How can I recognize hearing problems?

Hearing problems rarely cause discomfort or pain, and because the hearing loss process is gradual, it’s common to adapt to someone’s hearing loss without realizing it. If you think you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I / they often ask people to repeat themselves?
  2. Do I / they have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
  3. Do I / they have difficulty hearing what is said unless facing the speaker?
  4. Do I / they struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?
  5. Do I / they have a hard time hearing women or children?
  6. Do I / they prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
  7. Do I / they experience ringing or buzzing in the ears?
  8. Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you suffer from hearing loss.

Hearing loss symptoms fall into several different categories – social, emotional and medical.

 

Social symptoms

How often do you or your family member…

  • Require frequent repetition in order to understand speech?
  • Have difficulty following conversations with more than two people?
  • Think other people’s voices sound muffled?
  • Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations?
  • Have trouble hearing children and women?
  • Turn the TV or radio to high volume?
  • Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations?
  • Experience ringing in your/their ears?
  • Read lips or depend on other people’s facial expressions during conversations?

 

Emotional symptoms

How often do you…

  • Feel stressed from straining to hear what others are saying?
  • Feel annoyed at people because you can’t hear or understand them?
  • Feel embarrassed to meet new people because you may misunderstand what they’re saying?
  • Feel nervous about trying to hear or understand?
  • Withdraw from social situations that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing?

 

Medical symptoms

Do you…

  • Have a family history of hearing loss?
  • Take medications that may have an effect on hearing loss?
  • Have diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems?

 

Have you…

  • Been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period?
  • Experienced a single exposure to explosive noise?

The average time between the onset of hearing loss and getting help is five to seven years. Don’t wait to get help.

 

Learn why early treatment is important, and how to get the help you need.

If I had hearing loss, wouldn’t my doctor have told me?

Only 13 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor’s office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.

What are the most common causes of hearing loss?

Each type of hearing loss may have several different causes. Exposure to loud noise is a common cause of both hearing loss and tinnitus. Infections are also a common cause, as are birth defects, genetics and reaction to drugs, especially chemotherapy or drugs used for cancer treatment.

Here are the different causes of each type of hearing loss.

Causes of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Aging
  • Injury
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Shingles
  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)
  • Meningitis
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High fever or elevated body temperature
  • Ménière’s disease (a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance)
  • Acoustic tumors
  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension

Causes of conductive hearing loss are typically “obstructions” such as:

  • Infections of the ear canal or middle ear resulting in fluid or pus buildup
  • Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
  • Wax buildup
  • Dislocation of the middle ear bones (ossicles)
  • Foreign object in the ear canal
  • Otosclerosis (an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear)
  • Abnormal growths or tumors

 

Are there different types of hearing loss?

There are three types of hearing loss including: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Most people lose at least some degree of their hearing as they age, and by the time they reach age 65 and older, one in three people has some type of hearing impairment.

Sensorineural hearing loss
The most common type of hearing loss, it occurs when inner ear nerves are damaged and do not properly transmit sound signals to the brain. It is the most common type of hearing loss caused by the withering of the hair cells in the inner ear due to age, noise damage or medications. Without healthy hair cells the ear cannot detect sounds properly.

Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss is typically the result of obstructions in the outer or middle ear, which prevent sound from entering the middle ear. Voices and sounds may sound faint, distorted or both. Most conductive hearing loss cases can be treated medically or surgically.

Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

 

Are there hearing aids for single-sided hearing loss?

Yes, hearing aids are available for those with single-sided hearing loss. The Starkey CROS System delivers solutions for:Those who are unable to hear in one ear and have normal hearing in the other ear (CROS)
Those with little to no hearing in one of their ears, and a hearing loss in their better ear (BiCROS)

Doesn’t hearing loss only affect old people?

Hearing loss can occur at any time, at any age. In fact, most people with hearing loss (65%) are younger than age 65! There are 6 million people in the U.S. ages 18-44 with hearing loss, and around 1.5 million are school age.

Are there operations or medications I can take for hearing loss?

Most Americans with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Medical treatments and surgical procedures are helpful for only 5 percent of adults with hearing loss.

Hearing aids cannot cure hearing loss but they CAN help you hear better again.

Hearing is a complex process that starts with the ears and ends in the brain where information is received, stored and “decoded” into something we understand.

