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Balancing The Scale!

You’ve had a thorough examination by a well qualified audiologist and you know the characteristics of your particular hearing loss. Now comes the hard part: how do you balance the need for hearing aids with the cost for a particular set of technology features, your lifestyle requirements, and your budget?

Hearing aid technology can be pricey at the top end, but a basic set of technology features may not be adequate for your social requirements. If you don’t get the right technology features for your lifestyle, you may not feel like you solved the problems presented by your hearing loss. For example, if you have an active social life you will likely need advanced noise reduction and other special technology features to allow better speech understanding in noisy environments, like busy restaurants, outdoor venues, and the like. 

You may not need the most advanced set of hearing aid features, but you will still need enough technology to mitigate the effects of your hearing loss, regardless of your lifestyle.

balance

You're Not Alone!

The table (below) will help you understand how to balance the scale between your hearing loss, lifestyle priorities, budget, and available hearing aid technology. 

The Doctors at Pacific Northwest Audiology will conduct a thorough lifestyle and budget assessment before recommending a course of treatment for your hearing loss. Knowing the options and the trade-offs will help you make a good personal decision.

What About Over-The-Counter Aids?

The following statement on President Biden’s Executive Order on Over-The Counter Hearing Aids is reproduced here from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association , and represents our view on the topic:

President Biden signed a comprehensive Executive Order (EO) designed to promote greater competition in the American economy. One section of the EO addresses the long-anticipated rules on the classification of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Specifically, the President directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “to consider issuing proposed rules within 120 days for allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter.”

ASHA appreciates the President’s attention to these long overdue rules. In 2017, Congress directed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop regulations for OTC hearing aids. Recognizing a careful balance between affordability and access to new hearing technology, the law classified OTC hearing aids as devices for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. ASHA worked in collaboration with allied stakeholders and developed a series of evidence-based recommendations for the FDA to consider that ensured the safety, effectiveness, and proper marketing of OTC hearing aids, as well as the importance of an audiologist in hearing health care. ASHA is hopeful that this EO, coupled with the placement of this rule on the Administration’s most recent regulatory agenda, will finally prompt necessary action.

Some parts of the EO require important clarification. Most importantly, the anticipated rule does not encompass all hearing aids. Hearing aids are medical devices that are already regulated by the FDA. OTC hearing aids will be newly regulated devices for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. A person with moderate to profound hearing loss needs to seek the services of a hearing health professional, such as an audiologist, and the proper technology customized to compensate and correct for that person’s hearing impairment.

Furthermore, while a medical evaluation may not be necessary for every instance of hearing loss, ASHA considers consultation with an audiologist to be a critical component of ensuring good hearing health and consumer protection—even if a consumer choses to purchase an OTC hearing aid. Studies have shown that adults tend to underestimate their hearing loss when undertaking a self-assessment. Audiologists are trained to assess medically treatable causes of hearing loss and to ensure that any technology used to assist with hearing loss is appropriate or safely customized for each individual patient. Hearing loss is different in every person!

ASHA looks forward to the upcoming rule on OTC hearing aids and remains committed to advocating for policies that support a robust hearing health care delivery system and technology that is safe, effective, and affordable. 

The Bottom Line:

The table (above) was designed to help you determine which “ballpark” you need to play in before purchasing hearing aids. For example, it makes little sense to purchase top-level technology if your lifestyle doesn’t require it. On the other hand, an active social life may dictate a higher technology level.

  • Your best choice will depend on your hearing loss, lifestyle priorities, and budget.
  • Prices increase as the level of digital technology and associated features increase.
  • BUT…low technology hearing aids programmed properly will likely give you better hearing results than premium hearing aids fitted poorly…and that isn’t saying much!
But…and this is a very large “but”…if your hearing aids aren’t fit properly to your hearing loss prescription, using real ear measures (see the video, below, “What You Need To Know Before You Purchase Hearing Aids”), you will likely waste your money. In fact, low technology hearing aids programmed properly will likely give you better hearing results than premium hearing aids fit poorly…and that isn’t saying much!

Very Important...Don't Miss This!

The following 2 videos (below) were made by Cliff Olson, Doctor of Audiology. Dr. Olson produces relatable and understandable videos for consumer education.

In these videos, Dr. Olson discusses the most important information you will need to consider before purchasing hearing aids. The information can literally spell the difference between getting hearing aids that fit your hearing loss prescription, lifestyle, and budget, or getting hearing aids that you will put in your dresser drawer, and never use again. 

Pacific Northwest Audiology uses industry best practices. That means we have the knowledge and experience to ensure your best hearing aid fitting, and the tenacity to never give up until we see a smile and thumbs up. That is why we now have more than 900 5-Star reviews! These videos are well worth your time…Enjoy!

Dr. Olson, Doctor of Audiology
Play Video
Dr. Olson, AuD
Play Video

You’ve had a thorough examination by a well qualified audiologist and you know the characteristics of your particular hearing loss. Now comes the hard part: how do you balance the need for hearing aids with the cost for a particular set of technology features, your lifestyle requirements, and your budget?

Hearing aid technology can be pricey at the top end, but a basic set of technology features may not be adequate for your social requirements. If you don’t get the right technology features for your lifestyle, you may not feel like you solved the problems presented by your hearing loss. For example, if you have an active social life you will likely need advanced noise reduction and other special technology features to allow better speech understanding in noisy environments, like busy restaurants, outdoor venues, and the like. 

You may not need the most advanced set of hearing aid features, but you will still need enough technology to mitigate the effects of your hearing loss, regardless of your lifestyle.

need hearing aids? the hearing doctors can help!
Contact us at 541-678-5698, or book online, below

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...Approaching 1000 5-Stars!

Our Patients Have High Expectations
...And We Deliver!

We use real ear speech mapping to optimize
your hearing aids for speech clarity!
Contact us at 541-678-5698, or book online, below

© 2018 Pacific Northwest Audiology LLC

Pacific Northwest Audiology

2205 NW Shevlin Park Rd., Bend Oregon 97703  

(541) 678-5698,  [email protected]

Doctors of Audiology  |  Board Certified Audiologists