Yes, you can finally buy the latest hearing aid technology online at wholesale prices
Until recently, it was not possible to buy premium hearing aids online. You could always find cheap devices that simply amplify the sound around you but if you wanted real hearing aids with custom audiologist programming and premium technology, you had to buy at retail. But the retail business model is very inefficient with excessive overheads spread over very few local orders so the prices are way too high for the vast majority of people. As a result of these high hearing aid prices, only 1 in 5 people with hearing loss currently own hearing aids.
That was then, this is now.
Recent changes in FDA regulations have made it possible to purchase audiologist programmed hearing aids, online at about 1/3 of the cost of retail. Online retails buy in bulk and don't have the retail overheads and they pass these savings onto you. Of course you will still need a hearing test by an audiologist locally but then, the process is straight forward, can be completed from your living rooM and will save you thousands of dollars.
How do I buy hearing aids online?
It is very easy to buy hearing aids online.
- Start with hearing test. To program your hearing aids, an online company's audiology team requires a recent hearing test completed by your hearing professional. You can obtain a hearing test from a local audiologist for about $50–$100, which most insurance plans will cover. Ask your regular doctor for a recommendation if needed. And be sure to get a copy of the results - you'll need them for the next step.
Send your test to the online company like Embrace Hearing. There is no obligation and their experienced audiology team will make a recommendation of which hearing solution will be best for your specific hearing situation. This is a free service. If you would like to try this at Embrace Hearing, you can send your test in several ways: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: (917) 382-2742 or call us at (888) 929-9555 to make another arrangement.
- Embrace Hearing's audiology team will send you a recommendation the same day. Then, If you agree to proceed, you can purchase your hearing aids by phone: (888) 929-9555 or directly online at embracehearing.com.
- You will receive your hearing aids in about 7 days and they come with a 45 free trial period.
So I can save money online but what about service?
Service is the most critical function in the online model. At Embrace Hearing our approach is:
- Sell only the very best in terms of quality
- Employ an audiology team where every member has at least 10 years of hearing aid programming experience.
- Train our customers on how to maintain their hearing aids to ensure that their high performance is maintained
- Provide 24/7 phone, email, chat and Skype/video support as required
- Deliver 24 hour turn around time on basic repairs if ever required.
Save money, 45 day free trial, custom programming with the latest technology - What are we waiting for?
We all know we should be getting more exercise, regardless of our age; but more often than not, we find myriad reasons not to put our health first. Don’t let your hearing aid become yet another excuse not to stay in shape. With proper care and maintenance, your hearing aids should remain in tiptop shape whether you like to jog around town, bike through the park, or spend a day on the golf course.
Keeping your hearing aids dry during exercise
The biggest challenge facing hearing aids during exercise is the buildup of moisture that can harm delicate internal circuitry. While you clearly can’t take your hearing aids for a dip in the pool, with some basic steps they can accompany you on a run or onto the court.
The biggest source of moisture while exercising isn’t surprising: it’s sweat—and it can harm your hearing aids if you don’t take some simple precautions.
Researchers, including Ronald Schow at the University of Idaho, have found that Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are vulnerable when “beads of perspiration form in the hair along the top of the hearing aid” and gradually seep inside.
Therefore, keeping sweat from reaching the circuitry of the BTE hearing aid is the most important step in keeping your devices working problem-free even as you exercise.
Luckily, there are some cost-effective solutions to prevent sweat from penetrating the aid. Among the most popular are special sweat-resistant pouches made just for your hearing aids. One such option is Ear Gear, which slips over your hearing aid and prevents moisture from entering into the electronics.
An even easier solution is to wear a headband or sweatband while exercising, which can help keep sweat from reaching your hearing aids in the first place.
Protecting your hearing aids during exercise
Though moisture is the biggest threat to hearing aids, it’s worth remembering that even the best-fitted aids can come loose during a rough-and-tumble session on the basketball court or the football field and can risk being damaged.
To help avoid accidentally knocking your hearing aids loose, you can use a product such as the Oto Clip, which attaches to your hearing aids and then clips onto your clothes.