When you add hearing aids to boost hearing, the brain suddenly registers long-lost sounds. Adjusting to amplification requires time, endurance and patience. You are essentially retraining your brain to interpret sounds, focus on some and filter others out – just as you did naturally when your hearing was normal.

Hearing aids can improve your ability to hear and communicate with the world around you, but they cannot “cure” your hearing loss – just as glasses do not “cure” your nearsightedness or farsightedness. They are tools to help you manage the problem, and while they can contribute significantly to an improved quality of life, they are not perfect. Even with successfully fitted hearing aids, you may still have difficulties hearing well in some situations. You will find ways to adapt to your new hearing aids, including watching people more closely as they talk and keeping background noise to a minimum when possible.

Who treats hearing loss?

  • Audiologists are professionals with master’s degrees, Au.D.s or Ph.D.s in audiology, which is the study of hearing. They specialize in testing, evaluating and treating hearing loss. An audiologist may also fit hearing aids.
  • Hearing Aid Dispensers are trained in fitting and dispensing hearing aids. Hearing Aid Specialists are often state-licensed and board-certified to test for hearing loss and to fit consumers for hearing aids.
  • Otolaryngologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, throat, head and neck disorders. They are also known as ENT doctors.

If I think I have a hearing problem, what do I do?

When seeking treatment for hearing loss, be sure to select a hearing professional who understands the available technology and offers follow-up care.Use our online locator to find a professional near you, or call (888) 251-9340.

Won’t wearing a hearing aid make me stand out?

While you are no doubt concerned about appearance, compensating for a hearing loss by asking people to repeat themselves, inappropriately responding to people (or not responding at all), or even withdrawing from social situations is more obvious than wearing a hearing aid.Today’s hearing aids are small, discreet and more stylish than ever. Some are even invisible. And, chances are that once you have a hearing aid, your quality of life will improve so much that cosmetics won’t be as much of an issue for you.

While hearing aids have helped millions of people around the world improve their hearing experience and quality of life, there are still some misconceptions about them. Don’t let these common myths keep you or someone you care about from getting help to overcome hearing loss.

Here are some common myths and facts about wearing hearing aids:

How will a hearing aid improve my quality of life?

How will a hearing aid improve my quality of life?

Treatment of hearing loss has been shown to improve:

  • Communication in relationships
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  • Ease in communication
  • Earning power
  • Sense of control over your life
  • Social participation
  • Emotional stability

Hearing aids can provide valuable benefits to improve your quality of life in a number of important ways. They can help you to:

Hear better in situations that are important to you – Fully participate with family, friends and co-workers again.

Stay connected – Hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression. With hearing aids, you can connect with the world and regain your quality of life.

Avoid becoming a burden to those around you – Wearing a hearing aid can be a courtesy to others, reducing frustration and eliminating the need for them to raise their voices or repeat things to you.

Identify speech in noise – Hearing aids can improve the brain’s ability to process speech when there is competing background noise, like in a restaurant or crowd. Hearing aid technology continues to improve and hearing better in noise is a primary focus of the current hearing aid technology.

Stay sharp – Hearing loss contributes to reductions in cognitive and communication abilities — it can even be misdiagnosed as dementia. Hearing aids can help improve your abilities, keeping you on top of your game.

Be alert to what’s happening around you – Hearing enables you to sense alarms, sirens, traffic, telephones, doorbells and other important signals at home, work and in the community.

Work longer and earn more – Studies clearly demonstrate that untreated hearing loss can impact your success on the job, with even a mild hearing loss reducing earning potential. Using hearing aids can help you communicate successfully on the job so you maintain your productivity, professional standing and income.

How do hearing aids work?

How hearing aids work

Digital makes a difference

The advent of digital signal processing revolutionized hearing aids, enabling scientists and manufacturers to write smart software and develop sophisticated algorithms that lead to new benefits like:

  • Improved speech understanding in noisy environments
  • Increased gain without feedback
  • Enhanced listening comfort and speech perception
  • Ability to shape instrument settings to match the specific wearer’s hearing needs
  • More precise directional capabilities

An amp for your ear

In its most simple form think of hearing aids as a miniature public address system with four basic components:

  1. Microphone
  2. Amplifier
  3. Speaker (receiver)
  4. Power supply (batteries)

No matter what style or size, all hearing aids consist of these four components.

