So, you’ve taken the first step and accepted that your hearing loss is not something you want to live with anymore, which is excellent news.

While I’m sure you’ve probably heard of hearing aids, and how they work to treat hearing loss, did you know that hearing aids are not the silver-bullet solution to treating hearing loss?

In fact, hearing aids are just one small part of the puzzle.

Luckily, our team of audiologists has trained for many years in audiology and has dealt with all types of hearing loss.

Using all the knowledge we have acquired over the years, we’re going to explain all the key options available in terms of diagnosing your hearing loss and working out a treatment plan for you.

 

Firstly, Ask Yourself This…

A lot of people go into treating their hearing loss with unrealistic expectations, believing that you simply put your hearing aids in and you can magically hear again.

Sure, it often doesn’t take long to get your hearing back, but there is a combination of factors that contributes to the outcome you receive.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the level of your hearing loss?
  • How active is your lifestyle? Are you on the go regularly?
  • Do you prefer to have a one-on-one chat with an audiologist, or do you prefer remote support?
  • Can you travel for appointments, or do you require care from home?
  • What is most important to you when it comes to hearing technology, style, comfort, or performance?
  • Do you want to work with an individual for the long term, or are you happy to work with a corporation and speak to different people?

 

All The Hearing Loss Treatments In North Houston

In truth, there are a lot of options to choose from, and there truly is a hearing device for everyone.

The hearing options available are:

  1. Earphones and Cell Phone Apps [$0-$250]
  2. Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids [$800-$1000]
  3. PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products) [$79-$1250]
  4. Online Hearing Aids with Audiological Remote Support [$1850-$2400]
  5. Big Box Retail Stores [$1250-$4000]
  6. Audiology Clinic [$2500-$7800]
  7. Hearing Loss Surgery (Cochlear Implants) [$30,000-$50,000]

Although they all deliver similar outcomes, they all have very distinct differences.

Let’s explore each option in more detail.

 

1 – Earphones And Cell Phone Apps

If you only require amplification in certain types of environments, then there are low-cost options available that allow you to turn your earphones into amplification tools.

Available on Apple’s App Store, they use the microphone of the device and work to increase the overall volume on sound, allowing you to hear better in certain types of environments.

One app, “Chatable,” is free to download and allows you to increase the volume of all sounds that your cell phone picks up.

All you need is a pair of wireless earphones/headphones that can be connected to your cell phone.

After that, simply sit your cell phone on the table and you will be able to pick up the sound from all around you.

You can access 99 minutes of free listening per month, or you can pay $59.99 per year.

 

Pros:

  • Very low cost and doesn’t require any large fees
  • Only requires technology that is easily accessible

 

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work in all environments, only ones with very little background noise
  • Requires you to wear headphones/earphones and sit your cell phone in a very specific position
  • It isn’t unique to your hearing loss – it just makes things louder
  • Doesn’t medically treat your hearing loss
  • There is no aftercare or support from a medical advisor

 

While cell phone apps, such as Chatable, are by no means going to magically treat hearing loss, they do act as a great step in the right direction. Once users have been exposed to hearing amplification, then they are more likely to explore other options – perhaps hearing aids.

 

2 – Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

In 2017, a law was passed that allowed the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids to consumers.

With an aim to make accessing hearing technology more convenient, the federal government recognized that convenience is a main factor that prevents people from seeking treatment.  

In terms of over-the-counter devices, the main model that most people are aware of is the Bose SoundControl, which is priced at $850.00. It offers an iPhone app and a 90-day return policy.

As a hearing assessment is not required prior to purchase, you fit them completely yourself and are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep.

For those who don’t have access to an audiologist, they are a great option, as they can help to provide relief for quiet settings such as in a crowded room or one on one.

Bose is already gaining lots of attraction, and it’s resulting in many people already asking questions about them.

 

Hearing loss walkthrough CTA

Pros:

  • You can purchase from your computer
  • Very competitively priced
  • Easily accessible

 

Cons:

  • Not tailored to your specific hearing loss
  • No hearing assessment required prior to purchase, so there is no confirming that you are going to receive adequate amplification from your devices
  • Required to fit them yourself, so they may fall out or be uncomfortable
  • No warranty if you lose or damage them
  • No support outside of your 90-day returns period

 

Although OTCs are only going to work for a specific type of person, such as those who require little to no amplification, we’re going to see a shift in attitude toward hearing loss, which can only bring positive benefits.

 

3 – PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products)

Often advertised online or through adverts, PSAPs, which are also known as personal amplification products, work by making the overall sound around you louder.

It works by taking in sound through a small built-in microphone which makes the sound louder in your ears, helping you to hear the environment around you.

With a starting price of $79.99 ranging up to over $100.00, they provide a great solution if you have a very mild hearing loss and require little amplification.

 

Pros:

  • Easy to purchase (either online or in-store)
  • Very low cost, priced from $79.99

 

Cons:

  • Not tailored to your hearing loss
  • Doesn’t require a hearing assessment prior (it could be that you have a buildup of earwax that is causing your hearing loss)
  • Required to fit them yourself, leading to a risk of discomfort or lack of performance
  • No support outside of your 90-day returns period
  • No warranty if you lose or damage them

 

We like to compare PSAPs to glasses. If you’re experiencing difficulty with your eyesight, you may consider readers as a short-term solution while you’re looking for better glasses. PSAPs are purely a one-size-fits-all device which will not help to medically treat your hearing loss in the long run.

