With the number of people who need hearing treatment neglecting or delaying it – two out of three – we’d like to congratulate you on starting your research for your hearing journey.
We always like to give our patients as much information as possible about anything to do with their hearing, and with that in mind, we’d like to give you a summary of all the different types of hearing treatment you might be considering, or even a type you have not yet thought of.
We’ll go into the pros and cons of each, so that by the end of the page, you’ll feel more knowledgeable about what to ask for and what to avoid when you treat your hearing loss.
Questions to Consider before Choosing Your Hearing Treatment
When it comes to hearing treatment, there is no generic standard because every person’s hearing is so unique; not to mention each person’s lifestyle, circumstances, and budget.
Some important things to ask yourself include:
- Your hearing diagnosis – Is it from a professional hearing assessment so you know your treatment will be correct?
- Your lifestyle – Are you more active or do you live more of a sedentary lifestyle? This changes what type and style of hearing treatment will suit you best.
- Support – Would you prefer to have your hearing care in person at a hearing clinic or would remote support be more convenient?
- Budget – Are you seeking the best, most expensive hearing aid available, or are you looking for hearing treatment within a particular budget?
- Local business – Would you rather support a local business for the next few years, or would you be satisfied dealing with a global corporation and a different support specialist each time you need help?
- Technology – Do you need extra features in your hearing device, such as tinnitus management?
When you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can make a much more satisfying decision for yourself.
How to Treat Hearing Loss
You will find that the cost of hearing treatment grows with the level of technology involved. In order of lowest to highest tech, these very different options include:
- Cell phone apps
- PSAPs (personal sound amplification products)
- Over-the-counter or retail hearing aids
- Online hearing aids
- Large retail stores
- Cochlear implants
1. Cell Phone Apps
The cheapest option, cell phone apps can be useful for amplifying sounds when you need them. Simply let the app deliver the amplified sound to your earphones or headphones.
Some apps are free while others have a small monthly fee.
This option can help, but the apps don’t perform very well in noisy environments, and they don’t treat a hearing loss; they just make all the sounds around you louder.
Similar to cell phone apps that amplify sound, personal sound amplification products make sounds louder in your ears. These are usually worn on the ear, and they have a built-in microphone.
PSAP prices start at about $80 and can be as expensive as $1,000. You can buy them online and in stores, but you need to get them to sit in your ear in a comfortable way, which can be very hard to achieve, and there is no support once your 90 days are up.
3. Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
There is a limited number FDA approved over-the-counter hearing aids. The two most popular ones currently are the Bose SoundControl and the Jabra Enhance Plus.
These devices can be bought online or through a hearing professional, and a professional hearing assessment is not mandatory before purchase.
We sometimes recommend these for people with a mild hearing loss who only need hearing help at certain points in their day. At an introductory price of $600 to $800, these devices encourage a lot of people to begin treating their hearing who might not otherwise do so.
The biggest downside to these is that most people assume they know their degree of hearing loss without getting a professional hearing test, and so they buy these assuming their hearing loss is only mild, but the devices don’t give them the hearing help they need.
The other disappointing thing about over-the-counter hearing aids is that they were never designed for all-day wear, and they can get uncomfortable or even fall out during physical activities.
Lastly, there is no audiological support or warranty with these products, so you’re alone in your efforts to program them and get them to fit properly unless you work with a hearing professional.
4. Online Hearing Aids
No doubt you have not managed to escape the onslaught of ads for online hearing aids. The marketing angle of these big brands is that you don’t have to see an audiologist in person, you can do everything online instead and pay a lower price.
Online reviews for these are mixed, with some patients delighted and other patients left frustrated and angry. We understand the appeal of a low-cost, high-tech hearing aid, but the lack of a professional hearing test is very concerning.
We have found online hearing assessments to be very unreliable. Because everything is done online and there is no physical examination of the ears, serious medical conditions might be missed, and inaccurate results of an online hearing test will lead to poor programming of the hearing aid.
Even though never having to leave your home for your hearing care can be appealing, there is truly no comparison to in-person care from someone who knows you, is familiar with your medical and hearing history, and is always ready to help.
It’s kind of like doing an eye test on your laptop and then having some large corporation mail your eyeglasses to you. The eye test is not going to be reliable.
5. Large Retail Stores
Some large stores like Costco or Sam’s Club have hearing aids centers. Purchasing from these stores can fulfill your need for an in-person purchase, and you get a hearing test, along with a fitting and follow-up visits.
The downsides can be that the prices they lured you in with are only good for their own brand of hearing aids, which have negligible reviews and are locked so that no other hearing center can fix or program them.
The other downside is that you have to be a subscribed member, they don’t work with your insurance companies on your behalf, and they don’t offer payment plans.
When researching treatments for a hearing loss, it’s good to know who the experts are – doctors of audiology, hearing instrument specialists, and ENT doctors. Working with a professional will ensure that no matter what is causing your hearing loss, or that of a loved one, you’ll get the best treatment possible.
When you visit an audiologist, such as Ascent Audiology, you get the red-carpet treatment.
- You have a professional hearing assessment that includes a physical exam of your ears.
- We clean out your earwax if we find that’s the cause of your hearing loss.
- You are referred to a trusted ENT professional if we find any medical condition contributing to your hearing loss that needs to be treated.
- You have access to our decades of combined knowledge and experience.
- You are treated as a person with unique hearing needs rather than a number, and we look forward to welcoming you as part of our lifelong local family.
- We recommend the best hearing treatment for you rather than try to sell you a particular brand of hearing aid.
- We talk to your insurance company on your behalf.
- Your hearing aids come with a warranty for loss and damage.
If you choose Ascent Audiology & Hearing, we promise treatment will be every bit as good as you expect and more.
7. Cochlear Implants
Cochlear implants can be a good option for people with severe to profound hearing loss. This is an implant in your cochlea that digitizes sounds that your brain can process.
Cochlear implants are usually covered by insurance, and not all patients are good candidates for this surgery because of the lengthy follow-up required.
The surgery can cost about $60,000 without insurance.
How to Choose the Best Hearing Treatment
We hope this information has helped you understand all your options better. If you still have more questions, we’re happy to answer them all. Contact us for more info.
We understand that your final decision will depend on your personal needs and preferences, but the biggest requirement of all to getting good hearing treatment is to have accurate hearing test results.
Book your comprehensive hearing assessment with us. Even if you choose to purchase your hearing aids elsewhere, at least you can do so knowing you have the right diagnosis first.
We wish you well on your hearing journey, and we hope to meet you at some point so we can cheer you on in person.