Michigan Ear Institute

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Audiology - FAQ's


How much do hearing devices cost?

The cost of hearing devices varies and a hearing device is available for all budgets. Purchasing hearing devices is not just a one-time transaction; it involves a relationship between you and your audiologist. Audiologists know that the most important consideration in hearing device selection is not the hearing itself; rather, it is the skill and knowledge of the professional dispensing the hearing device. The audiologist's responsibility is to ensure that a suitable device is selected based on your hearing loss, communication needs, personal preferences and lifestyle as well as to provide an understandable explanation of its benefits and limitations. The audiologists at Michigan Ear Institute are committed to your aural rehabilitation because they know that it is the most essential part of your hearing healthcare. Mail order and discount centers may sell hearing aids at lower prices because they are often placed on the user with minimal or no instructions and/or adjustments. Sales people with minimal technical training often staff these discount centers. It is important to do your research.

The reality is communication is one of the most important skills humans have. So if wearing hearing devices allows you to resume activities you enjoy, improve relationships with family and friends, and retain your independence, the cost becomes more justifiable.


How often do I need to buy new hearing devices?

Generally speaking, hearing devices typically last about five years. The need for new hearing devices may occur if a patient's hearing status changes, however, with the flexibility of the new digital technology for adjustments, purchasing new devices can typically be prolonged.


What can I expect as I adjust to my new hearing devices?

Learning to listen with hearing devices takes time and patience. You may need to learn to filter out unwanted sounds, just as you used to do with normal hearing. Your listening skills should improve as you become accustomed to amplification. It's also important to be realistic and not to expect 100-percent hearing in every situation.

Besides helping you to hear and understand voices better, properly adjusted hearing devices will allow you to hear sounds that previously may not have been audible. The sound of wrinkling newspaper or water running may be annoying at first, however, after about 2-3 weeks, you will notice an adjustment to these sounds. Gradually increasing the amount of time you wear the hearing aids and following the schedule provided by your audiologist will result in an easier transition to amplified sound. During the initial adjustment period, you may be asked to visit your audiologist several times so that she may monitor your progress and adjust the controls of your hearing devices, if needed. These follow-up visits are crucial to your success with amplification.


How often should I have my hearing evaluated?

Hearing evaluations are recommended annually just like eye exams. Hearing evaluations are especially recommended if there is a family history of hearing loss, history of noise exposure or if you are noticing any changes in your hearing. A baseline hearing evaluation is recommended at any age.


Why do so many people have hearing instruments that they complain about or do not use?

There can be a variety of reasons why hearing instruments are not effective or used. Sometimes the hearing instruments are not appropriate for the individual's hearing needs. The style, circuitry, or options may not be the optimal choice for this person. The hearing instruments may not be programmed correctly. Occasionally, the cosmetic appeal of the hearing instruments takes precedence over its function of improving hearing.

The expectations of the hearing instrument wearer also needs to be realistic. Hearing instruments will not restore normal hearing, but they can greatly improve the ability to hear and communicate in a variety of situations. The choice of the best hearing instruments depends on many factors and can often be confusing. Our audiologists are experts in choosing the most appropriate hearing assistance and providing support and counseling throughout the adjustment period.


Is there a hearing aid that can eliminate background noise?

No hearing aid can completely eliminate background noise, but they can lessen the effects of non-speech noise. Michigan Ear Institute can help you determine which hearing aid is the best fit for your listening needs.


How do I know what size hearing aid I need?

Selection of hearing aid size depends upon your personal preference, your ear canal size, and your hearing loss. The smallest size of a hearing aid is a Completely In the Canal (CIC) and fits deep into your ear canal. It’s removed by pulling a small, nearly invisible cord. The next size is an In The Canal (ITC) hearing aid, which fits into your ear canal and is usually only visible from the side. An In The Ear (ITE) hearing aid fills your entire ear and a Behind The Ear (BTE) lies on top of your ear and goes behind it. The newest style is called a Receiver in the ear hearing aid or thin tube and is very popular with patients.


I have been told I should purchase two hearing aids for my hearing loss. Do I really need to start with two hearing aids or would one for my worse ear be adequate?

There is ample research to support that people with hearing loss are more successful with hearing aids when two hearing aids are worn versus just one, as well as demonstrating some major disadvantages when only one hearing aid is worn.

Just as our brain is wired to receive visual input through two eyes to enhance our vision, same is true for our hearing. Our brain processes sound from both ears to allow an enhanced listening experience and when the brain only receives input from one ear, enhanced hearing abilities are lost.

Some benefits of wearing two hearing aids include:

  • Better localization – the ability to tell where sounds are coming from
  • Better hearing in background noise
  • Better sound quality (“mono” versus “stereo”)
  • Better hearing for soft sounds such as children’s voices and sounds of nature
  • Less strain on you while listening - with only one hearing aid you may often strain to hear various sounds and become fatigued, with two hearing aids listening is more relaxed
  • Listening balance – you won’t be turning your “good” ear to hear.
  • Higher success and satisfaction - studies indicate people who wear two hearing aids are much more satisfied with their hearing aids.

People often think getting used to hearing aids will be easier if you wear only one hearing aid. As you can see it will actually be more difficult and your hearing will not improve as much as it would with two hearing aids.


How long does it take to adjust to new hearing aids?

It can take several weeks to completely adjust to your new hearing aids. Hearing tends to deteriorate gradually over time, so when sounds are reintroduced to the brain quickly, it can be a bit disorienting at first. This adjustment period is essential to get the maximum benefit from your hearing aids, but remember that you’ll be enjoying more of the sounds you love very soon.


What type of warranty comes with a hearing aid?

All hearing aids purchased at the Michigan Ear Institute come with a 30 day trial period.
Michigan Ear Institute offers up to two years worth of free adjustments, and cleanings.


Can I afford a hearing aid?

Hearing aid prices vary depending upon the model and style, but also upon the degree of your hearing loss and any special options or services you may choose to personalize your instrument.

Michigan Ear Institute offers an easy payment plans that include zero-interest options and many others through Care Credit.

You may also be eligible for benefits for some services and hearing aids through private insurance company. We will check you benefits for insurances in which we participate with their hearing coverage plans.


Does Medicare or insurance pay for hearing aids?

In most cases, Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids. However, some insurance plans will assist with the cost of hearing aids. Contact your insurance company to see if they provide you with hearing aid benefits.


How much do hearing aid batteries cost?

Batteries cost about $1.00 per battery; they come in packets of 6.


How long do hearing aid batteries last?

It depends on the size of the batteries. Hearing aid batteries last approximately 6-7 days when the hearing aid is used full-time (morning to night, on a daily basis). If your batteries are lasting less than six days, let us know. Your hearing aid may need to be repaired.

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