In the know about hearing loss

Q & A with Dr. Mary Frintner, doctor of audiology and
owner of Balance & Hearing Resource Centers, Inc. in
La Cañada.
(818) 952-1130

Q: Can I wait to get hearing aids if I only have a mild
hearing loss?
A: No. The auditory system needs to have stimulation
to maintain good speech understanding and auditory function. Hearing
loss causes the lack of stimulation and decreased function. Amplification is
recommended as soon as a hearing impairment is documented even for a mild
hearing impairment.

Q: Can I get hearing aids with only having a hearing
A: No. A screening is simply a pass/fail test that does not determine the degree
and nature of a hearing impairment. An audiologist performing an audiologic
evaluation will complete tests to determine the degree of hearing impairment
and to rule out significant medical conditions that may be treated by a physician.

Q: Do I have to see an ear, nose and throat doctor before I get a hearing aid?
A:No. Ear, nose and throat doctors are trained in medical
school to be surgeons. They are generally not trained or licensed in hearing
aid dispensing. You can go directly to an audiologist to get an audiologic evaluation.
If that test determines that you need medical treatment the audiologist will refer
you to a doctor.

Q: Do I have to go to the provider to which my doctor referred me to get a hearing
A: No. It is your healthcare dollars. You can determine which provider you go
to by making sure they are a provider for your insurance, especially if you have
hearing aid benefits.
You should also determine the educational and experience qualifications of the
provider. Ask about education, such as do they have a master’s degree or a doctorate.
Also, find out how long they have been working with hearing aids. Not all individuals who dispense hearing aids have the additional education
and training of an audiologist.

Q: To get good hearing aids do I have to spend $6,000?
A:No. Hearing aids range in price from about $2,000 to over $7,000 a pair, however, the average patient spends about $3,500-$4,500
a pair.
What is important is that you get a pair of hearing aids with the technology
that is consistent with your lifestyle. The more socially active patient requires a
more technically advanced hearing aid. The more expensive
hearing aids have remote controls or Bluetooth\ compatibility for those
patients who use technology for education or work.
Also, it should be noted that there are organizations
that help patients afford hearing aids by providing
payment plans, discounted costs or free hearing aids to
low income individuals.

Q: Are smaller hearing aids more expensive that the larger behind-the-ear
hearing aids?
A: No. Most manufacturers today do not price their hearing aids based on size
but solely on sophistication of technology in the hearing aid. The most commonly
purchased hearing aids at this time are the micro behind-
the-ear hearing aids with slim tubes or receivers in the canal and they come
in a variety of technology levels and price ranges.

Q: If I try a pair of hearing aids and don’t like them, will it cost me a restocking
fee to return them?
A: No. State regulations require a hearing aid dispenser
to provide at least a 30-day trial period with a 100% money back guarantee.
A hearing aid dispenser or audiologist licensed in hearing aid dispensing cannot
charge a fee to a patient returning a hearing aid within the trial period. Individuals who do so should be reported to the Hearing
Aid Dispensers Bureau.

Q: Do all hearing aids come with only a one year warranty and the necessary
supplies to take care of them?
A: No. Different manufacturers and dispensers provide different lengths of
warranties. Most hearing aids come with at least a one year warranty but some
dispensers are offering additional years warranty free or at a fee.
Additionally, batteries, dri-aid kits, cleaning tools
and battery recycling kits may be offered as a free benefit or may be an additional
charge depending on the policy of the dispensing

Q: Is anything in life FREE?
A: Yes, if you bring in this article we will give you a FREE Bluetooth TV amplifier
with the purchase of a pair of PHONAK Certena, Versata, or Excelia Art
hearing aids.