Frequently Asked Questions
How much do hearing aids cost?
The cost of a hearing aid will depend on your individual needs, the brand you purchase, the number of features you want, where you purchase your hearing aids (medical office, box store, retail outlet, etc). All hearing aids are digital, but some offer features like Bluetooth, automatic remote controls, etc., which are more costly. More basic units that don’t offer these features will not be as expensive. We help you pick the most suitable hearing aid for both your hearing loss and your budget.
My biggest problem is understanding people in group - like meetings, church, restaurants, etc. Can hearing aids eliminate background noise?
Most people with hearing loss complain of problems understanding speech if there are other noises (restaurants, road noise in the car, the tv playing in the background…) Hearing aids CANNOT and DO NOT eliminate background noise. BUT, the computers in hearing aids are very smart and can tell the difference between speech and noise and can amplify speech differently than noise gets amplified which helps the user understand speech better in noisy environments. Also, most hearing aids today use directional microphones. Directional microphones do a fabulous job of reducing the volume of side noises and background noises. Combined with good software in the hearing aids, today’s digital hearing aids do a very good job of enhancing speech in noisy settings which then helps the user understand speech much better in more challenging settings.
How long does it take to get hearing aids?
In today’s world, the majority of hearing aids are called – RICs or Receiver in Canal style hearing aids. These are small behind-the-ear hearing aids that have a wife and receiver that rests in the ear canal. These can often be fitted the day of your hearing consultation. If special orders are needed, you may have to schedule a ‘fitting’ appointment. In any case, most hearing aid fittings can be done within 1-10 days of your initial visit.
What kinds of hearing aids are there?
There are 2 broad categories of hearing aids. Custom hearing aids are molded to your ear and fit completely inside the ear. There are FULL SHELL custom aids which are the biggest and use a size #13 battery. There are also CANAL size, or Completely in the CANAL size which are progressively smaller but still fit completely in the ear itself. BEHIND THE EAR hearing aids have a portion that fits over the flap of the ear and another tube or receiver that fits into the ear canal. Conventional BTE aids may use a custom-made earmold that fits in the bowl of the ear similar to how CUSTOM hearing aids fit. Regardless of the style, the circuitry of the hearing aids will work exactly the same.
I'm afraid to buy hearing aids. What if they don't work? Can I get a refund?
Many people are hesitant to buy hearing aids because of the cost. A lot of people have also heard horror stories of someone who spent thousands of dollars on hearing aids and still couldn’t hear well or use the hearing aids. Oklahoma is one of many states that requires a 30-day trial period when you purchase hearing aids. The way the law is written, you purchase the hearing aids and have until midnight of the 30th day to return them for a refund if you are not satisfied. The law also allows the dispenser to charge a professional fee not to exceed 10% of the purchase price or $150/ear (whichever is the least) if the hearing aids are returned. So, for example, if you paid $2500 for the hearing aids and returned them, the maximum trial fee the dispenser could withhold would be $250. Likewise, if the aids cost $5000 and you returned them, the maximum trial fee the dispenser could withhold would be $300 (10% not to exceed $150/ear). Some dispensers will charge just a trial fee up front until you get a chance to use the aids on a trial. In this case, the consumer would pay the trial fee as a deposit. If you returned the aids there would be no refund, but if you decided to keep the aids you would pay for them in full after the 30 days (or finance).
Hearing aids are so expensive. Can I try them before I buy them?
YES. Oklahoma is one of the several states that require a 30-day trial fitting. Even if you pay up front, you have until midnight of the 30th day after purchase to return the hearing aids (in good condition) to the dispenser. See the comments on refunds – the dispenser is also allowed to withhold a professional fee of 10% not to exceed $150/ear for hearing aids that are returned.
Do you offer free hearing tests?
We offer ‘Free Consultations” which includes a free hearing screening to assess your level of hearing loss and your need for hearing aids. If you are a hearing aid candidate, we will explain to you in detail the nature of your hearing loss, your hearing aid options, costs, financing, insurance benefits (rare), etc.
What kind of service warranty to hearing aids have? They are so expensive, I'm afraid of the repair costs or losing one!
All hearing aids will come with both a repair warranty and loss/damage insurance. The repair warranty will be for 1, 2 or 3 years (some manufacturers will allow you to purchase 1 or 2 years of additional warranty). The repair warranty covers all standard repairs for the life of the warranty. The warranty is only on the hearing aid and does NOT include the earmold or RIC receiver or any accessories (such as a Bluetooth streamer). The loss/damage insurance covers hearing aids that are lost or stolen or damaged beyond repair. An example of a ‘loss’ would be leaving the hearing aids in a hotel by accident and they are not found by the cleaning crew after you leave. An example of damage would be your dog gets you hearing aids and chews on them as if they were a chew toy. In either case, the hearing aids will be replaced by the manufacturer for a nominal ‘deductible’ of 15%-20% of the original cost of the hearing aids. Any hearing aids replaced under loss/damage insurance DO NOT have loss/damage insurance but will retain the balance of the repair warranty that was on the original hearing aids.
Can I buy hearing aids on the internet and save money?
