As people age, we naturally lose some of our ability to hear. This can affect some people more than others, and their many factors to consider. However, many older Americans may not know when it’s time to visit an audiologist or what signs to look for to see if they need hearing aids.
Signs You Need Hearing Aids
There are many signs of hearing problems that may mean you need hearing aids. These can include: watching TV at a volume louder than other people; having trouble understanding people on the phone; frequently asking others to repeat themselves; complaining that others mumble or can’t be heard. However, you may also notice yourself being more withdrawn, irritable, impatient, frustrated, and less social. Sometimes you may be able to hear people speak but understand them, and find yourself straining to understand people in group conversations, at church, and in movies or theaters.
You may also want to consider hearing aids if you suffer from any forms of tinnitus. Tinnitus is noise or ringing in the ears the occurs as a symptom of hearing loss, ear injury, or other related problems. It isn’t serious, but it annoying and can worsen with age. However, hearing aids can be used to improve tinnitus. Even if you only have a left ear hearing problem or a right ear hearing problem, you should still think about getting hearing aids for both ears. Not only will you be able to hear better but you won’t have to deal with potential feedback and other issues in your ‘good’ ear.
You should seek immediate care if you develop any signs of hearing problems after hitting your head, receiving a concussion, getting an ear infection, or if you experience a sudden or rapid loss of hearing over the course of hours or days.
What styles of affordable digital hearing aids are available today?
If you’re looking for virtually any type of assistive listening device in 2020, then chances are high that you’re looking for digital hearing aids. While some seniors are resistant to the idea of all things digital, they may already be using a digital hearing aid without even realizing it. Some caregivers actually play down the digital aspect of modern-day hearing aids, which simply contain a tiny computer that helps enhance the quality of sounds in real-time.
First, let’s focus on the most important word here: affordable.
The cost of hearing aids can vary widely, almost as much as Americans’ relative definition of the word “affordable.” Fortunately, there are dozens of brands, types, styles, and sizes of hearing aids to choose from, and you should be able to find something within your price range. First, always talk to your audiologist about what will work best for your or your loved one.
Even so, many people still want to know if insurance or Medicare will help cover the cost of hearing aids. The answer, unfortunately, depends on your situation.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some private insurance policies cover part or all of the cost of hearing aids — check your policy to be sure. Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids. In many states, private insurers are required to pay for hearing aids for children. Medical assistance covers hearing aids in most states. If you’re a veteran, you may be able to get your hearing aid at no cost through the Veterans Administration,” (emphasis added). If you have to pay for them yourself consider insuring hearing aids against loss, theft and breakage to make sure you don’t end up having to pay out of pocket to replace them
Many digital hearing aids offer incredible features, like filtering out background noise, automatically adjusting to the environment, and custom programming to suit your exact hearing needs. Plus, many digital hearing aids are now wireless, meaning they can connect directly to a TV, cell phone, music player, and other devices.
Now, while there are a variety of brands and types of hearing aids to choose from, there are also many styles of affordable digital hearing aids to choose from as well. Some people strongly prefer hidden and near-invisible hearing aids, while those with limited mobility might require more visible and accessible listening devices.
In general, there are six popular styles of hearing aids in use today:
- Open Fit: Sometimes called “open ear,” these small hearing aids rest behind the ear and deliver sound into the ear through a thin tube. These devices do not require a custom mold.
- Receiver in the Canal: RIC hearing aids look like open fit devices but the receiver that delivers sound is placed inside the ear canal, creating more natural sounds.
- Completely in the Canal: the entire device fits snug inside the ear canal.
- In the Canal: ITC devices also rest inside the canal, but are also visible and accessible outside.
- In the Ear: These full shell instruments fill the lower ear with a custom shell, and are ideal for seniors with dexterity issues.
- Behind the Ear: Finally, we have the traditional BTE hearing aids. These digital hearing aids fall behind the ear and connect to a custom mold within the ear.
For more information about what type, style, or brand of digital hearing aid is right for you, consult with your audiologist.
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