According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders1, about 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids. Although Mayo Clinic2 says a hearing aid won’t restore your “normal hearing,” it can improve your hearing by amplifying sounds that might’ve been difficult to hear. Are hearing aids right for you? Let’s take a look.
9 signs you might need hearing aids
Cleveland Clinic3 shares a list of warning signs and changes in your behavior that might be related to hearing loss. Do you:
- Feel that people are mumbling or speaking too softly?
- Frequently ask people to repeat what they have said — especially in noisy situations?
- Prefer the television or radio louder than other people?
- Have difficulty understanding on the telephone?
- Not understand all the dialogue at the movies or during live theater productions?
- Have difficulty understanding at your house of worship or group settings?
- Find yourself more impatient, irritable, frustrated or withdrawn than before?
- Have trouble understanding people when you cannot see their faces?
When to see an audiologist
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you might want to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. During your first appointment, an audiologist will review your medical history, family history and evaluate your hearing and balance. Together, you and your doctor can determine if getting hearing aids is a good option for you.
What type of hearing aid is right for you?
Hearing aids vary in price, size, features and ear placement. Here is a look at some of the most common types of hearing aids, according to Mayo Clinic4:
- Completely in the canal (CIC) or mini CIC: Geared for adults who have moderate hearing loss, this type of hearing aid is molded to fit inside the ear canal.
- In the canal (ITC): This type of hearing aid is for adults who have mild to moderate hearing loss and is custom molded to fit partly in the ear canal.
- In the ear (ITE): Available in two styles, one kind fills the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear. The second type fills the lower part of the ear. ITE hearing aids are helpful for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
- A behind-the-ear hearing aid: People with any type of hearing loss can wear this type of aid. This type of aid goes over the top of the ear and sits behind the ear. A tube attaches the hearing aid to a custom earpiece that goes in the ear canal.
- Receiver in canal or receiver in the ear (RIC): With this type of hearing aid, the speaker sits in the ear canal. A small wire attaches the piece behind the ear to the speaker or receiver.
- Open fit: This style keeps the ear canal open, letting low-frequency sounds come into the ear naturally and allows high-frequency sounds to be intensified through the hearing aid.
How to get budget-friendly hearing aids
According to Healthline5, hearing aids cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Because hearing aids can be pricey, Healthline shared a few tips on how to save:
- Shop around: You might want to check out wholesale clubs, large retailers or look online to get the best price.
- Get an itemized breakdown of costs: One reason why hearing aids are expensive is because of the practice of bundled pricing, which may include services and add-ons. Eliminate the frills. Choosing a basic model might save you some money, too.
- Discounts from organizations: Check to see if any club, organization or association you belong to will give you a hearing aid discount.
- Talk to your audiologist: Your audiologist might be able to help you find hearing aids within your budget or come up with a monthly payment plan.
- Check with your insurance: If you have Medicare, a Part C plan covers the cost or partial cost of hearing aids. Many Humana plans include savings options through TruHearing. Learn more at TruHearing.com.