It is important to remember that a hearing aid is really only as effective as the person who is programming the device. Therefore, it’s important to see the proper professional when you need a hearing aid.
An Audiologist is a regulated healthcare professional that has the highest level of training in Audiology. Only an Audiologist can prescribe hearing aids as it requires extensive knowledge and critical listening skills to ensure the proper device is selected.
There are many considerations when exploring hearing aid options and while there is lots of information on the internet it’s best to trust your Audiologist to help you make the right decision.
Some things your Audiologist will consider when recommending a hearing aid to you include your type of hearing loss, your lifestyle needs, your ability to manipulate small objects, your technological savviness, your mobile phones and other communication devices, your memory and your budget.
Styles of Hearing Aids
There are many different styles of hearing aids but they essentially fall into two categories:
Custom Hearing Aids
These hearing aids require an impression of the ears to be made. The size of the custom hearing aid depends on how large the ear canal volume is as all the components must fit inside. The size may also be determined based on the ability to manipulate small objects. The smaller the hearing aid is the smaller the battery will be and the more often you will need to change it.
Behind the Ear Hearing Aids
These hearing aids are the more popular style today as they can use rechargeable batteries that can last 6 months to 3 years depending on the battery. It is also the most flexible hearing aid in that if hearing loss should decrease dramatically you can still use the hearing aid. The speaker wire can be simply changed out for a more powerful one. This style is the only option for individuals who have hearing loss that is restricted to the high frequencies only, which is often the case as we age or with loud noise exposure.
Cost of Hearing Aids
The cost of the hearing aid is based on the technology inside the device, not the style of the aid. The best hearing aids on the market will always be the most expensive for good reason. If you can afford the best technology you will have a device with artificial intelligence. It not only has the latest technology and will handle the most difficult listening situations, it will also scan the environment and choose the right parameters to create the most optimal listening environment. One hearing aid manufacturer has recently developed the first ever hearing device that has sensors that can detect a fall and alert a family member for help? The cost of the top of the line hearing aids today are between $7,000 to $8,000 for a pair. This quote is for a pair of hearing aids because most people have hearing loss in both ears. This investment will ensure that you have the best technology to support you over the next 5 years or longer.
There is also provincial government funding through the Assistive Devices Program that you will be able to access every 5 years if you are a resident of Ontario. The funding is $1,000 for a pair of hearing aids. As a courtesy, we will help you apply for this grant and we will deduct it from the cost and wait for them to directly pay us. This is a big deal as government funding takes approximately 3 months to receive.
You may also have private insurance coverage for hearing aids that will help offset the cost. Call your insurance provider to find out how much they will cover. We will provide you with a signed receipt to submit to them once you pay for the hearing aids, for reimbursement. We only have direct billing authority with Green Shield insurance.
If your budget does not allow for you to purchase the latest technology on the market there are other more affordable options. Your Audiologist will be able to explain what technology they use and determine if it will suit your needs.
There are financing companies that you can also consider. Your Audiologist can also inform you if you are eligible for hearing aids through other programs such as Veterans Affairs Canada, WSIB, ODSP, Ontario Works. You may also be eligible for a Disability Tax Credit if your hearing loss is severe and affects your quality of life even with the use of hearing aids.
The most important thing to remember at the end of the day is that a hearing aid is a medical device. It is not recommended that you purchase hearing aids from a store. Instead find a hearing clinic that is owned and operated by an Audiologist. An Audiologist will prescribe and program your devices properly to ensure that your investment is protected. More importantly an Audiologist is motivated by helping you succeed in hearing your best. This means that they are committed to find a solution that works for you.
At Salus Hearing Centre our Patient’s for Life program is what sets us apart from other clinics as it ensures you have the support you need to achieve your goals to better hearing!
Click here to read more about our Hearing Aid Evaluation and Prescription Process.
Contact us today if you are interested in a complimentary consultation with our Audiologist, to determine your hearing level and learn about the latest technology on the market.