When a person suffers from hearing loss there are a few options available (i.e., surgery, hearing aids, cochlear implants). However, there are several hearing aid options available. Most people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids alone, however they are not perfect.
Hearing aids have improved significantly compared to what was available ten years ago, even four years ago. The technologies and styles vary, however the function is essentially the same. The hearing aid is programmed to mimic healthy hearing, it is not intended to necessarily make sounds or speech louder. It is intended to clarify speech understanding and make soft sounds audible for the purpose of awareness (i.e., door knocking, phone ringing, door bells, doors opening, oncoming traffic, etc.).
Most hearing loss involves the loss or dysfunction of outer hair cells within the inner ear. The role of the hearing aid is to function similarly to those outer hair cells. Some hearing losses are due to a blockage of sound, for those types the hearing aids function to overcome that blockage. In addition to providing better hearing, hearing aids may also decrease tinnitus (ringing in the ears or head) annoyance for those patients who have both hearing loss and tinnitus.
We work with several hearing aid manufacturers to offer choices to our patients with different needs. A hearing evaluation (audiogram) is needed within at least six months in order to purchase hearing aids. Most health insurance companies do not cover hearing aids, however some may have minimal to complete coverage.
Please ask our office to verify hearing aid benefits from your health insurance company.