What are the differences between good, better, and best in terms of price? Why is one hearing aid more expensive than another?
Additional features (such as smaller sizes, Bluetooth® audio streaming capability, and multiple sound-clarity options and program modes) tend to increase cost.
How much do hearing aids cost?
Hearing aids typically cost between $1,500 and $5,000 each, with an average price of around $7,500 for a quality pair that uses the latest technology. Some companies may sell refurbished hearing aids at a lower price.
What should you consider when looking to buy hearing aids?
There are two primary considerations to make when you’re thinking about buying a hearing aid: finding a quality hearing care provider and deciding what kind of lifestyle you want to lead. It is not uncommon for individuals to become more outgoing once they have been fit with hearing aids, and certain systems allow for greater levels of activity than others. You should have an idea of how you’d like to use your technology when you visit a hearing care provider.
How long do hearing aids last?
As with any product, a hearing aid is guaranteed to work only as long as the manufacturer’s warranty lasts. Most hearing aid manufacturers offer warranties that cover defective components for one to three years. Few standard warranties cover normal wear and tear or lost/damaged hearing aids, although many companies offer extended warranties that guarantee repairs or replacements if something were to happen to the unit. Kept and cared for in optimal conditions, hearing aids should last most users four to six years, while seven or more years of reliable use is far less common.
Why is it better to get two hearing aids and not just one?
The ability to hear with both ears, also known as binaural hearing, is essential to humans’ ability to understand speech, maintain balance, and localize noises. Hearing helps with spatial awareness and understanding where your body is in relation to objects around you. Knowing where sounds are coming from helps us keep our balance and identify where sounds are coming from. Our auditory system was designed to process information from all directions, and hearing with only one ear makes that process less than half as effective as hearing with both ears.
Can I sleep with my hearing aids in place?
Sleeping with hearing aids in place is usually a matter of comfort. While it may help some individuals hear their morning alarms a little better, there’s also a possibility that the units may fall out during sleep. The other question is whether sleeping while your devices are activated is a good use of battery life.
Can hearing aids get wet?
While many devices are built with the conditions of the ear canal in mind, units are typically not labeled as anything more than “moisture resistant.” This means that the units are not waterproof and probably won’t be protected against submersion (swimming, showering, or dropping them into water), but they will be protected from light moisture exposure.
My audiologist told me that a digital hearing aid would be better for my hearing loss. Why?
A digital hearing aid is able to process speech with greater accuracy and less distortion, allowing the best information to arrive in your ear. In addition, digital hearing systems have noise reduction strategies. The actual strategy is different for each manufacturer so you should discuss this differences with your Audiologist so you will have the appropriate expectations for the technology you and your audiologist choose.
I keep hearing news stories about “new implantable” hearing aids. What is the story and are they as good as they sound?
The only FDA-approved, fully implanted, active middle ear hearing device is the Esteem® Hearing Implant. The invisible Esteem® Hearing Implant is specifically engineered to help improve the hearing of adults diagnosed with moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss.
As an Esteem® Certified Practice, we have the specialized training to counsel on this device – plus the expertise to determine if you would be a good candidate for this innovative long-term hearing solution.
Although they are a tremendous help to some, as with any of the new hearing devices, no one is going to “fix” the ear and therefore, like any hearing aid, cannot restore hearing to naturally normal levels. Just like other devices, there are positives and negatives. It requires surgery with the usual possible risks as well as added costs. However, for some there are significant benefits and for those who are appropriate they can be a major improvement over traditional hearing aids.
I’m frustrated because I wear hearing aids, but still can’t hear people talk clearly. Is there something wrong or do I have other options?
There could be a number of reasons why your hearing aids are not helping you. First, with the growing technology in hearing devices, it is possible the aids you are using are not properly set/programmed for your type of hearing loss. If you were taking a medicine and it didn’t seem to be helping you would talk with your doctor about it. So, if your hearing aid is not helping you, talk with your audiologist about the difficulties that you are having. There could be some simple modification that the audiologist can make that would make all the difference.
