Toll-Free: 888-280-7114
Phone: (505) 933-6315

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Are my personal habits causing my hearing loss?

    It is understandable that people would want to do everything they can to protect their hearing ability, especially as they get older. The bad news is that hearing problems are becoming more and more common in the younger generation, but the good news is that there are many things a person does every day that can influence the health of his or her ears.

    Daily Habits That May Cause Hearing Loss

    Everything from diet and exercise to where you work can play a role in your hearing health. The most common daily activities that contribute to hearing problems include:

    • Smoking. Cigarette smoking causes dilation of the blood vessels, cutting off oxygen to the delicate hair cells in the ear. These cells may die and be unable to grow back without proper circulation, causing early or even permanent hearing loss.
    • Loud music. People of all ages have increased their use of personal music devices, most of which are played at volumes that are not safe for daily listening. The risk increases when these devices are coupled with earbuds, which send loud music directly into the ear canal.
    • Poor diets. The foods you eat can have a direct impact on your hearing ability. Diets that are high in salt and caffeine can cause hearing problems, while lack of certain vitamins (such as folic acid) may also contribute to early hearing loss.
    • Lack of ear protection. Many people perform loud tasks both at home and work without wearing adequate ear protection, putting their ears in danger. Employees in manufacturing, farming, and construction are at constant risk of dangerously high noise levels, while others suffer constant exposure to low-level noises that can gradually harm hearing over time. Whether you are working around loud machinery or simply mowing the lawn, you should always wear proper hearing protection (such as earplugs or earmuffs).

    It’s never too late to make a positive impact on your hearing! Our hearing care specialists are available in several locations throughout Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico, allowing you to hear better now. Call us today at 888-280-7114 for details, or fill out our convenient contact form to schedule an appointment.

  • How often should I have my hearing tested?

    While children often receive many hearing screenings as they grow, many adults overlook the necessity of regular hearing exams. Understandably, it can be difficult to know how often an adult’s hearing should be tested.

    In most cases, adults under 50 should have their hearing checked once every few years, and those over 50 should undergo a hearing screening annually. However, the following adults may need testing more frequently:

    • Patients who are exposed to high noise levels. Noise exposure is a major cause of hearing loss for patients, especially those who work in environments where loud noises are constant. Construction workers, military members, industrial workers, and employees who work in concert and sporting venues are particularly at risk. A twice-yearly hearing screening allows a patient to catch hearing loss in its earliest stages, allowing them to prevent further injury by using custom-made ear protection.
    • Patients with hearing loss symptoms. Adults who have trouble hearing in crowds or who are constantly asking others to slow down or speak up should schedule a hearing exam as soon as possible. The earliest signs of hearing loss can affect patients of any age, and waiting until your yearly exam for an audiogram allows your condition to progress.
    • Patients who have hearing aids. Patients who already wear a hearing aid will still need frequent testing appointments to monitor the changes in their hearing. Your hearing may worsen or improve over time, and audiology testing can determine if your hearing aid is delivering the best possible correction for your condition. A hearing care professional can also reprogram your device to adapt to any hearing changes, and can ensure that the fit of the device is still comfortable and secure.

    Visit Us Today for Your Free Hearing Screening!

    Our hearing care specialists are proud to offer complimentary hearing testing for patients in Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Call the number on this page to make an appointment, or visit our locations page to find the hearing testing office nearest you.

  • What factors affect the cost of hearing aids?

    You can control expenses by carefully shopping for the hearing aid options most important to youIf you’re comparing different hearing aids online, you’ve probably noticed that all models have something in common: they’re expensive. The high cost of hearing aids is one of the major hurdles to overcoming hearing loss for many people; however, there are many ways you can bring down the price and still get the device you want.

    Factors That Can Affect the Price of Your Hearing Aid

    Anything from where you live to which shop you visit can affect the total cost of a hearing device. How much you will pay for hearing aids will depend on a number of factors, including:

    • Your condition. Some people can correct their hearing loss with aids at lower price points, while others will benefit much more from more sophisticated devices. A free hearing aid trial is especially helpful if you are considering a device with a high price tag, as it helps you compare the quality of each device.
    • One vs. two. Many people only need one hearing device instead of two, instantly cutting the cost of their treatment in half.
    • Insurance options. Some hearing care providers accept insurance for hearing aids, while many costs of hearing aids for children can be mostly or completely covered through state or federal assistance programs.
    • Optional extras. Hearing aids that offer wireless functionality or compatibility with smartphones typically cost more than those that don’t. If these features don’t matter to you, you could save hundreds off your price.
    • Additional services. Some retailers will charge extra for cleaning, modifications, batteries, warranties, and other necessities that make your device function. If your device is fitted by a hearing care provider, many of these services will be included when you purchase a device.


    At Premier Hearing Center, our hearing care specialists always inform patients of the total cost of each hearing aid before they buy. We also offer many ways to manage the total cost, including financing options and custom payment plans. Call or visit our offices to try out our top-of-the-line hearing aids today!

