Our customers often ask why they need a recent hearing test (also known as an audiogram) when they purchase new hearing aids. Often, they think of hearing tests as simple screens for hearing loss and they do not recognize the importance of an up to date assessment.
However, a recent hearing test is as important to hearing aid performance as an eye test is to prescription eyeglasses.
A good hearing test provides a prescription for programming hearing aids to meet an individual’s exact hearing profile. A hearing professional will develop an audiogram (See image above) to record the degree of hearing loss at various tones and pitches. They will measure how well an individual hears and understands under different background noise conditions, and will assess an individual’s ability to tolerate loud sounds. Finally, they will determine whether hearing aids are recommended. If you choose to proceed, the information is then entered into specially designed software that will custom program the hearing aids to deliver maximum clarity for you. Individual programing will include variations on the filtration of background noise, and adjustments in volume, frequency, intensity levels, and maximum power output as well as a number of custom options that the individual will be offered. These inputs are completely dependent on the test results and will directly affect each individual users experience.
Individual hearing profiles can vary dramatically and can change substantially over time. “Normal” hearing ranges from 0 to 20 dB on the test in all frequencies. As we age, our high frequency hearing (shown on the right hand side of the audiogram above) declines but there is no set rate or pattern of change. These changes make it critical that hearing tests are repeated annually and that hearing aids are reprogrammed accordingly.
Getting a test: Hearing tests are offered by Audiologists and ENT doctors. As with any medical procedure, it is important to find someone that you can trust. The best place to start is someone recommended by a close friend or your doctor. When you book your test, be sure to tell them you want a copy of the results. They might charge you around $100 for this but having the test enables you to buy from anywhere you choose. We do not accept online hearing test results due to very poor accuracy.
Just as importantly, when you get a hearing tests, the doctor will examine your ear canals to be certain there is not some other health issue causing your hearing loss. Hearing loss can be caused by many conditions and it is important to verify that the use of a hearing aid or any other in-ear amplification device is the right solution for you.
When most people receive the news that they will need hearing aids, the biggest shock comes from learning how high the cost will be. It can be tempting to try and reduce the cost by buying only one aid for a “dominant” hearing ear and cut the cost in half. Unless you only have hearing loss in one ear, we strongly advice against this practice for a number of important reasons.
Your ears and your brain work in tandem to produce and interpret sounds. The brain relies on input from both ears to determine the location of sounds, filter out background noise, and to provide the inputs that will allow maximum reception of the clear speech. If the brain only receives signals from only one ear (or one hearing aid), it will not only be less clear but also the extra concentration required to hear and interpret speech can lead to stress and fatigue.
Not only do users who choose to use a single hearing aid suffer from sub-optimal hearing in the short term, they can cause more damage to their ability to hear in the longer term. If the brain receives clear signals from one ear and muffled signals from the other, it will shut off the inputs it receives from the muffled ear and the auditory nerve in the unused ear can deteriorate further.
In addition, many of the most powerful features of today’s best hearing aids are only active when two hearing aids are present. Todays high end hearing aids communicate wirelessly with each other to clarify sounds and optimize the localization of speech. To learn more about the benefits of two hearing aids, click here to read this excellent article from The Better Hearing Institute
Embrace Hearing is committed to providing the highest quality European hearing aids to our customers at about a third of the cost of Store Front retail operations. A pair of our custom programed digital hearing aids sell for $900 to $2,498, depending on performance level and processing technology. You can build you hearing aids at embracehearing.com.
Whether you choose to purchase your hearing aids from a local retailer or online, the right hearing choice is to purchase two hearing aids if this is indicated by your hearing test. Be sure to purchase good quality hearing aids with reliable professional customer support. Make sure you check independent hearing aid reviews for both the retailer and the hearing aid brand you are considering before you buy.
On Thursday, September 15th, Embrace Hearing was invited to attend and display our hearing aids at the Design for All meeting at the White House in Washington, DC.