 

4 – Online Hearing Aids With Audiological Remote Support/Direct-To-Consumer

With convenience in mind, online hearing aids are tailored for those who don’t wish to go down the traditional route of visiting an audiologist but would rather purchase a hearing aid plan online.

As you don’t have to visit a doctor, they are marginally cheaper than regular hearing aids.

You may have heard of Lively, which is a popular brand that allows you to access remote audiological support through a mobile app.

Through this, you can make adjustments to your hearing aids to ensure you are receiving the best possible performance from your devices.

Based on your online hearing assessment, you receive a box with your hearing aids and continual follow-up appointments.

Priced at $1850, it can be a great option for those who don’t want to visit an audiologist and have a minor-moderate hearing loss.

 

Pros:

  • Easy to purchase online
  • Very convenient
  • Backed by a reputable manufacturer
  • Often come with a money-back guarantee

 

Cons:

  • Their hearing assessment is largely inaccurate and can result in your devices being programmed incorrectly
  • You don’t receive any in-person support, help, or attention
  • There is no opportunity for you to develop a relationship with a hearing care specialist you can trust
  • Nobody physically looks into your ears, so there could be other reasons for your hearing loss

 

While we believe that PSAPs are a great option for those who require mild-to-moderate relief from hearing loss, there is a huge risk associated, as there is no confirming that you won’t be dissatisfied with the performance of your hearing aids.

 

5 – Big Box Retail Stores (Costco/Sam’s Club, Etc.)

If you’ve ever visited Costco, you may have noticed that they also offer a range of hearing aids in-store.

You can access a hearing screening prior to purchase, which allows you to understand more about your hearing loss and what type of device is going to work for you.

Notably, they offer an impressive range of hearing aids, with their cheapest at $1,399.00.

The best part is that you won’t feel pressured into making a decision, however, as it is in a retail environment, you run a risk of losing out on the long-term care and support you would expect to receive from an audiologist.

 

Pros:

  • You receive a hearing screening
  • You receive an in-person fitting
  • You wear professional technology
  • You have a warranty
  • You can return for help/cleanings/support

 

Cons:

  • You don’t receive a comprehensive or advanced hearing evaluation (this means that other factors could indicate a hearing loss, such as a buildup of earwax)
  • You don’t receive ongoing service
  • Getting an appointment for support/help can sometimes have a long wait
  • You can’t utilize your insurance
  • Payment plans are not available
  • A membership fee is often required

 

For someone who has done their research on the different types of hearing aids, Costco may be a great option.

However, anyone who purchases hearing aids from a big box retail store, such as Costco, must understand the risks they are running. There is no suggesting you will be able to change your hearing aids if you are not happy with them.

 

Hearing loss walkthrough CTA

 

6 – Audiological Care Within A Clinic

Recognized as the most trusted method, this is where you visit a doctor of audiology in a hearing healthcare clinic.

From there, they will perform a comprehensive hearing assessment on your ears to pinpoint the degree of hearing loss you are suffering with.

With follow-up treatments, ongoing support, and care, you get to work alongside a team of experts that truly wants the best for you and will be there for you five days a week.

Should your hearing aids ever break, you can bring them in for hearing aid repairs and adjustments, while receiving a spare pair of devices while your others are in for repair.

You also get to utilize your insurance or payment plans.

 

Pros:

  • Treated by a doctor of audiology
  • Receive ongoing support and audiological care
  • Custom fitting of the latest technology from a leading provider
  • Payment plans available
  • Working with a locally owned and operated business rather than a large corporation
  • Valued patient

 

Cons:

  • There will be a number of appointments to ensure complete accuracy

 

This is one of the most recognized and reliable ways to treat hearing loss, as you get access to a personal level of care which is not achievable elsewhere. We like to think of it as a partnership rather than a purchase.

 

7 – Hearing Loss Surgery (Cochlear Implants)

If hearing loss is affecting your ability to live a normal life, then a cochlear implant is available for those who are suffering with a severe hearing loss.

This works by fitting a surgical implant into the cochlea that converts sounds into electrical impulses. These impulses are interpreted by the brain and work to replace your cochlea’s function.

It is generally only recommended for those with a severe hearing loss in both ears, as it is a very complex procedure that can cost between $30,000 to $50,000.

They can be covered by insurance but often require replacement parts that may not always be covered. It’s always worth checking up with your advisor before undergoing the procedure.

 

We Can Help You Make Your Decision

I’m sure by now you’re probably overwhelmed with all the options available. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Each day, we receive many calls from patients who want to know a bit more about which solution to go for.

However, as we tell everyone, there is no right answer, as it all depends on your unique circumstances and preferences.

The best way to understand more about your hearing loss is to schedule a hearing assessment with one of our experts, where we can discuss a bit more about how you got to where you are.

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, then you can call our office at 281-444-9800.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Dr Kathryn Crane

Dr. Kathryn Crane, CCC/A, CH-AP, Doctor of Audiology, joined North Houston Hearing Solutions in February 2021. Dr. Crane graduated with a Bachelors in History and a Bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The University of Texas at Austin and received her Doctorate of Audiology in 2014 from Louisiana State University-Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Crane joins North Houston Hearing Solutions after many years at a large ENT practice in the Memorial area of Houston. She has developed significant experience and skills in comprehensive diagnostic audiometry and in the fitting of hearing devices. Though not a native Houstonian, Dr. Crane is a native Texan having grown up in Dallas, Bryan, and Austin. She has lived in Houston since 2013 and considers Houston home.
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