Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know if I Have Hearing Loss?
Over 30 million people in the United States have hearing loss. It is increasingly common as we get older, with 1 in 3 between 65-74 having hearing loss and almost half of those over 75 having hearing loss. Most of the time hearing problems begin gradually, without discomfort or pain. What’s more, family members often learn to adapt to someone’s hearing loss, without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether you have hearing loss:
- Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do I have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
- Do I have difficulty hearing what is said unless I’m facing the speaker?
- Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?
- Do I struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?
- Do I have a hard time hearing women or children?
- Do I prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
- Do I experience ringing or buzzing in my ears?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you do suffer from hearing loss. We recommend you schedule a full hearing evaluation to determine your current hearing ability and discuss treatment options.
What Brands of Hearing Aids Do You Use?
As an independently owned private practice, we work with a variety of hearing aid manufacturers. During your consultation with your audiologist, you will discuss their recommendations, as well as any preferences or research about current hearing aid models that you would like to review.
Manufacturers that we fit and service include:
- Signia (Previously Siemens)
Can you program hearing aids I was given or bought elsewhere?
We are happy to review your current devices, hearing evaluation results, and your current listening goals to determine if your current technology is appropriate.
We do not recommend purchasing hearing aids online or through "alternative" marketplaces, as there are many situations where manufacturers will not honor warranties.
If, following a consultation with your audiologist, you decide you would like to be fit with your devices we are happy to do so!
Charges will vary depending on the services that need to be performed.
Typical services that may need to be performed include:
Hearing Testing ($75, often covered by insurance)
Hearing Aid Cleaning ($35)
Hearing Aid Reprogramming and Real Ear Verification ($175)
Counseling on Use and Care of Devices ($75- 30 minute consultation)
Hearing Aid Repair (Price varies by age and model of device, repairs needed)
How much do your hearing aids cost?
The price of a hearing aid will vary depending on the specific model and features you need, and how effective it is in various noise environments. We make recommendations based on your lifestyle and how sophisticated your hearing aids need to be to meet your listening requirements.
Treating hearing loss with hearing aids can range anywhere from $1000 to $7000 or more. We counsel all of our patients on making a decision based on what they can afford, and most importantly, what will improve their quality of life for years and years to come. An investment in better hearing is an investment in yourself and the people you love.
It is also important to remember that hearing aids are just the foundation of a good hearing treatment program. Our NeuroHearing™ Treatment Process is included in the cost of all devices, and includes follow-up care for the life of the devices at no extra cost.
In some cases, insurance may cover some of the cost of hearing aids. We are in network with most major insurance carriers.
Regardless of the final cost, we do offer financing options to help you afford the technology you need.
Do you accept insurance?
We are in network with most of the major insurance carriers, and we are happy to help you verify your hearing aid benefits and coverage for testing services. We will also help you obtain a referral from your physician if needed, as a complimentary service!
We currently do not participate in some third party insurance programs such as TruHearing (we do participate in Hearing Care Solutions, VA Choice, and several other similar programs - call to inquire if we participate in your program), as we are unable to provide the follow up care that is necessary for our patients under their reimbursement model. We do offer unbundled service plans upon request to decrease initial hearing aid costs and remain competitive with these programs.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can be due to several factors such as the aging process, exposure to loud noise, medications, infections, head or ear trauma, congenital (birth) or genetic factors, diseases, as well as a number of other causes. Recent data shows that about 20 percent of adults in the United States (48 million) report some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss often occurs gradually throughout a lifetime.
What Style of Hearing Aid Do I Need?
There are many types of hearing aids today, and the style or device is dependent upon the user's individual needs. There are in-the-ear styles as well as behind-the-ear styles. Also, hearing aid technology has advanced, with many new and improved options from which to choose.
Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles, thanks to advancements in digital technology and miniaturization of the internal components. Many of today's hearing aids are considered sleek, compact, and innovative - offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid users. When selecting a style of hearing aid, the following should be considered:
- The type/degree of the hearing loss
- Power requirements
- Manual dexterity and visual abilities
- Cosmetics and aesthetics
- Skin sensitivities
- Anatomical and medical considerations
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a common disorder affecting over 50 million people in the United States. It is often referred to as "ringing in the ears," although some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking. Tinnitus, often called head noise, is not a disease, but a symptom of another underlying condition of the ear, auditory nerve, or elsewhere. Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant, with single or multiple tones. Its perceived volume can range from very soft to extremely loud.
How is Tinnitus Treated?
In many cases, tinnitus is a symptom of untreated (or under-treated) hearing loss. In these situations, treating the hearing loss with hearing technology is the first step. Your audiologist will discuss your history and test your hearing to help rule out medical conditions that may be causing ringing in the ears, and make referrals to specialists as necessary.
In addition to treating the hearing loss, your audiologist will discuss lifestyle factors, dietary factors, and coping strategies to help manage and minimize your tinnitus symptoms. In many cases there is no silver bullet to completely get rid of tinnitus, however your audiologist will guide you to take the best steps to reduce its impact on your daily life.
