Visit A Hearing Clinic
You can visit a hearing center to get an audiologist consultation and buy hearing aids in person. Audiologists are hearing professionals with at least a masters degree in the field of audiology who diagnose and treat hearing loss, as well as fit hearing aids. Hearing instrument specialists are hearing professionals with a high school diploma or two-year degree and are only licensed to help fit or program hearing aids.
Which Is Better: In
Hearing aids come in several styles, including behind-the-ear and in-the-ear. Finding the best device for you depends on several factors.
A behind-the-ear hearing aid sits behind your ear with a plastic earmold that fits into the outer ear. The case that sits behind your ear holds all the electronic parts necessary to make it work. BTE devices are bigger, so they are typically easier to use and handle, making them a good choice for kids and older adults. Theyre also able to hold a larger battery, which provides a longer battery life. Plus, the bigger size makes them more durable and able to provide more features. BTE hearing aids serve a range of ages and hearing loss. They are appropriate for all ages and work well for anyone with mild to profound hearing loss.
In-the-ear hearing aids fit inside the ear, either partially or completely, and work well for mild to severe hearing loss. Some ITE devices come with a telecoil, which is a small magnetic coil enabling you to hear sound through the circuit rather than the microphone. This may improve the quality of phone conversations or help you hear in environments that use special sound systems, like auditoriums. ITE aids are more discreet than BTE, but they are still bigger than nearly invisible options like a completely-in-the-canal hearing aid.
What To Consider Before Buying A Hearing Aid
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that 37.5 million American adults have some level of hearing loss.10 While hearing loss can occur at any time in life, the problem becomes more common with age.
The NIDCD estimates almost one in four adults between the ages of 65 and 74 and half of people older than 75 have disabling hearing loss. It may come as a surprise that only one in three adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them. As mentioned above, people with hearing loss tend to wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.11
There are many reasons that may prevent those with hearing loss from seeking help. The following are some of the more common:
- The cost of hearing aids and hearing care
- The fact that insurance companies and Medicare do not cover hearing aids
- The distance from hearing care providers
- The stigma associated with wearing a hearing aid12
We asked Michelle Brady, an audiologist with Access Audiology, a mobile audiology service in the New York City area, what shed like people to know about the purchasing process. According to Brady, the most important thing to consider when shopping for a hearing aid is time.
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Which Hearing Aid Is Best For Me
Finding the best hearing aid to fit your needs often requires the help of an expert who can conduct a hearing test and ask questions related to your hearing loss. You also need to consider the nature and degree of your hearing loss, lifestyle habits, occupation, environments you frequent, and what you want out of a hearing aid.
After working with a doctor or a hearing expert like an audiologist, you should have a better idea of your needs. Then, its time to identify a list of hearing aids that match your degree of hearing loss and your budget. And dont forget about the fit and feel of a hearing aid. Most experts say the best hearing aid is one you will wear regularly.
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Which Hearing Aid Technologies Does Truhearing Offer
TruHearing offers hearing aids categorized into four different levels:
- Basic: For people with mild to moderate hearing loss who live a quiet and less active lifestyle.
- Standard: A good option for people who spend most of their time in quiet environments. You’ll have a choice of hearing aid styles, but the technology is limited.
- Advanced: Great for people with an active lifestyle, whether it’s eating out, traveling, or otherwise spending time away from home where background noise can interfere with hearing. This option is available in many styles and includes advanced features, like automated digital processing, artificial intelligence, rechargeable batteries, and more.
- Premium: Best for when you need to communicate in noisy environments, like at events or in restaurants. Includes state-of-the-art technology, such as adaptive directional microphones, and other premium features. Available in all styles of hearing aids, though not all features might be compatible with every style.
If your insurer works with TruHearing, they’ll offer you one of the following plans:
- TruHearing Choice: You’ll have access to all technology levels offered by TruHearing and a wider selection of brands. You may or may not have a co-pay, depending on your insurance plan.
- TruHearing Select: Your custom health plan will include hearing aids that fall under the premium and advanced technology level. You may or may not have a co-pay, depending on your insurance plan.
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My Insurance Said That I Have A 3rd Party Benefitwhat Does That Mean
It means that your insurance company partners with another company to offer you a discount on hearing aids. The 3rd party provider will typically set the cost of the hearing aids and payment goes directly to them. The 3rd party provider will also give you a list of hearing centers that you can use to take advantage of the hearing aid benefit. Listen 2 Life Hearing Center is within network of most third party providers, including TruHearing, Amplifon, Hearing Care Solutions, Epic/United Health Care, and Your Hearing Network. This means that you can work with Listen 2 Life while also taking advantage of the discounted pricing that your insurance company offers.
