Consultation with an audiologist is the best way to address this question as there isn’t a single device that can be considered “best.” Much depends on an individual’s hearing loss. Each hearing device is geared towards a different severity of loss, from mild to profound. Together with the audiologist, an individual is able to decide on a set of devices that is the best match for his or her particular hearing loss, communication needs, manual dexterity, expectations, life style and finances.
Some private health care plans cover the costs of audiologic tests, a hearing aid evaluation, and even partial or full coverage of a hearing aid. Be sure to check with your health insurance company or your employer’s benefits manager to find out.
Manufacturers of hearing devices are constantly researching and improving device technology – which is an expensive enterprise. Digital hearing devices are sold in relatively low volume as compared to other digital devices such as telephones and stereos. The skill, expertise and experience of the audiologist enter into the equation as well. Audiologists are prepared at the doctoral level for entry into practice, assuring the best and latest information is brought to bear on individual hearing evaluations and device fittings.
Medicare pays for hearing tests with a referral from a physician, but it does not cover the cost of hearing devices. Some insurance providers cover a portion of the purchase price and some insurance policies may offer a discount off the device purchase price.
Hearing devices may last anywhere from 3 to 5 years, but can last as long as 7 years. New devices have enough power available to “grow” with a person’s hearing loss. For instance, when there is a change in hearing status, some devices can simply be re-programmed for performance appropriate to accommodate current hearing status.
Whether you have a measurable hearing loss or not, hearing aid technology has become advanced enough to treat tinnitus in a significant number of our patients. While there is no cure for tinnitus, it may be successfully managed with the right technology.