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Am I a Candidate for Hearing Aids?

Learn what factors indicate whether you are a candidate for hearing aids.



Hearing aid candidacy. Am I a candidate for hearing aids? That's our topic for today on Ask The Hearing Doctors.


Hi, I'm Jim Cuddy, and this is Ask The Hearing Doctors. And I'm joined today by Dr. Ana Anzola, and Dr. Wendy Thorne, doctors of audiology with Hearing Doctors, the Washington DC area's highest-rated audiology practice with over 1,500 five-star reviews. Ana, Wendy, as always thanks for having us in.


So am I a candidate for hearing aids? A question that I'm sure you get a lot every day? How do you answer that question? 


There are a lot of things that go into that, but yeah, it's not really a cut and dry answer. It takes into account your hearing loss, what your listening needs are, your lifestyle. Um, finances, if you're mentally ready and prepared to proceed with that. Yeah. Psychologically, you know, it's not just about, do I need a hearing aid, per se, but it's really educating ourselves about your needs. What do you need? What are you ready for? Are you ready for a corrective device? If you're, um, you know, you're, you're hearing, but you're not understanding, you know, so that gives us a better understanding as to how you're processing, how your brain is processing that information. Sometimes you're not ready and the data says otherwise, but we can't force it on you either. Um, so maybe we start with baby steps, maybe all you need is an assistive listening device for the telephone or the radio or the television. So finding out what are you're ready for, um, what do you want to get, uh, are you trying to achieve better results with your family and have better improvement in communication, is it a work situation. So we get more personal with you.


Sometimes you're just easing folks into it, in a sense.


Yeah, sure. But again, we educate ourselves as to, you know, what do you need? What are you ready for? Um, and then we take it from there. Yeah. 


We have talked in the past about sometimes, you know, it's not necessarily both ears or one ear is worse than the other and that kind of thing. So do I need two hearing aids? 


Sure. So is one ear better than the other? That's perhaps one aspect. Do you only have a hearing loss in one ear? Do you only need one? Um, do you need two, I think most people, 90% of the hearing impaired population need a hearing aid, um, or hearing system in both ears.


What kind of hearing aids should I get, or do I need?


And you know, again, that's a loaded question. Um, a lot of it depends on, uh, really your lifestyle. I think not necessarily based on your hearing loss, you know, there's completely invisible custom in-the-ear devices. There are ones that are outside the device. Um, so we take into account your preference of what you want the hearing aid to look like, um, and what you need that device to do for you. Cause different styles of devices can work a little better with different things. Sure. We talk about, um, perhaps features, um, what do you find yourself having difficulty? So they share a lot of that information we ask and we probe and, um, you know, is it what's important to you? What is your dexterity? Is it rechargeable? Is it, um, with battery operated? Um, are you a bus driver? Are you an Uber driver? Well, you know, the people are not in front of you. The people are actually behind you, and there are hearing aids that we can change the focus to go in the back and not the front, or the side. So we talk about all the situations as well. 


If you're a bus driver, do you really want to hear all those kids? Right...


Wendy, you mentioned finances earlier and I would imagine some folks will come in and say, well, you know, how can I afford them? How can I afford a hearing system or hearing aids? 


Now we have a lot of ways that we can help, um, you know, proceed with that. So some insurances cover that, so that that's always something that we can check to make sure your insurance has benefits. We have payment plans as well, too. 


How long will my hearing aids last? 


I would say five to eight years. So it's a really long-term investment. It is an investment. It's your organ, the organ of communication. Um, so we take a different approach. We have a lot of service, you know, after it's purchased, if you will. Um, so every quarter or every six months, depending on the needs of the patients, some people don't need that much hand-holding, others really do. 


Is there a follow-up? I mean, is there, do you... double checking them. And then that kind of thing as time goes on?


That is the most important part of having success with hearing aids is making sure you keep your follow-up appointments, you wear them and you work with us to, you know, improve those communication needs. 


Are there warranties on hearing aids? 


Yes, absolutely. And we take full advantage of them. You know, we try to send them back before the warranty expires. Uh, we talk about maybe an extension of that plan. Um, but it really is not about the hearing device with a hearing aid. It's really mostly about us and our expertise and, and what we're going to do to help you achieve success with them. 


And the most important thing is that you, you have some, if not most of your hearing back. Yes. The hearing that you were missing, all of however long it's been, you've got it back and that's good. Um, how often do you need to check for adjustments and things like that? 


So we, you know, at the very least, every six months, we like to see our patients back. Um, so we can, and we'd like to check their hearing every year. Um, but we'd like to see the hearing aids so that we can replace parts if we need to, do deep cleaning and tweak them, you know, if your lifestyle changes, your hearing changes, we can make adjustments for that. Yeah. And we assess your communication needs every time you come in, because it might've changed. It might've improved or not. Um, you know, how successful do you feel that you're doing? Um, have I missed anything along the way? It's very important. So we, those plans according to you and your family, um, I think it's very important. 


It's probably time for me to get a hearing test. Why don't we do this next time? Okay. I'm going to need at least a little time before I do this, but we'll do that. We'll do a hearing test next time we get together. Ana,Wendy, thank you so much.


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