Where do I start?
The first step in identifying hearing loss, is to see a doctor regarding your hearing difficulties. Whether you start with your primary care physician, an ENT physician, or an audiologist, it is important that you seek help from a medical provider. A physician can refer you to an audiologist to assess your hearing needs. Likewise, an audiologist will be able to help you find a medical professional should you present with a medically treatable hearing loss.
An audiologist, like Dr. Liberio, can evaluate the degree and type of your hearing loss. They will typically evaluate your ability to hear pure tone sounds and understand words. They will then be able to determine if you are a good candidate for hearing aids.
How do I know if I need hearing aids?
You should consider:
- The type of hearing loss (conductive or sensorineural)
- The degree of hearing loss
- The effect the hearing loss has on your daily life
Many people who develop hearing loss experience stress and anxiety when in large groups or even when spending time with their family. If your hearing loss is interfering with your normal daily activities, you should consider purchasing hearing aids.
What can I expect from wearing hearing aids?
You can expect to understand speech better in both quiet and noisy situations. A common misconception is that hearing aids make everything louder. This is no longer true. Hearing aids aim to make speech clearer in quiet and noisy situations, not just louder. Hearing aids do not restore your hearing to normal; they increase speech to a more comfortable level for your hearing loss.
Do I really need two hearing aids or can I just wear one?
If you have hearing loss in both ears, it is best to wear hearing aids in both ears. Having two hearing aids allows for better understanding in noise, better localization, and an overall fuller sound.
What are the different styles of hearing aids and how do I know which one is right for me?
The best hearing aid for you depends upon your particular hearing loss and listening needs, the size and shape of your ear and ear canal, and the dexterity of your hands.
The styles of hearing aids include:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids. These aids go over the ear and connect with tubing to custom-fitted earpieces. These aids are great for children, patients with a moderate to profound hearing loss, or patients who have limited dexterity.
- Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) aids. These aids have a newer design. Like the BTE aids these are placed over the ear. However, they are extremely small and nearly invisible. These aids are particularly suited for those who have a high-frequency hearing loss.
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. These aids fill the entire bowl of the ear and part of the ear canal. They are well suited for those with a moderate to severe hearing loss or those with limited dexterity.
- In-the-Canal (ITC) aids. Also known as half-shell aids, these are a smaller version of the ITE aid. These aids fit mostly within the ear canal. These aids are well suited for patients with a mild to severe hearing loss and those who prefer the in the ear style.
- Completely in the Canal (CIC) aids. These aids are the least visible choice. These aids fit deep within the ear canal. Patients with mild to moderate hearing loss may find these most suitable.
Many hearing aids have tele-coil "T" switches for telephone use and public sound systems. Other options, such as FM systems and Bluetooth devices in conjunction with hearing aids, may provide the best benefit for some patients.
Dr. Liberio can help to determine the best type and fit of aids for you.
How much do hearing aids cost and what does that include?
Hearing aids vary in price according to the level of technology. The price typically ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 each for a programmable, digital hearing aid.
The higher the technology of the hearing aid, the more it will cost. Top of the line hearing aids have the best features for listening in noisy situations such as in the car or in a restaurant. Buying a hearing aid with lower grade technology lowers the price, but you also lose some of the features.
Purchase price should not be the only consideration in buying a hearing aid. Product reliability and customer service can save repair costs and decrease the frustration of a malfunctioning hearing aid.
Here at Family Hearing Practice, we bundle our hearing aid services into the cost of the hearing aids. This means that the cost of the hearing aid includes the hearing evaluation, the hearing aid itself, the fitting appointment, and the following adjustments and reprogramming.
Do hearing aids come with a warranty?
At Family Hearing Practice, we have a 45-day trial period with all of our hearing aids. If you decide for any reason that you would like to exchange or return your hearing aids, you may do so within that 45-day period.
Additionally, hearing aids come with a manufacturer warranty (usually 2 to 3 years) that covers any repairs or modifications needed for that hearing aid during the designated period.
They also come with a loss and damage warranty which will cover the hearing aid if it is lost or damaged beyond repair. When the warranty nears its expiration, the patient can choose to extend the warranty on the hearing aids for a small charge to avoid paying for repairs out of pocket.