Hearing aids have the potential to improve the quality of life for individuals with a hearing loss when properly fitted to their specific needs and lifestyle. It is important to understand that hearing aids are an investment into your better hearing future, so you want to make the most informed investment possible.
Where do you start?
Above choosing the technology you’ll put into your ears, your most important decision will be choosing who to trust with guiding and caring for you on your lifelong journey of better hearing health. That’s where our caring, knowledgeable, and experienced audiologists at Berkeley Hearing Center come in.
As with all aspects of your hearing healthcare, we are here to provide you with the information about your hearing challenges so you can make informed and appropriate choices. We provide accurate testing and assessment, caring professional guidance, and consistent follow-up care that goes beyond selling you a hearing device in order to enhance your hearing healthcare investment.
Today’s Digital Hearing Aids
You can forget those bulky, ugly contraptions your grandparents wore. What was once the realm of science fiction, now is science fact. Along with enhanced performance technology and advancements in material technology, today’s hearing aids are incredibly user-friendly, comfortable, and if it matters to you, so discreet that most people will never know that you are wearing them.
Micro-digital technology has made it possible for hearing aid manufacturers to pack more power and performance into smaller packages. In addition to making it easier to distinguish conversations in a crowded restaurant or at a family reunion, modern hearing aids come with a variety of connectivity options and smartphone apps to fine-tune your hearing aids, improve phone conversations, stream music or podcasts, recharge rather than replace your batteries, and so many other features that help improve your hearing aid user experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Aids
Q. Do I need a hearing aid?
A. Are you experiencing any of the following?
- Muffled speech and sounds
- Difficulty understanding speech, especially in a noisy atmosphere
- Trouble distinguishing various consonants (th, s, and f)
- Frequently asking others to speak up, speak more slowly, or stop mumbling
- Turning up the volume on the television or radio to an uncomfortable level for those around you
- Difficulty with conversations over the phone
- Withdrawing from or avoiding conversations or various social settings
If you are experiencing one or several of these hearing challenges, hearing aids might be the right solution, but the only way to know for sure is by scheduling a hearing evaluation with one of our licensed audiologists.
Q. At what level of hearing loss are hearing aids necessary?
A. Hearing aids are usually prescribed for individuals experiencing the second level of hearing loss (moderate hearing loss) and above. With moderate hearing loss, you might struggle to hear a refrigerator humming or normal conversation.
Q. Do hearing aids cure hearing loss?
A. Hearing aids assist your hearing by helping to clarify and amplify sound, but they do not restore or fix the natural function of your ears. Besides helping you hear better, they can also slow hearing deterioration, limit cognitive decline, alleviate tinnitus symptoms, and help correct ongoing issues with balance and vertigo.
Q. How long will a hearing aid last?
A. The service life of a hearing aid is from five to seven years, depending on how they’re taken care of (daily cleaning, regular scheduled maintenance, tune-ups, and repair). Most audiologists recommend upgrading your device every five years in order to take advantage of new technologies in a rapidly developing industry.
Q. Do hearing aids use special batteries?
A. Yes. Hearing aids use zinc-air batteries specifically designed for hearing aids. They are easy to find in pharmacies, supermarkets, and some convenience stores.
Q. How long will it take to adjust to my hearing aids?
A. The amount of time for adjusting to hearing aids is different for each individual. Your hearing care provider will provide you with programming adjustments, counseling, technical support, troubleshooting, and coping strategies to help speed up the adjustment process, but most users acclimate to their hearing aids in less than 60 days.
Q. Are hearing aids covered by health insurance?
A. Most private health insurance policies don’t cover hearing aids, but there are Medicaid programs and Medicare supplement policies that do provide some benefits for hearing aids.
Our Four-Step Process of Hearing Aid Selection
Our audiologists have unique expertise and knowledge, each with decades of experience caring for the hearing impaired using state-of-the-art technology from the best companies in the industry. Because we have dedicated ourselves to the compassionate care of those who entrust us with their hearing healthcare, now and in the future, we use a four-step process to help you select the right hearing aid.
Have Your Hearing Tested
Having your hearing tested is always the best place to start the process of getting new hearing aids. This provides your hearing healthcare professional with a thorough understanding of how your specific hearing loss impacts your quality of life in your day-to-day environments in order to prescribe the best solution to meet your specific needs.
Choose the Hearing Aid Style That Suits You Best
Several factors must be taken into consideration when choosing the best style of hearing aid that meets your needs, such as:
- The necessary processing power to handle your specific type and degree of hearing loss
- Cosmetic appeal and manual dexterity
- A secure and comfortable fit that accommodates your level of activity
- Whether it interferes with headwear, glasses, oxygen cannula, etc.
Choosing the Right Performance Level
The price you pay for a hearing aid can range from $495 to over $3000 per aid. Your overall satisfaction with your hearing aids will be reflected in the performance level of the device you choose.
In general, the more you pay, the better the product will work in more challenging listening environments, such as busy restaurants, churches, or community event centers, and other places where there is a lot of background noise.
Choose the Manufacturer with the Features You Want
By providing more choices, we are able to provide our patients with the best possible hearing instrument to meet their specific needs. Unlike some of our competitors, which are owned by manufacturers, we are an independent business able to provide you with options from a broad range of major hearing aid manufacturers, such as:
Hearing Aid Styles Available From Berkeley Hearing Center
Severe to profound hearing loss patients usually require the additional performance capabilities of behind-the-ear hearing aids. Although it’s not invisible, this instrument is more streamlined and lighter weight than its predecessors. Its technology is housed in the casing of these hearing aids, placed behind the ear while the clear plastic acoustical tube sends the amplified sounds into a customized earmold fitted inside the ear canal.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC)/Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE)
RIC/RITE hearing aids are the ideal solution for many hearing aid users due to their processing capabilities and the way processed sound is delivered to the ear. Sound is transmitted to the receiver, or speaker, in the ear. This speaker can be a custom formed earmold or an open-fit design that does not occlude the ear canal, allowing for unmatched comfort and a very natural sound.
Full Shell ITE
The largest of ITE hearing aid styles, full-shell hearing aids have greater processing power, can include directional microphones, are equipped with more manual adjustment features, and come with larger batteries with a longer service life. However, they are not as discreet as smaller ITE models.
ITC hearing aids are slightly visible, may still include directional microphones, and come with manual adjustments and larger batteries with a longer battery life. However, they are still not as discreet and do not provide the same secure fit as the smaller CIC and IIC styles.
Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)/Invisible-in-the Canal (IIC)
These are the smallest styles, which are invisible or nearly invisible. Because they lack some of the processing power of larger styles, they are best suited for mild to moderate hearing losses. They provide a more secure fit, but they require good manual dexterity for insertion and removal and have a shorter battery life than the larger models.
Lyric Extended Wear
Extended wear hearing aids are a completely invisible product with no batteries to change and no daily insertion. Because they are inserted by an audiologist or ENT every 90 to 120 days, they offer unmatched simplicity, the best fit security, and the greatest amount of discretion.
Schedule a Hearing Evaluation
In today’s world of marketing, it’s easy to get your hands on a hearing device, but without proper programming and testing by a licensed professional, you could do more harm than good. A comprehensive hearing evaluation by a Berkeley Hearing Center audiologist along with proper device selection, the right programming, and ongoing support are essential to a lifetime of better hearing.
Let us help you solve your hearing challenges rather than exacerbate them. Simply fill out the adjacent form to schedule a hearing evaluation with one of our audiologists.