Microphones and receivers are transducers, meaning they convert energy from one form to another. The microphone gathers acoustic energy (sound) and converts it into an electrical signal. The receiver gathers electrical signals from the amplifier and converts them back into acoustic energy (sound).

Located between the microphone and receiver, the amplifier increases the amplitude of the signal supplied by the microphone before transmitting it to the receiver, which sends it to your inner ear.

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing?

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing?

Most Americans with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Medical treatments and surgical procedures are helpful for only five percent of adults with hearing loss.

Hearing aids cannot cure hearing loss, but they CAN help you hear better again.

Hearing is a complex process that starts with the ears and ends in the brain where information is received, stored and “decoded” into something we understand.

When you add hearing aids to boost hearing, the brain suddenly registers long-lost sounds. Adjusting to amplification requires time, endurance and patience. You are essentially retraining your brain to interpret sounds, focus on some and filter others out – just as you did naturally when your hearing was normal.

Hearing aids can improve your ability to hear and communicate with the world around you, but they cannot “cure” your hearing loss – just as glasses do not “cure” your nearsightedness or farsightedness. They are tools to help you manage the problem, and while they can contribute significantly to an improved quality of life, they are not perfect. Even with successfully fitted hearing aids, you may still have difficulties hearing well in some situations. You will find ways to adapt to your new hearing aids, including watching people more closely as they talk and keeping background noise to a minimum when possible.

Will I be able to hear in noisy places?

While no hearing aid can filter out all background noise, our advanced hearing aids are designed to reduce some types of background noise so that you can enjoy conversation and improve communication in places like restaurants, business meetings and social gatherings.

What are the different types and styles of hearing aids?

Today’s hearing aids come in a wide variety of sizes and styles — from those that sit behind the ear to completely invisible hearing aids — and feature different technology levels to match your specific needs and budget.

How do I know which hearing aid will be best for me?

How do I know which hearing aid will be best for me?

Your hearing professional can help you zero in on just the right hearing aid for your needs. The nature and degree of your hearing loss will factor into your decision, as some styles are not effective for severe hearing loss.

Your lifestyle and job are important factors too, and your hearing professional will also ask about the activities you enjoy. If you have difficulty seeing or working with small objects like buttons or dials, there are hearing aid models that can make adjusting your hearing aid much easier. Finally, there are some things you cannot change like the size and shape of your ear and ear canal which will also dictate the type of hearing aids you can wear.

Start your research with our Hearing Aid Finder Tool, and work with your hearing professional to find the best choice for you.

When considering hearing aid features, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and environments you frequent.

  • What hearing situations bother you the most?
  • Are there certain sounds or voices you have trouble hearing?
  • On an average day what do you do? Where do you go?
  • How often do you frequent noisy environments like restaurants, shopping centers, places of worship or sporting facilities?

Discovering and choosing hearing aid features

Every hearing aid manufacturer and hearing aid professional talks about aligning your “lifestyle” needs to your hearing aid features. A lifestyle analysis pinpoints the most common and important situations, activities and places in which you want to increase your ability to hear and understand voices — and helps you align your needs to specific hearing aid features.

Think of hearing aids as “communication devices” along the same lines as a cell phone. When you purchase a cell phone you consider and prioritize the ways you will use it and purchase features accordingly. For example, if you will often use your cell phone in dim light, you will opt for a backlit keypad. If you do not want others to be bothered by your ring tones or have difficulty hearing it yourself, you will purchase a phone with a “vibrate” alert feature.

It’s the same equation when considering hearing aid features. It is helpful to understand what is available, how digital hearing aids work, which ones work with your type of hearing loss, and which features will help you optimize communication in your life.

What are some advances in hearing aid technology?

Like many other high-tech devices (TVs, phones, computers), hearing aids have experienced a major technological revolution in the past decade and especially in the last few years.The best of today’s hearing aids are designed to virtually eliminate feedback, make listening in noisy environments easier and more comfortable, stream stereo sound from TVs and radios directly to the hearing aid itself, let you talk on your phone hands-free, and much more. Now, instruments are smaller (and in some cases, invisible), more comfortable and powerful than ever.

Is there an adjustment period to wearing hearing aids?

Is there an adjustment period to wearing hearing aids?

