Ask the Audiologist

Buying a Hearing Aid

The purchase of hearing aids is an important decision. There are many manufacturers available who have excellent reputations for quality products and services. No single manufacturer is best. The selection process depends upon the limitations of a particular hearing loss, the listening preferences of the user, and financial constraints. Friends and neighbors with similar hearing losses may experience benefits from different models of hearing aids.


The Selection Process
Comprehensive hearing testing is required as the first step in obtaining a hearing aid. Such testing must be current (within 6 months) and may be obtained any licensed audiologist. The hearing test serves as the basis for the design of custom hearing aids. It also allows your audiologist to provide realistic estimates of anticipated benefits. Audiolotists are trained to recognize problems that can be medically treated for which hearing aids would not be appropriate.

The second step in the process is a hearing aid consultation where you and your audiologist will explore together the options available to you regarding style and special circuits.

Please be frank about particular listening difficulties you experience and other limitations such as difficulty handling small objects or poor vision. Warranty periods and service charges vary among manufacturers. If you have particular concerns in these areas, please discuss them with your audiologist.

Some of the choices we will make when selecting your new hearing aid(s) are:

Case Style Behind the ear (BTE)
In the ear (ITE)
Half Shell (HS)
Canal (ITC)
Completely in-the-canal (CIC)
Open canal
Circuit Types: Linear
Noise processor
Class D
Digitally Programmed
Digital Signal Processor
Multiple Channels
Multiple Programs
Remote controls
Compression
Automatic Gain Control
Directional Microphones
and combinations of these, plus many others

Technology
New technology allows us to choose different circuits to accommodate different listening situations. Some are better suited to decrease background noise levels automatically when the noise is low in pitch (machines, outside noises) while others work better in decreasing loud levels of high-pitched background noise (water running, paper rustling). Certain circuits allow for a "cleaner" amplified sound and have increased battery life compared with conventional circuits. Digital hearing aids can perform mathematical operations on signals to remove some background noise. Different styles and circuits have different costs.

Fitting
Finally, during the hearing aid fitting the audiologist will dispense the hearing aid. Fit and function of the instrument will be checked. You will be instructed in its care and use. You will be asked to return during the thirty day adjustment period for follow-up.

Earmold
Included in hearing aid cost usually.

Hearing Aid Cost
$450 to $4000 per aid depending on style and technology

Hearing aids come in a great variety of styles and options. To give you one example, there are 20 different ReSound hearing aid models ranging in price from $450 to $3,700 per aid. Moreover, the manufactures keep changing these models and prices. Most audiologists will do their best to find a hearing aid for you that fits your needs and your budget. Remember, two lower cost hearing aids probably will be better for you than one expensive one, if cost is a consideration.

Audiologists look forward to working with you at your hearing aid consultation. They will want to talk with you about realistic expectations based upon today's technology.

The goal is to provide you the best in professional services and the highest quality products. Audiologists spend many years going to school to learn how to help you hear better. They want you to succeed.