Clothes, too, make a difference in the protection of your hearing aids. Sara Batinovich, who wrote a book on managing hearing loss, recommends investing in zip-front sweatshirts rather than hooded varieties, which can disturb your hearing aid placement. She also reminds that bike helmets and even baseball hats need to be carefully sized to avoid interfering with a comfortable hearing aid fit.
Caring for your hearing aids after exercise
Once your workout is complete, it’s a good idea to take a few rudimentary steps to ensure that your hearing aid is properly clean and dry and ready for your next adventure.
One piece of equipment is especially useful in helping maintain your hearing aids after they’ve been exposed to moisture: the By storing your hearing aids in one of these self-contained drying units overnight, you’re ensuring that any remaining moisture in the aid is safely removed. Many units also sanitize the aids as well, ensuring that no bacteria grows inside the aid or the tubing while it is damp.
In addition to the dry box, a simple cleaning is always good practice after wearing your hearing aids during exercise. You can help remove moisture from the tubing by using a compressed air canister and can brush dirt and debris free of the hearing aid with a small cleaning kit.
As with any piece of technology, if you invest time in maintaining your hearing aids after you use them, you’ll extend their lifetime and help identify potential issues much faster.
While exercise with your hearing aids requires some planning, hearing aids can be safely worn during your favorite (non-aquatic) sport. In fact, being able to properly hear can be a huge asset for your own safety—and it might even improve your performance on the golf course, too.
Hearing loss can come in many forms and levels of severity: a slight ringing in your ears or difficulty hearing high-pitched voices all the way up to challenges hearing the majority of sounds. But no matter the severity, it’s important to understand how hearing loss actually works and the steps you can take to cope with it, whether it’s key questions to ask your physician or ways to manage your important relationships.
To truly understand hearing loss, it helps to understand how we hear in the first place. Remember, when dealing with your health, equipping yourself with the proper information can be enormously empowering. If you understand the issue, it’s much easier to figure out how to cope with it.
How Hearing Works
When we hear a sound, we are actually interpreting sound waves that enter our ears and reach our brain via nerves. Sound waves travel into the ear via the ear canal and through the eardrum, which passes vibrations through a series of small bones into the inner ear. Once sound reaches the inner ear, thousands of hair cells pass the waves to the auditory nerve, which carries it to the brain.
How Hearing Loss Works
Over time, the component parts of the ear can begin to fail. One of the most common age-related issues is the gradual loss of hair cells in the inner ear, making it more difficult for sound waves to travel through the inner ear and into the brain. This process can be exacerbated by years of exposure to loud noises (such as live music and gas powered motors or machinery), which can cause a buildup of damage in the ear.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly 50% of adults over age 75 have some form of age-related hearing loss.
There are other complications that can lead to hearing loss, too, although age-related loss is most common. Infections, trauma to the head, tumors, and severe allergies can all play a role in a loss of hearing ability.
It’s important, if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, to consult your physician, who will likely recommend a hearing test to better understand the type and severity of your loss.
How to Cope: Ask Questions
Once you find out that you’re suffering from hearing loss—and have an understanding of why it’s happening—it’s time to figure out what to do next.
One of the most important steps in the process is to consult with your physician and the audiologist who carried out your hearing test. They can examine your audiogram (the graphical results of your hearing test) to determine the most appropriate next steps.
For many hearing loss sufferers, perhaps the best first step they can take is to simply ask questions. Here are a few common questions you may want to consider asking your doctor or audiologist:
- How severe is my hearing loss? Though you may think you understand how severe your hearing loss is, your physician or audiologist has access to diagnostic tools that can provide you answers with much greater detail. For example, an audiogram can reveal the severity of hearing loss through multiple measurements—so make sure to ask your physician or audiologist to explain the severity of your hearing loss to you and provide you with your test results.
- Why should I treat my hearing loss? One of the most common questions facing many hearing loss sufferers is why they should treat their hearing loss at all, as many have figured out coping mechanisms to deal with their hearing issues. But most doctors and audiologists will tell you that hearing loss left untreated can result in everything from social isolation to trouble with balance and movement. For example, a 2012 study found that hearing loss even at low levels tripled the risk of falls, while another found it doubled the risk of developing dementia.