Another issue is whether you have realistic expectations about what the hearing aid will do for you. Frequently, patients will tell me that when there are two or three conversations going on at the same time they can’t hear anything. Usually what they mean is that they can’t follow all of the conversations, which is an unrealistic expectation. Most people with properly prescribed hearing aids can hear what they want to hear in spite of background noise. That is what we strive to accomplish for the patient. Remember it always helps to have people face you when in active conversation.
Contact us to schedule an appointment so a licensed audiologist can evaluate your hearing loss and determine the reason for your frustration. We can also teach you other tips to help you hear with clarity.
I really don’t want to deal with how much time it takes to insert my hearing aids, perform daily maintenance, change batteries, and remove my hearing aids. What are my options?
Many practices offer clean and checks for your devices, in which the maintenance is done for you. Aside from promotional periods, or times that your provider offers to have your devices cleaned, it will likely be a service you’ll pay for. Maintenance is important to ensure your devices last and operate effectively. Inserting hearing aids and changing batteries should become part of your daily routine, and making time for doing those things is important for hearing your best. If you’d like to avoid inserting hearing aids and changing batteries, consider a surgically implanted device, which will operate without daily attention.
How often should I be wearing my hearing aids?
You should wear your hearing aids for as long as you feel they are necessary each day, or for as long as they are comfortable. Most battery life expectations are based on wearing your devices for 12 to 16 hours each day.
Are hearing aids comfortable?
When you visit a hearing care specialist and get fit for hearing aids, your devices are molded specifically to the contours of your ear, meaning they should fit cleanly and comfortably. If irritation or discomfort becomes an issue, talk to your hearing care provider about using a new earmold material that does not irritate your skin, or having new molds of your ears taken so that your devices fit more comfortably.
Why do I have a problem with background noise?
Hearing aids with digital signal processing help to differentiate between speech and noise, and they turn down the volume of what they identify as noise rather than speech. But no technology is perfect, and none will completely remove the problems associated with trying to listen in background noise. In these cases, strategic positioning in listening situations can help alleviate background noise. Most hearing aid microphones are geared toward listening to sounds that are in your field of view. Positioning yourself to communicate with people face-to-face is one method you can use to help block out background noise.
Can hearing aids make my hearing worse?
Hearing aids that aren’t fit to your unique hearing needs can do more harm than good. Most hearing aids focus on helping the user hear better by amplifying specific frequencies that are problem areas for that particular user. Amplifying a wider range of frequencies than necessary can cause more damage by overstimulating the healthy hair cells in the inner ear. By amplifying more sound than necessary, the risks are similar to listening to music too loudly. A proper hearing loss diagnosis and an accurate hearing aid fitting by a quality hearing care provider are important in maintaining your current hearing health and improving your hearing deficits.
What is the best way to clean/remove wax from my ears?
Earwax cleaning kits are available for purchase at most supermarkets and some grocery stores, and they are effective at removing excess wax. Typically, they consist of a solution that sits in the ear canal for several minutes to loosen cerumen, as well as a rubber bulb used to squirt warm water into the ear canal to clear out the wax.
Is it bad to use cotton swabs in your ears?
Cotton swabs can cause damage if they’re pushed too far into the canal or pushed against the sensitive eardrum. Depending upon the consistency of your earwax, they can also clog the canal, making it difficult to hear with your devices. Other cleaning methods are recommended.
How often should I get my hearing evaluated?
Yearly hearing checks are recommended for anyone beyond the age of 45, and intermittently from childhood throughout adulthood. If you feel your hearing has changed for any reason, or if it has been more than three years since your last screening, schedule a hearing check with your local hearing care provider.
What is the best way to manage itchy ears?
