January 3, 2013

Tips to Think About Before Getting a Hearing Aid

margaretBy Margaret Christiansen, AU.D, CCC-A
Audiology Consultants, P.C.

Purchasing a new hearing aid is no walk in the park; at least it’s not for most people. It’s a big decision and it cost a lot of money. The hearing aid you choose should last you the next five to seven years so you want to make sure your getting the right one for you. Here are a few things to consider before your appointment.

Think about how you currently hear. What specific areas do you have trouble in, or what situations would you like to hear better? The more specific you are, the more helpful it is for your audiologist to suggest certain hearing aids and technologies that can assist you in those situations. For example, background noise is difficult for most people to hear in so be a little more specific. How often are you in background noise, and what is it you are trying to hear better? Are you trying to talk on the phone or just listen to conversation? Is it your grandkids or your spouse? Is it a large auditorium or a small living room? All of these questions are important for the audiologist to help you find the right hearing aid.

Another thing to consider is the demand you have on your hearing. Does your career depend on your ability to hear for instance? If so, you may want to prepare yourself to spend a little more to get a hearing aid that will give you every possible advantage in multiple environments. Speaking of spending… did you know that hearing aids can costs thousands of dollars? Financial planning is also important, so before you consider hearing aids check with your insurance to see if you have any coverage. Many insurance companies will not cover the cost of hearing aids so you may have to budget for them or check into local organizations that may assist you in the purchase of a hearing aid.

Before you can purchase a hearing aid, you will be required to have a hearing test. When making your appointment, find out if you will need a referral from you physician. Many insurance companies, particularly Medicare will require this in order to cover the cost of the hearing test.

And one last tip, educate yourself. Reading this article is a great first step! The Internet is also a good place to find a lot of helpful information about hearing aids. Ask around, get referrals, and talk to friends or family that have hearing aids. Learning about other’s experiences can be helpful but be careful, as their experiences may be completely different from yours. Everyone has very different hearing abilities and demands on their hearing, therefore their success with hearing aids may be related to many variables. When in doubt, ask your audiologist, and he or she will help answer your
questions.