It can take up to four months for you to get accustomed to your hearing aids and to really get the most out of them. You will notice small changes right from the start, but it’s important to be patient. If you have questions or concerns about your progress, be sure to call your hearing professional for help. Hearing aids often need to be adjusted several times during the trial period. This is a team effort, so do not be afraid to speak up.

1. Be realistic.

Remember that your hearing loss has been gradual; over the years you have lost the ability to hear certain sounds in the speech spectrum and normal sounds of the environment, such as traffic and wind noise, the hum of machinery and other background noises.

2. Practice.

When you begin to wear hearing aids, these sounds will be restored but your brain will need practice and reeducation in order to selectively focus on and filter sounds. Some sounds may even startle you at first. Know that your brain will acclimate to these sounds again over time.

3. Be patient.

It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Wear them as much as possible at first to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction and to learn which hearing aid settings work best for you in different situations.

4. Rest.

The adjustment period may be tiresome. It’s a lot like retraining a muscle that has not been used in a while. But the benefits will be worth it after you’ve made the adjustment.

Getting hearing aids to treat hearing loss is an important step, but it’s not the finish line. Adapting to hearing aids is more like learning how to drive than it is learning how to read with new glasses. It’s a process that takes time, commitment, education and patience.

Five Steps To Hearing Success

The following principles have been used by thousands of hearing aid wearers to successfully transition to better hearing health.

1. Acceptance

Surprisingly, the first step begins before the purchase of hearing aids. Admitting and accepting your permanent hearing loss prepares you to get the help you need, to stop hiding or denying a hearing problem, and to end the pretense that you understand speech when in reality you may not.

2. Positive attitude

Step two is about making a personal choice to achieve better hearing with a positive attitude. Simply purchasing hearing aids does not signal success. To overcome hearing loss, you must have a desire to learn and determination to increase your ability to hear. Those who approach hearing aid use with a positive attitude are far more likely to achieve success.

3. Education

The most effective remedy for hearing loss is personal education. The more you know about your hearing loss and treatment, the more actively you can participate in your adjustment to hearing aid use. Hearing requires more than the ears. It is a complex function that requires the cooperation of the brain and your other senses.

4. Realistic expectations

The fourth principle of success is to set realistic expectations. Hearing aids will help you hear better — but not perfectly. Focus on your improvement and remember the learning curve can take anywhere from six weeks to six months. Success comes from practice and commitment.

Read about managing auditory confusion

When you first begin to use hearing aids, your brain will be startled to receive signals it has been missing. The brain needs time to become familiar again with the high-frequency sounds of speech and environmental noises.

Re-acclimating your brain to true sound, after years of distortion caused by hearing loss, is like priming a pump. You’ve got to stay with it long enough for the water to flow. Once it is flowing – and it will flow – the hardest part is over. Your perceptions will improve over time, as the true sounds of everyday life are re-introduced to your consciousness after not being heard for years.

At first, all sounds will seem loud. The true pitch of the telephone, the sound of your clothes rustling as you walk, the whoosh of your air conditioner or the hum of your refrigerator motor will seem loud in relation to other sounds. These sounds will become part of your subconscious again as your brain begins to prioritize them.

5. Practice and patience

Finally, the fifth principle of success is a combination of practice, time and patience. Once you have logged sufficient hours for your brain to acclimate, you will be able to hear without thinking so much about hearing.

It’s a good idea to begin with a schedule in which you wear your hearing aids part time and gradually work up to wearing them from the time you rise until the time you go to bed.

Many hearing professionals recommend listening to books on tape as a way to practice hearing and understanding. In the first few weeks, if it is too tiring, rest. Then try again. Reach out for support and stick with it. The payoff is immense.

Will I need a hearing aid for both ears?

Will I need a hearing aid for both ears?

Human hearing is designed for two ears. The technical term is binaural listening, and the auditory system is wired for it to allow for the best possible hearing and understanding.

If a professional evaluation by a hearing professional indicates that you have hearing loss in both ears, two hearing aids may be recommended. While it may be tempting to try to limit the cost by going with a single hearing aid, the truth is that one hearing aid simply cannot do the job of two.

Two hearing aids:

Provide a full listening experience

As we know from listening to music, hearing in “stereo” rather than “mono” improves the quality of sound. Stereo is more natural and distinct, with a fuller and richer sound. The brain is naturally able to hear sound in this way, but it needs the input from both ears to do so. Using one hearing aid when two are needed does not provide the full input the brain requires.

