By Ellen Verlo, M.A., CCC-A, Audiologist, Audiology Consultants, PC
Q: I think I need a hearing aid. What are the steps in purchasing a hearing aid?
A: Congratulations, you have made a very important decision. There are several steps required to take once you decide to purchase hearing aids.
Step 1, Contact an Audiologist — Contact an audiology office near you to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. When this appointment is scheduled, you may be asked to provide insurance information. Some insurance plans provide hearing aid benefits. This will not be listed on your card. You will need to call the number on the back of your card and ask, specifically, if you have hearing aid coverage. If you have hearing aid benefits, you may have to go to a specific office to use the benefits. If you want the charges sent through your insurance, you will need a referral from your doctor. There is no guarantee the hearing test will be covered, even if you get a referral. You may receive paperwork in the mail to fill out in the comfort of your home. The paperwork will include personal information such as name, address, etc. There may be questions about your hearing. Be sure to include a list of current medications, as Medicare requires it. Bring this paperwork to the appointment.
Step 2, The Hearing Test — At your appointment, you will be asked questions regarding your general hearing health. Your ears will be checked for wax. If there is too much wax, the appointment will be rescheduled after the wax has been removed. You will be directed how to respond during the hearing test, either by raising your hand, pushing a button, or verbally responding when a tone or a beep is heard. Each ear is tested individually. You are also tested for speech understanding. The results of the test are explained and questions answered. If you are a candidate for amplification, you may schedule a hearing aid evaluation.
Step 3, The Hearing Aid Evaluation — This is an hour-long appointment when you will learn about hearing aid styles, features, expectations, and pricing. If you decide to purchase hearing aids, they can be ordered at that time. An appointment for a hearing aid fitting will be scheduled for two to three weeks.
Step 4, The Hearing Aid Fitting — This is also an hour-long appointment. During this time, you will be shown/taught how to insert and remove the hearing aids, perform cleaning and maintenance, and how to change the batteries.
Step 5, Two Week Follow-up Appointment — This is scheduled to review hearing aid use over the past two weeks, answer questions, and make fine tuning adjustments if necessary.
These steps may not be the same for every audiology office. The most important thing is you are going to take the first step and make the appointment for your hearing test.
If you have any questions about this article or your hearing health, please feel free to contact Audiology Consultants at 563-355-7712 or visit audiologyconsultants.com.