Expert Answers from Hearing Healthcare Providers

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What types of hearing aids does the VA offer?

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Kathryn Trolenberg, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Fredericksburg

23 April 2016 - 21511 Views

The Veteran’s Administration has contracts in place with six major hearing aid manufacturers - GN ReSound, Oticon, Phonak, Siemens (Signia), Starkey, and Widex. The VA uses the manufacturer’s premium levels of technology-the same hearing aids that sell for the highest prices in the private sector. There are several styles of hearing aids available, from the smallest - Invisible in the Canal (IIC) to the largest and strongest - Power Behind the Ear (BTE), and the very popular Receiver in the Canal (RIC) - made to fit most hearing losses while... Read more

How do hearing aids help tinnitus?

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Paula L. Schwartz, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Edina

05 December 2016 - 6279 Views

Many people find that amplification alone addresses the tinnitus.  One of the many theories of tinnitus is that it is neurological activity resulting from cochlear damage or hearing loss. Therefore, address the hearing loss and potentially address the tinnitus. Secondly, amplification of the ambient environment presents contrast sound making the tinnitus less noticeable and therefore less bothersome.  For some persons with intrusive tinnitus, the limbic system (emotional system) is involved and amplification alone is not sufficient.  All of the... Read more

How much do hearing aids cost?

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Alexandra Tarvin, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Easley

11 January 2017 - 7656 Views

This is a common question with a very complex answer. Depends if you're paying just for hearing aids or if you're also paying for your care. Imagine the dentist giving you wire and glue and telling you to put your braces on youself- doesn't seem to make much sense does it? Hearing aids and technology require different, but equal expertise.There are two models to consider: bundled and unbundled. Most providers bundle their services with the cost of the hearing aid. This will typically increase the price that you're paying but you are getting... Read more

Is it possible to upgrade my current hearing aid without purchasing a new device? I wear Phonak.

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Christopher S. Frink, MS

Audiologist in Salem

14 November 2016 - 2330 Views

Currently, the only company offering technology that can be upgraded is Unitron, a sister company to Phonak (both are owned by Sonova) which has technology that parallels them for the most part (about 95% of Phonak technology is available in Unitron products, and vice versa).  Other companies may offer upgradeable technology in the future, particularly if Unitron is successful with this program, which has been out for approximately three years.The advancetage to the consumer of upgradeable technology is that they aren't stuck with the technology that... Read more

What's the difference between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist?

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Samina Khan, MA

Hearing Healthcare Provider in Westborough

23 May 2016 - 25188 Views

One key difference between an audiologist and a “hearing aid specialist” is the minimum amount of education required. Audiologists must currently earn a professional degree (theDoctor of Audiology, or Au.D.) which typically involves 4 years of academic and clinical training in audiology, following a traditional 4-year bachelor’s degree. By contrast, very few educational requirements need to be met (they vary by state) before a non-audiologist can sell hearing aids; in fact, in many states, the minimum requirement is a high school diploma, passing a... Read more

Which in-the-ear hearing aids are best for moderate-to-profound hearing loss? I'm a 45 year-old long-time HA user who must hear well in board meetings and on the phone. Price is not an issue.

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Christopher Hamilton, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Asheville

18 May 2016 - 8181 Views

The hearing aid manufacturer is not nearly as important as the professional you choose. Of the many brands of hearing devices available, many can and will work well, assuming they are programmed properly using standard verification methods. I would recommend focusing on finding an excellent Doctor of Audiology and the everything else should fall into place. 

Is there any effective tinnitus treatment or supplement to alleviate or cure tinnitus?

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Alicia D.D. Spoor, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Highland

22 January 2017 - 1159 Views

To date, there is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs to treat tinnitus.  Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to help treat tinnitus.  [This analogy is similar to cancer- there is no cure, but there are treatments.]  First and foremost, you need to see the proper professionals.  Audiologists are the licensed professionals to evaluate and treat tinnitus.  (Other than North Carolina, hearing aid dispensers are not specifically licensed to work with tinnitus.)  Auiologists will work with a variey of professionals in... Read more

What is the best solution for using a stethoscope with hearing aids?

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Kristen Armstrong, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Cedar Park

10 January 2017 - 6456 Views

It depends on the style and brand of hearing aids.  If you are wearing in the ear hearing aids, there are cups that can be attached to the stethescope that cover the hearing aid rather than pushing in on it.  If you are wearing a hearing aid that has a t-coil or can communicate wirelessly with one of the manufacturers accessories that has an audio input option (ie. Widex Uni-Dex, Phonak ComPilot or ComPilot II, Oticon Streamer or Streamer Pro, etc), then a Think Labs stethescope is the best answer.  Think labs stethescope has an audio jack that you... Read more

Do hearing aids work normally when the battery is low?

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Ram Nileshwar, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Lake Charles

18 December 2016 - 1778 Views

This is a very good question and one that my patients frequently ask. The quick answer is no, meaning they may malfunction on a low battery. However, the period of time the battery is low is extremely small - probably a couple of hours at the very most, depending on the type of battery used. The battery current demands from todays advanced hearing aids that are designed to do a vast variety of things, from directionality and noise management to wireless streaming and ear to ear communication (device on one ear to device on the other ear) are so huge... Read more

What's the difference between the Phonak Brio and the Brio 2?

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Julie Norin, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Baltimore

01 November 2016 - 10736 Views

The Phonak Brio and Brio 2 are products that are specially made for and only sold at Costco warehouses. I only work with the main Phonak products that are available to audiologists market-wide, so I am not all that familiar with the specifics of the Brio/Brio 2 products; However, I do know that they are not the exact same product as the current Phonak V-platform products, and do not have the same exact features as the regular line sold market-wide by myself and other audiologists in clinics, medical practices, and private hearing practices.  Costco... Read more