Buying a Hearing Aid? You've Got a Lot to LearnBy Konrad, Walecia; New York Times,
Publication Date: July 25, 2009
Article offers advice on choosing a hearing aid provider and finding financial help if needed when purchasing a hearing instrument. Hearing aids, which range in cost from 1,400 to 5,000 dollars, are not covered by Medicare or most private insurance plans. As almost all hearing aids used today are digital, allowing the instruments to be programmed for an individual’s exact hearing loss needs, they are typically dispensed through audiologists and hearing-instrument specialists who also fit and adjust the devices as part of the overall cost. A hearing aid professional can be located through the American Academy of Audiologists (http://webportal.audiology.org/Custom/FindAnAudiologist.aspx), which lists providers by locale. The dispenser should sell every style of hearing aid including behind-the-ear open fit, behind-the-ear with ear mold, inside the ear, and inside the ear canal. An extensive hearing assessment in a soundproof booth should be done to determine the type, degree, and dimension of the hearing loss. In most cases, the initial fitting should be included in the purchase price, as should subsequent adjustments and fine-tuning. A copy of the test results should be obtained to avoid repeating the assessment if the client changes providers. The dispenser should also furnish a written contract specifying what is included in the price. For financial help, the article refers to the Lions Club International (http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/lci-foundation/our-programs/disability/lions-ahap/index.php) and for lists of federal and state financial assistance, the websites of the Better Hearing Institute (http://www.betterhearing.org/resources/resource.cfm?resourceID=17) and the Hearing Loss Association (http://www.hearingloss.org/support/financial.asp).
Published by: New York Times Company (Website:http://www.nytco.com)
Link to text: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/health/25patient.html