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

Our Hearing Aid Device Frequently Asked Questions

Are you overwhelmed with questions after shopping for hearing aids online? Our hearing care providers can help you make the right choice. Visit our FAQ page to read answers to common questions our patients pose after comparing various hearing aid models.

  • Page 1
  • 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!

     

  • What research is being done on hearing aids?

    Researchers are looking at ways to apply new signal processing strategies to the design of hearing aids. Signal processing is the method used to modify normal sound waves into amplified sound that is the best possible match to the remaining hearing for a hearing aid user. NIDCD-funded researchers also are studying how hearing aids can enhance speech signals to improve understanding.

    In addition, researchers are investigating the use of computer-aided technology to design and manufacture better hearing aids. Researchers also are seeking ways to improve sound transmission and to reduce noise interference, feedback, and the occlusion effect. Additional studies focus on the best ways to select and fit hearing aids in children and other groups whose hearing ability is hard to test.

    Another promising research focus is to use lessons learned from animal models to design better microphones for hearing aids. NIDCD-supported scientists are studying the tiny fly Ormia ochracea because its ear structure allows the fly to determine the source of a sound easily. Scientists are using the fly's ear structure as a model for designing miniature directional microphones for hearing aids. These microphones amplify the sound coming from a particular direction (usually the direction a person is facing), but not the sounds that arrive from other directions. Directional microphones hold great promise for making it easier for people to hear a single conversation, even when surrounded by other noises and voices. 

  • Are New Types and Styles of Hearing Aids Available?

    Although they work differently than the hearing aids described above, implantable hearing aids are designed to help increase the transmission of sound vibrations entering the inner ear. A middle ear implant (MEI) is a small device attached to one of the bones of the middle ear. Rather than amplifying the sound traveling to the eardrum, an MEI moves these bones directly. Both techniques have the net result of strengthening sound vibrations entering the inner ear so that they can be detected by individuals with sensorineural hearing loss.

    A bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is a small device that attaches to the bone behind the ear. The device transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear through the skull, bypassing the middle ear. BAHAs are generally used by individuals with middle ear problems or deafness in one ear. Because surgery is required to implant either of these devices, many hearing specialists feel that the benefits may not outweigh the risks. 

  • How can I adjust to my hearing aid?

    Hearing aids take time and patience to use successfully. Wearing your aids regularly will help you adjust to them.

    Become familiar with your hearing aid's features. With your Audiologist present, practice putting in and taking out the aid, cleaning it, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries. Ask how to test it in listening environments where you have problems with hearing. Learn to adjust the aid's volume and to program it for sounds that are too loud or too soft. Work with your Audiologist until you are comfortable and satisfied.

    You may experience some of the following problems as you adjust to wearing your new aid.

    • My hearing aid feels uncomfortable. Some individuals may find a hearing aid to be slightly uncomfortable at first. Ask your Audiologist how long you should wear your hearing aid while you are adjusting to it.

    • My voice sounds too loud. The “plugged-up” sensation that causes a hearing aid user's voice to sound louder inside the head is called the occlusion effect, and it is very common for new hearing aid users. Check with your Audiologist to see if a correction is possible. Most individuals get used to this effect over time.

    • I get feedback from my hearing aid. A whistling sound can be caused by a hearing aid that does not fit or work well or is clogged by earwax or fluid. See your Audiologist for adjustments.

    • I hear background noise. A hearing aid does not completely separate the sounds you want to hear from the ones you do not want to hear. Sometimes, however, the hearing aid may need to be adjusted. Talk with your Audiologist.

    • I hear a buzzing sound when I use my cell phone. Some people who wear hearing aids or have implanted hearing devices experience problems with the radio frequency interference caused by digital cell phones. Both hearing aids and cell phones are improving, however, so these problems are occurring less often. When you are being fitted for a new hearing aid, take your cell phone with you to see if it will work well with the aid. 

  • Do all hearing aids work the same way?

    Hearing aids work differently depending on the electronics used. The two main types of electronics are analog and digital.

    Analog aids convert sound waves into electrical signals, which are amplified. Analog/adjustable hearing aids are custom built to meet the needs of each user. The aid is programmed by the manufacturer according to the specifications recommended by your Audiologist. Analog/programmable hearing aids have more than one program or setting. An Audiologist can program the aid using a computer, and the user can change the program for different listening environments – from a small, quiet room to a crowded restaurant to large, open areas, such as a theater or stadium. Analog/programmable circuitry can be used in all types of hearing aids. Analog aids usually are less expensive than digital aids.

    Digital aids convert sound waves into numerical codes, similar to the binary code of a computer, before amplifying them. Because the code also includes information about a sound's pitch or loudness, the aid can be specially programmed to amplify some frequencies more than others. Digital circuitry gives an Audiologist more flexibility in adjusting the aid to a user's needs and to certain listening environments. These aids also can be programmed to focus on sounds coming from a specific direction. Digital circuitry can be used in all types of hearing aids. 

  • What is a hearing aid?

    A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.

    A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker. 

  • How can hearing aids help?

    Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.

    A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain. The greater the damage to a person's hair cells, the more severe the hearing loss, and the greater the hearing aid amplification needed to make up the difference. However, there are practical limits to the amount of amplification a hearing aid can provide. In addition, if the inner ear is too damaged, even large vibrations will not be converted into neural signals. In this situation, a hearing aid would be ineffective.

  • How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?

    If you think you might have hearing loss and could benefit from a hearing aid, visit your physician, who may refer you to an otolaryngologist or hearing care professional. An otolaryngologist is a physician who specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders and will investigate the cause of the hearing loss. A hearing care professional is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of loss.