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What Should I Look for in a Hearing Aid?

Wednesday, August 17th

What Should I Look for in a Hearing Aid?

Hearing loss can have a profound impact on your quality of life and the lives of those who interact with you on a regular basis. For instance, hearing loss may make it necessary to watch your favorite show or movie at a high volume, which could disturb others nearby. It may also mean that you struggle to follow conversations with friends or family members. Fortunately, there are tools that you can use to restore your hearing and improve your quality of life.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Hearing Aid?

There are many different factors that you'll need to consider when choosing a hearing aid that is right for you. First, you will want to think about whether you want something that looks good or works properly. In many cases, smaller hearing aids will tuck neatly into your ear, which means that they can't be seen. However, they may not be as powerful as larger products. Therefore, you'll have to decide whether being able to hear is more or less important than what you look like while out on the town.

You will also want to wear a hearing aid while using the phone before deciding if it is worth purchasing. This is generally true whether you use a landline or a cellphone, and you'll want to conduct such a test because you likely spend a lot of time on the phone. Therefore, it's critical that you don't miss out on an important conversation or miss out on important information such as where you will meet your friends or what time breakfast is being served at your favorite restaurant tomorrow morning.

Directionality is another variable that you'll want to take into account when choosing a product that best meets your needs. Modern hearing aids are designed to make it easier to prioritize noise coming from in front of you as well as from the sides. If you are having a conversation with a specific person, you may want to set the device to pick up the sounds that this individual is making. However, if you are trying to navigate through a crowd, it may be best to pick up sounds coming from all directions.

Finally, you should conduct a wind test to determine how much it might interfere with your ability to hear while outdoors. It's worth noting that even the best hearing aids are vulnerable to interference from wind, dust or anything else that might make it harder for sound to reach your ear.

How Long Will Your Hearing Aid's Battery Last?

Most hearing aids run on battery power, which means that you will need to account for the expense of buying new batteries on a regular basis. As with other devices, battery life will largely depend on how often you use your hearing aids and for what purpose you use them.

On average, a person will use a hearing aid 13 hours each day, and the typical battery will last for roughly 120 hours. Therefore, you should expect to change your hearing aid battery every nine days or so. Of course, you'll drain a battery faster if you stream audio or video content from a phone or computer directly to your hearing aid.

You may also see a decrease in battery life if you buy products from an inferior brand or buy a battery that is too large or small for your hearing aid. Even if a battery is the correct size for your device, it doesn't mean that it will last for 120 hours. The smallest batteries are only designed to run for less than 60 hours, which means that you would need to replace it at least once a week.

Are Hearing Aids Covered by Insurance?

Cost will likely play a significant role in what type of hearing aid you choose to get. A typical hearing aid will cost about $1,250, but if you want something that is a bit fancier than normal, you could spend up to $4,000. This generally doesn't include the cost of consulting with a hearing specialist or the cost of installing your hearing aid.

However, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, the cost of installing a hearing aid may be covered if it is ordered by your physician. This may be especially true if you need to have a device surgically installed into your ear.

The reason why your insurance company is unlikely to cover the cost of a hearing aid is that hearing is not considered necessary for your survival. Therefore, the loss of your ability to hear is not something that would be considered life-threatening.

Of course, you are encouraged to check with your insurance provider prior to obtaining this type of product to determine what you'll need to pay for on your own. There is also a chance that whoever you buy your hearing aid from may offer flexible financing options.

This means that you would be able to pay for the device over time, which may make it easier to afford such a critical item right away. Paying by credit card may also allow you to pay for your device over a period of several months or years.

The Typical Hearing Aid Will Last for About Five Years

As a general rule, your hearing aid should last for about five years after it is purchased. This means that you should expect to pay between $1,000 and $4,000 every 60 months for the right to hear properly. In many cases, you can stretch the useful life of a hearing aid beyond 60 months if it is properly maintained. However, newer models generally offer better sound quality and come with features such as greater directional sound control that your current model doesn't have.

Don't Hesitate to See Your Doctor

Despite the potential cost of an aid, it's important to get your hearing checked at the first sign of trouble. One study found that Americans wait up to seven years to have their ears checked after first experiencing signs of hearing loss. Neglecting to get the help that you need may put you at risk of getting into a car crash or making a serious mistake at work. Although you may be required to pay for a hearing aid yourself, the cost of an exam is usually covered at least partially by your medical insurance policy.

Hearing Aids Can Be Purchased Online

Although it's a good idea to see your doctor before buying a hearing aid, the good news is that you can do so online. The ability to easily comparison shop may allow you to get the product that you need at a price that you can afford. Furthermore, the ability to buy a hearing aid online may be ideal for those who may not have access to reliable transportation to get to the store, pharmacy or other physical locations safely. Most sites will send a copy of any transaction that is made to your email address as well as provide a way to track your items as they are shipped to your home.

If you suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss, you are strongly encouraged to start researching the different hearing aids that may be available. If you have any questions about your options, it may be best to consult with your personal physician or a specialist in your area. He or she may be able to go into greater detail about any products that you are interested in and whether they are right for you.

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Hearing Aid FAQ

Think about your day-to-day life. Are you or your loved ones noticing that you're having a hard time following the details of conversations, especially in noisy environments? Has the volume on the TV been steadily creeping up? These are just a few signs that it might be time to consider if hearing aids can restore some quality to your everyday moments. There are free hearing tests you can take online that may help you make that determination, if you're not ready to visit an audiologist or there isn't one readily available near you.
Generally speaking, there are three steps to how your hearing aids help you hear better. First, the built-in microphone captures sound in your environment and changes it into a digital signal. Next, the amplifier makes that signal stronger. Finally, the in-ear speaker sends the amplified sound into your ear.
The average lifespan for a hearing aid is 5-6 years. Most come with a warranty of one or two years, so extended protection plans are worth considering. You can also get your hearing aids tuned up or repaired as needed.
That depends on the equipment you choose and whether or not they are rechargeable. You can buy a single hearing aid for under $50, while some of the most expensive devices sell for over $4,000 for the pair! If you use hearing aids with replaceable batteries, expect to change your batteries every 1-3 weeks (depending on how many hours per day you use your hearing aids). Batteries are fairly inexpensive, though: you shouldn't have to spend more than $50/year on them.
You've got lots of options! The main consideration is whether you want one that hangs over the ear (with the main body behind your ear) or one that is completely in-ear. In-ear hearing aids are much easier to conceal, but they're not always comfortable to work with if you have arthritis in your hands or have trouble with small objects in general. Both styles of hearing aids often come with great features like customizable sound settings (e.g. for different environments like crowded rooms vs. watching TV at home), smartphone app controls, and phone/video support from expert technicians.
That depends: every user is unique. Not only will you have to adjust to the physical sensation of having the devices in your ears, but your brain also has to adapt to the new range of sounds (especially if you've been struggling with hearing loss for a long time). It's a good idea to choose a hearing aid brand and retailer that will give you a 30- to 60-day trial period, to give yourself time to get used to your new equipment.
Absolutely! There's no need to spend time waiting for appointments at retailers near you when you can buy the same hearing aids online. If you're concerned about getting the right ones, setting them up properly, or accessing support if there's an issue, don't worry: the best online retailers of hearing aids usually make it hassle-free to get all of the help you need.
Most companies that sell hearing aids know that it might take some trial and error to get the best ones for you: the style, fit, and functionality all impact your experience. Fortunately, they usually give you a period from 30-60 days to get used to them, adjust their settings, and see if they are a good match. If not, you can get a refund. Just be sure to check the return policy of any hearing aid retailer you're considering prior to making your purchase.
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