Are you or a family member looking for hearing aids but not quite sure where to begin? Getting hearing aids for the first time can be an intimidating experience that leaves you with lots of unanswered (and often worrying) questions.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. Our expert team at Toronto Hearing Consultants put together a list of the top ten most common hearing aids-related questions we are asked on a regular basis.. This brief but informative guide will answer these pressing queries and hopefully provide you some peace of mind in your hearing aid journey. Let’s get started.
1)Does OHIP Cover My Hearing Aids?
If you’re concerned about the cost of getting hearing aids, there’s good news! Although OHIP doesn’t cover hearing aids, the Ontario Assistive Devices Program is designed to help people acquire hearing aids at any income level. To qualify for the program, you must:
- Be an Ontario resident
- Have a valid Ontario health card
- Have a disability requiring a hearing device for six months or longer
Your income is not considered when qualifying for the program, which means anyone at any income level can benefit from the program. The program covers $500 per side towards the cost of hearing aids every three to five years; the remainder is paid out out of-pocket by the patient. However, note that if you are already receiving support from a workplace safety or insurance board or are a Group A veteran receiving financial support from Veterans Affairs Canada, you do not qualify for the program.
This guide has included just a brief overview of the Ontario Assistive Devices Program. For in-depth information, we suggest visiting the Ontario Assistive Devices Program webpage.
2) Can Hearing Aids Get Wet?
Although some hearing aids may be marketed as being water-resistant or waterproof, the best way to ensure your hearing aids stay safe is to avoid contact with water.
A hearing aid is, after all, an incredibly sensitive electronic device that responds to minuscule changes in air pressure. Not only is water the arch-enemy of electronics, but it also has a much different density and pressure than air which can cause your hearing aids to malfunction or become damaged.
Whether or not your hearing aids are labeled as water resistant, your best bet is to keep them clear of water at all times.
3) How Does a Hearing Aid Work?
All hearing aids are designed differently and have their unique features, but all hearing aids have three key parts which help you hear: a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker.
The microphone listens to your environment and turns sound into a digital signal. Then, the amplifier increases (amplifies) the strength of the signal to an intensity that you can hear. Finally, the speaker plays the amplified sound into your ear!
Modern hearing aids are incredibly sophisticated devices that can perform this process virtually instantaneously. Some products even have additional features like filtering out noise or connecting to your devices and playing music through Bluetooth!
4) Is a Hearing Test Free in Ontario?
Whether or not your hearing test is covered by OHIP depends on how it is performed. If you book your own test because you wish to have your hearing checked, it’s up to you to pay for it.
On the other hand, OHIP covers a diagnostic test when it is ordered and performed by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician . In other words,your family physician would need to refer you to an ENT physician to have the test covered.
5) What’s the Difference Between Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants?
If you’ve already started doing some research into assistive devices for hearing loss, there’s a good chance that you’ve encountered devices called cochlear implants. Although hearing aids and cochlear implants may seem similar, they are very different in their functionality. A patient is assessed for a cochlear implant when they have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss and poor word discrimination in quiet environments. If candidacy is met, a cochlear implant is surgically implanted by an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) physician and the patient then must undergo aural rehabilitation for 6-12 months on average in order to learn to hear through the implant. A cochlear implant has 2 parts: an external sound processor and the implanted part that is placed under the skin behind the ear. There is an electrode connected to the implant. Cochlear implants are considered when hearing aids are not able to provide clarity and better hearing to a patient.
Hearing aids amplify sound and play these into your ear through a receiver or speaker unit. They do not need to be surgically implanted and can assist with 90 percent of hearing losses. Hearing aids are the recommended option for the majority of patients with hearing losses.
6) Can I Wear My Hearing Aids to Sleep?
Although wearing your hearing aids to sleep is unlikely to damage them, we suggest removing your hearing aids when you go to bed for two reasons:
Firstly, hearing aids are battery-powered devices, and the time you spend sleeping is also the perfect opportunity to charge them for the next day. The last thing you want is for your hearing aids to run out of battery as you go about your day, so nighttime is an ideal time to recharge them when they’re not in use. Not to mention, removing your hearing aids can help you sleep better by cutting out intrusive noises which may disrupt your sleep.
Secondly, it’s important to give your ears a break from time to time. Removing your hearing aids at night will help your ears relax and avoid some discomfort that can come from having a foreign object in them 24/7.
7) Can I Use My Hearing Aids with Headphones?
Sometimes! Over the ear headphones are usually able to cover the hearing aid microphone such that no feedback is heard. Better yet, there are even modern hearing aid models available which can connect to devices with Bluetooth and play media without the need for any headphones at all!
8) Do Hearing Aids Improve Balance?
Hearing aids are designed to improve hearing, but many people are surprised to find out that they can also improve balance. Because your sense of balance is housed in the same place as your hearing – the inner ear – getting hearing aids has been shown to also help individuals improve their balance and situational awareness, reducing the risk of falls.
9) Will Hearing Aids Damage My Hearing Further?
When people learn that hearing aids amplify sounds and make them louder, they’re often concerned that their hearing will get damaged further. This has led to the prevalent myth that having hearing aids worsens hearing damage over time.
Fortunately, hearing aid manufacturers make their assistive devices with safety features that prevent additional damage. Bear in mind, though, that these safety features only work if your hearing aids are professionally fitted and set up, so ensure that you only get hearing aids from the experts.
10) Do Hearing Aids Sound Natural?
Natural human hearing relies on an incredibly complex system of tiny bones, microscopic hairs, and ultra-sensitive eardrums. Even modern hearing aids, although they are very technologically advanced, will never be able to match natural human hearing perfectly.
Nevertheless, modern hearing aids are an excellent way for people with impaired hearing to regain their sense of hearing while achieving near-natural sound.
Your Toronto Hearing Aid Professionals at Toronto Hearing
If you’re a Torontonian looking for their first hearing aids, look no further than Toronto Hearing Consultants. Our professional audiologists help make the hearing aid buying process effortless. From a hearing test to fitting to purchasing your hearing aids and getting them set up, Toronto Hearing Consultants does it all. Click the Get In Touch button at the top of this webpage to get started today!