Give your brain the information it needs

Just as you have two ears, you have two halves of your brain, and they both work together to create what is known as auditory intelligence. Each ear sends a different signal to your brain, and the signals travel a complicated neural pathway. Some signals stay on the same side of the brain; others cross over to the opposite side where they are received differently and have different effects on perception and understanding. This complex system — involving both ears and both sides of the brain — helps increase auditory intelligence and gives you a better understanding of everything you hear.

Help you detect sound direction

Sound signals from both ears give your brain the ability to locate where sounds are coming from. This can be important socially because it lets you quickly identify which person in a group is speaking so you can bring your attention to them. It is also important for reasons of personal safety; for example, binaural hearing helps you identify the direction from which traffic is approaching.

Contribute to better listening

Being able to hear speech from people on both sides of you in a group setting is critical to participating fully in a conversation. If you’re only wearing a hearing aid in one ear, you cannot hear the person on the other side of you. Whether you’re in a business or social setting, understanding is increased with two hearing aids.

Reduce the need for volume

When two hearing aids are worn, you can keep them at a lower volume and still hear adequately. With just one hearing aid, you often need to turn up the volume to an uncomfortably high level in order to compensate. This can cause one of the most frequent complaints of hearing aid wearers, “Everything sounds too loud!” Keeping the volume down also helps protect your hearing from further damage.

Help you separate voices from noise

Two hearing aids with directional microphones enable you to weed out the background noise in an environment and focus on the person who is speaking. With only one hearing aid, noises blend together and it is difficult to discriminate between the sounds you want to hear and those you don’t.

Mask tinnitus

If you suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears), the use of two hearing aids can help. Hearing aids are frequently recommended for tinnitus relief — but a single hearing aid alone will not mask the ringing sound in the unaided ear.

Deliver higher satisfaction with hearing aids overall

Studies show that people who wear two hearing aids when needed are more satisfied with their hearing aids than those who choose to wear only one. The quality of sound provided by two hearing aids significantly enhances the listening experience. Most say once they’ve tried two hearing aids, they would never go back to wearing just one.

Provide more relaxed listening

For all the reasons above, listening with two hearing aids is less tiring. You don’t have to strain to hear in order to make sense of the sounds around you.

 

How much do hearing aids cost?

How much do hearing aids cost?

Hearing aids — like other medical devices and equipment — are a significant investment, and also like most things, you get what you pay for. Most hearing professionals offer financing plans and you may qualify for other discounts through your insurance provider or another source.

The price of a hearing aid will vary depending on the specific style and features you choose. Like many things you buy, from tires to televisions to cell phones, there is definitely a “good-better-best” hierarchy that applies to hearing aids. It’s a matter of weighing the costs and advantages of hearing aid features then ranking their importance to you and your family.

This blog post offers a unique perspective on the price of hearing aids.

Your hearing professional will work with you to align your lifestyle needs to your hearing aid features. If you lead an active work and social life, you may require and desire hearing aids with discreet, advanced, automated features. If you spend more of your time at home pursuing quiet activities, a less expensive level of technology with basic functionality may be right for you.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, hearing aids can help enhance your quality of life dramatically, bringing you back in touch with the people and activities you enjoy. In addition, studies show hearing aids can increase earning potential on the job. Whatever the situation, most people find it’s worth the investment to stay connected to human communication.

Guide to financing and financial assistance

When it comes to paying for hearing aids, there are a variety of resources that may be available to you.

Medicare
Typically Medicare does not cover routine hearing evaluation or hearing aids. Although in some cases, exams ordered by a physician and conducted by a licensed audiologist may be covered by Medicare Part B. Medicare Advantage Plans may have hearing aid coverage.

Check with your doctor or hearing professional about whether Medicare covers a diagnostic exam. Search your state for Medicare coverage of hearing aids and hearing exams.

Medicaid
Most state Medicaid programs cover partial or complete costs for hearing aids. (Medicaid must cover hearing aid costs for children.)

There are different eligibility conditions depending on your state program, and your doctor or hearing specialist can help you determine whether this coverage is available to you. For telephone numbers and contact information for the Medicaid program in your state, visit www.benefits.gov and select “Benefits by Category” and then select “Medicaid/Medicare.”

