10 Things to Consider when Buying a Hearing Aid

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  1.  Type of Hearing Aid does an Audiologist Recommend?


Your audiologist may recommend a particular brand of hearing aid that is designed for your lifestyle. If you golf everyday, you may need wind reduction. If you work in a museum, you might need a device that handles echo or poor acoustics. An audiologist can narrow down your choices to make the process of selecting a hearing aid easier.

You should never be the one picking out the hearing aid. It should be a joint effort with a professional who understands the technology, because it is their expertise programming the aid.

  1. Does Your Insurance Provider Pay for Certain Brands?


Contact your insurance provider to determine if the company provides reimbursement for hearing aids. It is important to ask- “What are my in-network benefits?” and “What are my out-of-network benefits?” If these benefits are the same or very similar, then you have a great insurance which allows you to choose your provider. Some providers have a billing company to help file your insurance, and other providers will make you responsible for your reimbursement of the aids.

If the insurance company says that you only have “in network” benefits, inquire some more… do you need authorization before purchasing? Is it a discounted price or a straight benefit like $500 off, and who are the in-network providers? I have seen insurances tell people they have benefits 15-20% off if they go to their advertised clinics, but its really just a marketing tactic used by sales clinics to get people in the door. Many times they will mark up the products 15% and advertise a sale. It is always best to see a doctor of hearing not a specialist, and to go to a medical facility for your hearing aids. Write down all of the information your insurance company tells you, and you can inquire about this during your hearing aid consultation or hearing test appointment.

  1. What Features Does a Hearing Aid Offer?


Consider your lifestyle when choosing a hearing aid because each type has certain features. Generally, hearing aids can have these types of technology:


  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • FM compatibility
  • Telecoil
  • Feedback management systems
  • Impulse noise reduction
  • Directional microphone systems
  • Digital noise reduction
  • Advanced analysis of your environments


  1. What Types Of Batteries Are Required? What is Rechargeable?


The main sizes of batteries are size 10, 312, 13 and 675. The bigger the battery the longer the lifespan. Batteries can make a hearing aid last from 5 days to 10 days, depending on how many hours a day you are wearing them, or if you are using Bluetooth streaming it may use more life.


Nowadays, more and more people are looking into rechargeable options. There are hearing aids that you can put rechargeable batteries in (they have to be specifically designed for rechargeable), or there are hearing aids with no battery door with the battery built into the hearing aid. At night you would put both of these rechargeable options on a charger. Typically a 3 hour charge on a charger gives a 20-24 hours battery life.


  1.  How Large Is the Hearing Aid?


There are different sizes of hearing aids, and some are noticeable while you can’t see other styles at all. If you are self-conscious about wearing a hearing aid, then you will want a smaller device. However, the smaller devices sometimes don’t have amazing features that make the technology so great, such as Bluetooth or dual microphones. Small hearing aids also typically cannot hold a lot of gain (for more severe hearing losses) so they are more prone to squealing. If you have a large amount of hearing loss, usually you need a bigger speaker to accommodate the loss and to push power back through your ear. The hearing aid size is sometimes affected by this, and the audiologist is very vital in matching up what you want to physical properties of the aid internally and externally.

  1. Is the Hearing Aid Durable?


Hearing aids are very durable. The more you clean them the longer they will last. There is a dust proof and water resistant rating out there given to the hearing aids. You can inquire about the water resistant rating during your consultations.

The rechargeable hearing aids on the market without a battery door, are starting to be popular. The idea that there is no battery door for water to enter, dust to get in, has easily become the highest rated device on the market.


  1. How Comfortable Is the Hearing Aid?


It can take time to get used to wearing a hearing aid, but there are different styles available. Anything you pyut in your ear will be new and foreign. You will feel the hearing aid much like you would feel a new watch on your wrist. Your ears will go through an adjustment period, they might itch at first. This is all very normal. You have to keep trying until it becomes you new normal.

  1. Is There a Trial Period For the Hearing Aid?


State law of Virginia gives consumer protection and requires establishments offer a trial period of 30 days with the hearing aids, however, you may be responsible for the payment upfront. If you lose them in the thirty day trial, they are yours. At Commonwealth Audiology, it is a courtesy that they allow an exchange of hearing aids during the trial period if its not a perfect fit so there is always flexibility in making sure you get exactly what you need.


  1. Does a Hearing Aid Improve Your Life?


Of course it does. It also stimulates the nerve and the brain to promote healthier brain function. Television is easier to listen to with the hearing aids than without. Conversation with your loved ones should be more effortless. Is it a perfect clarity? No, there is still damage in your auditory pathway, damage in your ears. It is an “aid” designed to help in tough situations, but it is always recommended to additionally implement good communication strategies along with the hearing devices.


  1. What Is the Warranty On the Hearing Aid?


Hearing aids come in all different technology levels so the warranties will differ. Usually the highest warranty is going to be about three years for the premium devices, two years for the advanced, and one year for everything else. It is always better to go with a warranty through the original manufacturer of the hearing aid than a third party. Some manufacturers allow you to extend warranties for a little extra money if it has not expired. It is worth knowing about your warranty if it has a “loss and damage” which is a replacement for if you lose your hearing aid. If your hearing aids are older than five years, you may only have one option of going with a third party warranty which tend to be more costly.

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