  • Does Medicaid or insurance cover hearing aids?

    There are many available financing options for your new hearing aidsAt Premier Hearing Center, we accept many types of insurance for hearing aids and other hearing loss diagnostic services. Insurance policies generally do not cover the full cost of a hearing device, but coverage varies depending on each individual’s insurance policy. If your policy will not pay for your device, there are still options available that can make your device affordable.

    Financing Options for Your New Hearing Aid

    Many patients are wary of the costs associated with purchasing a new hearing aid device. In order to avoid “sticker shock” when searching for the right hearing aid for you, you should know that there are many different ways to offset the costs of a hearing device.

    If your insurance does not cover all of your new device, you may wish to consider:

    • Medicaid for children. Medicare will pay for many costs of hearing loss diagnosis and treatment in children under age 21. Eligible children can have their hearing aids paid for under Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) program. Parents can also receive benefits for children with hearing loss through state programs, including State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
    • Medicare for adults. While Medicare will not cover the cost of an adult patient’s hearing aids, it will cover diagnostic evaluations if they are ordered by a physician. Medicare may also cover bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA), since these devices are surgically implanted and are considered to be prosthetics.
    • Payment plans. In our offices, many patients choose to use a credit card to pay for their devices up front, paying the device off month by month. We also offer financing through CareCredit, and can create custom payment plans for patients to pay for their hearing aids while experiencing the full benefit of their devices.


    At Premier Hearing Center, our hearing care specialists want to make sure our patients receive the best device within their budget. That is why we offer a free hearing aid trial that allows patients to see how the device will work in their own homes to become part of their everyday lives. Call or visit our offices to take one of our high-end hearing aids for a test drive today!

  • What questions should I ask before buying a hearing aid?

    Your hearing care professional can answer your important questions before you make a purchaseThere are many different types of hearing aids on the market, and each one offers its own unique benefits. But with so many options available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by your choices—and the thought of simply allowing a hearing care provider or family member pick one for you may seem tempting.

    Five Essential Questions to Ask Before Buying a Hearing Aid

    While you may be spoiled for choice in today’s hearing aid market, choosing the right device doesn’t have to be a chore. In many cases, the burden of choosing the perfect device is just a matter of asking the right questions.

    Whether you are buying your first hearing aid or your fifth, make sure you ask your hearing care provider:

    1. What features would be most useful to me? Many digital hearing aid features connect the wearer to every facet of his or her daily life, including cell phones, televisions, and other electronics. You should discuss your specific needs and concerns with your provider to see which features will benefit you, as well as how to access these features to get the most out of your device.
       
    2. Do you offer a trial period? A hearing aid is a major investment, and you should never buy one without the guarantee of a refund. Ask your provider if he or she offers a free hearing aid trial to “test drive” the device, how long after purchase can the device be refunded, and if there is any portion of the purchase that will not be refundable if the device is returned.
       
    3. What is the total cost? Your provider should not hesitate to provide the total cost of the hearing aid before you buy, including which options are covered by your insurance plan. For example, our offices offer financing through CareCredit, accept all major credit cards, and can create custom payment plans to make your device affordable.
       
    4. How long is the warranty? A new hearing aid should be covered by a warranty, but not all breakage or damage may be covered. Go through the terms of the warranty with your provider, including what the warranty covers, how long it lasts, and if it can be extended.
       
    5. What about repairs? Does your hearing care provider do in-office repairs? How much are the charges for repair, cleaning, or maintenance? If your device requires long-term servicing, does the office provide a loaner device?


    Remember: the shopping process only takes a day or two, but the hearing aid will stay with you for several years. Our hearing care specialists carefully walk you through each device, ensuring that you will be satisfied with your hearing aid purchase for years to come. Call or visit us today to find the perfect device for you!

     

  • Lately I noticed my father becoming increasingly quiet, especially during family get-togethers. He doesn't participate anymore the way he used to. My mom suspects it’s his hearing. Is there anything we can do to help?

    If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don't delay another day. Visit a hearing healthcare professional and take the first step toward a world of better hearing.Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but are reluctant to seek help. Perhaps they don't want to acknowledge the problem, are embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or believe that they can "get by" without using a hearing aid. And, unfortunately, too many wait years, even decades, to address the effects of hearing loss before getting treatment.
    Time and again, research demonstrates the considerable effects of hearing loss on development as well as negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss. Each can have far-reaching implications that go well beyond hearing alone. In fact, those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal.
    Studies have linked untreated hearing loss effects to:
    •    irritability, negativism and anger
    •    fatigue, tension, stress and depression
    •    avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
    •    social rejection and loneliness
    •    reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
    •    impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
    •    reduced job performance and earning power
    •    diminished psychological and overall health
    At Premier Hearing Center, our mission is to help educate the public about hearing loss and promote the importance of prevention and treatment. Your questions are very important to us so please don’t hesitate to contact us at (888) 280-7114.

