When hearing loss starts affecting your quality of life, it is time to take the next steps to treat it and get back in the conversation. When social outings are no longer enjoyable, when family members are urging you to seek treatment, when your spouse complains of how loud you keep the TV volume, it is time to take the next steps.
So, you do a Google search looking for the best hearing aid and instantly become overwhelmed. You find ad after ad with different price points, different styles, different manufacturers, different professionals to see, and a lot of the information is conflicting. Sometimes this experience can discourage the person seeking hearing loss treatment and cause further delays in treatment.
It does not have to be this complicated. The reality is there are six major hearing aid manufacturers, and all of them have great products. The hearing aid that you choose is the least important decision you make. The professional you see is the most important decision you make.
Hearing Aid Specialists vs. Doctors of Audiology
There are two types of hearing health care professionals you can see. A hearing aid specialist holds at least a high school diploma and undergoes a six-month apprenticeship supervised by another hearing aid specialist. A Doctor of Audiology holds an eight-year college degree with the last year being a residency year of full-time patient care supervised by another Doctor of Audiology who has at least two years of experience. There is a HUGE difference in knowledge and the types of treatments each professional can implement.
A Doctor of Audiology is a salaried medical health professional who can recommend hearing aids, cochlear implants and bone-anchored instruments; treat vertigo; and see pediatrics. Hearing aid specialists can fit hearing aids and are typically commissioned professionals trained in sales.
Another barrier to seeking hearing loss treatment is fear of the cost. A little-known fact is that most major insurances now have significant insurance coverage, and a lot of insurances require a doctorate of audiology degree to be a provider. It is imperative that the hearing health care professional you see verifies your specific insurance before ordering any devices. Hearing loss treatment does not have to be expensive.
Best Hearing Aid Manufacturers
There are six major manufacturers who provide the best products. All of these manufacturers offer Bluetooth and wireless options as well as rechargeability. Each manufacturer has specific features unique to them. This is why it is important to speak with a Doctor of Audiology to see which features best suit your hearing loss, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Currently, my favorite hearing aids are as follows:
- GN Resound One
- Oticon More
- Phonak Paradise
- Starkey Livio Edge
- Signia Pure Charge&Go
- Widex Moment
It is important to make sure you see a hearing health care professional who works with all manufacturers so you can choose the product that suits your specific needs.
In summary, treating hearing loss can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Stay away from over-the-counter hearing aids as they are only amplifiers not specifically suited for each individual. Don’t be fooled by TV ads that mail you hearing aids. You need a hearing health care professional to achieve the success with hearing loss treatment that you desire. Follow these important steps when taking the next steps to regaining your quality of life:
- Make an appointment with a board-certified Doctor of Audiology.
- Ask about insurance coverage.
- Discuss your lifestyle and cosmetic preferences with your doctor.
- Know that it is required by law to have a 30-day trial with hearing aids before keeping them.
- Enjoy getting back in the conversation!
Today’s hearing aids are discreet, comfortable, Bluetooth into your electronics, are rechargeable, and they are fun! Congratulations on pursuing a better quality of life by treating your hearing loss. The doctors at Davis Family Hearing are excited to help you along this journey. Call 800-610-0399 or visit us online at davisfamilyhearing.com to make an appointment at one of our five convenient locations in West Central Florida! We have offices in Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, and Lake counties.
Dr. Joanie Davis, Au.D., CCC-A, F-AAA, Board Certified in Audiology