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Hearing problems come in all shapes and sizes. Some people are born with a hearing deficiency while others develop hearing problems over time with age or exposure to loud noise such as heavy machinery. However, a person discovers or suspects they might have a hearing problem, a hearing aid can be a lifesaver and help people recover their quality of life that might have been lost due to hearing problems. Most people when they are diagnosed with hearing problems or suspect that a hearing aid might help them recover their hearing have little idea of what to look for in a hearing aid or how to find a hearing aid at a price they can afford.
What Is A Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a small electronic apparatus that is worn either in or behind the ear. A hearing aid amplifies particular sounds so that the person with hearing loss can hear and communicate better so that they can participate in daily life more fully. A hearing aid can help a person hear more clearly in quiet and noisy atmospheres.
A hearing aid consists of three parts consisting of a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. Sound is received through the microphone that converts sound waves to electrical signals before sending them to the amplifier. Once the amplifier receives the signals, it increases the power of the signals before sending them to the ear through the speaker.
Who Needs A Hearing Aid?
Anyone suffering from hearing loss can benefit from a hearing aid. However only one out of five hearing loss sufferers actually uses one.
How To Get A Hearing Aid?
If a person suspects they might be suffering from hearing loss, the first step in getting a hearing aid would be a trip to their primary physician. The reason a trip to the doctor Is in order is to make sure that the hearing loss is not due to something benign such as a buildup of ear wax.
Once simple physical reasons for hearing loss are eliminated, their primary physician who can refer the patient to an otolaryngologist or an audiologist. An otolaryngologist is a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat problems and will investigate the cause of the hearing loss. An otolaryngologist is sometimes referred to as an ENT doctor in non-technical language. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who specialized in identifying and measuring hearing loss by performing a hearing test to assess the type and degree of loss.
How Much Does a Hearing Aid Cost On Average?
The cost of a hearing aid depends on the type and prices can vary widely. Generally, analog aids are the more affordable hearing aids with a price range of $399 to $799 depending on the area of the country and how many bells and whistles are chosen. An analog or conventional hearing aid convert sound waves into electrical signals and then are amplified. The aids are custom built for the user. The hearing aid is programmed at the manufacturer in accordance with the specifications of the prescribing audiologist.
Digital aids can cost between $2000 and $5000, depending on the accessories included. Digital aids work by converting sound waves into numerical codes before amplifying them. The numerical codes are like the binary codes computers use and can be programmed to amplify some sound waves more than others do. This gives the audiologist more flexibility to adjust the aid to the user’s needs according to the environment.
A third alternative that is coming on the market are the open style aids. These high tech hearing aids are the most expensive currently with a price tag of $5000 or more. The open style aid works with a small tube that goes inside the ear canal that connect to a behind the ear hearing aid. The advantage of this type of hearing aid is it allows low frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally, with the hearing aid amplifying high frequency sounds.
Are There Any Low Cost Hearing Aids?
Since the above prices are outside of what many people can afford and since most insurance don’t cover a hearing aid, many people are looking for affordable hearing aids . One alternative are used hearing aids and another are the over-the-counter hearing aids. While these alternatives do not offer the same customization of a hearing aid designed for a patient, many users have found them a viable alternative.
Individuals with hearing problems do not have to suffer in silence any more with the wide variety of hearing aids available. Therefore, anyone who suspects they might have a hearing problem should make an appointment with their primary care physician for a hearing examination to get the process started.