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
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... Read more

How do hearing aids help tinnitus?

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Paula L. Schwartz, AuD
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... Read more

Are there any differences between normal Phonak hearing aids and the Phonak hearing aids sold at Costco, in terms of quality and performance?

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Asieh Haririan, BSc
Audeo uses a newer chip built and introduced to the market at the beginning of 2015, whereas Brio uses an older chip built in 2012. A few benefits of the newer chip in Audeo 90 are: Automatic Auto sense, comfort in car, comfort in echo, and good quality of music.

I am looking to get hearing aids for my grandmother, but I was wondering, are there any traveling audiologists that will come to her? Or does she need to go to a audiologist’s office with a sound proof booth?

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Abram Bailey, AuD
Great question. I think it largely depends on where you are and whether there are any audiologists that provide "home visits" or "home care" in your area. You have a couple of options. 1) Go to Google and search for "{your city} audiology home visits" or something similar. 2) You can also check out the Hearing Tracker listings in your area to see if... 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
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... Read more

How much do hearing aids cost?

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Alexandra Tarvin, AuD
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... 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. My audio in both ears is 45-60-65-75-85-90-95

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Christopher Hamilton, AuD
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. 

Which company makes the best rechargeable hearing aids?

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Julie Norin, AuD
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... Read more

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

Sara nagel
Sara Nagel, AuD
I am located in Houston, home of the world's largest medical center, and have a fair number of patients who are medical professionals.  The best solution that has worked to date has been the Think Labs Amplified Stethoscope, coupled to Bose over-the-ear headphones that are large enough to wear over hearing aids.  This eliminates the need for the medical... Read more

Does Medicare cover hearing aids?

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Thomas Goyne, AuD
As of March, 2016, Medicare does not cover hearing aids, nor does Medicare cover hearing tests done solely for the purposes of hearing aid selection and programming. However, Medicare does reimburse for hearing evaluations performed for medical purposes.While Medicare does not cover hearing aids, there are some secondary coverage plans for individuals... Read more