If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for hearing loss, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the number of options available to you. If you’ve turned to Google to help you research the best options, you may find some conflicting information and advice. With so much information at your fingertips, it’s understandable if you feel uncertain about the best way to proceed.
Hearing loss affects a significant number of Canadians, and there are predictions that the number of cases will continue to rise in the coming years. Know that you’re not alone in what you’re facing.
We want to give you a comprehensive guide to all of your options for treating hearing loss as well as share an honest and unbiased viewpoint on the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Consider These Factors When Evaluating Your Options
Before we dive into all of the available options, consider these factors that will influence your decision. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for hearing loss since each individual has unique needs and circumstances.
Factors to take into consideration include:
- The degree and configuration of your hearing loss
- Your lifestyle and the environments you frequent
- Your preference for face-to-face interactions or remote support
- Your budget and whether you are seeking a premium or cost-effective solution
- Your preference for a local company or a larger corporation
Now, let’s explore the different treatment options for hearing loss.
Options for Treating Hearing Loss
There are many options to choose from depending on your budget, needs and preferences. The below options range from budget friendly to premium.
- Earphones and cell phone apps [$0-$250]
- PSAPs (personal sound amplification products) [$79-$1250]
- Online hearing aids with audiological remote support [$1850-$2400]
- Big box retail stores [$1250-$4000]
- Audiology clinic [$2500-$7500]
- Hearing loss surgery (cochlear implants) [$30,000-$50,000]
Each of these options provides some level of support for hearing loss, but they’re not suitable for everyone’s needs.
Earphones and Cell Phone Apps
If your budget is very small and you only need amplification of sound in specific situations, some apps available on Apple’s App Store can convert your earphones into amplification tools. These cell phone apps use your device’s microphone to amplify all sounds.
While they are cost-effective, they are limited. They’re only suitable for environments with minimal background noise. You’ll also need to use your headphones and sit in a specific position for the apps to work. With these apps, you’re on your own — you won’t get support from a team of hearing health professionals.
PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products)
PSAPs are amplification tools that you can find online or in stores. They have a small, built-in microphone. Like cell phone apps, they amplify all sounds and offer a "one-size-fits-all" solution.
PSAPs may be cost effective, but they come with some drawbacks. They lack tailored testing, support and warranties. If your hearing loss isn’t severe and you’re looking for an option that’s easy to purchase, PSAPs might be sufficient for your needs.
Online Hearing Aids with Audiological Remote Support
Some companies offer hearing aids with online audiological support. While this is certainly convenient, online assessments may not be as accurate as in-person assessments. Remote support may not address other potential hearing loss causes.
If you’re looking for a convenient option and would rather not visit a doctor in person, this may be a good option for you – depending on your level of hearing loss. The hearing aid technology is developed by reputable manufacturers, they’re easy to purchase online and they often come with a money-back guarantee.
Big Box Retail Stores
Costco and other big box retail stores offer professional hearing aids with in-person fittings. This is often a better option than online hearing aids. However, keep in mind that the service may have longer waiting times and limited ongoing support. Insurance coverage may not be an option.
Big box stores require you to have a hearing assessment to understand your level of hearing loss. Depending on which store you purchase your hearing aids from, you’ll receive a warranty of one to three years. Keep in mind that if you lose or damage your devices, you could be without them for a while. Follow-up support and care will be more limited than when you work with a local hearing care clinic.
Working with a Local Clinic
Visiting a local hearing care clinic can be considered the “traditional” approach. A local hearing clinic offers comprehensive and advanced hearing assessments, customized technology options and ongoing in-person support. Local clinics usually allow you to utilize your insurance and may even offer payment plans.
When you work with a team of hearing care professionals, your overall hearing health is prioritized. You’ll receive more personalized care. You’ll also have professional assistance when you need repairs and maintenance for your devices. The biggest drawback to working with a local clinic is that you might have to go see your provider in person for multiple appointments.
Hearing Loss Surgery (Cochlear Implants)
If you’re suffering from a severe hearing loss, cochlear implants may be an option for you. Cochlear implants are devices that are surgically implanted into your cochlea. They can be costly, and they require specific candidacy evaluations – although they’re incredibly effective for the right person. If you haven’t had success with traditional hearing aids, cochlear implants may help.
Cochlear implants are often partially or completely by insurance, but there are other costs associated with the procedure.
I hope this helped to shed some light on the options that are available to you. Remember, the best treatment option for hearing loss depends on your unique needs, circumstances and preferences. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and that’s why we provide individualized care at Port Credit Audiology & Hearing Aid Clinic.