- Am I a good candidate for hearing aids? Many hearing loss sufferers believe that hearing aids will restore their hearing to the same level they enjoyed prior to loss. While hearing aids can be a major step forward in terms of quality of life and overall health, not every hearing loss sufferer is a good candidate for using them. Make sure to ask a hearing professional whether your type of hearing loss is the right fit for hearing aids. If your doctor does recommend hearing aids, don’t be daunted by the retail sticker price of $4000 to $7000. High-quality hearing aids can be purchased online, at retailers like Embrace Hearing, for about $1,500 to $2,000.
How To Cope: Take Care of Yourself
“Hearing loss can create a psychological solitary confinement,” wrote Dr. Claudia Dewane, who suffers hearing loss herself and counsels others through the process. Despite this, Dewane notes, “many older adults with hearing loss deny the disability or the impact it exerts on their quality of life.”
Dewane and other professionals urge hearing loss sufferers—whether they have struggled with hearing loss for a long time or are suddenly learning to cope with it—to make recognizing the issue the first, and most crucial, step.
While this may seem obvious, statistics say otherwise: an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from hearing loss but don’t seek out hearing aids for help.
If you’re able to recognize that your hearing loss is an issue, you can take positive steps to help yourself cope mentally, too, including:
- finding a support group or engaging with your peers who also suffer hearing loss;
- learning more about hearing loss and the technologies that exist to help, including hearing aids and hearing loops;
- visiting a therapist, counselor or other professional who can help teach coping strategies, including boosting your self-esteem.
For many people, hearing loss is a natural part of life—but that doesn’t mean you can’t understand it and learn how to cope with its effects. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the more proactive you can be in finding solutions that work for you.
When neuroscientists talk about the brain’s flexibility, they often use the term “plasticity.” What they mean is that your brain is able to adapt to changes it experiences over your lifetime, so that as your circumstances change, so does the way your brain works.
Researchers have studied how the brains of the blind have reconfigured themselves to cope without sight, and how other circumstances can lead the brain to favor one capability over another. They have even found that London’s famed cab drivers have brains better adapted to navigating the city’s streets.
So what does this mean if you are suffering hearing loss?
First, the good news: your brain will adapt to your loss of hearing. A research team found in 2015 that even in people suffering from mild hearing loss, the parts of the brain responsible for hearing are instead increasingly used for vision or touch, senses that are likely to become more acute to compensate for the loss of your ability to hear.
“Cross-modal recruitment of the hearing portion of the brain by the senses of vision and touch happens not only in deaf patients, but is also clearly apparent in adult patients with only a mild degree of hearing loss,” researcher Anu Sharma of the University of Colorado told the Acoustical Society of America when announcing her findings.
In other words, even small amounts of hearing loss can lead the brain to compensate for its new handicap.
But now, the bad news: even though the brain is trying to adapt to its new reality, it may actually inadvertently be doing damage. That same 2015 study indicates that when the portion of the brain devoted to hearing shrinks with hearing loss, the brain must devote additional resources to processing any sound at all. Though there isn’t a clear understanding of the impact of this “cognitive overload,” the research team believes that it might account for the high rates of dementia among patients who also experience hearing loss as they grow older.
Now the good news: the sooner you get hearing aids, the better it is for your brain.
The moral of the story is clear to Sharma and her colleagues: anyone experiencing even mild hearing loss should seek medical help to make sure they aren’t making harder to improve their hearing in the long term.
“Given that even small degrees of hearing loss can cause secondary changes in the brain, hearing screenings for adults and intervention in the form of hearing aids should be considered much earlier to protect against reorganization of the brain,” she advised.
And just like your brain adapted to life with hearing loss, it will also adapt to life with improved hearing courtesy of hearing aids. But the process can take some time. Most audiologists advise wearing your hearing aids consistently to give your brain ample time to re-adjust to hearing certain sounds.
The brain is highly adaptable and tries to adjust to limitations as best it can. But do your brain a favor and seek the help you need to understand and treat your hearing loss, if possible. You’ll be doing yourself—and your brain—a favor.
The single most essential step in finding the right hearing aid begins before you even start shopping. It’s the hearing test, an audiologist-administered exam that determines the severity and type of hearing loss you or a loved one might be experiencing.