Adjustable From Your Smartphone
TruHearing Advanced and Premium hearing aids with Mix Technology are some of the most high-tech, yet simple-to-use hearing aids available today. They connect easily to your smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth®.*
You can stream music, phone calls, and even driving directions right to your hearing aids. Additional controls in TruHearings free smartphone app let you easily adjust volume, directionality, and other settings.
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Hearing Aid Purchase Process With Truhearing
From the customer perspective, the process of getting your hearing aids from TruHearing is straightforward and simple:
Buying A Hearing Aid Online
The ability to buy hearing aids online eliminates some of the barriers that can prevent people from seeking care for their hearing loss. But its important to know that buying hearing aids online isnt for everyone.
In some cases, hearing loss may be caused by a medical problem such as diabetes, osteoporosis, or meningitis, and that can only be detected in a consultation with a medical doctor and an audiologist. Buying hearing aids without that intervention may let an underlying medical problem persist.
Its also important to keep in mind that getting the right hearing aid for your needs depends on your specific type and severity of hearing loss. Hearing aids bought through an audiologist are programmed individually for each person according to the results of their audiogram . Many online hearing aid companies have an audiologist who will interpret audiograms and program hearing aids, but others dont.
Some of the less expensive devices may not have the detailed programming options necessary for many types of hearing loss. These devices are considered personal sound amplification products , not a true hearing aid. That means they make everything louder, but the devices arent able to target the specific frequencies where hearing loss has occurred or filter out background noise.
If you arent sure what type of hearing aid you need, speak with an audiologist or hearing aid specialist who can provide guidance.
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Are Truhearing Hearing Aids Locked
None of the hearing aids sold by TruHearing are locked. This means you could take your TruHearing-purchased hearing aids to another provider and have them adjusted. Locked hearing aids, like AGX-brand hearing aids, cannot be adjusted by anyone outside of a special network of providers who have access to proprietary fitting software.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost Through Truhearing
According to TruHearing, its hearing aids cost 30 to 60 percent less than retail.
TruHearing aids cost from around $675 to $2,250 each. The company offers many hearing aids that cost less than $1,000 throughout all three technology levels.
Each hearing aid comes with a 3-year manufacturers warranty that includes coverage for repairs. The warranty also includes one-time loss and damage replacement.
TruHearing has a free app for iOS and Android. You can use it to change your hearing programs, volume, and other settings through your smartphone. You can also use the app for virtual appointments.
TruHearing also sells its own brand of hearing aids, which are manufactured by Signia.
Some hearing aids youll find include:
- Starkey Livio Edge AI receiver-in-canal and behind-the-ear. These are rechargeable hearing aids that make adjustments automatically.
- ReSound LiNX Quattro 9. Its available in behind-the-ear, completely-in-canal, and receiver-in-canal styles.
- Oticon CROS. These are budget-priced, rechargeable miniRITE hearing aids.
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Truhearing Refund And Warranty Policies
TruHearing offers a 60-day no-risk trial period with a money-back guarantee. However, before you can take your hearing aids home, you’ll pay upfront for the hearing aids and any portion of the exam not covered by your plan. Moreover, custom-fit earmolds, which are necessary for some cases of moderate to severe hearing loss, are non-refundable, though they do come with a 90-day remake warranty from the manufacturer.
If a member realizes during the trial period that the hearing aids do not work for them for whatever reason, they may return the hearing aids for a full refund of the hearing aids. Members are not charged a restocking fee or a penalty if they decide to return their hearing aids during the risk-free trial period. Members will receive a full refund for the hearing aids.
Your hearing aids come with a three-year warranty. TruHearing and the hearing aid manufacturer cover repairs and a one-time replacement for three years. A replacement fee may be charged by the manufacturer and a new fitting fee charged by the provider. In a Phonak product warranty reviewed by HearingTracker, we found that the replacement fee would not exceed $150 per hearing aid, plus shipping, and that the provider may charge up to $125 for reprogramming and refitting a replacement hearing aid. Replacement fees may run as high as $350/device, so be sure to check the terms of your specific product warranty.
Comparing Options When Purchasing Hearing Aids Direct Over The Counter And From A Hearing Professional
Consumers now have multiple options for where to purchase hearing aids. Depending on the method chosen, the price and convenience can differ dramatically.
- Traditional hearing aid providers
- Process: Consumers must go through an in-person hearing test at a hearing clinic and receive a recommendation from an audiologist or hearing aid specialist.
- Cost: $2,300 national average per hearing aid, or $4,600 for a pair. Costs may go much higher. Even Costco hearing aids start at $1499 per pair.
- Over-the-counter hearing aids
- Process: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published its draft guidelines for over-the-counter hearing aids. Once this draft is finalized, users will be able to buy hearing aids in stores without a prescription from a medical doctor.
