Hearing Aid 101
Today’s hearing aids are discreet and powerful. But with so many styles and features it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Hearing Health Care wants to make it easy. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to hearing aids.
Choosing a hearing aid
Properly fitted and programmed hearing aids enrich your life with high-quality sound. Your hearing needs, lifestyle and budget are all key factors in choosing a hearing aid. In addition, your dexterity and vision should be considered. The smaller the hearing aid, the more difficult it is to insert and remove, change batteries or perform routine cleaning and maintenance tasks. Choosing a hearing aid starts with choice of style.
Traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are for mild-to-profound hearing loss. A small case is worn behind the ear and an earmold or receiver is placed in the ear.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are housed in a custom earmold and are used for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids are almost invisible. They fit discreetly in the ear canal and are worn for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
One hearing aid or two?
Hearing aids aren’t cheap. So, why can’t you buy one hearing aid and hear in one ear? That may seem frugal, but it won’t work. You need hearing from two ears to properly interpret and locate sounds. When you wear two hearing aids, both ears provide stimulation to your brain. This helps preserve the hearing ability you have. Auditory input from both ears also helps your brain filter out background noise and focus on the sounds you want to hear (such as conversation). Your brain also needs input from both ears to help you locate the source of sound. With hearing in only one ear, it’s difficult to determine where a sound is coming from.
Two hearing aids also provides better sound clarity and can help reduce tinnitus. If you have hearing loss in both ears, you should wear two hearing aids.
How much do hearing aids cost?
Hearing aid cost depends on many factors. It is nearly impossible to tell what type of hearing aid you will need without receiving a hearing test. Hearing loss plays the biggest part in deciding which type of hearing aid would best suit you, along with other factors such as lifestyle, daily activities, and living environment.
Your listening environments and lifestyle determine the features you need. If you live alone and rarely watch TV, talk on the phone or leave home you only need a few features. The most basic hearing aids will do.
However, if you spend time communicating in person or by phone; like to watch TV, listen to music or talk radio; socialize with friends and family; volunteer in the community or visit restaurants you need hearing aids with the features that enable hearing in these varied environments.
Fortunately, every hearing aid sold by Hearing Health Care comes with a free trial period. During the trial, visit as many times as necessary to address any fitting issues. If you aren’t satisfied at the end of the trial, you can return them for a refund less any fitting or restocking fee.
Does insurance cover hearing aids?
Most private insurance policies do not cover hearing aids. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control assists with the cost of hearing aids and supplies for eligible children under the age of 18. Medicaid covers the cost of diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, including hearing aids, under their Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) service for those ages 21 and under.
Veterans may be eligible for hearing services from the Veterans Administration if they meet certain criteria.
Medicare does not cover hearing aids. But, hearing evaluations may be covered if they are ordered by a physician and necessary in the development of a treatment plan.
Financial assistance may be available through other nonprofit organizations.
Helpful questions to ask your audiologist
Before you make a purchase, ask these important questions:
- What features will help me most?
- Do I need the latest technology?
- How does the trial period work?
- How is the refund after the trial period calculated?
- What is the length of the warranty and what does it cover?
- Is an extended warranty available?
- What services, adjustments and repairs are provided after the sale?
- Are loaner aids available if needed?
- What is the total cost of the hearing aid?