And though it can sound daunting, the test itself shouldn’t be a cause for anxiety. Instead, a well-administered exam can help you answer some crucial questions and put you on the path towards better hearing.
To help you prepare for a hearing test, here are some commonly asked questions from test participants:
What does a hearing test really measure? Hearing tests look for the amount of sound a person can hear via their inner ear. During the hearing process, sound waves hit the inner ear as vibrations, triggering nerves to send signals to the brain, which interprets the noise. With hearing loss, those waves don’t reach your brain as effectively, often due to difficulties within the inner ear or the nerves transmitting signals to the brain. A hearing test can diagnose how effectively sound is traveling through your inner ear by measuring a variety of factors, which, when combined, present a portrait of your current level of hearing ability.
How does a hearing test work? A hearing test often consists of a series of exams conducted by a trained audiologist. Among the most common types of hearing exams include:
Hearing a tone: Typically an audiologist will transmit a sound tone set at multiple pitches (how high or low the sound seems to your brain) to study how you hear at different frequencies.
Hearing a whisper: An audiologist will often test your ability to hear spoken speech by speaking (or playing a recording of someone else speaking) at different volume levels. They may also have you repeat words back to them to test your perception.
Testing your brain’s response to sound: Hearing tests frequently include an exam that studies the electrical stimulation within the brain to sound waves, which helps audiologists determine how much sound information your brain is receiving.
A typical hearing test takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete. Hearing tests can cost anything from $0 to $150 but are often—although not always—covered by insurance. Check with your health insurance provider to determine your coverage. If there are out-of-pocket costs, Costco provides hearing tests free of charge.
What’s an audiogram, and how do I read it? An audiogram is the series of graphic results that are given to you after you complete your hearing test, and which are also used to program hearing aids, should you need them. You’ll receive one audiogram which shows results for both your ears, graphed independently of each other so you can see how each ear responds to sound.
Make sure you ask your audiologist for help interpreting your audiogram results. Audiograms show a variety of data in a line graph format, with the pitch (how high or low a sound seems to your brain) graphed vertically and the intensity (or volume of a sound) graphed horizontally.
You’ll also find that audiograms typically have a score for your ability to recognize spoken words, too, which is listed separately.
Audiograms are essential components of a hearing test. Make sure you’re confident that you fully understand your results before leaving your audiologist. You may also ask the audiologist to explain what spectrum of hearing loss you’re experiencing, which will help in determining if a hearing aid is right for you (or if your type of hearing loss can be improved by a hearing aid at all.)
How important are hearing tests? Who should conduct them? A hearing test is a vital step in determining how to treat hearing loss. If you suspect that you may be experiencing hearing loss, seek out an audiologist for a test. It’s a relatively quick process that can result in crucial information about your health.
Too many hearing loss sufferers delay receiving a hearing test. “Every hearing health professional is familiar with the statistics that show a delay of seven to 10 years or more between the time an older person first suspects a hearing loss and professional help is sought,” notes audiologist Dr. Arlene Carson.
Yet once they’re administered, hearing tests can equip a hearing loss sufferer with important information that can later be used to properly program hearing aids and inform doctors about the current state of their hearing.
When looking for a hearing test provider, make sure you choose a professional who has completed graduate-level training in audiology. In many states, professional audiologists must be licensed by both national and state-level boards. Above all, though, make sure you choose someone who makes you comfortable and is open, honest, and willing to tackle any questions you may have.
Like any device we rely upon—whether it’s a laptop, a cell phone, or a desktop printer—ahearing aid has to work when we need it. And like any of those, hearing aids work better when they are properly maintained.
Keeping your hearing aids in top working condition doesn’t have to be daunting, or an excuse for a costly trip to a repair shop. Instead, some basic preventive maintenance can go a long way towards keeping your hearing aid functional and error-free.
Among the most basic steps you can take to maintain your hearing aids is to be mindful of earwax.
How can I keep my hearing aid free of earwax?
The human body produces earwax to keep our ear canals moist and free of unwanted debris. Unfortunately, that means it can also hinder devices we do want in our ears, including earbud headphones and hearing aids.
