ENT Denver.jpgHearing Aids

Because federal regulation prohibits any hearing aid sale unless the buyer has first received a medical evaluation from a physician, you will need to see your physician before you purchase a hearing aid(s). However, the regulation says that if you are more than 18 years old and are aware of the recommendation to receive a medical exam, you may sign a waiver to forego the exam. A Harvard Park Hearing otolaryngologist or audiologist can dispense aids. Hearing aids should be custom fitted to your ear and hearing needs. Hearing aids purchased by mail-order typically cannot be custom fitted.

Cost Of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids vary in price according to style, electronic features, and local market conditions. Price can range from many hundreds of dollars to more than $2,500 for a programable, digitalized hearing aid.

Styles Of Hearing Aids

There are several styles of hearing aids:

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • Smaller versions of ITEs are called half-shell and in-the-canal (ITC)
  • The least visible aids are completely-in-the-canal (CIC).

Hearing aid options, which are appropriate for your particular hearing loss and listening needs, the size, and shape of your ear and ear canal, and the dexterity of your hands will all be considered in deciding what type of hearing aid is the best for you. Many hearing aids have special telecoil "T" switches to aid in use of the telephone and certain public sound systems. Discuss your need for a T-coil switch while you are considering hearing aid options.

Will I Need A Hearing Aid For Each Ear?

Usually, if you have hearing loss in both ears, using two hearing aids is best. Listening in a noisy environment is difficult with amplification in one ear only, and it is more difficult to distinguish where sounds are coming from. If, however, the quality of hearing in one ear is very different from the other, one hearing aid may be better than two.

What Other Questions Should I Ask?

  1. Ask about charges for the hearing evaluation, dispensing fee(s), and future servicing and repair.
  2. Inquire about the trial period policy and what fees are refundable if you return the hearing aid(s) during the trial period.
  3. Ask about the warranty coverage for your hearing aids and the consumers' protection program for hearing aid purchasers in your state.

What Will Happen At My Hearing Aid Fitting?

  1. The hearing aids will be fitted for your ears
  2. Then, while wearing your hearing aids, you will be tested for word understanding in quiet and in noise and for improvement in hearing tones
  3. Next, you will receive instruction about the care of your hearing aids, the batteries used to power them, a suggested wearing schedule, general expectations, and helpful communication strategies
  4. You will also practice properly inserting and removing the hearing aids and batteries

How Should I Begin Wearing The Hearing Aids?

Start using your hearing aids in quiet surroundings, gradually building up to noisier environments Report any concerns on a follow-up appointment.?IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU PURCHASE HEARING AIDS

  • Make sure there is a contract that both parties sign and that you fully understand the contract before you sign it.
  • Make sure a trial period is offered with the hearing aids.
  • Ask what manufacturers the dispenser works with. It is advantageous to work with dispensers who deal with most of the major manufacturers.
  • Ask how payment is handled. It is best to pay for the hearing aids when you actually leave with them.
  • Make sure the hearing aids come with at least a one-year repair warranty.
  • Ask about loss and damage coverage on the hearing aids.

Find out what kind of service the dispenser provides. 
Some good questions to ask:

  1. Are there office visit fees??
  2. What are the office hours??
  3. Will there be a charge for cleaning or checks of the aid??
  4. Are there charges for minor repairs done in-office??
  5. Are there charges for programming adjustments??
  6. Can I walk in for cleaning/adjustment or do I need an appointment?

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM HEARING AIDS?

  • Hearing in quiet should be improved.
  • Hearing in background noise should be easier than without out hearing aids, although you may still experience difficulty.
  • Hearing in noise will not be as good as hearing in quiet.
  • Hearing in loud noise should be no worse than without hearing aids.
  • Soft speech should be audible, conversational speech should be comfortable, loud speech should not be uncomfortable.
  • No whistling should occur if the hearing aids are seated properly.
  • The fit should be comfortable
  • Your own voice, while it may sound different, should be acceptable.
  • It takes time to fully realize the benefits of hearing aids.

A REMINDER

  • Hearing aids are only part of the process of hearing better again..
  • It takes time for me to fully realize my potential.
  • Some sounds may be strange tome initially including my voice, footsteps, birds, and rattling papers.
  • Other things like FM, speech, reading, and good listening skills will also benefit me.
  • Hearing aids will not restore "normal" hearing:
  • I may still have trouble hearing in some noisy situations.
  • I may have to modify my environment for better hearing.

UNDERSTANDING HEARING AID TECHNOLOGY

LEVEL I STANDARD CONVENTIONAL INSTRUMENTS AND ENTRY LEVEL PROGRAMMABLE AND DIGITAL INSTRUMENTS

People who currently wear this level of technology and are happy with it

Individuals who do not have a sensitivity to loud sounds

People who are usually in quiet listening situations

Directional technology is available on some models

LEVEL II PROGRAMMABLE AND DIGITAL INSTRUMENTS

People who have loudness tolerance issues

More active individuals who may be in noisier listening situations

People with poorer speech discrimination ability

Directional technology is available on some models

LEVEL III HIGH END DIGITAL INSTRUMENTS

People who are often in noisy situations and need improved hearing in noise

Achieving the most natural sounding reproduction of signals

Individuals who require automatic hearing aid functioning

Individuals with difficult to fit hearing loss configurations

Comfortable listening in a wide variety of situations

Directional technology is available on some models

DISPOSABLE INSTRUMENTS

These instruments come in three stock sizes and several pre-set amplification levels. It is not possible to fine-tune these instruments and there are no user controls. They are appropriate for:

People with hearing loss within the prescriptive range

Individuals who are not ready to purchase a custom instrument

People who do not require a custom fit