We were proud to be part of this effort to make high quality devices and fashion with outstanding design available to all Americans who suffer from disabilities and other challenges in everyday life. Many of the innovations demonstrated and displayed at the show were extraordinary and we were humbled to be included with these progressive and talented innovators. You can see some of the highlights HERE.
Embrace Hearing is committed to making the highest quality hearing aids available at the most affordable prices so that they are accessible to everyone who suffers from hearing loss. The cost of high quality hearing aids can be prohibitive to many who suffer hearing loss and insurance programs often do not direct users to high quality hearing aid options. Our online selling model removes much of the overheads that traditional retailers must include in their costs so our customers can get the hearing quality they need, at a price they can afford. You can learn more about our models Embrace Hearing Aids
In addition, we are proud of the design of our hearing aids. Our manufacturer has been awarded multiple awards for their sleek and contemporary product designs. The technology inside the aids is the very best and we get great reviews from our customers Embrace Hearing Reviews. Other, independent, product reviews at Consumer Affairs show that our quality is as good or better than the best names in Hearing Aids and our prices make us far more affordable.
Can we make high quality beautifully designed hearing accessible to you?
Once you get over the shock of how much hearing aids cost, you may wonder if buying hearing aids online is right for you?
Think about what is more important to you … buying the best quality product or being pampered? Are you the kind of person who is willing to spend time to scour the internet for the best product at the best price? Are you willing to pick up the phone or write an email and ask for help? If quality and the best possible hearing aid price are your primary concerns, then buying online may be the right way to go.
Premium Online hearing aid retailers, like Embrace Hearing offer high quality, custom programmed European hearing aids for prices that traditional hearing aid retailers cannot compete with.
On average, a pair of custom programmed European BTE/RIC (Behind the Ear; Receiver in Canal) digital hearing aids will cost approximately $4000-$8000 (depending on performance level) at a hearing aid retail store or at an audiologist’s office. The same quality hearing aids can be bought online for approximately $1400- $2500. They will be custom programmed by a professional audiologist and they will be delivered to your door within a week. You will have 45 days to try out them out and can return them for a full refund if you don’t like them for any reason.
How do they do this? Online retailers do not have to absorb the costs associated with retail operations – prime office space, administrative staff, etc. These overhead costs make up a great deal of the cost of each hearing aid sold. In addition, a local retailer is usually limited to selling within a confined geographic region while an online retailer can serve customers all over the country, and even the world.
Are there services a local retail shop can offer its customers that an online retailer cannot? Frankly, yes. Local retailers are in a position to pamper their customers. They can change wax guards and perform minor repairs and reprogramming on the spot. However, this pampering is costing you an extra $3,000 - $5,000 and like online retailers, they will still have to return hearing aids to the manufacturer for more complicated repairs.
How does an online hearing aid retailer provide these services? Some of the services, you will provide yourself with the help of customer service teams and instructional emails and videos. Maintenance and minor repairs are straight forward and can be done by users in a few minutes or less. For major repairs and reprogramming, the hearing aids will have to be returned to the online retailer who will usually turn around your repair in a few days.
In short, the decision to buy online comes down to how much you are willing to spend, whether you are willing to do a little maintenance yourself, and if you are willing to accept that you may have to part with your hearing aids for a few days every few years for reprogramming or repair work. Buying hearing aids online is not as convenient as going to the local store, but allows purchasers to buy high quality hearing aids at affordable prices.
Whether or not you decide to buy hearing aids from a local retailer or online, your hearing aid experience will depend on purchasing good quality aids with reliable professional customer support. Be sure to look online for independent hearing aid reviews for both the retailer and the hearing aid brand you are considering before you buy and make sure you are offered no obligation trial period.
A number of years ago, both my father and father-in-law started to experience hearing loss. Communication became increasingly frustrating for everyone and eventually they were convinced to have their hearing tested. While no one was surprised that their audiologists recommended hearing aids, we were all stunned when we heard how much the recommended models were going to cost! $4,000 for a basic model and over $6000 for the best available.
