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F.A.Q.

How much do your hearing aids cost?

We have a pair of nine channel BTE Receiver in the Ear hearing aids made by Sonic Innovations for 1,600 per pair. That is where we start and it goes up from there, and we sell all brands, technology levels, and styles of hearing aids available on the market today. If you’re getting an estimate of $7000.00 for a pair of premium hearing aids, know that we can save you thousands of dollars on the exact same brand, the exact same model, the exact same features, the exact same condition in every respect, with equal or better services. Premium aids from top manufacturers are not cheap…. we are just way cheaper than our competition. At Half Price Hearing Aids, we are all about make the very best hearing aids affordable to you. $1,000 – $2,000 is a lot of money in savings, and that’s typically what you will save by coming here over our competitors for the exact same hearing aids. No one would ever pass up a deal on buying the same car for $1,000 to $2,000 less. Why do it with hearing aids?

What’s with the name? “Half Price Hearing Aids”

We started with the idea of selling hearing aids at Half the MSRP, or “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price”. This proved difficult, however, as some manufacturers don’t even have an MSRP, and others complicate the matter by making their MSRP a factor of their “Wholesale List”. Further, there can be a radical disparity with certain manufacturers between our cost of aids relative to the percentage of MSRP they publish. We actually sell our Oticon Alta2 Pro significantly cheaper than half price, even though it’s $5,500 per pair. Suffice it to say, that it remains that a person can typically expect to save approximately $1,000 to $2,000 on the same pair of hearing aids by coming here.

What sort of follow-up care do you provide for your patrons?

In a word: Unlimited. Supplies will be charged minimally. Our batteries cost about half of what you will pay elsewhere, but there is still a charge. But every appointment we offer is unlimited and free of charge for as long as you have the hearing aids on your ears. Because patients will often neglect coming in for their yearly retest and reprogramming (to insure that the programming in the aids is current with their present hearing loss) we have even gone to bribing patients to come in by offering a free 8-pack of batteries. Further, we will fit any pair of hearing aids purchased from us to a family member or loved one for free within 5 years of purchase if the original user has passed away. After that there will be a $200 fee to do this.

Hearing aids are still quite expensive…. What if they don’t help me?

The actual answer to this concern is really quite complicated, but understanding the actual answer is extremely important, so it is in your best interest to assume the burden to inform yourself as to the real answer.

 

 

 

a) Most people with sensorineural hearing loss receive good to excellent benefits from their hearing aids. In some few cases, however, where the hearing nerve decay is more extensive, it can compromise your hearing ability such that hearing aids may only help you marginally, or perhaps even only connect you to environmental sounds, but not help you understand speech. Hearing aids can force the hearing nerve, (the “cochlea”), to “fire”, but we can’t force those impulses to be clear. Once the nerve is degenerated beyond a certain point, “degree of benefit” from hearing aids may become more marginal, and “managing expectations” becomes necessary. For most people this is far from the case, and excellent benefit is realized with hearing aids. But the further one gets toward this “unaidable” point the more frustrations they will experience. Depending where you are on this scale should moderate your expectations, and this liability will be best assessed and predicted in your Word Discrimination Score.

 

 

 

b) For the above reasons, every practice has some patients that have disappointment in their fitting, and we would like to say that we are an exception, but we aren’t. If anyone tells you they are, you have a trust issue brewing. To do the best we can, we offer all the free retesting and reprogramming a patient may desire. We also have state of the art “Real Ear” probe mic measurements which can often help resolve a patient’s frustrations with aids. However….. there must be a commitment on the part of the patient to resolve these issues, because there is nothing we can do when patients don’t come in and let us address what is wanting, and this is the most common problem of all. If a patient puts their aids in the drawer when experiencing frustrations, rather than coming in, they can hardly look for a resolution for their difficulties. Very often such challenges are very easily relieved by mere cleaning, but a patient must be committed to the process for the process to serve them effectively.

 

 

 

c) We also offer a 30-day guarantee on all aids we sell. If you wished you would have gotten something else, you have the option in writing of having 100% spent on aids applied toward any other pair of hearing aids available.

 

 

 

It’s good to remember that even those who complain still wear them…. because while it’s not like hearing when you were 20, yet…. they still help a great deal.

What about rechargeable hearing aids?

The appeal of rechargeable aids is the notion that the expense will be lower, and the ease of use higher. Consider, however, that you will have to charge them every single night, as opposed to changing the batteries once a week, and you will also need to replace the rechargeable batteries at a considerable expense once a year, and approaching the amount spent on a year’s batteries, or perhaps more in some cases. Further, there is presently only one manufacturer (Siemens) who is making rechargeable aids, and the choice of a hearing aid should be on overall performance, and not on one factor that won’t even affect the main issue: How well you HEAR.

Why should I come to you? What is unique about your office practices and personnel?

Many things. First, we are one of a quickly diminishing number of family owned shops in the area. Many family shops have sold to manufacturers who operate them quite a bit differently than a locally owned shop.

