Below are the few important questions and answers related to hearing loss and hearing aids.
I got a hearing problem what I need to do?
If you start to notice having problems hearing people at work or home, contact either an Audiologist or doctor who will check your ears and see if you need any further treatment. Usually your doctor refers you to an Audiologist if no medical treatment is available for the problem.
Some models of hearing aids are available for free/concession rates from some government institutes. But some prefer to buy a hearing aid from a private dispenser to have a choice of style of hearing aid or some additional features which give better sound quality. The list of institutes where you can get concession/free hearing aids can be found on AudiologyIndia.com website.
What I need to watch out if I am going to a private dispenser?
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you are in control of making a decision to buy hearing aids.
No hearing aid can restore perfect hearing. Hearing aids help you to hear better by making them louder. Hearing aids improves your everyday quality of life but any one saying that hearing aids provides perfect hearing is giving you unimaginable expectations. Always look at the facilities; the hearing test has to be done in a sound proof room.
By law, any one who is offering a hearing aid should have a qualified degree in Audiology from an accredited institute and also is a member of Rehabilitation council of India (RCI). The person selling the hearing aids should display their registration number. You need to look at their job titles whether it is Audiologist or Diploma.
It is always better to see two or three dispensers before buying hearing aid to compare what various dispensers offer and how much they charge. You can always browse internet for more information of the companies and their hearing aid models. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get quotations in writing.
What is the price range of hearing aids?
Most of the digital programmable hearing aids can cost between ` RS. 10,000 and ` RS. 2,00,000 depending on their style and the features available. The smaller the hearing aids the expensive they are. More the features they have more expensive they are. Most of the hearing aids come with a 2 year warranty and lasts around 3 to 4 years with hearing aids that fits into the ear having less lifespan. You will be charged for ear moulds and you will need continuous supply of batteries.
How do I make a choice on which hearing aid to buy?
People with same type of hearing loss may need different types of hearing aids. This is due to differences in their choice for a style and different requirements as per their profession. Not all hearing aids suit your hearing loss and those hearing aids which work well for someone may not work well for you. Smaller hearing aids are suitable for someone with mild to moderate hearing loss. Audiologist will help you select the right style and quality of hearing aid using the audiogram results, interview and some form of a life style questionnaire.
There are several styles available in the market and the styles vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The cheapest hearing aid may not provide with the benefit you need but it does not mean that you need to buy a hearing aid with all advanced features. It is always better to weigh the benefit you get and price.
What will happen at the audiologist/Hearing aid dispenser appointment?
Please take some one with you to your appointment with audiologist for some support and you don’t mishear things. At the same time you may not feel pressurised into buying hearing aids. The Audiologist will ask you some questions about you hearing and other related medical issues. He/She will look into your ear and then test your hearing using head phone/insert receivers and Bone conductor. They also may do another test to check your middle ear status. The results are plotted on a graph called Audiogram. The audiogram shows how well you hear at various pitches and which speech and environmental sounds you miss. If the tests show that hearing aids are likely to help they will suggest you the appropriate type and style of hearing aids. A questionnaire is also administered to find out your listening requirements based on your life and work style. The audiologist will explain you about the expectations of the hearing aid and please do ask for a written document of the same.
What happens next if I decide to buy hearing aids?
Once the Audiologist says that you will get benefit from hearing aids, they shall discuss with you the kind of hearing aid/aids which will suit you.
There are various types of hearing aids that might be beneficial to you. Always ask for various choices and prices. If you finally made a decision to buy a hearing aid, the audiologist will take an impression of your ear to get an ear mould or casing for the hearing aids which go into the ear.
There are other varieties called open ear fitting where you do not need ear mould but better to get them customized as per your ear size. You will be asked to come back in about a week time when they program you hearing aid to suit your hearing loss and needs.
Will I get my money back if I do not like the hearing aid?
Usually the Audiologist/companies should give you some trail period with money back guarantee. Again it is entirely up to the company/Audiologist. Some companies charge cancellation fee. Please read their return policy carefully before you are committed to buy a hearing aid.
Important things to find out before you finally buy a hearing aid
- Is the price of hearing aid reasonable and affordable?
- What things you need to pay in future and what all are included in the price?
- How quick you can contact the audiologist in case of problem and the charges
- What is the free warranty policy? Is paid warranty available?
What do I do if I have a problem with my hearing aids?
If you have any problems with your hearing aids the first person to contact is your Audiologist. See your expectations document. Make a list of the problems and see if your audiologist can sort them out. If you continue to have problems, and your audiologist is not able to sort it out, you can approach some of the Audiology related bodies in India such as
Audiology India NGO http://www.audiologyindia.com/
Indian speech and hearing association http://ishaindia.org.in/index.htm
Rehabilitation council of India http://rehabcouncil.nic.in/index.htm