What is it?
A comprehensive hearing evaluation is the most accurate way to determine hearing ability and audiologists are the only professionals licensed to do so. The evaluation is painless and includes an assessment of middle ear function, pure tone thresholds and speech testing. When done properly, a comprehensive hearing evaluation, coupled with a thorough case history, will give the audiologist important information about type and severity of hearing loss. In some cases it will confirm normal hearing. Audiologists are also trained to identify ear disease.
Is there a charge?
Yes there is, but the charges are filed with insurance and are typically covered under most plans. Not only are you getting the most accurate testing, but you are also getting the expertise to interpret the testing from Dr. Schwalbach and Dr. Murray.
Why can I get tests for free elsewhere?
You can only get basic hearing tests from licensed hearing aid dealers. They are not allowed to charge for evaluations and they are not trained to diagnose ear disease. You may find that you can get free hearing screenings as well, but they only estimate hearing levels and they will NOT identify any underlying problems. Furthermore, no treatment can be implemented based on a hearing screening.
How long does it take?
A comprehensive hearing evaluation takes approximately 1/2 hour, however there will be discussion after the testing to explain the results and determine a course of treatment if there is hearing loss.
What ages can be tested?
People of all ages from infants to adults can be tested. Dr. Schwalbach is our pediatric specialist and welcomes children from newborn to 18 years old. Both Dr. Schwalbach and Dr. Murray work with adults.
What is the process?
Just call our office and schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation. Some insurance companies, such as Medicare, require a referral from your primary care physician, but most companies do not require a referral. Our patient care specialist, will help you find an appointment time that works for you and can let you know if a referral is needed. Be sure to bring your insurance information with you when you come for your appointment.
What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a small digital device that you wear in or behind your ear. It processes sound to correct a person’s hearing loss, allowing them to hear, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities. A hearing aid can help people hear much better in quiet and noisy situations. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.
How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?
If you think you might have hearing loss, come in and consult with Dr. Schwalbach and Dr. Murray. They are experts in determining candidacy for amplification based on hearing test results, your personal experiences with your hearing and a thorough case history. They are able to discuss the degree and type of hearing loss you have, coupled with your perceived difficulties in your ability to communicate and then prescribe a suitable hearing aid or hearing aid system for you, if it is deemed necessary. Always know that they will give you honest answers, expert advice and incredible results!
How does a hearing aid work?
Digital hearing aids convert sound waves into numerical codes, similar to the binary code of a computer, and then use mathematics to change the numeric codes before turning them back into sound. Because the code also includes information about a sound’s pitch or loudness, the aid can be specially programmed to match your hearing loss. Digital circuitry gives Dr. Schwalbach and Dr. Murray more flexibility in programming the aid to your individual needs and listening environments. A digital hearing aid properly programmed for your needs will allow you the freedom to communicate in most every environment with ease. Today, Dr. Schwalbach and Dr. Murray fit hearing aids to an individual’s hearing loss, just like an eye doctor fits glasses.
Which hearing aid will work best for me?
The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss, dexterity issues, and demands your lifestyle puts on your hearing. If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural and comprehensive signal to the brain. Not only does hearing in both ears (binaurally) help you understand speech better, it also helps in locating where sound is coming from. Dr. Schwalbach and Dr. Murray will help select a hearing aid system that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
What is the total cost of the hearing aid?
The total cost of a hearing aid mainly depends on the level of technology and number of features it has. You should have your bottom line price up front and remember you are not just buying a device but also our long term care and expertise during the selection process and trial period and beyond.
Beware of gimmicks like "45% OFF MSRP” or “FREE SCREENINGS” that are used to mislead consumers. MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) of a product is an over-inflated price the manufacturer suggests that the retailer try and sell it for. Very few practices actually sell hearing aids at that price as part of their regular price structure because they are so inflated. Often times that special offer is really not so special! Honest audiologists never use MSRP to set their prices. That is why Audiology Associates of Harrisonburg will never use gimmicks.
A hearing aid can not be fit with a hearing screening. A comprehensive exam is necessary in order to determine hearing loss, and by law must be used when prescribing a hearing aid. People can be lured in with a free screening offer only to learn they will then have to pay for a complete exam.
Do the benefits of newer technology outweigh cost?
Today’s technology is absolutely amazing in its ability to deal with background noise, feedback, and speech understanding, all of which were problems with old hearing aids. Hearing aid prices have not increased at a pace in line with inflation. You can actually get a more sophisticated digital hearing aid in the same price range as your old hearing aid. There are different levels of digital technology. The more expensive the aid, the better the performance in all listening environments, however, at Audiology Associates of Harrisonburg, there are levels of technology and price ranges to suit every budget and meet the needs of every patient’s hearing loss.
Is there a trial period to test the hearing aids?
We offer a 30 day trial period on all hearing aids. This allows you to "test drive" the hearing aids in familiar settings. We want to make sure that the hearing aid you wear is the best one possible for you.
At Audiology Associates of Harrisonburg, we have the knowledge and expertise to troubleshoot and repair many hearing aid issues in our office. Whether the hearing aid is acting up, not operating at all or if it has minor structural damage, Dr. Murray and Dr. Schwalbach can often correct the problem without having to send the aid out for repair. It may be necessary, however, for any hearing aid problem that is too great to be repaired in our office to be sent to a manufacturer for repair. Most often, hearing aids that need to be returned to the manufacturer can be repaired and returned to the wearer within a 2 week time-frame. Audiology Associates of Harrisonburg can often supply a loaner hearing aid while yours is being repaired. With an extensive knowledge base at their disposal, Dr. Murray and Dr. Schwalbach have the ability to work with any aid, with any problem, from any manufacturer. Feel free to bring your hearing aid in and ask questions.