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Questions And Answers About Hearing Aids
QUESTION: Are hearing aids covered by insurance or Medicare?
ANSWER: A Medicare hearing aid does not exist. Medicare does not currently provide hearing aid insurance. Some Medicare Advantage Plans or health plan options that are available through Medicare, may have hearing aid coverage, however most of the ads you will see regarding this or coverage by AARP are discounts off full retail, which means you probably aren't actually getting much of a benefit. Hearing aid insurance and/or prices for hearing aid insurance must be sought individually.
QUESTION: I am curious what the best hearing aids are on the market. Are the best hearing aids based on brand, features and price?
ANSWER: Brand actually has nothing to do with it other than a long established manufacturer will generally have a good warranty. Determining the best hearing aids for you begins with a good evaluation and then purchasing your hearing aids from a qualified hearing care professional such as an audiologist or hearing aid specialist. We have a number of these specialists on our staff you assist you. After a complete hearing aid evaluation one of our hearing care professionals will help you to determine what hearing aids (style and features) are best for you, your individual needs and your budget. There are usually several options available for each person to select from so please discus these options before attempting to purchase.
QUESTION: Can I wear invisible hearing aids?
ANSWER: The shape and degree of your hearing loss will determine which styles may work best for you, with smaller models generally suited for mild to moderate hearing losses and larger styles for more profound losses. If you have normal hearing in the low tones, an all in the ear type aid may not be a good choice for you since it can increase the "head in a barrel" effect. The latest Open Fit Technology hearing aids are for behind the ear and are very invisible and very effective.
QUESTION: I see cheap hearing aids advertised on TV and in the newspaper. Are these cheap hearing aids worth trying?
ANSWER: The cost of hearing aids has actually decreased relatively over time, when compared to the rate of inflation. Today, you'll see hearing aids prices range from approximately $1,000 to $4,000 each, depending on the brand, features and technology selected. Several factors contribute to the cost of hearing aids, including: research and development costs; customization of each device to fit the needs of the wearer and manufacturing costs. However keep in mind that innovation and technology has made it possible to now purchase premium hearing aids, receive and even program your hearing aids for a very low price that includes the software and hardware that the specialists have, and... without ever having to leaving home. Be sure you have the option to adjust yourself or you will find yourself constantly running to the hearing aid specialists office. Bottom line is... You Get What You Pay For! A cheap hearing aid will end up just that... CHEAP, and end up in a drawer.
QUESTION: Most advertisements I see are for digital hearing aids. Are most hearing aids made today digital? and what does that exactly mean?
ANSWER: The majority of today's hearing aids are manufactured as digital hearing aids. In 2008, approximately 97% of hearing aids sold were digital (HIA statistics) and this number will continue to increase as many hearing aid manufacturers no longer manufacture non-digital hearing aids.
Digital signal processing has allowed hearing aids to come a long way in quality and wearer satisfaction. Hearing aid wearers can expect on going improvements and advancements in digital hearing aids as researchers and hearing aid manufacturers continue to improve and refine algorithms being used.
Bottom line? Digital hearing aids allow crisper, clearer sound, just as digitally produced music on CD's, digital cable television and digital television sets have allowed crisper clearer pictures.
QUESTION: I have worn hearing aids for 5 years and am looking at getting new ones. What's the latest technology in hearing aids?
ANSWER: Open Fit Technology, assuming your loss matches the fitting criteria. Today, hearing aids are smaller, more comfortable, and most importantly - more effective - than ever before, which explains why satisfaction with new hearing aids is at an all-time high of 90%. Hearing aids today are digital microcomputers that can automatically adjust to ensure sounds are audible and comfortable. And with a whole host of twenty-first century features, they're easy - and even fun - to use. Even basic models today are light years ahead of the most advanced models of just a few years ago. And research has proven that hearing aids not only help you hear better but can actually improve the quality of your life.
There are a myriad of features that are available today, many of which if you want the truth, are just added to most models at the brick and mortar locations to help sales. The very latest technology you will find right here at D.i.Y. with the added ability of programming or adjusting your own hearing aids. If you don't want to do it yourself... just call our Audiology Dept. and we can remote into your computer and adjust them for you. The internet has changed the face of the hearing aid industry today by allowing increased convienience. More new technology is emerging and you'll find that if you don't buy digital, you'll be out of luck!
QUESTION: I have trouble hearing in background noise. Will hearing aids help?
ANSWER: First, we must determine what the person considers ''noise.'' For some people it's the refrigerator, for others it's traffic, for some it's new environmental sounds, and for many it's simply background speech that they don't want to hear. Most of today's hearing aids have several features to address all the different types of noise, but the short answer is yes. Programming properly based on your hearing test results is the key.