VA benefits
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) provides access to audiology services and hearing aids for qualified veterans. For additional information, veterans should contact the VA healthcare facility near their homes. To locate the VA facility near you and for links to other resources for veterans, visit the Hearing Loss Resources for Veterans page on Starkey.com.

Private health insurance
Hearing aid coverage for adults is not mandated in every state. Some private health insurance companies cover the costs of hearing tests, a hearing aid evaluation and even partial or full coverage of a hearing aid — while others provide none at all. Check your individual plan coverage by calling the member services phone number on your insurance card.

Questions to ask your insurance provider:

  1. Does my insurance policy cover the entire cost or partial cost for hearing aids?
  2. Do I have to use a specific hearing aid provider? If yes, please provide a list of approved providers in my area.
  3. If my insurance plan provides a benefit for hearing aids, do I have to pay the provider and submit a form for reimbursement or can my hearing specialist bill my insurance provider directly?
  4. Is the hearing aid benefit limited to specific hearing aid models or hearing aid technology?
  5. Are there any additional criteria or stipulations for coverage? For example, is there a threshold of hearing loss severity I must meet before I am eligible for the hearing aid benefit?

Flexible medical spending plans
Some employers sponsor Flexible Medical Spending Plans, which allow you to set aside a portion of your earnings on a pre-tax basis. The money can be used throughout the year to pay for medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider. Using pre-tax flexible spending dollars is an excellent way to offset hearing aid expenses.

Consumer Reports calculate savings for a person in the 28-percent tax bracket who spends $5,000 from a flexible spending account on hearing aids will effectively save $1,400 by paying with pre-tax dollars.

Health savings plans
Health savings plans are tax-advantaged medical savings accounts available to taxpayers who are enrolled in high deductible health plans. The money contributed to health savings plans is not taxed at time of deposit and accumulates year over year, with interest, if it is not spent. Health savings plans can be used for medical and healthcare related purchases not covered including hearing aids.

 

State vocational rehabilitation programs
If hearing aids are required for your employment, state vocational rehabilitation programs may provide financial assistance toward their purchase. Find your local office by visiting www.disability.gov/benefits to find rehabilitation programs in your home state.

Credit financing programs
Most licensed hearing specialists offer financing programs with a range of affordable plans for hearing aids and hearing loss treatment costs. Wells Fargo Health Advantage® is Starkey’s preferred option.

Deducting your costs
If you itemize your taxes, healthcare costs that exceed a certain percentage of your adjusted gross income can be deducted from your federal income tax. Hearing aids and hearing aid batteries are among the qualified medical costs that are deductible. Talk to your tax preparer for more information.

Service organizations and foundations
Many fraternal and service organizations have programs to provide assistance with hearing aids. Some of these may include the Lions Club, Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Moose Lodge, Masonic Lodge or Shriner’s organizations.

To find agencies in your state, try these keyword search terms: Your state name, programs for hearing impairment, hearing loss services, or free products and services for the hearing impaired.

Similarly, some hearing aid manufacturers sponsor foundations that provide hearing aids to those with limited financial resources. For example, Hear Now is a national nonprofit program affiliated with Starkey Hearing Foundation. The program assists hard of hearing individuals who lack the financial resources to purchase hearing aids.

Are cheap hearing aids any good?

Affordable hearing aids are different than cheap hearing aids, and although they may have some limitations (inability to separate voices from background noise, for example) lower-cost hearing amplifiers are sometimes a good way to ease into the idea of wearing hearing aids.Ask yourself the following questions to see if a hearing amplifier might be right for you.

Are you a first-time hearing aid wearer?
Is cost a factor in considering the purchase of your hearing aid?
Is it a priority for you to wear a hearing aid that fits invisibly inside your ear?
Do you need a hearing aid that can easily be worn while talking on the phone?

Is there a guarantee with hearing aids?

Is there a guarantee with hearing aids?

Any reputable hearing professional will provide at least a 30-day guarantee for your hearing aids. Remember it often takes four months to realize the full benefit of new hearing aids, so don’t give up. Ask for help from your hearing professional, follow their treatment plan and look for small improvements every day.

Worry-free warranty plans
Starkey offers comprehensive Worry-Free Warranty coverage for all hearing aid brands. Available as long as your hearing aids are in proper operating condition, our plans provide protection against failure, damage and even loss. We also offer Worry-Free Warranty Loss, Damage, and Repair coverage on other hearing aid brands. Ask your hearing professional which of our flexible protection plans best meets your hearing and lifestyle needs.

