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FAQ About Hearing Aids

Why are hearing aids so expensive?

Traditionally, hearing aids have been dispensed through professionals who sell, fit and adjust the devices as part of the overall cost. These services are usually included in the cost of hearing aids. The fitting process is important because if your hearing aid does not fit well or is not programmed properly, you may not get the most out of your investment.

Only you can decide the value of your ability to communicate, function at your job, or the effort it takes for you to communicate. For this reason, we offer a trial period with all of our hearing aids to help you make that decision.

We do offer hearing aids with basic technology. You can get a very good sound quality with less expensive devices; however they may not contain all of the features that the most expensive devices have. We will work very hard to find something that works for you that is also within your budget. You may even qualify for special funding. See your audiologist for details.

Consider amplifying one ear while you save money for the other ear. Even though it is normally recommended to amplify both ears at the same time, a practical solution may be to start with just one. Because of today’s wireless hearing aid technology, a pair of hearing aids is able to communicate back and forth in order to adjust to a variety of listening environments.  In many cases, a pair of less expensive hearing aids may be preferable to using only one high-end hearing aid.

How do I decide which hearing aid is right for me?

Most hearing health care professionals recommend that you choose the most advanced hearing aid that fits your budget. Generally, the more active your lifestyle, the more benefit you will gain from more advanced technology.

How much do hearing aids cost?

The cost of hearing aids is determined by how technologically advanced they are. The range of price is approximately $1500-$3500 each. This price includes warranty, loss and damage, professional fitting, and follow-up services.

Why are there so many hearing aid choices?

Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose & Throat is not a franchise and therefore are not obligated to work with only one brand or style of hearing aid technology. We are independently owned and are not a part of a larger business or university or health care system. Because each individual’s goals and needs are unique, one type of hearing aid is not appropriate for all patients—even if they are experiencing the exact same type of hearing loss.

Do hearing aids help with tinnitus?

A person with tinnitus is also highly likely to have a hearing loss. Hearing aids will amplify environmental sounds that are not heard due to hearing loss. This allows your brain to focus on those sounds instead of the tinnitus. Therefore, tinnitus patients may report some relief from the noise in their ears, although hearing aids technically do not silence this noise.

How long should hearing aids last before being replaced?

The average life of a hearing aid is about 4-6 years, depending on how well the device is maintained. There are tiny electronic components inside of a hearing aid, such as microphones, amplifiers and receivers. These components are exposed to humidity, perspiration and earwax daily, which can affect how well the hearing aid functions over time.

Today’s digital hearing instruments can usually be reprogrammed to accommodate changes in hearing. However, hearing aid manufacturers usually have new models available every year featuring technological advancements.

After five years, hearing aid users are usually eager for these new features and tend to be ready to purchase new devices.

How does Bluetooth or telecoil work with hearing aids?

Bluetooth is a type of technology developed in 1994 that allows electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers to communicate wirelessly within a short range. In 2002, Bluetooth technology and hearing aid technology merged, meaning there are now devices that link hearing aids to Bluetooth technology. For hearing aid users, this means clearer cell phone conversations, as well as other benefits, such as pairing with mp3 players, televisions and computers. Some hearing aids may be equipped to connect to Bluetooth automatically, while others may require the use of a separate Bluetooth accessory.  These can be synchronized with not only telephones, but also with TVs and other electronic devices.

A telecoil, also known as “t-coil” or “t-switch”, is a special circuit inside the hearing aid. It is a tiny coil of wire around a core that induces an electric current in the coil when it’s in the presence of a changing magnetic field. This allows the hearing aid to “hear” through the magnetic coil instead of through the microphones of the hearing aid. When the telecoil is activated, it turns off the hearing aid microphone, picks up the magnetic signal, and then the hearing aid converts the signal into sound. This magnetic signal is most commonly found in landline telephones and assistive listening devices like those used in theaters and churches.

What can I do about my tinnitus?

“I’ve been told there is nothing that I can do and that I just need to learn to live with tinnitus. What should I do?” Our audiologists in Raleigh, Brier Creek, Cary, Garner, and Wake Forest may help you develop some coping strategies to make the tinnitus more manageable. Some people use a sound generator known as a tinnitus masker. There are many types of tinnitus maskers available in a number of hearing aid brands and styles, and some devices can be programmed to specific frequencies that best masks the tinnitus. These can be used even if no hearing loss is present. We have these devices available for purchase and our audiologists will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

Are hearing aids cheaper on the internet?