 

 

 

Secondly, it is perhaps the most important thing that you find a shop managed and owned by people who have sound principles of service. We’ve seen a great many people treated quite badly in this industry, and while we make mistakes like anyone, yet we can certainly say that we truly care a great deal about our patients hearing welfare, and have not and will not compromise principle at their expense. Everyone will say this. But…. We’ve seen some strange things.

Thirdly, it is not just our “policy” but our nature to get to know our patients on a personal level, to have some relaxed social interaction together while we’re pursuing better hearing together. It’s one thing to say this, but if you find one of our patients…. Just ask! Why not have fun and make friends in the process?

How do I know if I need hearing aids?

A hearing test is the only way to precisely measure the extent and nature of your hearing loss. It also provides extremely useful information regarding the degree of benefit likely to be attained from hearing aids. We do all testing at our facility for free, and will gladly consult with you about the test results, and recommend options to you without any arm-twisting of any sort.

 

 

 

But I have frequently tested people and minutely explained their hearing loss, and they will still often ask me, “do I need hearing aids?” It’s really simpler than that. I will frequently answer this inquiry in the following way. “You tell me. Do you need hearing aids?” Because if a person is not annoyed by their hearing loss, they won’t wear them even if they buy them. What they are perhaps looking for is a professional opinion. But theirs is the most valid opinion here. If they are not annoyed and exasperated with poor hearing, they are unlikely to endure the inconveniences of hearing aid expense and maintenance. But…. The fact that they’re wondering and seeking help is always telling and significant! I could ask “Why are you contemplating getting help if you have no problem to be remedied?” but…. That would be kind of smart alecky!

What brand of hearing aids are the best?

We have a decided shop preference for Oticon. However, at this particular point in time it is my professional opinion that the following brands are all quite good: Oticon, Starkey, Phonak, Resound, Siemens, and Sonic Innovations. We have fit all of these, are familiar with them, and like them quite well. Excepting the matter of expense, it’s a great day for hearing aid buyers, because there’s just some really great products out there right now.

Can you explain the difference between hearing aid styles?

BTE: Behind the ear. (The processor part of the aid is behind the ear, and the sound is delivered to the ear through hollow tubing extending downward into the ear canal)

 

 

 

Includes:

Standard BTE (Earhook, tubing, and mold)

Thin-tube BTE (A very thin-tube extends into the ear, with a rubber/latex dome on the end)

RIC (Receiver in Canal), RITE (Receiver in the Ear), CRT (Canal/Receiver Technology.

These terms are simply variations of nomenclature for the same product. It merely signifies that the BTE hearing aid has no speaker (receiver) in the aid itself, but is on the end of a wire down inside your ear.

 

 

 

ITE: In the Ear: (The entire hearing aid goes in the ear, and is molded to it’s exact shape)

 

 

 

Includes:

Full Shell (Fills the entire ear)

Half Shell (Fills half the ear)

ITC or “Canal” (“In the Canal”) Slightly smaller profile than the half shell.

CIC “Completely in the canal” Very small ITE, the faceplate basically just covering the ear canal.

IIC “Invisible in the Canal”…. Placed so far up the canal it is allowed by the FDA to be called “invisible”. It must be noted that with this style a certain canal size and hearing loss pattern and degree must be present for a truly successful fitting.

 

 

 

ITE’s can be preferred where dexterity issues may be at stake (they’re easier to put in), or for the sake of strong patient preference.

BTE’s are extremely versatile and can be easily fit to other patients, and are much better for Power losses.

When does hearing loss become too profound to treat with hearing aids?

Technically a binaural word discrimination score is 50% or less constitutes candidacy for a “cochlear implant”….. a radical and invasive surgery which destroys what natural hearing you have left, and seeks to supply an artificial apparatus for nerve stimulus in its place. Hearing can get so poor that this procedure can make sense. However, it’s usually contraindicated on very aged patients, (those who usually have audiological candidacy), but not always. It’s also outrageously expensive. At this point (WR of 50% or less binaurally) the benefit of hearing aids may be questioned. However…. A patient may still discern a benefit from hearing aids at ANY point, either because they feel it helps them to communicate better in conjunction with lip reading, or other methods, or because they may feel benefited by being more “environmentally connected” by reason of having aids. Manifestly, no mandate from the “experts” should be able to dictate to anyone whether or not they are benefited from hearing aids, so the decision is yours

When is just one hearing aid recommended?

We test the Word Discrimination (also called Word Recognition or WR) on each side singly, and then binaurally. (Both sides at the same time). If the binaural score is improved over the best single side score, then we know that the poorer side is contributing to better hearing and we can recommend fitting with two aids. If the binaural WR score is worse than the better side singly, then only one aid is usually recommended.

 

 

 

Example 1:

WR Right = 86%

WR Left = 48%

WR Binaural = 92%

Two aids recommended.

 

 

 

Example 2:

WR Right = 76%

WR Left = 40 %

WR Binaural = 68%

Two aids not recommended.

