In order to provide our patients with the best quality devices, our offices specialize in the most advanced technologies available to us. Digital hearing aids take the signal received by the microphone and convert it into millions of “bits” of data, numbers that can be manipulated by a tiny computer chip within the hearing aid. This computer makes it possible to monitor and process sounds very accurately, in ways that cannot be done with older conventional analog aids. The best digital aids can be very finely adjusted to suit every individual’s need and many adjust themselves automatically to suit different sound environments providing the ability to reduce background noise and restoring sensations of loudness to the hearing impaired individual.
Hearing Aid Information
There are 2 basic types of hearing aids available on the market, In-the-ear (ITE) and Behind-the-ear (BTE) models. Within these 2 groups, are more specific styles. Regardless of style, there are some things that are common among all hearing aids:
- The smaller the hearing aid, the smaller the battery and the smaller the parts on it. For individuals who have difficulties managing small objects, this can be an important factor when selecting a style. Also, the smaller the hearing aid, typically the less volume they are capable of.
- All hearing aids run on batteries. Batteries are not very expensive, and some are included with each hearing aid purchase by our office for your convenience.
- No one style is better than another. Each has pros and cons, and whichever one is best for you depend on a number of factors that the Audiologist will discuss with you at your evaluation appointment.
- ITE: an ITE contains all hearing aid components within the ear. Various ITE styles are:
- Full-Shell ITE (ITE-FS): this hearing aid completely fills the ear and is generally the easiest to insert. It also uses a slightly larger battery resulting in longer battery life than smaller hearing aids. Individuals with dexterity issues, those using oxygen, and those with more significant hearing losses are those who might benefit from this larger style.
- Half-Shell ITE (HS-ITE): the hearing aid fills up approximately ½ the ear. Slightly smaller than the FS ITE, it is a little harder to insert, has shorter battery life, and cannot accommodate as significant a loss as its larger counterpart.
- In-the-Canal ITE (ITC): even smaller than the HS-ITE, it is again more difficult to insert with typically less battery life and greater reduction in volume capabilities. It is sometimes considered more cosmetically appealing because anatomical features of the ear can camouflage it better than its larger counterparts.
- Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC): the entire hearing aid rests fairly deeply in the canal of the ear. A small removal line is used to remove it since there are no parts of the aid accessible to grab in order to remove it. It is good for individuals who might spend a lot of time on the phone, a medical professional who uses a stethoscope, or someone who spends a great deal outside.
- Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC): The smallest and newest model of hearing aid available. This device sits very deeply in the canal and has similar benefits as the slightly larger CIC but is not appropriate for individuals with pathologies effecting the ear canal, wax build-up issues, or dexterity and vision issues.
- BTE: A BTE has most or all of the hearing aid parts located in a unit worn behind the ear.
- Traditional BTE (BTE): depending on the model selected, this can be the largest hearing aid available. It consists of 2 parts, a hearing aid and an earmold. The earmold is a custom-made piece for retention and conduction sound from the hearing aid into the ear canal. BTE’s used with an earmold have, by far, the greatest amount of flexibility in style, shape, and other modifications that can be made to help enhance or reduce certain sounds and/or frequencies. For someone with an extreme hearing loss, this is often the only device strong enough to provide appropriate amounts of amplification.
- Micro BTE: these are newer BTE’s that have come out within the past few years. There are 2 types of Micro-BTE’s, Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC) models, and Slim-Tube models. Both hearing aids are extremely small in size.. The main advantage of this style is that the ear canal can remain open, leaving the wearer with a much more natural sound quality and even the feeling of not wearing anything at all. If worn properly, these hearing aids are essentially invisible to those who are not aware you have a hearing aid on at all.
- Hearing aids can be quite an investment. Typical life of a hearing aid is 4-6 years, however with good care it can extend beyond that. Average pricing for good quality digital hearing aids start around $1000 per hearing aid and can go as high as $3500 per aid. Our Doctors of Audiology will take time to sit with you and discover a hearing plan that works within your lifestyle and budget and meets all your hearing needs.
- Many insurances do not cover the cost of hearing aids for their adult patients. For your convenience, we accept visa and MasterCard, as well as personal checks in addition to financing. Additionally, there are programs available for those that qualify which may assist or pay for hearing aids entirely. This can be discussed with your Audiologist.
- In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, all insurances are required to cover hearing aids (up to a maximum amount) for children under 18 unless the insurance plan is self-funded. Unfortunately, at this point in time we are not capable of fitting children below the age of 10 or patients who have Medicaid as their insurance provider.
- All hearing aids sold in Kentucky are guaranteed a minimum 30-day trial/adjustment period. If you are not satisfied with your selection and do not wish to try another device, you may return them for a refund. There is a small cancellation fee per ear assessed for returns.
- Swim plugs: For individuals who have tubes or just don’t like getting water in their ears, custom-made swim plugs are an excellent choice. Various colors and textures are available.
- Noise plugs: Do you work around a lot of noise? Have a hobby where you are exposed to damaging noise levels? Attend a lot of concerts? Noise plugs are for you!!! Protect your hearing now from damaging sounds and help ward off the specter of hearing loss in the future.
- Custom earmolds for earbuds and/or Bluetooth devices: Hate those little nubs headphones? Wear a blue-tooth headset all the time? Custom-made earpieces for your personal listening devices not only feel more comfortable but often deliver much better sound quality at lower volume levels
- Assistive Listening Devices: Not interested in a hearing aid but struggling to hear the TV? What about the Phone? There are a number of various products available for individuals not yet ready for hearing aids but still looking for a little help in those difficult-to-hear environments.
Call and ask about all our various special services available!!!