Hearing aids found on the internet are not comparable to the hearing aids dispensed by our audiologists. The difference in price may be due to the type, or age of circuit technology used. In some cases, our prices are just as competitive as those found on the internet. However, it is important to remember that hearing aids purchased over the internet do not include the services we include. In fact, internet hearing aids may actually cost more if you have to seek these additional services from a clinician.

Remember that hearing aids are more useful and successful when they are adjusted properly and monitored by audiologists. We work with our patients during the entire hearing aid fitting process, listening to their needs and adjusting the hearing aid appropriately. This fitting includes maintenance, learning realistic expectations and fine tuning the hearing aid to optimize performance— which cannot be done over the internet. Working with an audiologist has another advantage: You are able to try hearing aids from different manufacturers to find the right one for you.

Are hearing aids waterproof?

Manufacturers have taken tremendous strides in developing technology to protect their hearing aids from moisture, such as nano-coating technology.  At Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose & Throat, P.A., we try to help you protect the hearing aids by issuing a hearing aid dryer with every hearing aid purchase. This will not only protect the hearing aid from moisture damage, but it will prolong its life.

When and where can you get a hearing aid repaired?

Hearing aid service and repair is handled by appointment only. By calling to schedule an appointment, you enable us to provide you with better service and reduce the waiting time in the office. If you must drop your hearing aid off, please leave your name, phone number, and an explanation of the problem. Hearing aids requiring more than minor adjustments will be sent to the manufacturer for repair. Most repairs are accomplished within two weeks. The cost for repairs out of manufacturer’s warranty will vary. Loaner hearing aids (traditional linear only) are available should your aid need to be sent for repair.

Are you an audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser?

Both types of professionals can evaluate your hearing and fit hearing aids, but their training varies significantly. Audiologists must have a doctoral or master’s degree, pass national and state exams, and have more than 1800 hours of clinical training before they graduate. Hearing Instruments Specialists generally have from 6 months to 2 years of supervised training or a two-year college degree and in some states must pass a licensing test. All of our providers that specialize in hearing aids are audiologists.

Do you dispense multiple brands of hearing aids?

There are six major manufacturers of hearing aids. It is important when choosing a hearing health care provider to choose one, which offers multiple brands and models so that you can find the right hearing aid for your needs. At Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose and Throat, we offer all six major manufacturers of hearing aids.

Do you offer a trial period for hearing aids?

Yes. We offer a thirty-day trial period with several post-fitting check-ups during the thirty-day period.

Is your office affiliated with an ear doctor?

Yes. We believe that there are several advantages to getting your hearing aid from a medical practice. A doctor’s evaluation can rule out medical conditions that might be affecting your hearing—conditions a hearing aid may not improve. At Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose and Throat, we have highly qualified otolaryngologists who work closely with our audiologists to ensure a thorough evaluation.

What is included in the cost of hearing aid charges?

The following items are included in the purchase of hearing aids from our clinic:

  • 30 day trial period
  • 1 – 2 week post fitting check up
  • 1-3 year warranty on parts depending on level of technology
  • Initial supply of batteries
  • Audiologic follow up thoughout warranty period

What options are there for hearing loss or alternatives to traditional hearing aids?

We offer bone anchored hearing aids, as well as assistive listening devices. Certain technology works better when paired with certain types of hearing loss. Speak with your audiologist for more information. We will be happy to discuss your options.

We want to provide excellent services for our patients; for this reason, we ask our patients not to send their medical questions to us through our social media pages. Patients may send questions via our secure, encrypted server on our patient portal, or they may call our office for assistance.

Avoid over-the-counter hearing aids

When considering purchasing hearing aids for yourself or someone you love, it’s important to know that over-the-counter hearing aids are not as great as they may seem. The FDA has yet to approve guidelines for over-the-counter hearing aids, and any over-the-counter hearing aid claiming to be FDA approved is misleading. Devices that are improperly fit may not work or can even damage your hearing. Read more about why you should avoid over-the-counter hearings aids.