New Starkey hearing aids come with a limited warranty. Please contact your hearing aid specialist, audiologist or ENT to get details about your specific warranty plan.

 

What new features do today’s hearing aids have?

Full, rich sound quality
Our latest hearing aids provide better sound quality for both speech and music.Personalized listening experience
We all have a unique perspective of sound. By customizing the relationship of soft sounds to loud sounds for each individual, your hearing professional can greatly enhance listening comfort with today’s hearing aids.Comfortable sound and conversation in every environment
A new advanced operating system identifies the environment you are in and automatically focuses on preserving speech. This makes hearing and understanding easier, no matter what the noise source.Enjoy the conversation, enjoy the music!
Our hearing aids now have the ability to tell the difference between music and speech, and can automatically change settings to let you hear and enjoy music.

Music the way you like it!
Music and speech are very different. For the first time, music can be processed with all its richness and nuance to provide the best sound quality and listening experience.

Enjoy hearing your phone calls!
Use your iPhone to hear phone calls directly through your Halo 2 hearing aids without an intermediate device. With our Muse hearing aids, imagine putting your phone to one ear and hearing the call in both ears! Improves your ability to hear, understand and connect with your world!

You have the control in your hand
Use our TruLink® app on your smartphone to quickly and easily control and personalize sound quality to your liking, no matter the setting.

Your hearing aid knows where you are
Imagine a hearing system so smart it can tell when you are at your favorite restaurant, in a place of worship, or at work, and then automatically adjust sound quality to that environment. That system is available today.

Invisible options
Hearing aids continue to get smaller and more powerful. Many styles, including wireless options, rest comfortably inside your ear canal, where they are virtually invisible to others.

Everyone enjoys TV at a comfortable volume
Plug our SurfLink Media 2 into your TV or stereo, and you can stream TV, music, or the game straight from the source to your hearing aids. No one else needs to hear it if they don’t want to, or if you don’t want them to.

Portable, personalized wireless accessory
Our SurfLink Mobile 2 works with your hearing aids to talk on your cell phone, listen to music or just do better at the card game!

Durable, dependable hearing aids
Our hearing aids come with Surface Nanoshield, our leading water, wax and moisture repellent. Surface Nanoshield protects hearing aids from the elements that cause them the greatest challenges, so you can wear them more and repair them less.

Customizable tinnitus relief
Starkey’s newest hearing aids feature our advanced Multiflex Tinnitus Technology. This technology allows you and your hearing professional to customize a soothing sound stimulus designed to help manage your tinnitus.

Should I consider purchasing a hearing aid online?

It’s important to see someone who specializes in hearing issues, such as an audiologist, an ENT doctor or a hearing aid specialist.Just as every person is unique, every hearing loss and hearing need is unique, too. Hearing aids are delicate instruments that must be prescribed and fitted to each patient’s precise hearing loss and ear canal shape. To ensure you get a solution that’s custom-fit to your precise needs and lifestyle, it’s always recommended that you consult with a hearing healthcare professional. These trained experts have the experience and technology needed to precisely diagnose and measure your degree of hearing loss, then prescribe and administer a solution personalized for you – including providing ongoing support and care.

Although there are many low-cost hearing devices available online or at warehouse stores, they are not true hearing aids. They simply make everything louder (including background noise). Buying hearing aids from a professional ensures a better listening experience with technology that’s right for you, and establishes a relationship for adjustments and follow-up care over time.

Is there a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline?

Several studies have indicated that there is a connection between hearing loss, brain function decline and loss of brain tissue. Brain “shrinkage” occurs as a natural part of aging, but older adults with hearing loss appear to lose brain mass at a faster rate than individuals with normal hearing.

The study, conducted and published by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging, “adds to a growing list of health consequences associated with hearing loss, including increased risk of dementia, falls, hospitalizations, and diminished physical and mental health overall.”

A related study by the same team found that older adults with hearing loss were far more likely to experience problems with thinking and memory than individuals with normal hearing, and indicated that “hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging. It may come with some long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning.”

Our SoundThinking page illustrates other ways hearing loss and mental sharpness are linked, and explains how treating hearing loss can help.