To summarize, we have three different features which all work together to assist in reducing annoying background ''noise.'' With today's hearing instruments, improved speech understanding and less disturbance from background noise should be the result.
QUESTION: Can hearing aids help me earn more money at work?
ANSWER: Yes! A study released by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) in 19991 found that treating a hearing loss was found to have a very significant positive impact on quality of life. People who treated their hearing loss with hearing aids reported improvements in earning power, relationships, feelings about themselves, self-confidence, independence, and overall quality of life. Their families also reported similar improvements.
QUESTION: How do hearing aids affect the enjoyment of music?
ANSWER: For many people, hearing loss leads to a decreased enjoyment of music. Hearing loss may act like a filter, filtering out certain tones or instruments more than others, and making music sound distorted or unnatural. Hearing aids today can be programmed to provide varying amounts of amplification at different frequencies as needed for the shape and degree of each hearing loss. In addition to accommodating a wide range of hearing losses, hearing aids today can also be adjusted to account for personal preferences for sound quality and loudness. In doing so, many sounds, voices, and instruments that were inaudible or reduced for someone with hearing loss, may again be audible and have a richer sound quality.In short, you'll be impressed with the quality of the instruments you hear when wearing your new hearing aids.
QUESTION: Do hearing aids make things sound clearer or just louder?
ANSWER: Hearing aids can do both, but the goal is to have speech more clear regardless of the environment you are in. However, everyone's hearing loss is different, not all hearing aids perform equally, and not everyone will receive the same benefit. No hearing aid will restore normal hearing, but they do help millions of people around the world to hear better. Some people have poor word recognition ability, meaning that due to inner ear damage, they don't understand words clearly, even when things are loud enough.Unfortunately some of the more severe cases may result in an improvement less than hoped for. Most cases however show a very marked improvement.
QUESTION: I have difficulty hearing on the telephone. Will hearing aids help me?
ANSWER: Yes! For some people, select hearing aid models like CIC or open fit BTE instruments require no special features or adaptations for using the telephone. Use of telecoil or automatic telecoil requires a hearing aid compatible telephone, or in some cases the use of a small magnet accessory that attaches to the telephone handset. Thes telecoils are great, but you have to be sure to request it before your aids are built since they are a customized feature.
Some cell phones may cause radio frequency interference with hearing aids, causing static, buzzing or crackling sounds. However, each cell phone manufacturer is required by law to make several models that are hearing aid compatible. When buying a new cell phone, be sure to ask the salesperson to show you hearing aid compatible models. In addition, the FDA recommends trying different cell phone brands and models before you buy in order to determine which may work best for you with your hearing aids.
QUESTION: How do you care for hearing aids? Is there a lot of maintenance involved?
ANSWER: Hearing aids are simple to care for. Most hearing aid repairs are due to moisture and earwax accumulating in the hearing aid. The vast majority of these repairs are preventable. It's important to clean your instruments every time you remove them from your ear.
Keep your instruments in their protective case when they're not in your ears. It's not uncommon for hearing aids to get lost when they're put in a pocket or purse without their designated storage case. It's also not uncommon for dogs to chew on hearing aids left laying out! Preventive maintenance is the key to longer lasting hearing aids. Well maintained hearing aids can last five years or longer, so a little maintenance will go a long way!
QUESTION: How long do hearing aids last?
ANSWER: As mentioned earlier hearing aid insurance does not exist, so... keep in mind that hearing aids typically last three to five years, although in many cases hearing aids last much longer. The miniature components in hearing aids tend to wear out over time, and even when repaired, do not have the same integrity as new components. Although hearing aids are fragile miniature electronic devices, they are exposed to humidity, perspiration, earwax - and sometimes rain, hairspray and other factors - that aren't ideal for a tiny medical device. While today's digital hearing aids can be re-programmed in many cases to accommodate changes in hearing, some people choose to purchase new hearing aids in order to benefit from new features that come with advancements in hearing aid technology.
QUESTION: I was told hearing aids won't help my hearing loss. Is that true?
ANSWER: Hearing aids are recommended for most cases of natural sensorineural hearing loss (nerve loss), and for many conductive hearing losses that cannot be medically treated. In addition, hearing aid technology has advanced significantly in recent years. For example, in the past fitting patients with a high frequency hearing loss was challenging due to issues of feedback and occlusion (a "plugged up" sensation). Today's open-fit mini behind-the-ear models were designed for high frequency hearing losses. They have technology that reduces or eliminates feedback, and earpieces that leave the ear canal open so occlusion isn't usually an issue. Technology is also available today for people with bilateral conductive hearing losses and hearing loss just in one ear - technology that wasn't available years ago. Before making assumptions about your candidacy for hearing aids, have a complete hearing evaluation by a qualified professional - either an audiologist or a hearing instrument specialist. A current examination will determine the type and degree of your hearing loss, and whether or not you are a candidate for hearing aid(s). You may be interested to know that years ago some people mistakenly believed that hearing aids weren't for people with "nerve" losses - yet these are exactly the people who hearing aids are usually designed for!
