Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition behind arthritis and heart disease, affecting people of all ages.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 28.8 million adults in the United States could benefit from hearing aids. However, studies have shown people often wait 7-10 years from the time they first suspect a problem to have their hearing evaluated and consider purchasing hearing aids.
For some it is such a gradual change over time that it becomes hard to accept or admit they can’t hear or understand what is being said. Others might feel that their hearing isn’t that bad and feel they get by just fine (…especially if others would just speak up!). They deny there is a problem. And then there are those that remember how bad their grandfather’s hearing aid was that they don’t want to try one. All of this leads to a disconnect from family and friends that could be helped with properly fitted hearing aids.
HEARING AIDS ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.
A lot of hearing aids look alike, use the same battery, and require the same maintenance; however, they are quite different in the way they work internally. Hearing aid manufacturers have their own philosophy on sound processing and their features and options can be quite unique. There is not one manufacturer or one hearing aid that works best for everyone so it’s important the best choice is made for your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.
Before choosing a hearing aid, an in-depth hearing assessment should be performed by an audiologist. The purpose of this diagnostic evaluation is to determine the nature and degree of the hearing loss. These tests consist of tonal and speech tests performed in a sound-treated booth. An immittance test of the middle ear system is also routinely a part of the evaluation.
Immediately following the assessment, the best treatment options can be discussed. If hearing aids are recommended, a demonstration should be a part of the consultation.
Hearing aids range in price from $1000 to $3200 per device. Higher-end hearing aids have more overall features and options to help enhance speech understanding and provide the best help when there is background noise. For those more active and often in different listening environments, such as groups, crowds, restaurants, etc., the extra cost for the more sophisticated sound processing is well worth the additional expense. Hearing aids with lesser sound processing cannot be expected to provide the same benefits as the higher-end devices; however, for those less active and in relatively quiet listening environments most of the time, the budget hearing aids are quite helpful.
Although very few insurance plans cover hearing aids directly, in the last several years there have been funded, partially funded or discount programs attached to some major medical insurance plans that most people are unaware of.
You may contact your insurance company yourself to find these benefits but the audiologist’s office will more than likely check as well at your appointment. In addition, Health Savings Accounts through employers should be considered when purchasing hearing aids. Should the hearing aids be a complete out-of-pocket expense, there are payment programs available, including 12-month no-interest, for those that qualify.
Don’t let your denial, your past experience, or your questions about hearing aids and technology keep you from doing what is best for your hearing. Contact The Jackson Hearing Center at 731-660-5511 or visit our website at hearingmemphis.com to schedule a free hearing screening and consultation. Hearing Care IS Health Care.
The Jackson Hearing Center
172-D W. University Pkwy.
Jackson, TN 38305