How do I go about getting a hearing aid?
Medical clearance and a complete hearing evaluation are required to purchase a hearing aid in the state of Wisconsin. A physician evaluates the physical condition of the ear to rule out any medically correctable reasons for the hearing loss. After medical clearance, a hearing evaluation is completed to determine the degree and nature of the hearing loss.
Who will fit me with a hearing device?
Consumer Reports “suggested choice is a medical office headed by an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat physician) who employs an audiologist to fit and dispense hearing aids.”
Hearing aids are dispensed by hearing professionals, either audiologists or hearing instrument specialists. Both are licensed by the state of Wisconsin. Audiologists complete a Master’s degree or Professional Doctorate (AuD) in Audiology and most are certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association or another accredited hearing association. Hearing Instrument Specialists complete courses in hearing science and are trained under licensed dispensers. At Milwaukee ENT, we have licensed Audiologists to take care of all your hearing needs.
I see many people wearing just one hearing device, would I ever need two?
Usually hearing loss will affect both ears equally and it is a good idea to wear two hearing aids. Wearing two hearing aids should provide better understanding of words in noisy situations and more clarity in difficult listening environments like outdoors or in large rooms. You may also feel more balanced by wearing two vs. one. If you have a hearing loss in both ears, but decide only to wear one instrument in the ear that needs it the most, the ear that is deprived of stimulation might get even weaker over time. This is called “auditory deprivation,” and the only way to prevent it is to wear two aids and keeping the ears active.
What kind of hearing aid will I need? I don’t want a large aid.
There are many sizes and styles of hearing aids today from the nearly invisible to behind the ear models. The type of hearing device is determined by the amount of hearing loss, the person’s ability to handle the controls and batteries and the owner’s personal wishes. Most importantly, the size of the hearing aid is dependent upon the best technology to rehabilitate the hearing loss as recommended by your Audiologist.
What type of technology do I need?
Today’s technology is primarily digital. Hearing aids monitor the listening environment and make adjustments automatically to enhance speech, especially in cases where noise is present around you. Some models come with volume controls to override this feature and make the user more in control. Today, more models offer wireless communication, allowing automatic communication between the ears to improve localization and performance in noise. Digital programmable hearing devices sometimes can also be purchased with optional hearing accessories such as remote controls that can be used to remotely control different features of the hearing aid and use Bluetooth technology, which allows you to connect your hearing aids to the television, mp3 players, telephones, cellphones and computers.
What type of technology you need is dependent on your lifestyle and/or your budget. We discuss all these options with you at your Hearing Aid Evaluation appointment.
Can I use my hearing aid with a telephone?
Most hearing devices can have special circuits (T coils) built in that will amplify the electrical signal from the telephone receiver. These circuits are especially beneficial to people who depend on the phone for communication with family, friends, or in their profession. Essentially, the hearing aid will amplify the telephone signal and provide a louder message. New technology now offers Bluetooth technology as well to help you hear on your cell phone and land line phones hands free essentially! Milwaukee ENT is happy to demonstrate this feature with you! You will be impressed by the sound quality!
Will my insurance pay for my hearing aids?
Most insurance programs, including Medicare, do not cover the costs of hearing devices. It is always a good idea to check with your insurance provider in regards to your benefits however. Currently, Milwaukee ENT Hearing Clinic is in-network with BCBS, WEA, and Triology/Assurant. Some insurance companies may provide you with out-of-network benefits. If your insurance provider does not have any hearing benefits, ask Milwaukee ENT Hearing Clinic about financing your instruments through Care Credit.
Hearing aids can be expensive, can I try them before I purchase them?
If the products we have are appropriate for you, we are happy to do Demo’s with our patients. We feel it is a good way to experience the latest technology before you purchase them. If a Demo is not available however, the state of Wisconsin has a law that requires a consumer receive a 30 day trial period after purchasing their instruments. Within that 30 days, our Audiologists plan on meeting you at least 2-3 times to ensure you are happy with your new hearing aids.
Do hearing aids have warranties?
Minimally, your hearing devices should come with a standard, one year warranty on repairs, loss and damage. At Milwaukee ENT Hearing Clinic, most of our warranties come with a standard 2 year warranty. Most of our Premium products will come with a 3 year repair warranty. All office visits, services and most of your supplies will be at no cost to you while you are under warranty if your hearing aids are purchased at our clinic.
How long do hearing aids last?
The average lifespan of a hearing aid is 5 to 7 years. The length of this span is dependent on the quality of the hearing aid, care of handling, and the stability of the owner’s hearing loss. A person who wears their hearing aid daily, keeps it clean, has regular professional checks, and a stable hearing loss, will likely have a hearing aid that lasts longer than a person who is hard on their hearing aids and whose hearing changes substantially over a period of time. Also, even though the average lifespan is 5-7 years, we often find that within 3 years technology will change and if your current aids aren’t performing as well as they used to, it may be time to upgrade.
Will a hearing aid prevent my hearing loss from getting worse?
Hearing loss is independent from hearing aid use. There are many factors that may impact a person’s hearing, such as, hereditary/genetic traits, noise exposure, ear disease or medications. It has been found that a person who begins wearing hearing devices at an early onset of hearing loss will adjust more easily to wearing hearing devices as the hearing loss increases.
Will I have wax problems with my hearing aid?
If you normally have more than usual accumulations of wax, the hearing aid may need to be cleaned or your ear canals may need to be cleaned by a physician and/or your Audiologist more frequently than the average person. However, with routine cleaning of the hearing aid, the user can control wax impaction just as easily as a non-user. Most devices now come with some sort of wax filter/protection as well. These filters can easily be changed in your home, otherwise we are happy to service/clean them as well. Feedback, or unwanted whistling, which occurs quite frequently and/or suddenly is usually an indicator that you have wax built up in your ear canals.