Home Tech How to buy a hearing aid: top questions and answers

How to buy a hearing aid: top questions and answers

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How to buy a hearing aid: top questions and answers

However, cheaper options abound, and manufacturers are now racing to the bottom to produce the hearing aid equivalent of gas station “cheat” glasses. The ultra-cheap headphones are now available for under $100.

That’s right: you get what you pay for. In my testing, I found a fairly direct correlation between price and performance, at least to some extent, as higher-end aids feature essential features like frequency shaping, better noise cancellation, hiss and feedback reduction, and app support. mobiles. . More expensive aids also typically include access (via phone, video, or email) to a professional audiologist who can make remote, on-demand adjustments to perfect the listening experience. This support can be absolutely critical in ensuring that a hearing aid works well for the user.

Are prescription hearing aids better than over-the-counter ones?

Probably, but not necessarily. Over-the-counter hearing aids are officially marketed to users with mild or moderate hearing loss, and consumers with severe hearing loss are officially recommended to seek professional medical care. That said, the quality gap between prescription and over-the-counter medications is clearly narrowing.

I’ve tried both types and had the best results with over-the-counter models, but every ear is different, so the experience may not be the same for you. At the very least, over-the-counter products make it easier to experiment with technology at a much lower price, and many brands have generous return policies in case things don’t work out. It’s worth starting there.

Do I need to see a doctor before getting a hearing aid?

For most people, hearing loss is not unilateral and spans the entire frequency spectrum. Hearing loss in the higher frequencies tends to occur first in most people, although this is not universal. The only way to know for sure is to map your hearing loss, which is best done by a trained audiologist. An audiologist’s hearing test involves you sitting in a soundproof room for about 15 minutes and listening to beeps of various pitches and volumes that are used to create an audiogram, a document that graphically shows the ups and downs of your hearing. Some audiology exams will also evaluate whether you have weaknesses with certain speech sounds (such as distinguishing ch and sh). A physical examination of the ear canal is also usually included.

Similarly, aside from very cheap (and not very good) models, headphones don’t simply amplify all audio with abandon. Rather, they can be tuned to further amplify the specific frequencies you have the most trouble hearing. Without an audiogram, it’s difficult to know how to fit your hearing aids, although many providers offer their own version of an audiology test that is performed through a website or mobile app. These vary in quality and thoroughness, although I have found that many align quite closely with my professional results.

Bottom line: I wouldn’t recommend trying to set up a hearing aid without taking an online test at a minimum, and I would also recommend getting a formal audiogram if possible. You’ll get the best results that way. (Audiograms have the added benefit of being reusable if you end up returning one product and purchasing another.)

Do hearing aids give you back perfect hearing?

Typical patterns of hearing loss are permanent and cannot be recovered, and no amount of hearing aid use will restore your unaided hearing to full health. However, while wearing hearing aids, the impact can be phenomenal. Users with milder levels of hearing loss may find that they hear better than ever, possibly even better than before they had any level of hearing loss. However, no hearing aid is perfect and users should temper expectations accordingly. For most, however, even a modest improvement can make a big difference in daily life.

How many hours a day should you wear hearing aids?

I’m the first to admit that hearing aids are often difficult to deal with. They are difficult to put on and take off, difficult to place perfectly in the ear canal and, above all, they become uncomfortable over time. After an hour or two of wearing headphones, I feel my ears start to itch, which eventually forces me to take a break. Adjusting to the often jarring impact of hearing aids on hearing is also something that requires some level of acoustic adjustment.

Hearing aid discomfort decreases and effectiveness increases with time worn, which is why most providers recommend wearing them as much as possible. Typically, users can start with one or two hours a day, increase up to three or four hours after a week, and eventually approach full-time use with enough practice. However, each user has different needs, so full-time use may be excessive for many.

What are the benefits of using hearing aids?

Frustrated spouses accusing you of ignoring them, requests to rewind a TV show because you missed a key part of the dialogue, and pretending to understand what is being said to you across the table in a noisy restaurant – these are all things that can be avoided with a high quality hearing aid. But hearing aids can do more than simply improve your overall hearing and, therefore, your quality of life. They can be used to relieve tinnitus and there is strong evidence that hearing aids can prevent dementia in people who suffer from hearing loss. Additional research suggests that hearing loss and cardiovascular disease are linked, which further implies that there are health benefits to improving hearing with a hearing aid.

What are the negative aspects of using hearing aids?

Headphones aren’t the most fashionable accessories, and for my money, the biggest downside to headphones is that they make you look like you’re wearing them. That is, they make you look old. Or better, older. I’ve previously mentioned the discomfort of hearing aids, and of course the expense can be significant, even with over-the-counter hearing aids. Hearing aids, like hearing aids, can also be easy to misplace. This can be stressful for those who are prone to losing things.

How do you clean hearing aids?

Almost every hearing aid I’ve tried comes with cleaning instructions and tools to help remove debris like ear wax. Behind-the-ear models include receivers that are easily replaced when they become too clogged with wax to be easily cleaned. You typically get additional receivers with your purchase and a tool that makes replacing them easy. I also like to use cleaning gel or putty to remove dirt from hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, especially in and around the tips of your ears.

Does Medicare cover hearing aids?

No, believe it or not. If you have standard Medicare coverage, you must pay 100 percent of the cost of hearing aids and exams. Private supplemental Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) may include hearing-related benefits. Shopping around.

How long does a hearing aid battery last?

The hearing aid batteries continue to impress me. I have tested aids that last 24 hours or more before needing a recharge. And since most models include a case that includes an additional, robust rechargeable battery, most aids last about a week before the case needs to be plugged into a power source.

Keep in mind that headphones that use those little old-school replaceable batteries still exist (in fact, one of our favorite models, the Sony C10, uses them), although they’re becoming rarer because dealing with those tiny batteries is difficult. even for the most stable people. hands. However, there is a bright side: Replaceable hearing aid batteries can last 70 hours or more, much longer than even the best rechargeable models.

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