Hearing aids collect sounds from the environment, amplify them and direct the amplified signal into the ears. Once hearing loss has been confirmed, a communication needs assessment is necessary in order to determine if or which hearing aids would be appropriate for you.
You and your audiologist will examine, independently:
The style of the hearing aid does not necessarily determine the sophistication of its electronic components or features.
Most hearing aids sold today contain digital circuitry. Digital hearing aids analyze incoming sound and convert it to a digital signal. The signal can then be manipulated according to an individual's hearing levels and listening needs, reconverted to an analog form (sound waves) and delivered to the ears, without producing the distortion commonly associated with analog technology. In addition, these devices are often superior in terms of programming flexibility, advanced circuit compression (amplifying soft sounds but not over-amplifying loud sounds), improved noise reduction, multiple programs, and the ability to minimize acoustic feedback.
Many digital hearing aids also have a directional microphone option, which helps with hearing in noisy environments. Digital hearing aids are available with different levels of sophistication, making them an affordable option for many people.
In order to establish the appropriate plan of action, you must have had a complete hearing test performed by an audiologist within the previous six months.
If you have not had a recent hearing test, you can have one performed at the UCSF Audiology Clinic. Once the hearing test is done, your communication needs will be determined. Check with your insurance to determine your coverage prior to making the appointment. If hearing tests are not covered by your insurance, there will be an additional fee for the evaluation.
At UCSF Medical Center, the self-pay cost for the various types of hearing aids range from $1,500 to $4,000 per hearing aid. Most patients who have hearing loss in both ears use binaural (two) hearing aids.
Medicare does not cover the cost of a hearing test, hearing aid evaluation or hearing aids. Coverage for hearing aids from private insurance varies. Please contact your insurance company directly to determine whether or not your policy includes hearing aids as a covered benefit and whether UCSF is a provider of hearing aids for your policy.
The UCSF Audiology Clinic can bill insurance companies for hearing aids, but be aware that this often requires preauthorization from the insurance company. If your insurance company does not pay the claim once it is submitted, you will be responsible for the full cost of the hearing aids.
We now offer Hearing Loss Information and Education (Aural Rehabilitation) classes. Call (415) 353-2101 for information.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.