Itchy ears are common for first-time hearing aid users and users who have just purchased a new hearing system. If itching continues for more than a few days, and you have no skin allergies, asking your hearing care provider for a different size of speaker tip for your receiver-in-the-canal or behind-the-ear hearing aids will often stop the itching. For custom earmolds, itching may be caused by moisture and bacteria on the shell, in which case a hearing aid dryer with a UV light will help kill the bacteria and alleviate the problem. Store-bought itch relief creams may help. If all else fails, talk to your hearing care provider about other options.
Why do I need to come back for several follow-up appointments?
When we fit hearing aids, which have more sophisticated technology, you may require more fine tuning adjustments. In addition, your audiologist has to check for any sign of allergic reactions to the plastics or fit problems. We feel that it is always better to prevent problems rather than to have to deal with them after we have an allergic or sore ear. Regular follow-ups can also prevent long term problems that occur as a result of patients not using their hearing aids properly.
Hearing Aid Maintenance
What type of maintenance should I perform on my hearing aids to make them last?
Hearing aids should be cared for on a regular basis by keeping storage conditions optimal and cleaning them regularly. Aside from regular clean and checks by your hearing care provider, your hearing aids should be cleaned using a specific set of tools a few times each week. A dehumidifying storage unit is recommended for safe keeping when they’re not in use, and will help prevent moisture damage.
What should I do if my hearing aids get wet?
Switch off your hearing aid immediately, remove the battery from the device, and dry the battery and hearing aid meticulously with a cloth. If you own a dehumidifier, place your devices in the dehumidifier and turn it on for about 24 hours, or three to four drying cycles. If you don’t own a dehumidifier, shake your hearing aid to clear it of water, place it on a newspaper or paper towel, and store it on a warm object with the battery compartment open for several hours. A space heater, fireplace, or warm stovetop can act as a dryer as long as the heat source is not too hot. Feeling warm to the touch — but not so warm that your hand cannot remain on the heat source — is the proper medium.
How do I clean my hearing aids?
Ask your hearing care provider to walk you through how to clean your devices, as each type of device will have components that are unique to that style of hearing aid. To clean the devices on your own, you’ll need a brush tool that can clean the small contours where dirt, dust, and earwax become trapped. The hearing aid should be cleaned daily with a moist cleansing wipe. If the microphone or earmold areas are blocked, use the brush to clear them.
Why do hearing aids break down?
A hearing aid is an electronic device that works in a hot humid environment (your ear canal). This is one of the major reasons a hearing aid needs repair, besides problems associated with wax in the hearing aid. The hearing aid is also sitting in a wax machine everyday and can become plugged with wax even if you clean the device regularly. The best thing to do is see your audiologist for routine hearing aid checks to try and stay ahead of the game.
My hearing aid is being sent for repair. Why does it take 7 – 10 business days to get may aid back?
Each manufacturer allows us to send hearing aids via 2nd day air. If you drop your aid off on Monday, it arrives at the manufacturer on Wednesday afternoon. The manufacturer then requires at least 3 days to repair and pass the aid through quality assurance. This step will sometimes take longer as it must pass the quality inspection. Once the aid is repaired, it is sent back to us by 2nd day air, arriving by the afternoon. Once we receive the aid, we verify the repair was completed and program the aid. We contact you to schedule an appointment as soon as the aid has been checked.
Why do my hearing aids whistle?
A whistling sound is not uncommon and can be caused by a variety of factors. One of the most common is ear wax. The other possible reason for the whistle is that the hearing aid is not fit or set properly. There could also be an electronic problem with the circuitry of the aid itself.
This problem, along with all of your other hearing woes, can be easily solved with a visit to Hearing Professional Center. A licensed audiologist will assess the problem and make recommendations to help you stop missing important conversations.
Hearing Aid Batteries
How long do hearing aid batteries last?