QUESTION: I am on a budget and am looking for inexpensive hearing aids. Do you know of a company that sells inexpensive hearing aids?
ANSWER: I think you have found one of the very few to offer premium instruments at very low prices. D.i.Y Hearing Aids can provide all of the feature rich options you would look for in an instrument, they are self programmable and can be purchsed right here on the web. You can view our comparison page, but in short D.i.Y. Hearing Aids are approximately 70% less expensive than the major brands on the market... and all with the same rich technology and features.
QUESTION: My father in-law recently passed away and he had just purchased new behind-the-ear hearing aids. I also have a hearing loss and wear hearing aids. Is it possible for me to now be fit with his hearing aids?
ANSWER: Hearing aids are customized for an individual wearer based on hearing thresholds, listening needs and other factors that a hearing health care professional will consider. If the hearing instrument is a custom product, manufacturers are not generally able to re-cast the hearing aid to fit anyone other than the original wearer.
If the hearing aid is a digital or programmable hearing instrument and it is a Behind- the -Ear (BTE) model it MAY be possible to obtain a custom earmold for the new wearer, and make the programming changes necessary for the aid to fit the hearing loss, if the amplification needs of the loss are within the capabilities of the hearing aid. Generally however, it is best to have a new instrument fitted specifically for you and not try and wear another persons instrument.
QUESTION: Will my hearing aids whistle?
ANSWER: The technical term for whistling that can occur with hearing aids is acoustic feedback. Acoustic feedback in hearing aids occurs when amplified sound exiting the hearing aid from the speaker (or receiver) gets picked up again by the microphone. It sounds like a squeal or whistle and can be embarrassing or annoying for wearers.
Almost all hearing aids will create feedback when something is next to the microphone - for example, when wearers cup their hands over their hearing aids. Hearing aids should not feed back during ordinary wear when there is nothing near the microphone. Some typical causes of feedback include loose fitting hearing aids (that allow sound to leak out and feed back into the microphone), hearing aids that are not seated properly in the ear, and blockage in the ear such as earwax.
Today, many hearing aids have special signal processing algorithms that help to reduce or eliminate feedback in most cases. At other times, programming and fit adjustments are in order.
Quick Statistics 2009
Compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
Men are more likely to experience hearing loss than women.
Of adults ages 65 and older in the United States, 12.3 percent of men and nearly 14 percent of women are affected by tinnitus. Tinnitus is identified more frequently in white individuals and the prevalence of tinnitus is almost twice as frequent in the South as in the Northeast.
Approximately 17 percent (36 million) of American adults report some degree of hearing loss.
There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss: 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old or older have a hearing impairment.
About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. Nine out of every 10 children who are born deaf are born to parents who can hear.
The NIDCD estimates that approximately 15 percent (26 million) of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities.
Only 1 out of 5 people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually wears one.
Three out of 4 children experience ear infection (otitis media) by the time they are 3 years old.
Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus.
More than 112,000 people worldwide have received cochlear implants. In the United States, roughly 23,000 adults and 15,500 children have received them.
Approximately 4,000 new cases of sudden deafness occur each year in the United States. Hearing loss affects only 1 ear in 9 out of 10 people who experience sudden deafness. Only 10 to 15 percent of patients with sudden deafness know what caused their loss.
Approximately 615,000 individuals have been diagnosed with Ménière's disease in the United States. Another 45,500 are newly diagnosed each year.
Approximately 3 to 6 percent of all deaf children and perhaps another 3 to 6 percent of hard-of-hearing children have Usher syndrome. In developed countries such as the United States, about 4 babies in every 100,000 births have Usher syndrome.
One out of every 100,000 individuals per year develops an acoustic neurinoma (vestibular schwannoma).
There is a common discipline followed by all men and women who successfully make the transition to hearing aids. It is called practice. Wearing hearing aids requires time and patience. They are an investment that usually begins to pay dividends within 45 days. Once you have logged a sufficient number of hours for your brain to readjust to ambient sounds, you will be able to go on with your life without thinking so much about your hearing.
To help understand the adjustment process, download the Five Steps for Better Hearing booklet below. This booklet breaks down success into five simple principles. Five Steps for Better Hearing has helped thousands of hearing aid wearers get the highest value from hearing instruments.