What to Expect When Buying a Hearing Aid
- By law, all hearing aids have a 45 day trial period with a full refund - not a credit. Don't feel guilty about returning an aid if it's not helping you enough for what you paid.
- Medicare does not cover hearing aids, but they do cover one hearing test per year. Other insurance coverage varies. Call the number on the back of your insurance card to see if you have coverage.
- The difference between high and low price aids is essentially performance in noise and sound quality. The price range these days should be between $1,800 and $7,000 for a pair of hearing aids, depending on the sound processing ability of the hearing aid.
- Expect it to take time for your brain to rewire and adapt to hearing things you haven't heard in a long time.
- There are hundreds of hearing aid manufactures, but the well known include Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Siemens, Starkey, and Widex. Each has a niche and none makes a hearing aid that's right for everyone, so make sure that your audiologist offers hearing aids from multiple manufacturers.
- One of the most important hearing aid options is a telecoil. It is actually a very common feature that doesn't cost any extra, but you have to make sure the one you buy has it. Here is a brief video that shows what it does.
What to Expect On Your Fitting Appointment
Getting hearing aids is more like getting braces, physical therapy, or a custom-tailored garment than buying a smart phone. Done properly, it's very labor intensive. For hearing aids, that includes real-ear measurements. Unfortunately, a poll published by Hearing Journal found that only 20% of audiologists consistently do real-ear measurements. It's hard to describe what real-ear testing involves, so I'm including this a video here.
Reconnecting Bluetooth Hearing Aids
One of the most popular features in hearing aids these days is bluetooth connection to a cell phone. Hearing aids that can be connected to your cell phone allow you to hear a phone call through your hearing aids, use your phone to control you hearing aids, find your hearing aids if they get lost, and listen to music or podcasts through your hearing aids. Bluetooth can get disconnected sometimes, so for anyone who wears bluetooth connected aids, here’s a cheat sheet on how to reconnect them:
1) open hearing aid battery doors (If you have rechargeable hearing aids, put the hearing aids in the charger)
2) go to “Settings” on the phone
3) go to “general”
4) go to “accessibility”
5) go to “MFi hearing devices”
6) close hearing aid battery doors (If you have rechargeable hearing aids, take the hearing aids out of the charger)
7) choose “forget device”
8) once it displays you name and “L” and “R”, choose it
9) choose "pair" both times when it pops up go to “Settings” on the phone
10) wait 30 seconds for the phone and hearing aids to finish pairing
ReSound has a "Connectivity Guide" for their phone app and also a customer help phone number: 888-735-4327 #1.
Oticon has connectivity support page with videos and downloadable user manuals.