 

 

 

That being said…. If a person just wants to wear one hearing aid for any reason, it’s their money and their life and they can do whatever they want. It’s good to remember that if you have hearing loss in both ears, that contrary to your likely expectation we will try to fit you on your better ear, unless it’s almost normal. The reason is to be found in the fact that where the cochlea is firing most clearly, there amplification will benefit you the most. Accordingly, we will fit in the ear with the best Word Recognition score, and if that is equal, with the best dynamic range. (The difference between the lowest level you can repeat a word, and the highest speech volume you can tolerate.)

What types of hearing aid professionals are there, and what’s the difference?

ENT Dr. (Ear, Nose, Throat) Also called an “Otolaryngologist”.

Highly trained in all aspects of hearing health, qualified to diagnose and treat diseases, and to perform corrective operations.

Audiologist: Highly trained in diseases of the ear, and in assessing hearing loss and applying hearing aid technology to its relief.

HIS (Hearing Instrument Specialist) Highly trained in assessing hearing loss and applying hearing aid technology to its relief.

A word on this subject…. There are always those hearing aid practices which seem to surmise the greatest use of their AUD degree is to be found in challenging everyone else’s professionalism, rather than quietly trying to help people with it if they really have it. I remind the patient, that ability is a huge issue. Equally huge is character. And the former is no guarantee of the latter, which seems to be the assumption.

Do you take insurance?

We do. Just call us and provide us with your policy number and DOB and we’ll be able to explain to you your benefit in plain terminology after we speak with your provider.

Do you test for free?

All of our testing is always free of charge, and further we discuss your test results with you and recommend possible treatment plans, and then program a pair of hearing aids for you so you can hear from yourself what to expect. The only expense is if you decide to buy them, and we don’t engage in the typical industry arm twisting and manipulative sales techniques. If you want to go consult with loved ones, check competition, or just think about it…. no problem!

What if I lose my hearing aid?

All our hearing aids come with either a one year or two-year “L & D” warranty, or “Loss and Damage” warranty. This costs 250.00 per aid lost, but can only be done once, and only applies during the first year. This can be renewed, but there is manifestly no sense in purchasing several extra years of this warranty since if they are lost in the first year the warranty cannot be renewed.

Can I buy an extended Warranty?

Sure…. But we don’t recommend it. Here’s why. Because a 12-month warranty costs you $150 per aid, and the actual repair only costs you $170 and comes with a 12-month warranty.

What sort of ongoing care is required with hearing aids?

All patients who purchase hearing aids with us have unlimited appointments for the life of the original owner. Any appointment we offer is free and unlimited. More specifically, it’s good to come in for a “Clean and Check” once every three to six months to make sure the hearing aids are functioning properly and that you don’t have any issues which may otherwise impair your good hearing. We also strongly recommend a yearly “Retest and Reprogram” to make sure that the programing in the aids is current to you present hearing loss.

How do I wade through all the hearing aid offers I’m bombarded with in the mail?

There is perhaps no other industry in existence more prone to questionable advertising than the hearing aid industry. Some common examples might be:

 

 

 

a) Wild and misleading claims, such as hearing aids that are smaller you’re your fingerprint.

 

 

 

b) Research offers which seek to give you the impression that the free trial you are participating in is some valid sort of research being conducted on the effectiveness of the aids, and not of their marketing.

 

 

 

c) A check for a $1000 off inflated pricing perceived as regular pricing.

 

 

 

The only way anyone can really see if they are getting good pricing is to get pricing on the exact same brand and model of hearing aid from different shops. For some reason patients rarely do this with hearing aids like they will with other products.

Are the most expensive hearing aids really worth it? What’s the difference between entry level and premium aids?

There is kind of a danger describing this because at the point you show the value of the best, people think you have disparaged the entry level product. But the answer is definitely yes. If you can afford it the most expensive hearing aids will help you a great deal more than entry level ones. But please do not think that this means that entry level ones therefore won’t help you. They will A LOT! To try to put the real benefit that you get with premium hearing aids I would explain it this way. They will bring out the “speech details” in such a way as to render your hearing effortless, and leave you without that exhausted feeling at the end of the day from having to STRAIN all day long. Won’t ALL hearing aids do this? Absolutely! But not as much as the Premium aids will, and having a benefit that affects you EVERY DAY with more mental energy is a benefit not to be underestimated.

How long do hearing aids last?

The “Industry Standard Answer” for that question is a simple 5 years. However, it’s good to remember that people rarely replace their hearing aids because they can’t be repaired but rather because they wish to take advantage of new technology and faced with an expensive repair or new aids, they will opt for new aids. But hearing aids can be repaired about 80% of the time, despite what you may be told some times.

What is Blue Tooth?

Blue Tooth is a technology which allows cell phone users to route their phone signal to a devise in their ear. This technology was adopted to hearing aids several years ago and has resulted in a far superior result than the older technology for this called a “T-Coil”. T-Coils are still available and work reasonably well, but NOTHING like Blue Tooth. I cannot brag on Blue Tooth enough for a entirely excellent solution for hearing perfectly on the phone. We offer a free trial of this technology for anyone who purchases hearing aids here.