FAQ

Have a question about hearing aids? Our team of audiologist have provided some answers to frequently asked questions by patients. Have a question not answered below, ask our team.

Why do hearing aids cost so much?

Hearing aids are a very high- technology device that contains sophisticated electronics in order to function effectively to improve hearing.  There is a wide range of costs for hearing aids, with the amount depending on the quality of the hearing aids and the individual needs of the patient.  The more expensive hearing aids contain a higher level of technology, to provide the user with increased capabilities such as directional hearing, capabilities to connect with various accessories, increased clarity etc.

Why should I purchase from Audio Help when I can get hearing aids cheaper on-line or at a big-box store like Costco?

There is no question that you can purchase hearing aids for less money on-line or at a big-box store such as Costco.   However, purchasing hearing aids is not like buying a pair of shoes.  First, you should have a Doctor of Audiology diagnose your issues using a very sophisticated hearing test.  They will then match the specific brand of hearing aid to best meet both your audiology requirements and your budget.   Further, unlike the purchase of shoes, virtually everyone who purchases a hearing aid will require several follow up appointments with their doctor, to make adjustments in order to maximize the capabilities of your devices.  It is unlikely that you will get this from a Doctor of Audiology at a big box store or from an on-line vendor.  Further, at Audio Help we provide free batteries for the life of the hearing aid, and unlimited free follow-up appointments for adjustments, cleaning or replacement of filters or other minor parts.

Do you have hearing aids that do not look so obvious when people look at me?

There are several different hearing aid options which can be completely invisible or virtually invisible to others.  Many hearing aids fit nicely behind the ear with a clear plastic line that goes into the ear.  Most people who wear this type of device find them virtually invisible. Most hearing aids also come in an ‘Invisible-In-the Canal’ model (IIC), Which fits so far into the ear canal, you wouldn't be able to see it.

 

For example, there is a device called Lyric which fits completely in your ear canal, near the eardrum and is only visible by using a special device to look into the ear canal.  This is a semi-permanent device that is changed every 3-4 months. And bonus! No Batteries to change. Not everyone’s a candidate for Lyric, so schedule an evaluation to go over your options 

What is the cost of the batteries?

The costs of batteries vary based on the type of battery and the quantity in the package. You can purchase these batteries online or in your local pharmacies/grocery stores, but they can cost around $1.00 per individual battery. At Audio Help batteries are free to patients who come to the office to get them, but if we have to mail them to the patient there is a $5 charge for regular mail and am $8 charge for UPS. We normally send three packages of batteries by mail, which is a total of 24 batteries. Most others do not provide free batteries, so it is necessary to purchase them at retail or from your hearing aid supplier, and the cost can add up to around $500 per year.

How often do I have to change batteries?

The duration of battery life depends both on the type of battery (as there are different batteries for different types of hearing aids) and the amount and type of listening you do, ie. external sources such as telephones or podcasts.   Some batteries need to be changed every 3-4 days, whereas others will last about a week.

Do you have hearing aids with rechargeable batteries?

Most of the major hearing aid brands do offer rechargeable batteries.  And the newer technology requires no battery at all. They must be charged every evening.

What happens if I lose my hearing aids?

If you lose a hearing aid, there are different scenarios depending on where you purchased your devices.  Some plans have loss protection coverage in which you can get a replacement for free, while most plans have coverage with a deductible that will be required.

Are my hearing aids insured if I break them, get them wet or lose them?

Most hearing aids provide coverage for breakage or loss as long as the aids are under warranty.  However, depending on the provider of your hearing aids, the replacement might require a deductible.  It depends completely on the plan you have.

How long do hearing aids last in terms of years before I need to replace them?

Most audiologists recommend replacing hearing aids every three years. This is because the technology within the hearing aid community is moving so quickly that after three years (when the warranty normally ends) your next hearing aid purchase will include new and improved technology to help you hear better. Similar to cell phones, each advancement to the hardware can be drastic, upgrading a device that’s a few years old can address many issues one might be experiencing with outdated technology. People over 60 have a normal, gradual decline in their hearing every year, but the brain compensates for it by working harder to enable you to hear.  As a result, you will think your hearing has not changed over the three-year period of the warranty, but actually it has.  Because the brain is working so much harder to compensate, this can contribute to fatigue which can be avoided by have the right hearing aid matched to your current hearing situation.

Does it really matter which brand of hearing aid I purchase…is there really a big difference between brands?

Yes. While each manufacturer claims to be the best on the market, among the major brands the highest-level hearing aids are not dramatically different in terms of the ability to improve your hearing. Each one handles sound differently, and they specialize in different situations, and audio processing capabilities. There are major differences between the levels of hearing aid within a specific model.   Most of the major brands have 3-4 levels of hearing aid from good, to very good, to excellent and finally to superior.  The price does increase as the level of technology improves, but so does the quality of hearing and the capabilities of the hearing aids. Each manufacturer also carries multiple models of hearing aids, all specializing and catering to specific needs. Significant Hearing loss, Mild Hearing loss, Tinnitus, Musicians, and children are some examples. This is why it’s helpful to go to a provider who knows each brand’s specialty and can help you select the best one for Your needs.