- Cost: Over-the-counter hearing aids are not yet available, which means that the cost of OTC hearing aids is unknown. However, because they cut out much of the medical red tape and barriers, over-the-counter hearing aids will likely cost less than those bought from traditional hearing aid providers.
- Direct-to-consumer hearing aids
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Increased Access To Hearing Aids
The FDAs final ruling on OTC hearing aids is meant to increase access to hearing aids by removing some of the barriers that often keep people from seeking treatment for hearing loss. The high price of hearing aids, the perceived stigma of wearing them, and the concern that hearing aids arent effective are all common reasons that people with hearing loss wait an average of 10 years before buying hearing aids.9
Hadassah Kupfer, an audiologist in Brooklyn, New York, believes we should be celebrating the new FDA ruling as a success that will expand hearing aid access. As an audiologist, I know that adjusting and fitting hearing aids for specific use takes considerable time and understanding. OTC will not be for every type of hearing loss, but if it opens a door for those previously unwilling to seek professional help, I would consider that a success, says Kupfer.
Who Are The Providers Of Truhearing Where Can You Get Truhearing
TruHearing works with providers in over 7,000 locations across the U.S. The providers include doctors of audiology, audiologists, and board-certified hearing-instrument specialists credentialed to NCQA standards. All providers must have current state licenses.
TruHearing doesn’t provide a public list of providers. You can enter a zip code on their home page, but the website returns a map with map markers and no provider names, addresses, or phone numbers. You can call TruHearing and inquire about providers in your area. The number is 1-800-334-1807.
Costco, Miracle Ear, and Sams Club are not TruHearing providers.
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How To Get Started With Truhearing
TruHearing works with approximately 6,000 hearing care providers, including audiologists and hearing aid specialists, throughout the country.
Youre assigned a hearing professional to talk about or determine the type of hearing loss you have and the kind of hearing aids that would be best for your needs.
Your first step is to call a TruHearing consultant at 800-334-1807. The consultant will check your insurance eligibility and let you know the costs you can expect to incur. Theyll also set up an appointment for you with a hearing specialist.
Youll then get a hearing exam and fitting at your appointment. You can discuss hearing aid options that make sense for your hearing loss level and budget. Your hearing specialist will order your hearing aids for you at that time.
TruHearing will handle the paperwork, so you wont have to submit a bill to your insurer.
After your hearing aids arrive, you have two additional appointments available with your hearing provider at no additional cost.
Discover Your World Through Better Hearing
Your TruHearing benefit makes it easier, more convenient, and more affordable than ever to treat your hearing loss. Modern hearing aids are smaller, sleeker, and smarter than youd expectlike powerful mini-computers for your ears.
Find out more about what todays hearing aids offer.
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What Matters When Using Hearing Aids
Price aside, Costcos Kirkland brand and Oticon got high marks for sound clarity, while the other brands we rated received average scores.
All but one brand received high marks for ease of changing or charging their battery , and all received average to high marks for reliability and visibility to others. But for battery life, Audibel, Bernafon, Lucid, and Unitron fared less well than the others we rated.
The Kirkland, Phillips, and Oticon brands received high marks for some of the situations in which people commonly use hearing aids: while listening to the TV or radio and talking on a cell phone.
All brands received average scores for use when talking in small groups. And all got low marks when used for one-on-one conversations in noisy places, and in loud social settings generally.
If youre trying to decide which features you may want in hearing aids, CR members also reported on what they consider some of the most important ones.
Smartphone capabilities were the most frequently chosen feature among our members in the hearing aid brand ratings sample. This was followed by rechargeable batteries, wireless connectivity to other devices, automatic switching/adjustment to level of noise in the room, and digital noise reduction.
Hearing Clinics And Hospitals
Independent audiology clinics, ENT clinics, or hospitals with an audiology program might accept your insurance, even when TruHearing doesn’t. The downside is that it’s harder to find these places. Here are some tips:
- Check whether hospitals in your area have an audiology department or a hearing aid program.
- Find audiologists in your area that are also Medicare/Medicaid providers.
- Check with your insurance provider for a list of in-network providers
- Take to Google and search for “audiologist” and the name of your insurance plan
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Pros And Cons Of Truhearing
TruHearing established hearing care as a health-plan benefit through major medical insurance providers to make hearing aids more affordable. But not everyone has access to those health plans, and more affordable alternatives, such as Costco’s hearing aids, do exist. When you’re trying to decide between TruHearing and other options, keep the following pros and cons in mind.
|Annual check-ups may cost extra|
|TruHearing provider can handle insurance claim submission||Consultations might not be as thorough|
|Teleaudiology option||Remote care does not include important tests like Real-Ear Measurements in-person care might lack REMs too.|