Are cheap hearing aids any good?
Many inexpensive or over-the-counter hearing aids are simply amplifiers. That means that they amplify everything, including background noise and ambient noise. They do not perform digital processing that separates speech from the noise, or that reduces noise.
Our recommendation is to always use caution when buying hearing aids based on price alone. Quite often, even if you are being fit by a “hearing professional”, the quality of both the technology that you are buying and the skill with which it is being fit will be lacking.
We have seen too many times a patient that bought a set of hearing aids simply because they are cheap, and even though they “saved” a few thousand dollars, the money they spent was a waste because they didn’t wear the hearing aids and they ended up in the dresser drawer.
A reputable Audiologist such as those at ClearLife Hearing Care, will work with you to help you understand the pros and cons of different types of technology, and work with you to find a solution that meets your budget and that you will be happy with for years to come.
Do I need to see an ENT first?
When you see your ClearLife Audiologist for a hearing evaluation, they will perform comprehensive testing to determine the type and cause of hearing loss that you have. If a medical referral is appropriate, they will send you to a qualified physician for treatment.
Doctors of Audiology are the most highly trained professionals that test and treat hearing loss. Much like you would visit an optometrist first for visual problems (who would refer you to an ophthalmologist if necessary), an audiologist is the first line of assessment for hearing related disorders.
The vast majority of hearing loss is permanent (about 93%). There are some cases of hearing loss from disease such as ear infections, swimmers ear, and some viral infections, that can be treated medically and hearing can be restored. In these cases, an ENT consultation will be recommended by your audiologist.
Will people be able to see my hearing aids?
We understand that cosmetics are a concern for our patients. We have found that for most people who were initially concerned about their hearing aids being visible, the improvement in quality of life that they received from better hearing far outweighed their concerns about aesthetics. Also, our patients are much less embarrassed to be seen wearing a hearing aid than they are to constantly have to ask for repetition or respond inappropriately because of their hearing loss.
Additionally, modern hearing aids have been miniaturized to the point that they are often unnoticeable. In fact, some devices are completely invisible. Our practice fits a wide range of hearing aid styles, from traditional behind-the-ear devices to invisible in the canal devices. Your audiologist will work with you to find a solution that addresses your hearing concerns as well as style and visibility concerns.
Will I need two hearing aids?
Most age-related, noise-induced, and genetic hearing loss occurs in both ears (binaural). If you have hearing loss in both of your ears, we will recommend binaural hearing aids. Having equal hearing in both ears results in better hearing in quiet and noisy situations, and better ability to tell where sounds are coming from.
About two-thirds of Americans are fit binaurally with hearing aids. Studies have shown that patients who have hearing loss in both ears and wear two hearing aids are significantly happier with their treatment than those who only wear one.
Are hearing aids better now than they used to be?
Like many other high-tech devices (TVs, phones, computers), hearing aids have experienced a major technological revolution in the past decade and especially in the last few years.
The best of today’s hearing aids are designed to virtually eliminate feedback; make listening in noisy environments easier and more comfortable; stream stereo sound from TVs and radios directly to the hearing aid itself; let you talk on your phone hands-free; and much more. All in instruments that are smaller (in some cases, invisible) and more comfortable and powerful than ever before.
What if I don't like my hearing aids?
Your trust, confidence, and satisfaction is our #1 priority. On average, over 96% of our new patients decide they are highly satisfied with their investment in better hearing, and decide to keep their hearing aids. We use the most advanced and proven patient care technology and practices to ensure our patients the highest possible likelihood of success with hearing aids.
We understand that you are making a significant investment when you purchase hearing aids, and we want to make sure that you are completely satisfied with that investment. That is why we offer a 45 day trial period with ALL of our hearing aids.
That means if you don’t like your hearing aids we can try different types of technology, or you can return the devices. Your audiologist will consult with you in detail prior to you purchasing a treatment program to ensure that you understand what is involved, as well as what your expectations should be.
Why hasn't my physician recommended hearing aids?
Only about 13% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor’s office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Additionally, most physicians do not complete continuing education on hearing aids and hearing loss, so they are not typically aware of what technology and options are available.
More alarmingly, many physicians aren't aware of the recent research that has found a strong correlation (300-500% increase, even with mild hearing loss) between untreated hearing loss and Alzheimer's Disease.
Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.
I think I have a hearing problem. What do I do?
Scheduling a hearing evaluation is your first step.
You can learn more about our unique approach to testing for and treating hearing loss
How will hearing aids improve my quality of life?
Hearing aids have been found to have a significant positive impact in multiple areas of people’s lives. Just a few examples of the reported changes after wearing hearing aids include:
- Higher self-confidence
- Better relationships with friends and family
- More likely to be socially active
- Improved short-term memory performance
- Increased energy
- Lower incidence of isolation and depression
- Increased earning power
- Better overall sense of well-being
You can see that the potential improvement in quality of life by wearing hearing aids is significant!