The size of your hearing aid battery depends on the size of the units you’re using — which is directly correlated with how long they’ll last. The smallest hearing aids, like an invisible-in-the-canal style, will use the smallest batteries and get the least amount of use time. Larger hearing aids will use larger batteries, so they’ll typically last longer. Batteries tend to last between three and nine days.
Are hearing aid batteries rechargeable?
Some manufacturers do make rechargeable hearing aid batteries in specific sizes that come with a USB charger, but standard zinc air batteries are not rechargeable.
Should I store my hearing aid batteries in the freezer?
No. Extreme conditions may shorten their life expectancy.
Why do the batteries only last a week to ten days, yet my watch battery lasts for months?
One reason is that the circuit in a hearing aid and a circuit in a watch are very different. A hearing aid has three major components (microphone, circuit, and speaker) that all require power on a constant basis. A watch requires a very small battery drain in comparison. Another reason is the compromise in the battery size so we can have smaller and smaller hearing aids. The smaller the battery, the lower the power and the shorter the life.
My kids love swimming, but often complain their ears are clogged or hurt. I am worried about the water pressure affecting their hearing. What do you suggest?
Don’t worry. In the vast majority of cases, water will not hurt your child’s hearing. However, some children who have had frequent ear infections have tubes placed in their ears or perforations in their eardrums. To prevent water from getting into the area of the ear behind the eardrum (the middle ear), ear plugs that are especially designed for swimming should be worn.
Swim plugs that are custom-made by an audiologist are usually more effective, but they do require an impression to be made and one to two weeks of processing. The wait is worth it, since some plugs, especially those made with a putty-like substance, often fall out or are difficult to seal in small ears.
What is attenuation (SNR, NRR)?
Attenuation is a general term that refers to any reduction in the strength of a signal. In the case of audio therefore, attenuation is the reducing (or dampening) of sound. The amount or degree of attenuation is most often expressed using units called decibels (dBs).
Why is hearing protection important?
Loud noise is dangerous and the impact it can have on a person’s hearing is irreversible. Exposing your ears to a 100 dB (decibel) noise – i.e. the noise levels of industrial equipment or an MP3 player at full volume – damages the inner ear, even if experienced for just 15 minutes. Working unprotected in loud environments for several hours at a time is even more risky.
The problem is simple: once destroyed, the microscopic hair cells of the inner ear do not grow back. Neither can these crucial tiny hairs be artificially recreated by any medical process.
The consequence is permanent hearing loss and a highly frustrating ringing in the ears (tinnitus). And the negative effects don’t stop there. In addition to reduced hearing capability, the consequences of exposure to noise include: stress and nervousness; reduced concentration and quality of sleep; degraded performance and productivity; increased risk of workplace accidents; difficulty to communicate; feeling of isolation; increased medical expenses.
Is there anything I can do about my ears ringing, since it is distracting?
Ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus, is fairly common and can be the symptom of many different problems. The causes can include hearing loss, high or low blood pressure, medicines you are taking, infection, or other medical conditions.
You should see your physician or have a thorough evaluation by a licensed audiologist to determine the cause and to recommend treatment options. If your ringing sensation is a result of hearing loss, it can be addressed through a variety of methods, which may relieve or even eliminate the situation.
Vertigo, Dizziness & Balance
What causes light-headedness or dizziness? Is there a cure?
Dizziness is a symptom of a problem, not a disease. Although there are many potential causes of dizziness, 85% of these cases can be attributed to inner ear (vestibular) problems. Successful treatment of dizziness requires first the correct diagnosis of the cause. Once that is determined, then successful treatment can be designed. This may include medical and/or audiologic or in some cases physical therapy.
Your mother should first contact her primary physician to make sure there is not a medical condition needing attention. Next, a thorough vestibular evaluation by a licensed audiologist who is experienced in testing and treating dizziness should be performed. Following that testing, additional recommendations or referrals may be made. Because of the potential for falls, dizziness should not be overlooked but completely evaluated and if possible treated.