Q How do I know if I have a hearing loss?
A Some common signs of hearing loss include: frequently asking people to repeat themselves, people seem to mumble, it seems you can hear fine but not understand what people say, others complain that the T.V. is too loud, you have difficulty hearing in crowds of people or restaurants, or you have difficulty hearing birds, microwaves, clocks, or turn signal indicators. People often become withdrawn from social events due to hearing loss, which can leave one feeling lonely and depressed. A hearing evaluation can determine if you can benefit with hearing aids and make you feel more comfortable in those situations.
Q Could there be a medical reason for my hearing loss?
A There are some medical conditions that can be corrected for certain hearing losses. Sometimes the problem may be something as simple as wax buildup, occluding the ear canal. Your hearing aid specialist is trained to recognize these problems and refer to the otolaryngologist for further evaluation and possible treatment.
A No, all persons with a hearing aid dispensers license hold the credential for evaluating hearing loss for the potential benefit with hearing aids. They are also trained to recognize medical conditions that require referral to an otolaryngologist for treatment. All complete hearing evaluations include a series of tests that include pure tones, bone conductions test, speech tests and tests for loudness tolerance. All of this information together, along with a lifestyle analysis, will help the practitioner determine what hearing instrument will best suit your needs. Deanna McCoy, at Chico Hearing Aid Center is a Certified Audioprosthologist, by the American Conference of Audioprosthology. This certifies that she has completed training and education specific to hearing aids and fittings, far above that required for a simple hearing aid dispensers license.
A All persons who fit hearing aids hold the same state license. Hearing aid specialists focus their continuing education on hearing aid technology, and also fitting and adjusting hearing aids to help overcome hearing loss. They are trained to recognize medical problems and will make the necessary referrals. An audiologist has focused their training and education on the medical aspects of hearing loss and diagnosing hearing and balance disorders. If they choose to fit hearing aids, they must also take the same tests as those who are not audiologists in order to be able to fit hearing aids. A Certified Audioprosthologist has taken the training and education to higher level of excellence, specific to the fitting of hearing aids. This is a higher level of education with rigorous testing and performance evaluations, showing a stronger commitment to better hearing.
A There are many options for styles and technologies available in hearing aids. Your specialist should do a lifestyle analysis to see which features will be beneficial to you. Along with your input on available finances and preferences, the specialist can make a recommendation to you that will suit your needs, but not be more than what you need for your lifestyle. All hearing aids have a minimum 45 day trial period, Chico Hearing Aid Center offers a 60 day trial period. During this time you should have follow-up appointments with your specialist to make necessary adjustments to the hearing aids for your comfort and listening preferences. If the first instruments do not suit you, they can be returned and you can be fit with different instruments that will suit your needs better.
A At the time of your fitting, you should be scheduled for a follow-up appointment to check and see how you are doing with your new aids. It often takes a few appointments to make adjustments to your aids such that they fit your specific environment and listening preferences. Things will sound very different with your hearing aids at first, but will sound more comfortable as you get used to hearing what you’ve been missing. You will be shown how to use the instruments and care for them. They also need periodic maintenance from the specialist, to ensure that they stay working well and are adjusted properly for you. Annual hearing evaluations and adjustments as necessary are recommended as well.
A The price of the hearing aids depend on the style and technology that goes into the instruments. The more features they have to deal with different listening situations, and the more automatic they function, is where the price increases. They start at about $995.00 each and range up to about $3,500.00 each, again it depends on your lifestyle and which of these features are most applicable to your needs. There are less expensive options, if required, however many of those lower technology aids are the ones that end up in the drawer due to limited benefit. There are also different financing options available.
A Some insurance policies have some hearing aid benefits, and we are a preferred provider for many of them. We can check your individual policy for eligibility and advise if they will cover some of the cost. Medicare does not cover anything on the hearing aids, but will cover the hearing evaluation as medically necessary, for hearing aids. At our office, we do not charge for the evaluation and consultation because we need that information to be able to advise on hearing instruments. Medi-Cal will cover the cost of the hearing aids if there is no share-of-cost or if you meet that share, and you meet the hearing loss requirement Medi-Cal has established. Not all offices accept Medi-Cal, though ours does, however it is a long process.
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