Ten Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a Hearing Aid
Selecting your first hearing aid can be a stressful experience. With so many options, brands and styles available, it can be easy for a first-time hearing aid buyer to get overwhelmed. Audiologists and certified hearing specialists can not only diagnose your degree of hearing loss, but also guide you through the process for selecting the best hearing aid to match your specific needs.
During your hearing consultation, consider asking some of the following questions about your new hearing aids:
- Will hearing instruments actually improve my ability to hear?
- If I only have hearing loss in one ear, why should I wear two hearing aids?
- Which hearing aid style will be best for my hearing loss?
- Which digital features are indicated for my lifestyle needs?
- What are the benefits of hearing aid features—such as directional microphones, number of microphones, automatic volume and others?
- 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?
- Can the audiologist make adjustments and provide servicing and minor repairs? Will loaner aids be provided when repairs are needed?
- How many memories do the hearing aids have? How many listening situations do I encounter?
Why You Should Only Buy Hearing Aids From a Hearing Professional
Today’s hearing aids are precision instruments, utilizing advance digital technology that can and should be customized to fit your specific hearing loss and your unique lifestyle needs.
This is why the Better Hearing Institute, a non-profit center for hearing advocacy, published a consumer warning against “do-it-yourself hearing care,” writing,
“The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of a credentialed hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs; and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”
While the Internet is an increasingly convenient place to purchase many items, consumers should be cautious about purchasing their hearing aids online. Any upfront cost savings will likely be used towards after purchase costs like maintenance, cleaning or reprogramming an aid, services that are included in the purchase at a hearing care professional.
An audiologist and ear doctor will ensure that you receive a proper evaluation and help prescribe the proper treatment for your loss. Your ears will be visually examined and you’ll be tested with state-of-the-art equipment to determine the type of hearing loss you have.
If it’s determined that hearing aids can help, your hearing professional will show you the best solutions to fit your unique needs and lifestyle.
If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact Advanced Hearing Centers, 404-924-4510, today for a free hearing consultation.
This week Starkey is officially releasing the Halo aid and TruLink technology that allows you to wirelessly link and control your hearing aid with your iOS device (Android coming soon). The device represents the latest generation of integrated devices and effectively eliminates the need for other costly intermediary technology (if you already have a smartphone of course).
With the Halo you can map your frequent locations to preferred programming modes, stream your iPhone’s audio output to your aid, use your iPhone as a wireless microphone, and improve feedback and background noise reduction.
Being a Medical Practice Partner of Starkey’s we have had early access to the devices and can’t wait to begin delivery of these devices to our patients.
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eSe3riseqY[/youtube]
Just how we make the impression (or “mold”) of the ear canal has a ton to do with how well the device works, feels, and therefore how successful it is in practice. One of the commonest reasons for hearing aid noncompliance or disuse has to do with fitting issues, directly related to the feel, and indirectly related to perceived sound quality.
Lantos Technologies (Caimbridge, MA) has a pre-FDA novel device to better measure and “mold” the ear canal. The Lantos Scanner uses laser technology and a complex algorithm to produce a high-resolution map of the ear canal better than traditional impression material. This data will be used by audiologists and custom hearing aid manufacturers to more easily and accurately make hearing aid impressions.
We beleive that better impressions of the ear canal represent the next big leap in hearing aid technology. Physicians’ offices using this technology (pending FDA approval currently) should find elevated patient satisfaction and improved compliance. This will make fitting of complete-in-canal and “invisible” aids much more reliable (and painless!).
Adult-onset hearing loss affects millions of Americans and accounts
for a huge economic burden in our country. There are two major forms
of hearing loss – “sensory / neural” and “conductive”. Sensorineural
hearing loss is caused by injury to the acoustic nerve or the cochlea.
These injuries can be from noise damage, viruses, meningitis, and of
course the slow degeneration of aging. Conductive hearing loss is
most commonly from an earwax impaction, fluid behind the ear drum,
infections, or a type of ear scarring called otosclerosis.
A hearing test is a brief painless test battery performed by an
audiologist to determine what your hearing level is, how it compares
to normals, and what type of hearing loss you may have. This, as well
as a microscopic examination of the ear and eardrum will allow the
physician to make recommendations about improving your hearing.
Wax removal, antibiotics, steroids, minor procedures, and sometimes
MRI scans can be useful in sorting out the hearing loss. An
electrical hearing test, called an ABR, is often helpful as well,
especially in young children.
Sometimes the only option for improving hearing are hearing aids.
These have gotten much smaller and much more advanced over the past
decade. The smallest of which are now the size of a large pencil
eraser and are completely hidden in the ear canal. Your physician and
audiologist can make recommendations about which type and size of
hearing aid may be best for you.