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Author: admin | 04.04.2014 | Category: Tinnitus Causes And Treatments

While conductive hearing loss can often be restored; sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent.
If the hearing cannot be restored, then the main option available to a patient is hearing aids (unless hearing loss is bilateral and severe, in which case they may be a candidate for a cochlear implant which is a whole different discussion). Patients who are considering hearing aids are often overwhelmed when they start researching their options.  It is my hope that this post will act as a guide to help simplify and guide people through this decision. Consumer Reports July 2009 issue had a great review of the process of buying hearing aids, and most of it can be found online without a subscription to Consumer Reports at this link.  Their recommendation was to get hearing aids from an office that has both an ENT (otolaryngologist) and an audiologist in the office (I am biased since I work in this kind of an office).
This often leads to disgruntled patients and often these are the patients that give hearing aids a bad name.
If you go to a free standing hearing aid center, make sure it is staffed by an audiologist and that you are seen and evaluated by an actual audiologist and not an audiology tech or hearing aid dispenser. Be aware that if you don't like the hearing aid(s), you can return in and get most of your money back if returned in 30 days. Some patients have profound hearing loss with word recognition scores around 10-15 % (means that even when you correct for the hearing loss with amplification, the patient still only understands about 10-15% of the words they hear). When I see a patient with that severe of hearing loss, I usually let them know that the benefit from an aid may be limited and make sure they have realistic expectations.


The physician's office isn’t going to close because you didn't buy aids or the most expensive ones. A hearing aid dispenser or technician may not have much more than a high school diploma while an audiologist usually has their masters or doctorate in Audiology. Hearing aids often need to be adjusted or tweaked and if you have to drive an hour to get it serviced, you are not going to and will just be unhappy with your hearing aid. To enhance your browsing experience, please upgrade to a more current browser such as Firefox, Safari or update to Internet Explorer 9. Their research showed that people who purchased their hearing aid from a company staffed by both an otolaryngologist and audiologist were more satisfied with their purchase. It is not uncommon to see a patient that has gone to a "members only wholesale warehouse club" or some free standing hearing aid center and been sold a hearing aid even though their hearing can be restored with either a surgery or other interventions.
Often patients with this degree of hearing loss have been sold hearing aids and are under the impression that the hearing aid will fix everything. After buying a hearing aid, you would hate to discover that the establishment you obtained your hearing aids from has closed.
Depending on the pattern of your hearing loss, this may not be the best style of hearing aid for you.


The main problem with this is that the insurance companies have not established any way for the hearing aid wearer to have the aid adjusted.
The main problem is that these free standing facilities make money of off hearing aid sales and telling a patient they need to see an ENT does not sell hearing aids.
Your audiologist will be able to tell you which style of hearing aid will work best for you based on your individual hearing loss. To my knowledge, these insurance companies have not provided the software to audiologists so that these hearing aids can be adjusted.  When purchasing a hearing aid, you are buying not only the product, but also the ability to service the product. It is a pretty new program, but I suspect that the patients that go this route may not be as happy with their hearing aids as other consumers.



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