Posts for category: Hearing Aids
Hearing loss can have a big impact on your life, from your career to your relationships to your general well-being. Luckily, hearing aids can help!. Led by Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton, Hearing & Balance Center of Austin (located in Austin, TX) offers treatments for hearing and balance disorders. Read on to learn about the different types of hearing aids that are available from our office!
1. IIC Hearing Devices
Invisible-In-The-Canal (IIC) hearing devices that are designed to stay out of sight. They are placed deep into the ear canal and can easily be removed with a string. IIC models are a great option if you have an active lifestyle—or if you don't want your hearing aid to be visible to other people. IIC hearing devices may not be the best choice for patients with severe hearing loss since they do not provide the same amount of power that larger models do.
2. ITE Hearing Devices
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are appropriate for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, and they are placed in the ear canal. ITE hearing models are a good choice if you want an easy-to-handle device that has features that don't fit on smaller hearing aids, such as volume control.
3. BTE Hearing Devices
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing models are appropriate for people of all ages and are suitable for all types of hearing loss. BTE hearing models hook over the top of the ear and have small tube routes the sound down into the ear canal. BTE models are capable of more amplification than other styles, are easy to use, and comfortable to wear. They are less likely to produce feedback (whistling), even at higher volumes.
4. RIC Hearing Devices
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing models are suitable for mild-to-severe hearing loss. RIC hearing devices are discreet and fit comfortably behind the ear. An RIV hearing aid uses a thin tube that extends from the body of the hearing instrument (housed behind the ear) over the outer ear and into the ear canal. RIC hearing devices are very popular largely due to their cosmetic appeal and physical comfort. RIC hearing devices are easy to maneuver and can house a variety of features.
5. CIC Hearing Devices
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing models are also a great choice if you want a hearing aid that’s virtually invisible to others. CIC models are worn in the ear canal. The close placement of the microphone to the eardrum provides a natural listening experience without a “plugged up” feeling. Because of their small size, they may not have as many advanced features as larger hearing aids.
If you need a hearing aid, why wait? We can help you today! Call Hearing & Balance Center of Austin at (512) 258-2300 today to schedule an appointment in Austin, TX. Hearing aids hold great potential to positively change so many lives.
Since it happens slowly over a long period of time, you may not realize you have hearing loss until it has progressed to an advanced state. Luckily, your audiologist can help you fully understand your options for hearing aids, how hearing loss can affect your daily life, and how you can overcome this diagnosis and take back your life. Find out more about your hearing aid options with Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton at Hearing & Balance Center of Austin in Austin, TX.
Do I need a hearing aid?
There are some subtle yet common ways to tell if you are suffering from hearing loss. If you feel as though those around you mumble or if your housemates often tell you the TV or radio is very loud but you feel as though it is at a normal level, you may have hearing loss. Having difficulty hearing others, especially in a crowded place like a restaurant, or struggling to understand the other end of a phone conversation can also indicate hearing loss. If you begin to notice these instances occurring frequently, you should consult with your doctor to talk about your hearing aid options.
Hearing Aid Options in Austin, TX
- Behind-the-Ear: BTE hearing aids fit inside the ear and wrap up and around the backside of the outer ear. These common hearing aids are affordable and readily available.
- In-the-Ear: ITE hearing aids have smaller components, allowing them to fit into the ear without wrapping up the back of the ear. These aids are smaller and more compact, making them less noticeable at first glance.
- In-the-Canal: ITC hearing aids rest in the ear canal itself, almost completely out of sight to others and unnoticeable to those around you.
- Completely-in-Canal: CIC hearing aids fit completely in the canal with no visible parts on the outside of the ear.
If you think you can benefit from a hearing aid, your doctor can help you determine the best style and fit for you. For more information on hearing aids or your options, please contact Audiologists Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton at Hearing and Balance Center of Austin in Austin, TX. Call 512-258-2300 to schedule your appointment with your audiologist today!
Will Insurance Cover My Hearing Aids?
When people are thinking about moving forward with treating their hearing loss with hearing aids, the two most common questions asked are, how much do hearing aids cost, and will my insurance cover the cost of the hearing aids?
Because every single insurance plan is different, hearing aid coverage has become a very complex issue, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Almost every insurance company provides coverage for diagnostic hearing testing. This provides the information needed to determine IF you have a hearing loss, the location of the damage, the severity of the loss and if an amplification system will even help you. This information is vital for your audiologist to determine the best treatment options for your lifestyle, expectations and budget.
- Between insurance carriers the coverage for hearing aids, if it is even offered, is vastly different between providers and between each specific plan. These plans can vary widely even within the same insurance company. One plan may offer some sort of hearing aid coverage, while another will not. As a general rule regular Medicare does NOT offer any hearing aid benefit. So, this means that even though you and your friend may both have the same insurance provider, you may have completely different plans with different coverage. It is always best to be proactive and call your insurance provider to learn the specifics of your coverage.
- Even if your insurance company offers benefit or helps cover the cost of the hearing aids, you will need to meet your deductible before that benefit kicks in. So lets say you have a high deductible, say $6000, you will need to meet that before any benefit is offered.
- You need to understand the difference between real hearing aid benefit and the insurance's promotion of a low-end heraing aid that is sold directly through your provider. I can not stress this enough. Not all hearing aids can be compared to each other. Some of these companies promote a "hearing aid benefit" that is the distribution of a VERY basic, low-end device that you could purchase on your own. You need to understand exactly what is being offered and your options. In many cases the benefits will restrict your choice to a specific device, provider or that your device be obtained through a third party distribution center. Depending on your hearing loss this may or may not be appropriate for you. It is only a benefit if what you receive actually helps you.
- Hearing aids qualify for health savings and flex spending accounts. You can deduct the cost off of your taxes if you itemize your medical expenses. At this time there is not a tax credit for hearing aids. Recently Congress moved to release the FDA requirement that medical clearance be obtained before getting hearing aids. This is a terrible idea. You should know where the hearing loss is, the severity and IF there is some medical issue that needs to be addressed. This law allows for over-the-counter amplification devices (NOT hearing aids) to become available. These are not actual hearing aids, but amplifiers with 1970's technology.
The tl;dr here is that while many insurance companies are starting to offer hearing aid benefit, it is important that YOU contact your insurance comany to know the details of your specific plan for both in and out of network coverage. In the ever changing scope of the American healthcare system, it is important that everyone take a proactive stance in understanding their benefits. In many cases, you may save a lot more money out of pocket with an out of network provider that has lower hearing aid prices.
Paige Peterson AuD, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, ABA