Getting a Hearing Aid
Hearing aids are selected following a comprehensive audiological evaluation, which produces an audiogram that the audiologist can use to learn about the type and degree of hearing loss experienced by a child or adult. Hearing assessment procedures for young infants are different than those for older children.
Speak to the audiologist about the available amplification options and appropriate technology. The audiologist will select a hearing aid that provides amplified sound across the pitch (frequency) range in which the wearer has difficulty hearing but is still comfortable across the pitch range in which the wearer has usable hearing. The audiologist will also fine-tune the level of amplification the hearing aid provides based on the degree of hearing loss.
Hearing Aid Costs
Hearing aids are a major purchase; so it’s important to understand exactly the terms of purchase. Ask the audiologist whether they have a variety of hearing aids for a person to try and a loaner hearing aid bank.
Families of children enrolled in early intervention may be eligible to receive funding for hearing through that program. These state programs receive federal funding through Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal law supporting special education.
State early intervention programs may allow a family to qualify for hearing aids at no cost if their insurance does not cover aids or if they do not have insurance. Some states also purchase aids for children through public special education programs, while also receive funding through IDEA.
Some states have mandates for health insurance plans to cover part of the cost of hearing aids in some circumstances. However, many insurance plans exclude coverage for hearing aids. Check your insurance policy before purchasing hearing aids. If you cannot afford hearing aids, several organizations offer other sources of funding you can explore. Medicaid [http://www.cms.gov/] provides hearing aids to qualifying children. Also, ask an audiologist about possible sources of funding in your community.
Evaluating Hearing Aids
Often, hearing aids will not sound perfectly natural at first. It is important to recognize that the brain requires a period of time to adjust to new sounds.
In most states, audiologists and dispensers of hearing aids are required by law to offer a 30-day trial period during which users may evaluate their performance with the hearing aids. However, many people find that they require a trial period longer than 30 days. Ask your audiologist or dispenser if you can extend the trial period to 60 days. Most audiologists and dispensers will ask for either all or partial payment of the hearing aids “up front,” but will refund your payment, less a fee, should you return the aid during the trial period as long as the aids are in good condition.