hearing aid faqs

Hearing Aid FAQs

Learn about Hearing Aids

Need a Hearing Aid?

Find out what to expect when you get a Hearing Aid and how they will work for you.

Why is the road to better hearing about more than hearing aids?

A hearing aid is a very complex and sophisticated device that enables the audiologist to tailor the amplification at different sound frequencies that are unique to the patients hearing loss. As a result, the hearing aid will only ever be optimised if the audiologist is an expert at fine tuning the programming.

The patient’s road to better hearing recovering is also dependent on their ability to understand speech in noise. Only the audiologist can conduct this test and interpret the results to counsel the patient on length of time to rehabilitate and the best action plan. The audiologist’s ability to achieve better hearing results coupled with the patient’s motivation will drive success.

Why can I not hear clearly in noise when I have my hearing aids?

The instant benefit received from hearing aids is amplification of the sounds that you are missing. Even though the amplification is achieved the brain needs time to understand the sounds again and recognise them as words, especially in the presence of background noise.

Most patients do not address their hearing loss for around 7 to 10 years and as a result the brain stops understanding speech particularly in the presence of noise. So when you first get your hearing aids or even if you have had hearing aids for a long time but do not wear them all day every day the brain does not practice understanding speech and while you can hear the speech still remains unclear. It can take months to hear clearly in noise but practice and persistence does pay off.

Why was I previously not offered hearing aids that sit in the ear?

Hearing aids that are discrete and sit in the ear canal are more difficult to fit and are not suitable for everyone. In Australia, only around 10% of hearing aids fitted to patients are in the ear. Acute Hearing are in the ear hearing aid specialists, we find that the patients love them because they never feel self-conscious that they are wearing hearing aids. We fit around 50% of our patients with discrete in the ear hearing aids. There is an art to fitting in the ear hearing aids and like most things practice makes perfect.

Why does it matter where I get my hearing aids from?

Your road to better hearing is only as good as the audiologist you see.

• You will want to make sure you are seeing an audiologist as they are trained to identify any potential medical issues and refer accordingly. They have a broader education in tinnitus and balance unlike audiometrists.

• It is important that the audiologist is able to discuss with you multiple brand of hearing aids just like computers, phones, cars etc. some brands perform better than others and some have features that are important to your individual needs.

• Check that the audiologist can fit in the ear and behind the ear hearing aids. In the ear hearing aids are more successful if the audiologist fits them regularly.

• In some clinics the hearing aids can only be fitted and adjusted at the place you buy them from. This does not give you the opportunity to see an alternative audiologist if you are not happy with the results or service or you move location to a different location.

Can hearing loss affect cognition?

Many of us struggle as we get older to remember all sorts of things that would have been easily accessed from our brain when we were younger. Memory, word finding, effective listening and participation in conversation can all become a struggle. Much of this loss in cognitive function can be due to a decline in our hearing, with recent research showing that hearing loss and cognitive decline are pathologically linked.

What budget do I need to have for hearing aids?

Our hearing aids range from free for pensioners and veterans to just under $4200 per hearing aid for our premium range. For more information on hearing aid costs, read the article ‘The Real Cost of Hearing Aids’ in Hearing HQ online magazine.

What’s included in the price?

We pride ourselves on our service and fair prices. Included with all our hearing aids is the following:

Custom Earmoulds – If Required

Custom Professional (University Trained) Face-To-Face Fitting – As Well As Fine Tuning Your Hearing And Ears

Follow Up Appointments – For Further Fine Tuning To Be Used Within 12 Months

Batteries – for the first 12 months

Automatic check-ups – To Ensure Ongoing Benefits during the first 12 months

Unlimited Cleaning – In-House Hearing Aid Cleaning

Payments plans are available – 3 month and 12 month options

Packages Include – Container, Cleaning Tools, Domes and Wax Filters

We Treat Your Tinnitus – At The Same Time At No Extra Cost

We also have annual care plans where you can receive over $400 worth of care for under $140 each year.

Why are there so many brands of hearing aids?

We are lucky to have 9 main brands of hearing aids that are developed by 6 companies. This provides audiologists with the best tools to improve the patients hearing. Hearing aid brands are like car brands, they all perform and will be able to get you to your destination but there are large differences in the quality of the ride, their mechanical performance, comfort levels, cosmetics etc. Without choice we would not be able to meet each patient’s needs.

Why are hearing aids so expensive?

Hearing aids are amazing technology. We were lucky enough to see firsthand what it takes to make hearing aids, the cost of research and development alone for one year for a smaller manufacturer was $88m. As there is limited volume prescribed each year, as the hearing aids become more sophisticated and perform, the better the prices do not go down unlike computers and iPads.

How long will my hearing aids last?

All hearing aids we fit have a three year warranty and are new technology in all price ranges. Under the government scheme for pensioners, there is a non-compulsory minimal batteries and maintenance fee to pay for any batteries or repairs you may need. A lot of factors influence the lifespan of hearing aids including moisture damage and corrosion from general usage. With good maintenance, however, we usually find hearing aids last around four to six years. Within the warranty period, servicing or repairing the hearing aids is free.

In recent times, more research and development has gone into improving the robustness of hearing aids and we will help you understand how to maintain your hearing aids, choosing the right hearing aid for your lifestyle. We want to keep the hearing aids in your ears as much as possible, so we are available to do minor repairs on hearing aids in our clinics, or we will send them to the manufacturers to service them if required, and return to you with a quote if they are out of warranty.

Can I get a rebate from my private health insurance?