  • What research is being done for balance disorders?

    Scientists are working to understand the various balance disorders and the complex interactions between the labyrinth, other balance-sensing organs, and the brain. Scientists are studying eye movement to understand the changes that occur in aging, disease, and injury. Scientists are collecting data about eye movement and posture to improve diagnosis and treatment of balance disorders. Scientists are also studying the effectiveness of certain exercises as a treatment option.

    Recent findings from studies supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) suggest that the vestibular system plays an important role in modulating blood pressure. The information from these studies has potential clinical relevance in understanding and managing orthostatic hypotension (lowered blood pressure related to a change in body posture). Other studies of the otolithic organs, the detectors of linear movement, are exploring how these organs differentiate between downward (gravitational) motion from linear (forward-to-aft, side-to-side) motion.

    Other projects supported by NIDCD include studies of the genes essential to normal development and function in the vestibular system. Scientists are also studying inherited syndromes of the brain that affect balance and coordination.

    The Institute supports research to develop new tests and refine current tests of balance and vestibular function. For example, scientists have developed computer-controlled systems to measure eye movement and body position by stimulating specific parts of the vestibular and nervous systems. Other tests to determine disability, as well as new physical rehabilitation strategies, are under investigation in clinical and research settings.

    NIDCD, along with other Institutes at the National Institutes of Health, joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for Neurolab, a research mission dedicated to the study of life sciences. Neurolab focused on the most complex and least understood part of the human body, the nervous system (including the balance system).

    Exposure to the weightlessness of space is known to temporarily disrupt balance on return to Earth and to gravity. A team of NIDCD and NASA investigators had previously studied the effects of microgravity exposure on balance control in astronauts who had returned from short-duration space flight missions, but these studies did not include an aged individual. During the October 29-November 7, 1998, Space Shuttle Discovery mission, NIDCD and NASA collaborated in another study of postflight balance control. For the first time, a previously experienced, but now elderly astronaut, Senator John Glenn, participated. Data collected during this mission, which are still being analyzed, may help to explain the mechanisms of recovery from balance disorders experienced on Earth as well as in the space environment. Scientists also hope that this data will help to develop strategies to prevent injury from falls, a common occurrence among people with balance disorders, particularly as they grow older.

  • Where can I get more information about balance disorders?

    Find out from one of our hearing professionals by calling 888-280-7114.

  • How are balance disorders diagnosed?

    Diagnosis of a balance disorder is complicated because there are many kinds of balance disorders and because other medical conditions--including ear infections, blood pressure changes, and some vision problems--and some medications may contribute to a balance disorder. A person experiencing dizziness should see a physician for an evaluation.

    The primary physician may request the opinion of an otolaryngologist to help evaluate a balance problem. An otolaryngologist is a physician/surgeon who specializes in diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck, with expertise in balance disorders. He or she will usually obtain a detailed medical history and perform a physical examination to start to sort out possible causes of the balance disorder. The physician may require tests to assess the cause and extent of the disruption of balance. The kinds of tests needed will vary based on the patient's symptoms and health status. Because there are so many variables, not all patients will require every test.

    Some examples of diagnostic tests the otolaryngologist may request are a hearing examination, blood tests, an electronystagmogram (ENG--a test of the vestibular system), or imaging studies of the head and brain.

    The caloric test may be performed as part of the ENG. In this test, each ear is flushed with warm and then cool water, usually one ear at a time; the amount of nystagmus resulting is measured. Weak nystagmus or the absence of nystagmus may indicate an inner ear disorder.

    Another test of the vestibular system, posturography, requires the individual to stand on a special platform capable of movement within a controlled visual environment; body sway is recorded in response to movement of the platform and/or the visual environment.

  • How are balance disorders treated?

    There are various options for treating balance disorders. One option includes treatment for a disease or disorder that may be contributing to the balance problem, such as ear infection, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. Individual treatment will vary and will be based upon symptoms, medical history, general health, examination by a physician, and the results of medical tests.

    Another treatment option includes balance retraining exercises (vestibular rehabilitation). The exercises include movements of the head and body specifically developed for the patient. This form of therapy is thought to promote compensation for the disorder. Vestibular retraining programs are administered by professionals with knowledge and understanding of the vestibular system and its relationship with other systems in the body.

    For people diagnosed with Meniere's disease, dietary changes such as reducing intake of sodium may help. For some people, reducing alcohol, caffeine, and/or avoiding nicotine may be helpful. Some aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin and streptomycin, are used to treat Meniere's disease. Systemic streptomycin (given by injection) and topical gentamicin (given directly to the inner ear) are useful for their ability to affect the hair cells of the balance system. Gentamicin also can affect the hair cells of the cochlea, though, and cause hearing loss. In cases that do not respond to medical management, surgery may be indicated.

    A program of talk therapy and/or physical rehabilitation may be recommended for people with anxiety.