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What's It Like: To get hearing aids

An estimated 36 million adults in the U.S. have some form of hearing loss, although sometimes it's hard for people to get past the stigma and admit they're suffering from hearing loss.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: December 9, 2012

Hearing aids cost about $1,200 to $2,600 each and up to about $5,000 when bought together. Most generally, they're not covered by private insurance or Medicare. Some private insurers will cover the hearing test, and a few cover hearing aids.

Your hearing loss will determine what style of hearing aid works best for you. There are styles that go behind the ear or inside the ear and newer styles called open fit hearing aids that have a thin tube that goes in ear.

It will take you between a few weeks and a few months to acclimate to new hearing aids. It's important to wear them often so that your ears and brain can get used to them.

Does it hurt?

The test and fitting shouldn't hurt. During the test, the headphones might put a little pressure on your head, but other than that, the process should be painless.

What are the risk factors?

One of the main concerns many people have about hearing aids is how they handle loud noises. Most types of hearing aids have compression technology inside of them that doesn't allow loud enough to over carry and damage your ear.

Hearing loss can lead to depression and isolation. Getting hearing aids can sometimes help relieve some of those feelings.

What's the follow-up?

In Oklahoma, there's a 30-day trial period for hearing aids, and if you return your hearing aids, in most instances, you should be given 90 percent of your money back.

Your hearing aids should last between four years and seven years, depending on the style, quality and how well you care for them. The ear is a hostile environment with oil and water, so having to replace your hearing aids is somewhat inevitable. Some hearing aids come with two- to three-year warranties, and this can sometimes be extended.

It's important to direct any questions you have about hearing aids to your audiologist or hearing aid dealer.

Source: Audiologist Kandice Ahlberg, at the Integris Cochlear Implant Clinic; The Mayo Clinic; the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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