Hearing aid rebates vary significantly depending on the fund and the level of extras cover. We will work with you to make sure we maximise your return from your fund. Generally you may be able to get money back for the audiological consults and then for the hearing aids separately. This is where good preparation, conversations and looking at the fine print will maximise your return. In general private health funds will often cover between $500-2,000 off the cost of a pair of hearing aids, if you have extras cover. For information on your entitlements, contact your health fund and please discuss with us so you can maximise these returns.

Depending upon Federal Government legislation, you may also be able to claim some of your out-of-pocket ‘medical device’ expenses on your tax return. For more information, check out the ATO website.

If you are a pensioner or veteran, you may be eligible for funding under the Australian Government’s Health Services programme. You may also be covered for funding if you have a disability under NDIS please contact us for further information.

Why do my hearing aids not give me the instant benefit like glasses?

We often see patients who expect hearing aids to provide the same immediate benefit we get when learning how to read with new glasses. Getting hearing aids to treat a hearing loss is an important step, but it’s not the finish line. Adapting to hearing aids is more like learning how to drive. It is a process that takes time, commitment, education, practice and patience. When you first start to use hearing aids, your brain will be startled to receive signals it has been missing, this is due to auditory deprivation. This occurs in individuals suffering from hearing loss where their brain loses the ability to interpret words due to a lack of stimulation over an extended period of time.

Auditory deprivation is common because on average it takes people around 7 years to address their hearing loss. The brain needs time to become familiar with speech and environmental noise again. We often hear a patient say that they do not want to hear the tap running, their own footsteps or paper rustling. We also get told that the sound is louder but they cannot hear what the person in front of them is saying when there is other noise around.

We call this auditory confusion. With daily use of hearing aids, your perceptions and the brains ability to ignore the water, footsteps and paper will happen but this can take from 4 months to a year depending on the length of time you have had a hearing loss. It takes time for your brain to ignore the sounds you do not want to hear and to focus on sounds you want to hear, particularly when in presence of noise. If you wear your hearing aids all day, every day, the auditory confusion will clear sooner and the sounds will become part of your subconscious again as your brain begins to prioritise them.

What to expect when you get hearing aids?

Expect a period of adjustment

• In most cases hearing loss develops slowly over time, this often means that you are not aware of all the sounds that you have been missing out on.

• It takes time for the brain to readjust to these sounds and everything can sound quite loud at first. Be patient and persist. It will get easier.

• It also takes time to learn how to use and maintain your hearing aids. Again, be patient and persist. The benefits of better hearing will make it worth your while.

1. Expect your voice to sound different

• It is normal for your voice to sound strange to you initially. You should adjust to this over the next few days. If this continues to bother you, let your audiologist know.

2. Expect the aids to be comfortable:

• It can take a while to get used to having something in your ears and you may find the hearing aids irritating at first, but after a week you should be able to wear the aids all day without discomfort. If you continue to experience irritation, let your audiologist know.

3. Expect to hear well, but not perfectly, in quiet one-to-one situations and most small group settings

• Your hearing aids will amplify sound so speech will become comfortably loud.

• You should be able to hear most of what is said without having to watch a person's lips all the time. However, even people with normal hearing watch the person speaking in order to gain more information!

• Even when wearing the hearing aids, you should combine your vision and your hearing to maximize your benefits from the hearing aids.

4. Expect to have difficulty hearing in noisy situations

• Background noise is a nuisance for everyone, even normal hearing individuals. Sophisticated hearing aids can help by reducing background noise, but even the most sophisticated hearing aids cannot eliminate background noise.

• Your ability to hearing better in background noise will improve significantly over the first 6 months if you wear your hearing aids all day, every day.

5. Your hearing aids may whistle or squeal (feedback) under some circumstances

• It is normal for your hearing aids to squeal when they are cupped in your hands – this is a good sign they are working. It is also normal for them to squeal when you are putting them in your ears, however once they are comfortably in place you should be able to wear them without squealing.

6. Expect repairs

• Hearing aids are incredibly sophisticated devices being inserted in the ear canal where moisture and cerumen are present. Daily cleaning will allow you to avoid the majority of repairs.

7. Most importantly, expect to enjoy the sounds of life again!

• Your hearing aids are a key ingredient to staying active and improving the quality of your life. Adapted from: Allen, R. (2002). Hearing Aids: Reasonable Expectations for the Consumer http://www.audiologyonline.com/articles/hearing-aids-reasonable-expectations-for-1176

What if I cannot afford hearing aids?

There are times when we meet patients who genuinely cannot afford hearing aids and they are not lucky enough to receive free services from the government. There is a hearing aid bank in Sydney which offers free services to those who cannot afford hearing aids however there is a very long wait list. We do like to provide patients who cannot afford hearing aids with reconditioned hearing aids.

Why should I clean my hearing aids daily?

More than 95% of repairs undertaken by us or even those that need to be sent back to the manufacturer are due to lack of cleaning. Hearing aids need to be cleaned daily, just like your teeth. Actually they are exactly like your teeth. If you do not clean them every day your teeth will get dirtier, cavities will occur and repairs will be required – just like hearing aids.

If you are unsure how to clean your hearing aids or would like a brush and a hearing aid cleaning guide just drop in and we can show you how or give us a call and we can post one to you. Daily cleaning will minimise repairs and will keep your hearing aids working optimally for longer.

What if I lose my hearing aids?

It does happen from time to time and so we recommend you consider insuring your hearing aids to cover them for loss or damage. We have heard some pretty unbelievable stories including dogs with a taste for alternative treats. Therefore, we suggest you insure your hearing aids on your home and contents policy as a portable specified item, or ask your insurer for more information on your cover for valuables lost or damaged inside or outside the home.