Though BtE (behind the ear) hearing aids, such as Embrace Hearing models, are less susceptible to wax than aids that sit fully in the ear, it’s still important to consider the impact that earwax build-up has on your aid. In fact, researchers found that earwax is one of the most common reasons that all types of hearing aids stop working. In fact, they are still working fine, they are just plugged.
Wax is particularly common on any parts of the aid that sit inside the ear canal, such as the speaker (also called the receiver) in Embrace Hearing aids, which projects sound into the ear canal. If enough wax builds up on the speaker, it can muffle sound or even damage the aid. In some cases, earwax can even lead the hearing aid to switch itself off.
Simple daily cleaning of the aid will not only help reduce the risk of wax-related damage but also ensure that you’re hearing the clearest sounds from the aid. Many hearing aid professionals recommend inspecting your hearing aids in the evening as part of a regular routine. It is also a good idea to replace the domes when they become discolored or damaged.
Most premium hearing aids come with replaceable wax guards. These very small white “guards” can only be seen when the dome is removed. They perform the critical job of keeping wax out of the speaker. Any time your hearing aids seem quieter than normal and seem to cut in and out, always start by replacing the wax guards.
For guidelines on cleaning the components of Embrace Hearing aids, including how to replace wax guards and domes, take a look at our library of instructional videos, including methods for cleaning the hearing aid tubing and replacing an earwax guard.
What steps can I take to make earwax less of an issue?
A good place to start is to simply be diligent in talking to your doctor about when it’s necessary to remove earwax. Unlike the cotton swabs of your youth, doctors now recommend a variety of non-invasive removal methods to treat earwax buildup, including wax softeners and water rinses.
Depending on how much earwax you produce, your doctor also might recommend simply washing out your ear canals while taking a shower.
Sure, earwax is an unpleasant fact of life, but don’t let it stop you from utilizing your hearing aids to the fullest. A brief conversation with your doctor and some routine preventive maintenance will go a long way towards ensuring optimal performance from your aid.
If you’ve been meaning to invest in a hearing aid for you or a dependent this year, take a look at your FSA or HSA options. These tax-free savings accounts are great assets that can help lower the cost of hearing aids significantly, but some accounts need to be used before the end of the year.
How can I use my FSA/HSA account to buy a hearing aid?
If you have one of these accounts already set up in 2015, hearing aids are reimbursed in the same way as any other covered medical expense, such as eyeglasses or dental work.
I have an FSA/HSA account but I don’t have enough money in it to pay for hearing aids. What should I do?
If you need hearing aids but don’t have sufficient funds in your account, speak to your plan holder about increasing your deposit to cover the hearing aids you are looking for. Remember these funds are deposited tax free so you can still save significantly on your aids.
I don’t have an FSA or HSA. What are they?
If you are covered under an employer’s health insurance plan, you may have access to a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA), where you can store funds intended for out-of-pocket medical expenses. The funds in these accounts can be used for medical costs not covered by your insurance, including buying a hearing aid.
An HSA/FSA allows account holders to pay for current health care expenses and save for those in the future. Its advantage is that contributions are tax-deductible, or if made through a payroll deduction, are pre-tax. Second, the interest earned on the account balance is tax-free.
How do they work?
You deposit money as a payroll deduction (FSA) or directly (HSA). When it comes time to actually make the purchase, it’s easy to access the funds in your account. Often you can access your FSA and HSA funds via a debit card, which can be used when you make your purchase. If you don’t have access to a debit card, you can submit receipts from your purchases to your insurance company or employer for reimbursement from your account. Since this is your money simply stored in an outside account, there is never a debate about how much insurance companies will reimburse, as long as it’s a qualified expense.
How much time do I have to use these accounts?
HSA accounts roll over into the following year. But if you’re planning on using FSA funds, remember that you need to make your purchase by December 31 to be eligible to use your account.
How do I set up an account for next year?
Talk to your employer or insurance company about how to set up an account. It’s easy: you commit to an annual amount at the beginning of the year and you use the money when you need it. Remember this is a pre-tax payment, so you don’t pay income tax on your deposits or when you use the funds for a qualified expense. So by using these accounts in your purchase, you are buying your hearing aids income-tax free!
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