Hearing aids available today are far superior to previous generations of hearing aids both in performance and appearance. Many patients admit to being pleasantly surprised by how the devices fit in our office perform (and how discreet they are) because their previous impressions of hearing aids were based on much older technology. Hearing aid manufacturers are constantly conducting research to improve the quality of their devices, especially in the areas of reducing background noise, incorporating Bluetooth/wireless compatibility, and creating increasingly smaller devices.
Styles: Hearing instruments come in two styles- Behind-the-Ear (BTE) style and Custom In-the- Ear (ITE) style.
BTE style hearing aids are comprised of a behind the ear component and an in the ear component; these two pieces are connected by either a clear tube or a thin wire. The most common BTE style today is the Receiver in Canal (RIC).
Custom ITE style hearing aids are custom-molded to the patient’s ear. They range in size from “Invisible in the Canal” (IIC) which, depending on the size and shape of the patient’s ear canal, is essentially invisible due to being set deeply in the ear canal to “Full Shell” which completely fills the bowl of the outer ear.
Colors: Hearing instruments come in a variety of colors to best match an individual’s hair or skin tone.
Brands: We have the ability and willingness to work with most hearing aid brands, including Phonak, Widex, Starkey, Oticon, Resound, and Siemens among others.
Accessories: Hearing aids can be paired with a variety of accessories to ensure you are getting the most out of your devices.
Examples of some of the accessories available:
- Bluetooth streamer: Allows you to connect your hearing aids with multiple Bluetooth devices (cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc). Bluetooth streamers allow for hands-free calling with your cell phone. You can stream almost any audio signal from a compatible Bluetooth device. Many patients enjoy using the streamer with their hearing aids to listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, and the audio on videos/movies. Many hearing aid manufacturers also have free remote-control apps for smart phones that can be used to change settings on your hearing aid (in conjunction with the Bluetooth streamer). This is by far the most popular accessory.
- Remote control: Allows you to adjust the volume and program settings in your hearing aids without having to press a button on the hearing aid itself.
- Remote microphone: Provides an improved signal when there is background noise or the speaker is distant. (Used in conjunction with a Bluetooth streamer.)
- TV box: Allows you to hear the TV audio directly in your hearing aids rather than through the TV speaker, which improves the quality of the audio. You can even mute the TV so that you can watch without disturbing anyone else. (Used in conjunction with a Bluetooth streamer.)
Some hearing aids are able to communicate directly with compatible smart phones. With these you can stream audio from your phone to your hearing aids directly (without need of an accessory). Depending on the brand, other options may include the ability to create your own hearing aid programs, the ability to use your phone’s microphone as a remote microphone, and a feature which may help you locate your devices if they become lost.
There are a wide variety of options available to improve your ability to hear and communicate. You should discuss your expectations and preferences with the audiologist so that together you can find the best solution to fit your needs.
Once you have had your hearing evaluated and are interested in learning more about hearing aids, the first step is a free consultation with the audiologist. Consultations typically take about an hour. During this appointment we will review your audiogram and discuss the challenges you feel your hearing loss presents so as to better determine your hearing healthcare needs. The audiologist will explain the different options available, answer any questions you may have, and make a recommendation for the devices she thinks will best meet your needs and expectations.
Once you are ready to proceed, you pay a non-refundable deposit of $200 per ear ($400 for a pair of devices) and your hearing aids are ordered from the manufacturer. At your fitting appointment, the hearing aids will be programmed to fit your hearing loss and fine-tuning adjustments made so that the sound is clear and comfortable. Upon leaving with the hearing aids in your possession, you pay the balance (which is refundable). In the state of Texas, the law mandates that you have a 30-day trial period with your hearing aids to ensure your satisfaction. During the 30-day trial period, you will have follow-up appointments as needed. Most patients require 1-3 follow-ups, depending on how quickly they are able to adapt to amplification. At the end of the 30 days you must decide whether you want to keep or return the hearing aids. If you decide to return the devices, you will be refunded everything except the initial deposit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take to get hearing aids?
A: Typically your fitting appointment can be scheduled within a week of placing your order.
Q: How much do hearing aids cost?
A: Prices vary, chiefly based on the level of technology indicated by your lifestyle and expectations. Generally speaking, Basic and Standard technology devices are good for patients with a calm, quiet lifestyle who primarily need assistance hearing in one-on-one conversation, on the phone, and while watching TV. Patients with more active lifestyles who find themselves struggling in noisy settings (for example, at restaurants, in the car, at gatherings where multiple people may be speaking at once, etc.), and expect to do better in those settings, should consider Advanced or Premium technology. The higher the technology level, the more expensive the hearing aids are. A pair of hearing aids will range in price from $2,300 to $6,900 depending on the technology level.
Q: What does the price include?
A: In our office, the price includes the hearing aid(s), 100 batteries per device, a 3-year repair warranty, a 3-year loss/damage replacement warranty, and all hearing aid-related services (follow-up appointments for adjustments, cleaning, etc.) throughout the duration of the warranty.
Q: What form of payment do you accept?
A: We accept cash, check, and credit card payments. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), you may be able to use those funds as well. We do not offer any sort of payment plan to cover the cost of hearing aids.
Q: Will my insurance cover hearing aids?
A: Medicare does not cover hearing aids. Some private insurance plans may cover a portion of the total cost. Call your insurance provider prior to scheduling your consultation to determine whether you have a benefit for hearing aids. We are out of network for hearing aids and hearing aid related services so you would need to have an out of network benefit in order to receive reimbursement from your insurance company for hearing aids obtained through our office.