will help answer the common questions patients have about hearing aids.

Common Questions From Patients:

  • Do I have hearing loss?
  • Do I need hearing aids?
  • Can I just wait for a couple years?
  • How much do hearing aids cost?
  • How long do they last?
  • Do I need one or two aids?
  • Does insurance pay for hearing aids?
  • What are the future cost I need to put into hearing aids?
  • Why can’t I just buy hearing aids on the internet?

Do I have a hearing loss?
Many patients with hearing loss don’t notice the problem…..usually their loved ones do. Why is this? Hearing changes gradually over time and patients learn to cope and compensate for these changes. It is usually the family members of these patients that notice they constantly need to repeat themselves. If you are noticing that people mumble or if you ask others to repeat themselves, it is best to get your hearing checked by a professional.

  • Proper hearing healthcare history needs to be taken with a test…..even if normal hearing, always good to have a baseline test to monitor future changes.

Do I need hearing aids?

  • If you do have a hearing loss, hearing aids can help correct 90% of all hearing loss types.
  • If you fall within the other 10%, a medical referral will be made.
  • Your hearing healthcare provider will discuss treatment recommendations and the appropriate follow up plan will be discussed.

Can I just wait for a couple years?

  • You’re the patient, you can deny care for anything.
    • Possible consequences:
      • Progressive hearing loss
      • Auditory Deprivation
      • Continued communication difficulties

Proper treatment with amplification can slow/prevent these consequences. In addition, hearing aids can be reprogrammed to meet your future needs.

How much do hearing aids cost?

  • Digital hearing aids can range from $1000 to $3000 per aid.
  • Price varies by the “level of technology” NOT the size of the aid.

How long do hearing aids last?

  • Custom made aids typically last 5-6 years.
  • Over the ear style aids typically last 8-10 years.

Do I need one or two aids?

  • Most patients have hearing loss in each ear and therefore need two aids.
    • Better understanding in noise
    • Localization
    • Ease of listening
    • Tinnitus reduction
  • Monaural aid only if:
    • Hearing is normal in one ear and not other
    • Dead ear on one side

Does insurance pay for hearing aids?

  • Medicare does not
  • Some private insurance may cover
    • We will check with your insurance to verify:
      • If they cover
      • If so, how much they cover

Why can’t I just buy hearing aids on the internet?

  • Plenty of opportunities:
    • Issues with doing so:
      • No adjustments
      • No cleanings
      • Shipping aids and being without them
      • No personal service
      • Getting charged when going into a local office
      • Having the local office not being able to program the aids…locked out of software
      • Online site going out of business

Most local offices have very similar pricing as online sites AND have offer the ongoing service!

Hearing and the Brain… Is there a difference?

Did you know that treating even the mildest form of hearing loss has been shown to delay the effects of cognitive decline and dementia associated with the aging process? We hear with our brains, not with our ears. When a hearing loss is present, at any degree of severity, the area of the brain used to hear and understand becomes reorganized. Therefore losing its ability to “understand” what, if anything it can hear.

With hearing loss being the 3rd most prevalent health condition in older adults, it is important that people receive regular hearing evaluations just as you would an annual health check up with your physician. Consulting with a hearing healthcare professional will allow you to understand if you have a hearing loss present and whether any treatments are recommended.


Now what?

For many adults, even those with mild hearing loss, sound stimulation through the use of hearing aids can provide the ability for many to restore the use of brain function used in hearing if treated quickly. Think of hearing as the easiest exercise anyone can ask you to do. Maintaining full stimulation of the auditory system (hearing mechanism) allows the brain to more easily focus on other demanding tasks instead of TRYING to understand what your friends and loved ones are saying to you. Remember, life is worth hearing!

We encourage you to take the first step towards better hearing and better overall health. Consult directly with one of our nationally accredited hearing healthcare professionals today.

Johns Hopkins Study on Cognition and Hearing Loss – Hearing loss accelerates brain function decline in older adults (2013) https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_accelerates_brain_function_decline_in_older_adults

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