Tips & Advice
How to clean a hearing aid
For maximum performance, you should try to clean your hearing aid each morning. Start by wiping the exterior with a soft cloth or brush to remove obvious dirt and debris. Do not use tissues that have aloe or lotions as they can harm the device. Be careful NOT to wipe dirt into the microphone as this can damage it. You will want to keep the tubing clean and free of ear wax, which is the No. 1 cause of hearing aid problems. Most devices come with a tool for cleaning out the tubing when it is removed from the device. You don’t need to clean the tubing every day, but definitely do it on a regular basis. Be cognizant of water, rain, or sweat getting in, on and around your device.
Are hearing aids covered by Medicare?
If you have Medicare Plan B medical insurance, they will cover the cost of diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor orders them to see if you need further treatment. If you only have original Medicare coverage, you are on the hook for all the costs associated with hearing exams, hearing aids, and hearing aid fittings. Check to see if you have original or Plan B coverage. As this can get confusing, consult your policy, or speak to your doctor’s office directly about your plan. You can also consult the Medicare website for more answers.
What is a digital hearing aid?
Digital hearing aids use the basic elements as an analog device: receiver/microphone, amplifier and speaker, but they use a digitized sound processing to convert the sound waves into digital signals. Inside the device is a computer chip that analyzes the signals to determine whether the sounds are noise or speech, and attempts to filter out the noise and delivering only the speech. They operate on the same principles as analog and use batteries, but they use the newest technology to deliver more speech and less background noises. These are the most technologically advanced options and will have a higher price tag.
There are three different types of hearing aids:
- BTE (behind the ear) devices have the hearing aid that sits on top and behind the ear. All the electronic parts sit behind the ear and join the ear canal via a sound tube and a custom tip.
- ITE (in the ear) devices are custom-made devices in which all of the electronics sit inside your ear. They come in multiple sizes including CIC (completely in canal) and IIC (Invisible in canal).
- RIC (receiver in canal) or RITE (receiver in the ear) devices are like the BTE aids, except the receiver/speaker is not in the case, it is fitted directly into your ear canal and are connected to the electronics case (that sits behind the ear) with a thin wire. You will find variations of these devices, but they all fall under those three general categories.
Can hearing aids reduce tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition in which the person afflicted hears a ringing or buzzing type sounds in their ears. Tinnitus can be had in concert with hearing loss, so if you are exposed to really loud environments on any consistent basis, you are susceptible to get both. There are hearing aids that can mask or reduce the effects it tinnitus and can provide immediate relief while simultaneously increasing your hearing ability.
What is the cost of a hearing aid?
There is a wide variety of hearing aid devices on the market, with varying degrees of quality. Obviously the best and most technologically advanced devices will cost more. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 for the best single hearing aid. But However, you might need two if you have loss in both ears. Insurance coverage is not guaranteed, making it a potentially costly investment. You can get lower-end devices for as low as $125 on Amazon, but beware the quality. However, cheap does not necessarily mean bad in all cases. Do your research and ask around, and see if, and what, your medical insurance will cover.
How does a hearing aid work?
There are three basic parts to a hearing aid: the microphone, amplifier, and a speaker. Sound is picked up by the microphone, converted through the amplifier, and sent out through the speaker into the ear.
A hearing aid is a device that fits into or around the ear, amplifying sounds for someone with hearing loss due to age or a medical condition. The sound is picked up through a microphone, sent through an amplifier and relayed into the ear. Hearing aids are not a permanent fix for hearing loss, but they are a great supplement, not just for the user, but also for the people who have to interact with them.
How much does a hearing test cost?
There is no set cost for a hearing test and, depending on your insurance coverage, they can be free (or the cost of co-pay). If you do not have insurance and are paying out of pocket, you can reasonably expect to pay a minimum of $150--which is about the minimum rate a doctor or audiologist will charge for a basic office visit. Make sure to consult your policy and/or insurance provider for coverage details, and call your doctor or audiologist to get firm quotes.
How is hearing loss diagnosed?
There are ways to determine hearing loss. A basic physical exam is usually the first step. Hearing issues can be as simple as wax buildup in the ear. Next, the doctor might do a general screening test, covering one ear at a time to see how the patient respond to sounds. Next steps could include a hearing test with an audiometer--a device that measures the hearing threshold of each ear--or a tuning forks, a two pronged instrument used to produce sounds. These methods in concert can lead to a diagnosis.