More than 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and an estimated three out of every 1,000 children in the US may be born with hearing loss. Whether it’s present at birth, or happens suddenly or gradually over time, hearing loss can leave you feeling isolated and separated from friends and family. Many people can treat their hearing loss with traditional hearing aids, while other degrees of hearing loss may require more advanced treatments. Use this information as a guide to help you determine which type of hearing loss you may have and which treatment may be the right one for you.
Here are some questions to determine if you may need your hearing tested.
A hearing test takes approximately 30 minutes. If the audiologist determines that you are a candidate for hearing aids, we can set up an appointment for a Hearing Aid Evaluation. Typically this can be done the day of the initial testing. An hour is set aside for counseling, discussion of technology and benefits, and any questions or concerns you have. If hearing aids are purchased, we will schedule a Hearing Aid Fitting, approximately two weeks following the date of order. This hour-long appointment includes programming, education on use and care of hearing aids, and information regarding your specific hearing aids and accessories.
Because your Primary Care Doctor knows your health best, it is always good to consult him/her to find out what his/her recommendations are. Your doctor’s office can then fax a written referral to 850.474.8791. But please be advised that many insurance companies, including Medicare, require a referral in order for us to bill insurance.
Insurance and Payment
While most insurance plans do cover the cost of the hearing evaluations, many may not cover the complete cost of hearing aids. It is always best to speak directly with your insurance company to find out what your benefits are. Any quotes we give regarding what your insurance may pay are just estimates and may not be the exact amount.
Hearing aid pricing is bundled to include the hearing aids themselves, the audiologist’s fitting fee, and office visits to adjust the hearing aids. Most of our hearing aids include free batteries, given in 4-month intervals, for the life of the aids. Additional costs, however, are basic preventative maintenance supplies, such as wax filters, domes, or Dry & Store kits, as well as diagnostic evaluations such as hearing tests.
We do! The Hearing Center is proud to offer no-interest payment plans through Wells Fargo. Choose the plan that is right for you, whether it be 6-, 12-, or 18-months no interest. Go to Wells Fargo for more information or to apply.
What if I try hearing aids and I don’t like them/they don’t work/I do not receive benefit from them? Do you offer a free trial?
The Hearing Center prides itself on flexibility in finding the right hearing solution for each of our patients. We offer a 60-day trial period, during which time a user may exchange his or her devices for something different with no additional processing fees or return the hearing aids for a full refund minus a reasonable processing fee.
Troubleshooting and Repairs
Once you are initially fit with hearing aids, you should come back within 2-3 weeks for a follow-up. You want to give yourself some time to adjust to your new level of hearing before your follow-up visit. Thereafter, we recommend preventative maintenance and checks every 4 to 6 months. But of course, we will be happy to schedule an appointment to see your audiologist any time you need an adjustment.
We ask that you please make an appointment for hearing aid adjustments so that we can be sure that someone is available to assist you and that we have an available programming room.
The two biggest “enemies” of hearing aids are earwax and moisture. Here are some troubleshooting tips to try at home.
I’ve lost or broken my hearing aid/my hearing aid is out of warranty and in need of repair. What should I do?
All of our hearing aids come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which varies from one to three years. If you’ve lost your hearing aid and it is under warranty, we can replace it one time for a deductible per hearing aid. If it is out of warranty, a new hearing aid would need to be purchased. Hearing aid insurance is available through an outside company to cover out-of-warranty loss and damage. If your hearing aid is in need of repair and is unable to be fixed in the office, the aid is sent to the manufacturer. Repair costs vary depending on the hearing aid and the work necessary, though typical repair costs are $275 with a one-year warranty. Extended warranty options are available, so please ask! We diligently try to remind patients when their warranty is expiring.
We perform Otoacoustic Emissions testing on newborns. If your baby failed one or both ears at birth, it is best to have him or her retested 2-4 weeks after birth. This appointment takes about 30-45 minutes and does require an appointment. Babies are easiest to test when they are still and quiet, so please bring a bottle, pacifier, or lovie with you if you think this may help your child relax.
What is the best way to protect my hearing and my ears while swimming or at a gun range or a concert?
We offer custom hearing protection for use around loud sounds, such as hunting, concerts, or fireworks displays. We also have Doc’s Pro Plugs available for swimming protection, or we can order custom molds for a more secure fit for your ears.