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 - 23272 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 - 6797 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

Are some telecoils better than others? The telecoil mode on my new Starkey Muse hearing aids isn't working as well as my previous hearing aids.

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Juliëtte Sterkens, AuD

Audiologist in Oshkosh

03 January 2018 - 687 Views

To benefit from a telecoil in a hearing loop it needs to be a vertically oriented as worn on the ear – something that can be handled for use on the phone by modifying the position of handset - and the telecoil has to have a frequency response that closely matches the microphone sensitivity at equal input levels for the speech frequencies (60 dB SPL vs. 31.6 mA/m inputs) – something called transparency. In other words: When you switch from mic to T setting the hearing aid should sound the same (meaning have the same frequency response) and be equally... Read more

How much do hearing aids cost?

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Alexandra Tarvin, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Easley

11 January 2017 - 8235 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 - 2557 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 - 26229 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 - 8631 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. 

I found the same hearing aids $1000 cheaper but the more expensive audiologist runs a test called 'real ear measurements'. Is it a big deal if I just go with the cheaper option and skip that test?

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Evan Grolley, AuD

Audiologist in Silverdale

15 March 2018 - 978 Views

Real ear measurement is important because it verifies the gain provided by the hearing aids (how much volume they add) based on the pitch and volume of the sound they pick up. Without a real ear verification measure, the audiologist is just going off of what the manufacturer software says. But studies have shown that the gain shown on the manufacturer software can vary drastically from the gain measured in an actual ear canal. That's because: (1) the microphones and speakers vary a little bit in every hearing aid, and no two have exactly the same... Read more

Is the Oticon Opn hearing aid available with a telecoil option?

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Abram Bailey, AuD

Doctor of Audiology, Hearing Tracker Founder

11 April 2017 - 2984 Views

Oticon just announced two new upcoming (June 2017) form factors with telecoil support: miniRITE-T and BTE13 PP. Here's a breakdown of what to expect. The new miniRITE-T model will be similar to the existing Oticon Opn miniRITE, with a slim body that sits behind the ear and a speaker (on the end of a thin wire) that sits inside your ear canal. The hearing aid will be slightly larger to accommodate the telecoil hardware, and will also feature a "double pushbutton for easy volume and program control." The previous miniRITE had a single push... Read more

Which company makes the best rechargeable hearing aids?

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Julie Norin, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Baltimore

08 March 2017 - 20482 Views

Currently, Siemens (Signia) and Phonak have rechargeable products in their portfolios. Phonak has products at 3 different price points that are rechargeable (models BR-50, BR-70 and BR-90) and Signia has products at the top 2 price points (Cellion 5 and Cellion 7). Differences are not all that significant, with the exception of this - the Phonak products have a button that the user must press and hold, in order to activate the hearing aids when they are taken out of the charger, in order to turn the hearing aids "on." We have found this to be a major... Read more