With the world (internet) at our fingertips nowadays, it’s easy to be confused or misled by the daunting amount of information out there regarding hearing loss.
With one in eight Americans impacted by hearing loss in some capacity and the numbers expected to double in the next 25 years (as predicted by the World Health Organization), it’s important to have a supportive and reliable source for your hearing care needs.
At Audicles Hearing Services, we want you to know all your options and fully understand why they may or may not be right for you. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach!
What to Consider
Your personal diagnosis, lifestyle, budget, and circumstances can all affect which product is right for you. What might work for someone else might be the wrong approach for you—so make sure you take all of this into consideration before making your decision.
It’s important to consider the degree and specifics of your hearing loss.
Think about what environments you’re normally in—for example, do you enjoy the outdoors/hiking or spend a lot of time in an office?
Are you looking for a lower-level investment or a premium service?
Would you prefer to have a local, more personalized experience or are you more comfortable working with a larger corporation?
It’s important to consider all of the above questions when you’re looking for hearing care so you know what’s best for you and your journey.
Understanding Your Options
There is a wide range of options available to help you overcome your hearing challenge and they can all be useful depending on your needs and level of hearing impairment.
Luckily for you, we’ve broken down the most popular options, ranging from $0-$250 to cutting-edge options at $30,000-$50,000.
So, let’s take a look at what’s out there.
1 - Headphones and Mobile Phone Apps
If you’re looking for a lower-budget, quick solution to some of your hearing challenges (including some form of amplification in specific settings), a simple app on your phone might be your answer.
Apps such as Chatable can be downloaded through the App Store and can help increase the volume of your phone to help you hear more clearly—however, you will need headphones to connect to your phone.
Chatable offers 99 minutes free per month, or you can upgrade to their subscription for $59.99 per year.
Aside from in-app purchases, this app is free and only requires common technology (mobile phone and headphones).
This app, while useful, does not provide any bespoke benefits to your level of hearing. It works best in environments with little background noise and it simply amplifies sound.
2 - Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
When the FDA ruled in 2022 that over-the-counter hearing aids meet their standards, many people believed that this provided them with the solution to their hearing challenges.
Although this was a huge win for decreasing stigmas and increasing awareness of hearing loss, we can’t stress enough that hearing care is not a one-size-fits-all situation!
Over-the-counter hearing aids are easily accessible, as they are available to purchase online at competitive prices.
Although easily accessible, these hearing aids come with no support. With no form of testing provided and requiring you to fit the devices yourself, you are left susceptible to purchasing the wrong hearing aids or fitting them incorrectly. There is also no warranty or support outside of your 90-day return period.
This option is only appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss—you need to ensure you have an informed understanding of your diagnosis to get the proper care.
3 - PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products)
PSAPs, put simply, are amplification tools that work using a small microphone and can help you hear more clearly.
The price range for PSAPs starts around $79.99 and can go to upwards of $1000. These devices can provide a good short-term solution to those suffering from mild hearing loss.
PSAPs are available to purchase online or in store and can be priced as low as $79.99.
Like the over-the-counter hearing aids discussed above, PSAPs are not tailored to your diagnosis and do not include any testing or fitting, which could lead to you using a product that does not suit your needs. The devices also amplify all sounds around you and will not pick up specific frequencies.
4 - Online Hearing Aids With Audiological Remote Support
There are many companies online that allow you to address your sloping hearing loss with hearing aids that connect to your phone via an app, allowing you to adjust the settings yourself or with an audiologist remotely.
It’s no surprise that these businesses are becoming more common post-COVID. With a starting price of around $1850, you’ll be asked to complete an online hearing assessment, after which you’ll receive your hearing aids.
These convenient and easy-to-purchase hearing aids offer a money-back guarantee and have been developed by reliable manufacturers.
This approach, while convenient, does not offer any face-to-face support or assessment, which could lead to misdiagnosis (such as mistaking earwax buildup or blockages for permanent hearing loss). With this option, you are also unable to use your insurance benefits.
5 - Big-Box Retail Stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.)
A popular option for hearing aids nowadays is local stores with internal hearing aid centers, such as Costcos and Sam’s Clubs.
With access to Kirkland-branded hearing aids and other trustworthy brands ranging in price, this is a good first step in the right direction for better hearing care.
The service includes a hearing screening and in-person fitting with moderate-quality technology with a warranty and the option for help, support, and cleaning.
Although this service includes a hearing screening, you won’t receive an advanced hearing evaluation that could investigate issues such as earwax buildup. Ongoing service is not included, and booking appointments can often lead to long wait times. You may require a membership (for a fee), and insurance cannot be utilized.
6 - Working With a Local Clinic
Visiting a local hearing care clinic is sometimes viewed as the “old fashioned” way in today’s modern world. However, nothing quite beats face-to-face assessments when it comes to your health.
Experts will guide you on your options for hearing care and help you to make your decision on which course is right for you.
While being treated by a specialist, you’ll receive tailored, ongoing care. You’ll be fitted with the most up-to-date technology from reputable brands while benefiting from the personal touch of being a valued patient. You’ll also be able to utilize your insurance and payment plans.
You’ll need to be able to travel to attend multiple appointments.
7 - Hearing Loss Surgery (Cochlear Implants)
With hearing, it’s hard to avoid the fact that sometimes technology just won’t cut it.
Cochlear implants are normally advised for those with severe hearing loss who have struggled with the other options we’ve outlined for you. They can cost between $30,000 and $50,000.
Before deciding on cochlear implants, you will need an evaluation to determine if you are a suitable candidate for the surgery, and you will be required to face costs regarding the medical teams and facilities involved.
We understand that you’ve just ingested a lot of information regarding hearing care, and it can be quite overwhelming if you don’t know which option is best for you and your hearing journey.
If you’d like to talk more about your options or take your first step to better hearing, contact us below.