New technology developed in the last few years can help most people with hearing loss achieve improved hearing. The goal of hearing instrument fittings is to make more speech sounds available to the listener. However, simply making sounds louder does not accomplish this goal. Today’s digital hearing aids process sounds to present specific speech information to the listener while reducing unwanted noises and sounds. Digital hearing aids represent the most advanced technology available today, allowing the most precise prescriptive fitting available in contrast to older analog hearing instruments that turned everything up. Digital hearing instruments focus on bringing understanding through sophisticated control of the sound signal inside the hearing instrument. However, you must realize that as good as modern hearing instruments perform; they are still only aids to better hearing. They do not restore hearing to normal.
Another advantage of digital hearing aids is their ability to be reprogrammed by your provider. Should you have any concern how your instruments sound, they can be hooked up to a computer and changed to accommodate your complaint. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages to this versatility is the ability to change the prescription levels in your instruments as your hearing loss progresses over time. In the past, many hearing aid users found their devices worked well over the first two years of use, but as their loss gradually got worse, the aids would never be loud enough for them. Today, hearing instruments can be hooked up to the computer and modified to meet your needs for years of use.
Digital hearing aid costs can vary from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per unit depending on the sophistication of the computer circuit that is recommended. The more advanced instruments do a better/quicker job at enhancing speech and reducing noise, eliminating the annoying whistle (feedback) hearing aids can produce and have the most features that can be manipulated to meet your needs. Most insurance plans do not have hearing aid coverage, but because of the recent popularity of these devices, more and more companies are providing some coverage. We encourage you to check with your insurance provider for plan benefits. Please note: Medicare does not cover hearing aids. Many patients pay cash or finance their aids with low monthly payments, some of which are interest-free. We encourage you to check with your hearing professional to find the most suitable option for your needs.
After age 50 you should have your hearing checked as often as you have your eye exam. A hearing checkup takes about 20 minutes of your time and is offered with no fee by any Start Hearing Network provider. If you feel you may be one of the 31.5 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, there are many options to help. Hearing clearly again will have a positive impact on your life and improve your relationships with family and friends.