Our most frequently asked questions:
Why do my ears ring?
Some patients describe the ringing as more of a buzz or high-pitched squeal. All of these noises are called tinnitus. This is a very common complaint and can vary in severity. There are a number of reasons your ears may ring including a plug of earwax, a middle ear infection, permanent hearing loss or acoustic neuromas. Also causes may not be directly related to the ear such as an allergy, high or low blood pressure and diabetes. It is important to see an Otolaryngologist so that they may determine the cause of your tinnitus. They may also be able to offer effective solutions depending on the cause.
For more information contact the American Tinnitus Association
How much will a hearing aid cost?
In general, hearing aids cost between $850 and $3500 for one.This is dependant on the size of the hearing aid and it’s circuitry. The price varies depending on the features you choose for it. Also remember, every hearing aid and earmold made is created for only one person – YOU. Everyone’s ears are shaped differently; therefore, hearing aids cannot be massed produced. Most people forget that hearing aid technology has advanced tremendously over the last few years and research and development is another large component in the cost of hearing aids. Based on your needs an audiologist can help you find the hearing aids within the price range you are comfortable with. Some insurances have benefits towards hearing instruments.
Do I need two hearing aids?
Well, this depends. Do you have hearing loss in two ears? If the answer to that question is yes, then yes, you need two hearing aids. We were created with two ears for a reason. Hearing with two ears allows us to determine where sound is coming from, increases speech clarity and sorts speech from noise better than hearing with one ear. If you insist upon only one hearing aid, please be advised that most audiologists would recommend the better ear be fit since that is the ear with less damage.
Can I get a really small hearing aid that no one else can see?
Well, that depends on the severity of your hearing loss and how much earwax you produce. It is important to discuss your concerns with an audiologist so that you do not find yourself wearing the wrong size hearing aid. There are four main styles to hearing aids and each of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Please notice the corresponding pictures and their explanations.
- The hearing aid sits behind your ear, while an attached earmold is placed in your ear.
- Tends to provide more amplification for individuals with greater hearing loss although, it may be worn by individuals with mild hearing loss.
- Because the earmold sits in the ear, the hearing aid is not exposed to earwax and moisture as much as the other styles and BTEs tend to have fewer repairs.
- In general, BTEs cost less than the smaller sizes.
- Uses the larger batteries (675 or 13).
- The entire hearing aid fits in your ear and fills the bowl or concha of the ear.
- Provides more gain than the smaller hearing aids, but sometimes not enough gain for individuals with severe to profound hearing losses.
- Tends to be more durable than the smaller models, but not as durable as the BTEs.
- Uses size 13 or 312 batteries
- The hearing aid fits in your ear, but does not fill the entire bowl or concha of the ear.
- Provides good amplification for individuals with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
- Tends to need more repairs due to earwax and moisture.
- Uses size 312 or 10 batteries.
- Cosmetically appealing due to its very small size.
- Usually only provides enough gain for individuals with a mild to moderate hearing loss (More severe hearing loss may cause the hearing aid to squeal).
- Tends to need more repairs due to earwax and moisture.
- Uses the smallest batteries, size 10.
- Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
What is a digital hearing aid and will it help me?
There are three main types of technology when it comes to hearing aid circuits.
The most technologically advanced hearing aids are fully digital hearing instruments. These circuits have a superior sound quality and the sound is digitally processed. They can be either fully automatic or have program selections, depending on the manufacturer. Digital circuits also tend to minimize feedback (whistling) from the hearing aid and offer “superior” listening in noise when equipped with directional microphone technology.
In the middle are digitally programmable hearing aids. These hearing aids are programmed digitally, but use an analog system to process sound. They provide “good” sound quality and help with speech understanding in low levels of noise.
Conventional analog hearing aids are the most basic models available and are good for individuals who need help in quiet environments. However, they limit the audiologist’s ability to fine tune the hearing aid based on the user’s comments.
Can I try a hearing aid before I buy it?
Valley ENT’s purchase agreement includes payment for the hearing aid minus any insurance benefits. A payment of half of the cost is due at the time of the hearing aid order, while the remaining half is to be paid in full at the hearing aid fitting appointment. There is usually a two-week period between these appointments. Cash, check, Visa or MasterCard are the preferred methods of payment. The FDA requires a 30 day trial period; however Valley ENT allows 60 days to exchange or return the hearing aids. If the hearing aids are returned, a full refund with the exception of a $150 retainer to cover services rendered is granted.
Do you guarantee the hearing aids?
Currently, the companies we work with offer a two-year repair warranty and at least one-year loss and damage warranty. There are no charges for hearing aid adjustments as long as the hearing aids are in warranty. Additional warranty coverage can be purchased through the manufacturer before the original warranty expires.
How do I care for my hearing aid(s)?
It is important to keep your hearing aids clean and dry. Remember, these are miniature computers susceptible to earwax and moisture. Therefore, it is necessary to clean them every night. Also, with every hearing aid purchase, Valley ENT provides a dry aid kit to help reduce repairs due to moisture. Hearing aids should be stored in the dry aid kit when not in use. Cleaning tools are also provided with you’re the hearing aids to help remove earwax and debris.
How can I prevent further hearing loss?
Some individuals are born with a genetic makeup that results in a predisposition for hearing loss; however, many people lose their hearing when exposed to damaging noise levels. The best way to prevent noise exposed hearing loss is to remain in a quiet environment. This is unrealistic; therefore, when exposed to excessive noise from gunfire, factories, lawn mowers, hairdryers, loud music, etc., it is important to wear ear protection. Stock earplugs or earmuffs can be purchased from local retailers or the audiologist can fabricate custom earplugs. There are hearing protection devices made especially for musicians and hunters to reduce the damaging effects of loud sounds while allowing the wearer to hear speech or important sounds often associated with hunting and music.
For more information on hearing loss and hearing aids please visit:
The National Institute for Deafness and Communication Disorders
Phonak Hearing Systems
Disability Related Government Information