To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 3
Choosing a Hearing Aid
Several factors need to be considered when selecting a hearing aid.
- The type and severity of your hearing loss
- Manual dexterity – how easily can you manipulate the small device.
- Lifestyle – how active, phone use
The hearing aid one person likes might not work for someone else; even if it is identical hearing loss.
In a survey of people wearing hearing aids
- 33% feel multiple program settings was important to adjust to the environment quiet or loud.
- 20% felt an automatic noise level adjustment was the most important feature.
Why are hearing aids so expensive?
Hearing aids are sold in relatively low volume compared to other electronic equipment (i.e. television, DVD players, cell phones).
Manufactures spend millions of dollars on research and development every year. Research and development results in improvements in product size, quality and performance. That cost gets passed on to the consumer.
Ongoing servicing of hearing aids is usually provided for free at the time of service.
70% of those surveyed who use hearing aids waited 2 or more years after noticing a hearing loss to buy hearing aids. 50% blamed the delay on high costs.
Very few health insurance policies cover hearing aids. Some Medicare plans can offer partial coverage or discounts.
You should anticipate paying for these yourself. You can use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work. Employer will cover expense upfront while you deduct medical cost form your pay check over the year.
Health Savings Account (HSA) is another source for covering the cost of hearing aids. This plan may be offered by your employer or you can do independently.
Buy only what you need. Hearing aids can come with many bells & whistles. Do you need blue tooth? It might be convenient but adds hundreds of dollars to the cost.
Be sure and get a written contract
- Check the details of a trial period. What is the last date to return and be refunded?
- What is the length of the warranty and what does it cover?
- What are the services provided? Cost of loss and damage insurance.
Look for bargains. Costco is competitively priced but has fewer models available.
Buying on-line may be cheaper. However, you will probably pay for local technicians to service your hearing aids.
To get the most value from your hearing aids, you need to be consistent in using them. The brain ‘adapts’ to what it hears. You are exercising a muscle. Inconsistent use of hearing aids confuses the brain; you lose speech recognition.
The brain has to readjust to hearing ‘life noises’. Wearing hearing aids more will help a person become comfortable with a ‘new’ normal.
Audiologist Patricia Chute states “It’s going to bring people back to hearing but because of the way we process sound, it’s not going to bring them back to normal hearing”.
Related Blog Posts:
To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 1