Hearing Aids Frequently Asked Questions
How do hearing aid devices work?
Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds through a 3 step process:
- Sound is detected by the microphones on the hearing aids
- Sounds are analysed, adjusted and amplified appropriately by the processor within the hearing aid
- The adjusted sound is sent to the speaker and transmitted through the ear canal to the auditory system
Regardless of size and style, all hearing aids follow this step by step process. How effectively a hearing aid can follow this process to manage noise, improve speech clarity and increase the signal to noise ratio is dependent on the level of the technology within the hearing aid.
How much do hearing aid devices cost in Australia?
Today, hearing aids prices can range from approximately $1,000 to $6,000 each, depending on the degree of technology selected. Several factors contribute to the cost of hearing aids, including research and development, customization of each hearing aid to fit the needs of the wearer, manufacturing costs, and time spent with the professional who selects, fits, programs, adjusts and services the instruments.
If you are a pensioner or holder of a Veterans Affairs Repatriation Health Card, you may be eligible for government subsidies that can provide additional assistance when purchasing hearing aids. Dependents of one of these cardholders may also be eligible. Additionally, if you have private health insurance, your fund may be able to contribute to the cost of your hearing aids depending on the level of cover you have.
How to choose a hearing aid device?
With so many manufacturers and styles available, choosing the right hearing aid for you can be an overwhelming process. That’s why the best way to choose a hearing device is with the help and support of a trusted audiologist. A good audiologist takes into account not only your hearing levels, but your lifestyle, personal concerns and budget to guide you to an informed decision. To learn about the factors which need to be consider when choosing a hearing aid go to: https://earandhearing.com.au/hearing-aids/how-to-choose/
How to find a hearing aid near me?
Hearing aids can be purchased online, from clinics owned by manufacturers or from independent clinics. The outcomes received highly dependent on how well the hearing aids are selected and fitted. Quality of the fitting and the ongoing aftercare are the most important factors. To receive unbiased advice, find audiologist clinics which are not part of a manufacture. Making sure your audiologist not receiving bonuses or incentives ensures an unbased prescription. Ear and Hearing Australia is an independent practice specialised In fitting the latest hearing devices with 14 clinics in Melbourne. To find an Ear & Hearing clinic near click here.
How to find the best hearing aid for you
The best hearing aid is the one that meets your unique personal needs. That includes your hearing needs, lifestyle, budget and personal concerns. The best way to find the right hearing aid is to work closely with a trusted and supportive audiologist who can take all these factors into account to help you find a device that suits your unique situation. And keep in mind that the best hearing aids are as good as how professionally they are selected and fitted. Therefore, while researching for the best hearing aids, look around for the best audiologist who can give you unbiased professional advice. Look for someone who can fit and optimise your hearing aids well and provide you with the best after care support.
Who needs a hearing aid?
Gone are the days where hearing aids were associated with those with grey hair and wrinkles! With greater awareness of the importance of ear health and hearing, people are having their hearing tested sooner and sooner. This is just as well, as hearing loss unfortunately does not discriminate based on age and people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly can benefit from hearing aids.
Even mild hearing losses can have a significant impact on one’s lifestyle and wellbeing. Job performance, relationships, safety and general health can all be compromised by the presence of an unmanaged hearing loss. Unfortunately, on average it takes up to 7 years for a person to act upon their hearing loss from the time of noticing it to the point where they attend a hearing assessment. That’s 7 years of asking for repeats, misunderstanding instructions, missing the punch line and exhausting your brain while trying to listen!
The sooner a hearing loss is managed the greater the positive outcomes. So if you or your loved ones have noticed any changes in the way you hear and listen, do not hesitate to book in for a comprehensive hearing assessment. Should you need further management through hearing aids our qualified and supportive audiologists are ready to assist you.
Which hearing aid device is the best?
A Common question with no clear answer! With so many hearing aid types, brands and styles at different technology levels it can be overwhelming for clients to decide on a definitive ‘best’ device. A better question to ask would be not “which hearing aid is the best”, but “which hearing aid is best for me?”
