A: Do you frequently ask people to repeat? Do you have trouble in background noise? Do you often confuse words that sound alike? If you answered yes to those questions, then it is likely that you have some hearing loss. The best way to know for sure is to schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation.
A: We always encourage you to speak to your primary care doctor regarding any concerns about your health. Most insurances do not require a referral for hearing evaluation. However, if you have Medicare, you must have a referral. Medicare will pay for only one hearing test per patient with a referral from a physician.
A: Definitely. In the past 4-5 years, the hearing aid industry has changed dramatically due to the introduction of very small hearing aids called open-canal or open-fitting BTEs. These instruments offer a number of advantages. They are very petite and almost invisible on most patients. They don’t plug up the ear-canal; instead there is a small non-occluding tip that fits into the ear. These devices are extremely comfortable to wear, in fact most people very quickly forget they have them on. Candidacy is an issue for open fits, as they are not for everyone. Individuals with severe losses might not benefit due to limitations in power.
A: Prices will vary from one place to another. Our hearing aids range from about $2000 per pair to $6000 per pair. Most of our patients usually end up in about the middle of that range.
The differences in prices are based on how automatic the hearing aids are and how well the can adapt to changing environments (like background noise, music, etc.). Less expensive hearing aids will certainly help most people, but require more manual adjustment and do not do as well in noise.
While price is an important consideration, the expertise with which the hearing aids are fit is paramount. The most expensive hearing aids in the world will not help you if they are not fit well.
We offer unmatched expertise and the most up-to-date fitting methods. Dr. Gnewikow uses real ear measurements (aka probe microphone) on every fitting to ensure that speech is maximally audible and comfortable. Every patient also has a free trial period so that you know the hearing aids will work for you before you are committed to making this significant investment.
A: We almost always recommend hearing aids that require no user adjustment: no volume controls, no buttons to push, to switches to mess with. Of course, if you want that control, you have that option. However, most people do better with hearing aids that don’t require adjustment. You just put them in and take them out.
A: The myriad of options can be a little intimidating. The best way to select the hearing aids that are right for you, is to let us explain your hearing loss and what options best match your specific listening needs.
There is no one best option for everyone. In fact, most of today’s hearing aids can be programmed so many different ways that success is much less based on the particular model, than it is on how the settings are matched to your needs. We can almost always address patient issues with programming rather than having to order a different hearing aid. Success with hearing aids is 30% the device itself and 70% how well it is programmed for you.
We always give you several recommendations with varying prices and features. Then, you and your family can decide what the best match is. We are happy to give you as much time as you need to make your decision.
A: Absolutely. Depending on the hearing aids you choose, there are a variety of options that can be applied to make them work with your telephone. The latest in hearing aid technology incorporates Bluetooth connectivity, allowing hands free communication on a cell phone with your hearing aids and best of all, you can hear the phone in both ears at the same time.
A: Don’t worry, it takes your brain a little time to adapt to new stimuli. Most people take several weeks to a couple of months to fully adjust to their hearing aids. Although it is pretty rare, if you decide that you don’t want to keep your hearing aids, you can return them with no charge whatsoever during your trial period.
We will also change you to a different style or model of hearing aids during the trial period at no charge.
A: Almost always, people hear and understand better with two hearing aids than with one. Two hearing aids allow for better understanding in noise, better balance of sound, better localization ability, and a more comfortable volume.
Of course, you can get just one hearing aid if that is better for you. Some patients only need one hearing aid because they have a normally hearing ear or an unaidable ear. However, most people will do much better using their ears together.
A: Sure it could. We do a comprehensive evaluation to determine the source of the hearing loss. If it is from wax or some other, potentially correctable, medical problem, you may not need hearing aids at all. If your loss is medically treatable, we will discuss your options, send a report to your primary care physician, or make a referral to the appropriate specialist.
A: Medicare does not help with the cost of hearing aids. While there are some specific policies out there that offer hearing aid benefits, in general, insurance coverage on hearing aids is very limited or non-existent for most patients.
We are happy to call your insurance company and find out if you have any coverage for hearing aids and will always work with your insurance company to get maximum reimbursement for you. Since most people do not have insurance that covers the cost of hearing aids, we offer a free trial period, so that you know the hearing aids will help you before you have to decide to purchase them. Then, we offer no interest payment plans for up to 3 years so that you can offer to get the help you need.
Neural losses are more rare than cochlear or sensory losses. This type of loss truly originates from the auditory nervous system and may be present even when the inner ear is perfectly normal. Neural hearing loss is a little more problematic, in that it may cause sounds to be distorted, not just harder to hear.
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