You most certainly can buy hearing aids on the internet. But buyer beware! There are many obstacles in the way. Hearing aids today are digital and need to be programmed to your specific hearing loss. That cannot be easily done via the internet. What if there is a fit problem (a very common issue in hearing aid fittings) – how is the internet going to fix a fit or comfort issue? Are they new aids or used hearing aids? What kind of warranty comes with an internet hearing aid? In most cases, you are much better off and save a LOT of money working with a local professional to help solve your hearing needs.
Iam a UAW member. Will my union pay for my hearing aids?
Most UAW members (active or retired, Ford, GMC, etc.) have hearing aid coverage. There are plans that allow you to get hearing aids with absolutely NO cost to you. There are also plans that let you pay and upgrade the technology of your hearing aids. This is a great benefit for the member.
I am a NRA member and read that we can get hearing aids through American Hearing Benefits.
Yes. NRA members are contracted with American Hearing Benefits and are able to purchase hearing aids through AHB. There is a phone number in your membership materials that you need to call to get referred to a local hearing aid provider.
Can I wear my hearing aids for hunting? I have seen Hunter's Ears at Bass Pro.
No, No, NO! Hunters ears for sportsman are NOT the same as hearing aids. Hunter’s ears are designed with a special circuit that will block the sound of the rifle firing. Hearing aids will NOT do that at all. There are a variety of special products for sportsmen. SOUNDGEAR by Starkey is one product designed to be used by hunters and other sports enthusiasts (NASCAR attendees) – they may look like hearing aids and have some amplification properties to allow you to hear a dear coming, but they use special high-speed compression circuits to muffle the intensity of the sound of the rifle blast or racing car noises, etc.
What are Third Party Agreements (TPA)?
These are programs such as TruHearing, American Hearing Benefits, Epic, Amplifon Hearing, Hearing Choice Solutions, Hear.com, HearUSA, among others. The vast majority of health insurance plans such as Blue Cross, Cigna, Humana, UHC, do not cover the cost of hearing aids. So they contract with a TPA that allows them to offer a hearing aid benefit without actually costing the insurance plan any money. Supposedly, if the insured uses the TPA plan, they can save money but that is not always the case.
Why are hearing aids so expensive?
All hearing aids today are digital, which means you are wearing a computer on your ears. There is a lot of research and development, which costs millions of dollars, that goes into each hearing aid. Hearing aids also require ongoing maintenance and care and that ongoing care is usually included in the cost of hearing aids.
Can I use the hearing aids my neighbor gave me? They were his father's and he passed away right after he got them.
Maybe yes, maybe no. The first thing is how OLD are the hearing aids. They may have been new and rarely used but if they are over 3 years old, they are already losing technology. How were they stored, moisture and humidity are damaging to electronics. What style are they? If the aids were ‘custom’ molded to user’s ear, then they probably will not fit you. Plus, an older hearing aid cannot be warrantied for service and repairs. This is a case of ‘you get what you pay for!” The aids may be free, but useless!
Does Medicare pay for hearing aids?
Medicare (retirement health insurance) does not pay and has never paid for hearing aids. If your neighbor insists that Medicare paid for their great-aunt’s hearing aids, they are simply misinformed or mistaken.
How much will my insurance pay for hearing aids?
Most health insurance plans do not cover hearing aids at all. Some do, but the coverage varies greatly by the insurance provider. Some offer just a fixed amount (maybe ear), while others pay a great deal more. Check with your insurance company, but do not be surprised if they offer no coverage.
Do I have to wear two hearing aids?
Yes, if you have hearing loss in both ears, you will hear and understand much better by wearing two hearing aids. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear and understand speech better, so using two aids will make it much easier to function in noise, groups, church, etc..
Will my hearing get worse?
That is an impossible question to answer. Your hearing may change or regress over time from your first hearing aid fitting. However, many people have hearing losses that remain unchanged for years.
How long will my hearing aids last?
Most hearing aids can easily last 4-5 years if you take care of them, have them serviced regularly, and don’t subject them to any major abuse (heat and humidity will destroy hearing aids). Even in this digital age, there are plastic and mechanical components that wear out over time.
Do all hearing aids need batteries? How long do batteries last?
All hearing aids use batteries. They must have electricity to run the computer chips inside the hearing aids.
Is hearing loss hereditary?
Some hearing loss is hereditary and can run in families. Most hearing loss, however, is usually environmental and caused by excessive noise exposure over a lifetime.
Do you sleep in hearing aids?
No, you do not need to sleep in your hearing aids. They will probably squeal on you and could easily fall off and get lost.
Can I wear hearing aids when mowing the lawn?
You should NOT wear your hearing aids while mowing the lawn or during other activities where you are around loud noise and you will be sweating. Instead, you should be wearing hearing protection to help reduce any further hearing loss.
Can I wear hearing aids in the shower?
NO! You wouldn’t wear your glasses in the shower, so don’t wear your hearing aids in the shower or when washing your hair.
Can I wear hearing aids with a pacemaker?
YES! There is no issue with wearing hearing aids with pacemakers or other medical devices.
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