For example, when deciding on a car, objectively, a sports car would be the ‘best’ type of car to purchase. Fast, luxurious and expensive. It is objectively the ‘best’ type of car. However, not everyone wants to drive fast and not everyone wants a car for show. If you live in the Australian outback, a sports car will not get you where you want to go! Therefore, the best car brand would be the one that suits you and your environment. Likewise, the ‘best’ hearing aid is determined by how well it suits you and your lifestyle.
The role of an audiologist is to guide you to the best hearing aid for you, not just the best hearing aid on the market. An independent audiologist who is open, honest and practical about your personal desires and concerns will always guide you to the best decision. To read our audiologists reviews on the best hearing aids in the market go to: Our Latest Reviews
Which hearing aid brand is the best in Australia?
A widely asked question with no clear answer! With so many hearing aid manufacturers and constant innovation in hearing aid technology it can be overwhelming not only for clients but also audiologists to decide on a definitive ‘best’ manufacturer. A better question to ask would be not “which hearing aid brand is the best in Australia”, but “which hearing aid brand is the best for me at the time?”
Generally speaking, the best brands are the ones which offer the best reliability features and back ups when repairs are required. Some hearing aid brands can only be reprogrammed and adjusted by limited number of providers in Australia while the more common brands can be programmed, adjusted and repaired anywhere in the world! Some of these top brands are Oticon, Phonak, Siemens, GNResound, Signia, Widex and Unitron.
Although it is important to select your hearing aids from one of these good brands, the choice of best hearing aids for you comes to the required features for you at the best value point at the time. Therefore the ‘best’ hearing aids determined not by the brand but how well it suits you and your lifestyle.
The role of an audiologist is to guide you to the best hearing aid for you, not just the best hearing aid on the market. To ensure you receive unbiased advice, always consult an independent audiologist who is not aligned with a particular manufacture. An audiologist who is open, honest and practical about your personal desires and concerns will always guide you to the best decision.
Can hearing aids cause vertigo?
If fitted professionally hearing aids should not cause vertigo. The hearing system and the vestibular (balance) system are both located within the ear but follow independent pathways. Although some balance disorders can affect hearing, the use of hearing aids is not linked to increased risk of balance difficulties.
Occasionally new, inexperienced hearing aid users may report being tired or overwhelmed after full time use of their devices, at the start. This is completely normal, as the brain adjusts to hearing sounds at their full volume for the first time in months or even years!
If you experience vertigo while using hearing aids, discuss it with your audiologist. Your audiologist may perform some audiological tests to help determining the need for further medical investigations or treatments.
Can hearing aids cause ear infections?
In cases with intact eardrums, hearing aids cannot directly cause ear infections. The most common type of ear infection is known as a middle ear infection (otitis media) and occurs behind the eardrum. As even the deepest hearing aid fitting sits in front of the ear drum within the ear canal, it cannot cause infections in the middle ear space.
In cases with ruptured ear drums, however, there is a risk of infection if certain hearing aids are used. That is why it is important that your candidacy for the hearing aids is checked by an audiologist first. A professional audiologist ensures that the type of hearing aids you use would not cause any medical issues.
If you experience any ear pain or ear discharge following a hearing aid use consult your audiologist before you continue using your hearing aids.
Can hearing aids affect your balance?
No, hearing aids can not affect your balance negatively. The hearing system and the vestibular (balance) system are both located within the ear but follow independent pathways. Although some balance disorders can affect hearing, the use of hearing aids is not linked to increased risk of balance difficulties.
Occasionally new, inexperienced hearing aid users may report being tired or overwhelmed after full time use of their devices. This is completely normal, as the brain adjusts to hearing sounds at their full volume for the first time in months or even years!
On the other hand, it is shown than better hearing with professionally fitted hearing aids can reduce the risk of falls in elderlies which may be related to improved balance when hearing loss is corrected.
Can hearing aids make tinnitus worse?
Providing the hearing aids are fitted professionally, it is unlikely that the use of hearing aids will make your tinnitus worse. In fact, hearing aids are a popular treatment option when managing tinnitus that works by increasing meaningful auditory stimulation to the brain, making your tinnitus less noticeable.
If you believe that your hearing aids are making your tinnitus worse, then you may need to have them re-adjusted. Changes in hearing levels over time can mean that you are not getting the right level of sound stimulation causing your tinnitus to appear louder than before.