I knew there had to be a better and a more affordable option. After all, incredibly sophisticated smart phones and computers cost hundreds of dollars, not thousands!
I decided to look into the industry and see what could be done. Some very smart people had looked at this issue including The New York Times: The search for an affordable hearing aid and AARP: Why do hearing aids cost so much. But most articles simply explained why they were expensive rather than what do do about it.
I quickly learned two things:
First, there are many models and options for hearing aids but the best ones are built using European technology and are custom programmed by an experienced audiologist to meet each individual patient’s hearing challenge.
Second, much of the cost of hearing aids comes from the highly costly local retail model. Hearing aid retail shops must cover the many costs that come from running a “brick-and- mortar” storefront, including rent, equipment, and staff salaries. In addition, they typically serve only a very local customer base so these exceptionally high fixed costs must be spread over very few customers, adding several thousand dollars to each order.
So, I began to wonder if it would be possible to provide high quality hearing aids without the costs of retail storefronts and retail staff while maintaining a highly experienced audiology and customer service team … and that is when I discovered Embrace Hearing.
Thanks to the Internet, Embrace Hearing can offer the highest quality audiologist programmed hearing aid technology found at a brick-and- mortar retailers for thousands of dollars less. I was really impressed and spoke with the owners and eventually decided to buy the company.
Embrace Hearing keeps costs down by:
- Buying directly from the German manufacturer. We focus on a few, really great models of hearing aids to get the best pricing possible.
- Selling exclusively online. We sell to customers anywhere – across the United States and around the world but we only sell online to keep our costs down.
- Eliminating the costs of retail storefronts and retail staff while maintaining a highly experienced audiology and customer service team.
In fact, Embrace Hearing can deliver custom programmed hearing aids directly to your home is less than a week for about 1/3 of the cost charged by the typical local retailer. That’s a savings of $2,500 - $4,000!
So, I found a solution that offers German technology, 24/7 customer service and a 45 day free trial program – 100% satisfaction or 100% of your money back.
Can I help you afford top quality hearing aids?
When we’re not suffering from hearing loss, our brain naturally adjusts to noise levels as we go about our day. For example, if we move from a quiet car to a busy restaurant, our brain will gradually become accustomed to the higher noise level in the restaurant, enabling us to easily hear conversations around us.
But after hearing loss strikes, it becomes harder for our ears (and thus our brain) to make those adjustments. Instead, we must rely upon hearing aid technology to make those adjustments for us.
Most hearing aids today are equipped with so-called “programs” that allow the listener to manually switch between hearing modes depending upon their surroundings. So a hearing aid user can toggle between a mode for quiet surroundings and a mode for noisy environments, often just with the press of a button on a remote control.
But wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to press a button at all—in other words, if you could return to the “automatic” adjustments that you experienced before hearing loss?
At Embrace Hearing our H-300 and H-700 hearing aids are equipped with new technology that does just that. It’s called AutoSurround, and it automatically fine-tunes your hearing aids’ settings as you move throughout your day.
Here’s how it works:
- More than 30 sophisticated sensors inside your hearing aids constantly scan your environment to determine the level of noise around you.
- Once the sensors have identified your current noise level, AutoSurround technology inside the hearing aids adjusts your aids’ settings to match the situation.
- Even situations that confuse other hearing aids—like a quiet room, speech in a large group, or even live or recorded music—are easily handled with AutoSurround.
- And when you move to a different environment, AutoSurround stays active, automatically adjusting to maintain the purest quality sound.
And while most customers prefer the automation offered by AutoSurround, Embrace Hearing hearing aids still offer you the ability to manually switch between hearing programs with buttons on the hearing aids or with a remote control if you so desire.
With Embrace Hearing hearing aids equipped with AutoSurround, the effortless transitions from different noise levels you experienced prior to your hearing loss are now even easier to enjoy, all without any additional work on your end.
