Posted on November 14, 2023

Hearing Aid FAQs

hearing aids

What are hearing aids?

Hearing aids are small electronic devices that fit around and/or in your ear. In very basic terms, they come in three parts: A microphone that picks up the sound around you, a processor that amplifies the sound to precise levels for your unique hearing loss, and a speaker that delivers that sound into your ear.

How do I know if I need a hearing aid?

Not all hearing losses are the same or require the same intervention. If it is determined you are a hearing aid candidate, your audiologist will discuss what to expect with hearing aids. If intervention other than hearing aids is recommended, those options will be reviewed.

Do I have to wear two hearing aids?

This depends on your hearing loss and will be discussed with your audiologist. The audiologist will recommend either one or two hearing aids based on the type and degree of hearing loss.

How long does it take to adapt to hearing aids?  Will I adapt to my new hearing aids right away?

Hearing aids provide a processed signal to the ear, so it may take some time to adjust to the new sound quality. For most people, this takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to adjust. Because of that, we offer a 30-day adjustment period following a hearing aid fitting to give you time to decide if they are beneficial.

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing to normal?

Hearing aids do not change your natural hearing. Hearing devices can take sounds that are too soft for you to hear based on your hearing loss and increase them into a range that is audible. Even with hearing aids, there may be sounds that you may not hear that those with normal hearing may.

Do all hearing aids look the same? What style of hearing aid I should wear?

There are different styles of hearing aids. Some are one piece that fits in the ear and others sit behind the ear. Your audiologist will work with you to recommend the best hearing aid based on your hearing loss and lifestyle. There are also different devices, such as a CROS or Baha that are hearing aids recommended for a specific type of hearing loss.

How long will my hearing aid last?

The typical life of a hearing aid is 5-7 years, though some hearing aids may last longer. Hearing aids become more difficult to repair after 7 years.

How are hearing aids maintained?

Your audiologist will clean the hearing aids when you are in the clinic. Your audiologist will show you how to clean the hearing aids and provide you with the tools to do so at home.

Do hearing aids use special batteries?

Yes. Hearing aids may use zinc-air pill batteries, or they may be rechargeable.

How long do hearing aid batteries last?

Pill batteries may last anywhere from 3-10 days depending on the battery size and use time of the hearing aids. Rechargeable batteries last a full day on a single charge and the batteries are designed to last the life of the hearing aid.

I have tinnitus. Will my hearing aids help or make it worse?

Typically if you have tinnitus in addition to hearing loss, the hearing aids will help with the tinnitus to varying degrees. Tinnitus does not just go away, but the hearing aids help mask over the tinnitus so your brain is focused on the sounds the hearing aids are providing. If wearing the hearing aids alone does not provide enough relief, a sound generator may be enabled on the hearing aids to provide additional sound therapy.

What if my hearing loss gets worse?

Hearing aids are programmed based on your hearing loss. A majority of the time your hearing aids can be re-programmed if your hearing loss gets worse. However, an updated hearing test may be required. Call to schedule an appointment and the audiologist can help determine if there is an issue with your hearing aids and/or if your hearing has become poorer.

Do hearing aids have warranties?

Yes. Hearing aids fit at PCI have a 2, 3, or 4 year warranty from the manufacturer depending on the technology level you choose. This covers any repairs as well as a one-time loss and damage replacement for each hearing aid within that time. There is a deductible with the replacement. Additionally, any services and supplies provided by PCI are covered as long as you have the hearing aids, with the exception of hearing tests, which are usually billed through your insurance. Extended warranties can be purchased for up to 5 years of total coverage.

What should I do if I lose a hearing aid?

Hearing aids have a loss and damage replacement warranty that may be anywhere from 2-5 years from the date of the hearing aid fitting. If you lose a hearing aid, call your audiologist. If the hearing aids are still under warranty, the hearing aid(s) may be replaced for a small fee. If the hearing aids are out of warranty and/or the loss and damage replacement has already been claimed, you will need to purchase a new hearing aid.

What brands of hearing aids do you work with?

PCI works with ReSound and Phonak hearing aids. PCI can provide services to these devices whether they were fit at PCI or another clinic. Ask us about our transfer of care options if you have hearing aids fit elsewhere.

How much do hearing aids cost?

The cost of hearing aids varies based on the technology in the hearing aid. Cost is not determined by type or brand of hearing aid, nor by how much power is required. Differences in hearing aid technologies will be discussed with your audiologist and they will work with you to find the best option for you.

Included with all hearing aid purchases at PCI:

  • Cleaning
  • Adjustments
  • Supplies (domes, cleaning brushes, cloths)
  • Follow-up visits

Choosing the Right Hearing Aid

  • Premium: for frequent background noise (parties, social events, airport travel, sporting events, noisy restaurants, public places)
  • Advanced: for occasional background noise (small meetings, quiet work environment, spending time outdoors, small restaurants, radio or home music, watching tv)
  • Basic: for limited background noise (quiet restaurants, attending a movie or theater, home activities, one-on-one meetings, telephone use)
  • Economy: for rare background noise (one-on-one conversations, home activities, watching television, small places of worship, limited telephone use)

Does health insurance cover hearing aids?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for hearing aids. They are not considered “medically necessary” according to Medicare guidelines and are generally an out-of-pocket expense. You may check with your insurance company to determine if there is a hearing aid benefit. PCI is out-of-network for hearing aids and will not bill your insurance. However, if a benefit exists, you may work with our financial counselor to submit a claim to your insurance company to have them reimburse you directly.

My hearing aids just whistled. Is that normal?

No. Hearing aids may whistle if they are in your hand or another enclosed space, but they should not whistle while they are in your ears.  If they are whistling while in your ears, it may be a sign that the ear piece is not fully inserted, that there is earwax built up in the ear canal, or that the hearing aids need to be reprogrammed. Call the clinic to schedule a hearing aid appointment if the hearing aids continue to whistle.

What if I think something is wrong with my hearing aid?

If you think the hearing aid is not amplifying sound the way it typically does, there are a few ways to troubleshoot the issue at home. It may be that the battery is dead or that the earpiece is plugged with wax. These are issues you may be able to address on your own, but if there are further concerns, you may contact the clinic to schedule a hearing aid check.

I know people who have hearing aids but do not wear them. Why? And will that happen to me?

We encourage patients to wear hearing aids all waking hours. If you wear the hearing devices consistently, the adjustment period will be much shorter. If you have concerns about the way the hearing aids fit and/or sound, you should contact the clinic to schedule an appointment. Your audiologist may be able to make adjustments and review tools to allow you to have the confidence to wear the devices consistently.

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