Can hearing aids get wet?
No! There are no truly waterproof hearing aids! Hearing aids should not be submerged or deliberately exposed to water.
Most hearing aids are “water resistant” and come with an IP68 rating. This means that they can withstand small amounts of moisture including light rain or a small splash. However, a hearing aid is still a delicate electronic object. Consistent exposure to moisture can lead to corrosion and damage inside the device. This can result in inconsistent sound performance and costly repairs.
The best way to ensure your hearing aid is functioning optimally in the face of moisture is to keep them as dry as possible during use, wipe them down with a dry tissue every evening (or more often if necessary!) and to keep them away from moist, steamy environments, such as the bathroom. You may also find additional benefit from the use of a specialised electronic drying kit which can dry both the outside and inside of your hearing devices.
Can I swim with a hearing aid device?
No! There are no truly waterproof hearing aids! Hearing should not be submerged or deliberately exposed to water.
Can I take a shower with a hearing aid?
No! There are no truly waterproof hearing aids! Hearing should not be submerged or deliberately exposed to water.
Can hearing aids cause headache?
Wearing hearing aids does not directly cause headaches. However, it can take time for the brain to adjust to the new, amplified sound signals it is receiving from the hearing aids. New, inexperienced hearing aid users may feel tired after their first few days of full-time hearing aid use. This is natural as the brain is detecting and often re-learning sounds in the environment around it. As the brain adapts to its new auditory environment, you’ll feel less tired and more immersed in the environment around you.
Can hearing aids be repaired?
Yes, hearing aids can be repaired. In most cases, hearing aids can be repaired in clinic after a qualified audiologist has performed a thorough check of the devices. If the device requires specialised assessment, the audiologist will send the aids through to their specific manufacturer for service and repair. Depending on the repair performed, costs may vary. If your aids are still within their warranty period, the repair itself will not attract a fee, however your audiologist may still charge for handling the repair as well as for re-programming of the aids, should it be necessary
If your hearing aids cannot be repaired, we will be notified by the manufacturer that the devices are ‘damaged beyond repair’. In these situations, your hearing aids may be replaced through your home and content (or your travel) insurance if you have insured them.
Why hearing aid is so expensive?
Hearing aids are not just amplifiers, they are technological marvels that have evolved to their current level of performance and style over hundreds of years. To get to this point, hearing aid manufacturers invest large amounts of time and money into research and development to better their aids every year and ensure that the consumer receives the best outcomes possible. Although these days electronic goods are plentiful, hearing aids still represent a niche market. A lower demand for hearing aids compared to other electronics like TVs or mobile phones, naturally lends itself to higher prices.
Additionally, hearing aids are not ‘plug and play’ devices. Attention and care must be given to program each hearing device to the specific client’s hearing loss and preferences. Simply making sounds louder is not enough, as hearing aids need to be able to improve speech signals without compromising on comfort or introducing unwanted background noise. The time and attention given by the audiologist to ensure you have a top-quality hearing aid fitting and consistent aftercare is also factored into the cost of the devices. That is why the price of a same hearing aid may wary significantly based on the way is fitted and based on the level of after fitting care received.
There are several ways to manage the cost of a hearing aid investment. If you are a pensioner or DVA card holder, you may be eligible for government subsidies of up to $1500 on your hearing aid purchase including access to maintenance programs and discounts on additional accessories. If you have private health cover with extras, be sure to enquire with your provider as many health funds offer hearing aid rebates. Additionally, at Ear and Hearing we offer payment plans to break down the cost of your devices to more manageable portions.
When weighing up the value of a hearing aid, it is important to remember that a hearing aid purchase is at least a 4 to 5-year investment into the quality of your hearing. Your device will be used daily for 8+ hours, constantly surveying your environment and processing sound in real time to ensure that you are always keeping up with the conversation, never missing the punchline of the joke, hearing laughter, enjoying your favourite shows and engaging with the world to the fullest extent. To some this is priceless, and the improvement to your quality of life should be one of the defining factors in your decision to purchase hearing aids.
When you take into consideration how using hearing aids can help preserving the quality of your hearing by providing constant healthy stimulation to your brain and how they can reduce the speed of your memory and cognition decalin, you would see the investment a wise one.