Out with the bulky hearing aids of your grandfather’s generation. In with hearing aids designed to double as fashion-conscious accessories.
Embrace Hearing, the leading online provider of high-performance European hearing aids, is proud to unveil the results of a partnership with industrial designer Ray Fontaine to conceptually redesign the hearing aid as a reflection of the user’s personal sense of style.
Embrace is the first hearing aid company to partner specifically with designers and jewelers to create truly customized hearing aid designs.
While children’s hearing aids are often customized with glitter or stickers, there are few existing options for adults looking to add similar personal appeal. Fontaine and Embrace worked together to explore hearing aid accessories that both protected the aids and made them fashion-forward.
Embrace, which serves an ever-increasing share of the 48 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, worked with Fontaine to help her hearing aid redesign work, which she began after tackling other medical devices like insulin pumps.
Embrace provided 3D models, hearing aids, and critical information about battery and microphone schematics to help the design process.
Equipped with that information, Fontaine worked through the four phases of design, from conceptualization to computer-based and physical prototypes to finally create a working model of an integrated accessory for Embrace Hearing aids that can be decorated with customized jewelry.
Once she had created the framework for the hearing aid, Fontaine partnered with jewelers to design and install elaborate creations on each device featuring complex metalwork, stone-encrusted casings, and a range of unique shapes and forms.
“If I could do one thing for the millions of Americans wearing hearing aids, or any medical device, [it] is to provide a variety of options to personalizing the tools they have to carry with them every day and better fit those objects into their life,” Fontaine said.
Fontaine showcased her work in May at the Pratt Institute, where she completed her graduate work in industrial design.
About Embrace Hearing:
Embrace Hearing is the leading online provider of high-performance European hearing aids. By buying directly from the manufacturer without the associated costs of a brick-and-mortar operation, Embrace saves their customers thousands of dollars while still retaining world-class customer service and an experienced audiology team.
About Ray Fontaine:
A graduate from Pratt Institute’s Master of Industrial Design program, Ray Fontaine (www.rayfontainecreate.com) thrives in interdisciplinary environments. A passionate innovator, Ray participated in the Global Innovation Design program at Pratt Institute in its second year of existence (2014-2015). She visited Keio University (Tokyo), Imperial College, and Royal College of Art (London), and studied user research, design thinking, storytelling, extreme user scenario design, basic prototyping mechanics/computer science, and worked on corporate projects with companies like Pernod Ricard. She represented Japan as a National Finalist in the 2015 Mobile Asia competition, hosted in Singapore where 24 teams from 8 countries pitched ventures to investors.
Her Master’s thesis, The Engineer & The Artist: High-Tech Meets Handcrafted, investigated society’s future relationship with technology, with a focus on making personal electronics (including medical devices) more personal, approachable, and desirable. An area of passion is improving assistive tools and medical devices for individuals living with chronic illness and physical impairment. This interest has led Ray into much experimentation in the integration of fashion and technology.
Recent Blog Posts
- A Successful Hearing Aid Experience Starts with a Good Hearing Test
- Can I get just one hearing aid?
- Embrace Hearing Invited to the White House!
- Is buying hearing aids online right for me?
- When I heard how expensive Hearing Aids were, I knew I had to help!
- Embrace Hearing aids with ‘AutoSurround’ work like your brain does.
- Imagine hearing aids that double as jewelry
- Say Hello to the New H-700 from Embrace Hearing
- Too many rock shows? Hearing aids can be a solution.
- Why Should I Buy Hearing Aids Online?
- How Do I Buy Hearing Aids Online?
- How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost?
- Hearing aids and sports - a how to guide
- Hearing loss - Helpful steps to finding a solution
- Adjusting to Hearing Loss - The brain
- Hearing tests? What they measure and how to get one.
- How to maintain hearing aids
- How can I use my FSA/HSA account to buy a hearing aid?
- Hearing aid technology - A beginner's guide
- Convincing others to get the hearing aids they need