Is there a trade-in value when I get new hearing aids?

Some audiologists will provide trade-in values. Here at Audio Help, we often use the older brands to service patients in countries that cannot afford newer hearing aids. The policies regarding trade-in values vary by company and by type of hearing aid you are trading in. Audio Help’s Non-Profit Organization Hearing The Call will give them a letter for the amount of the donation which can be used to reduce their taxes.

If I need to come back to see my audiologist, are there additional costs?

At Audio Help, most patients are enrolled in a concierge plan, as a part of their Hearing Aid Purchase, which provides free batteries and free follow up visits for the useful life of the hearing aids. Your insurance will be billed for an Annual Hearing test, but all in office Hearing Aid visits are covered in your bundled purchase. Repairs, supplies and accessories will incur an added cost.

My friends tell me to buy hearing aids at Costco as they are much cheaper than anywhere else. Is that true?

It is very likely that you can purchase hearing aids less expensively at Costco than going to an independent audiologist such as Audio Help.  Costco is able to get their items in bulk and save a lot on them. That's one reason people love Costco. However, it is important to understand the quality of service you are considering at a Costco compared to what you might get when you purchase from an independent audiologist.  Also, it is important to understand the manufacturers will sometimes make off brand items for Costco. And while the technology might be comparable to what you can get in our offices, the services are not. You should also compare the warranty you get at Costco and the cost and availability of follow-up appointments and whether you get batteries for free as you would from Audio Help.

Why shouldn’t I just go on-line and buy the cheapest hearing aid available?

You will find a major difference between the total hearing aid experience from an on-line purchase vs what you would find by visiting an independent audiologist organization such as Audio Help.  Specifically, at Audio Help our goal is to fit you with the best possible hearing aid based on your hearing needs and your budget.  It is unlikely that you will get this level of service from an on-line purchase.   Further, when you purchase on-line you do not have the same level of professional follow-up from a Doctor of Audiology that you would by coming to Audio Help.  Hearing aids normally require 1-3 follow up appointments to maximize their effectiveness. These appointments are free from Audio Help.

Can I purchase a device online/from a cheaper provider, and get service from you?

We generally will not service a hearing aid that is purchased elsewhere.  In rare cases we might enroll a patient in a concierge program where they pay a monthly fee to get free on-call service and free batteries.

If my hearing aids need service, what do I do?

At Audio Help, if you require service, you simply call our office and make an appointment to come in for help.  Normally, this can be accomplished within the same day or the next day.

My partner and I are always arguing about the volume of the television. How are hearing aids going to help this situation?

The conflict between partners regarding the volume of the television is probably the first sign that one of you needs hearing aids.  If you require the volume to be higher than your partner, you should get a hearing test to see if your hearing can be improved by hearing aids.  Also, if you currently wear hearing aids and still have the problem, you can purchase (relatively inexpensively) a device called a TV Streamer, in which the sound of the television goes directly into your hearing aids.  As a result, you could mute the television in the room, and you would hear the programs perfectly.

There are many different audiologists in the area. Why should I buy from Audio Help?

There are many audiologists operating about the greater metropolitan area and throughout Westchester and Connecticut.  At Audio Help we are committed to providing the highest quality of care, due to our commitment to better hearing and because all our audiologists are Doctors of Audiology...thus having achieved the highest level of professionalism possible.  Our goal is to have happy, satisfied patients who will have a relationship with Audio Help for many years.  We go to great lengths to make sure our patients have the best possible outcome with their hearing devices.

Are there different grades of hearing aids, like with cars I can buy a Mercedes, a Chevrolet or a Hyundai?

Yes, there definitely are grades of hearing aids.  Every major brand has 3-4 different grades, with the higher end offering more capabilities (at a higher cost) than those on the lower end of the scale.

Is it safe to come to your offices given the Covid problem today?

At Audio Help we take all precautions needed to ensure a Covid-save environment.  We do require patients to wear masks in our offices, and we sanitize our treatment rooms and waiting rooms after each patient.   All our audiologists are fully vaccinated.  It is completely safe to come to our offices.

I heard it is possible to try before I buy. Do you offer this?

At Audio Help we offer a free two-week trial of hearing aids at any time.  We are committed to having happy patients, and if a free trial is requested it will almost always be permitted.

I have trouble hearing in restaurants. Can hearing aids help this situation?

Hearing in restaurants is a major issue for people with and without hearing aids. The better-quality hearing aids have the capability of adjusting for restaurant noise so you will hear dramatically better. There are also remote mics which can be placed on a table to improve the hearing from everyone, worn around the neck, or connected by a lapel clip to focus on one person.

Are hearing aids like cell phones where the technology changes every year making what I just purchased out date?

While the technology in the hearing aid industry is constantly improving, it is not likely that the hearing aids you purchase today will be meaningfully outdated for 2-3 years.   We do recommend a three year purchase cycle, as that generally is the length of the warranty, and also the time frame when your next purchase will represent a significant improvement for you in terms of the quality of your hearing.