Hearing aids improve hearing loss, making life sound better for millions of people. These devices are available from many companies in different styles and with basic and advanced features. So how do you decide what to buy? ConsumerAffairs researched the best hearing aids in Nashville so you understand the different types, latest technology and price factors.
Benefits of hearing aids for kids, seniors and adults
Hearing loss affects over 10 percent of the U.S. population, including children and adults, according to the Food and Drug Administration. It’s most common among male seniors but affects all genders and ages.
Hearing aids don’t cure hearing loss, but they do improve hearing enough to help millions of Americans listen and communicate effectively and experience greater quality of life. Each device has a microphone that picks up sound, an amplifier to make the sound louder and a speaker that sends sound into the ear.
The benefits of hearing aids for kids, seniors and adults include:
Improved physical and mental health
Better concentration and productivity
Reduced tinnitus symptoms
What types of hearing aids are available in Nashville?
Hearing aids come in different styles. Each style is worn differently on the ear and has advantages and disadvantages.
Hearing aid styles
Behind the ear (BTE)
Hearing aid is worn in case behind ear; sound goes through tubing to earmold in outer ear
Helps improve all degrees of hearing loss; easy to handle
Most visible type of hearing aid; can cause plugged-up feeling
$1,600 - $2,800
Variation of BTE with thinner tubing; keeps ear canal open
Less visible than BTE; doesn’t plug ear; good for mild to moderate hearing loss
Small parts make it more difficult to handle and adjust; not good for severe hearing loss
$900 - $1,400
Receiver in the ear (RITE)
Similar to BTE, with speaker in the ear and tiny wire connecting pieces
Less visible behind-the-ear part; increased comfort; reduced feedback
Earwax can clog speaker
$1,700 - $3,000
In the ear (ITE)
Custom-made to fit in outer ear
Easier to handle than smaller hearing aids; helps with mild to severe hearing loss; available with more features; larger battery
Earwax can clog speaker; may pick up more wind noise than smaller hearing aids
$1,600 - $2,800
In the canal (ITC)
Custom-made to fit partly in ear canal
Less visible than larger styles; improves mild to moderate hearing loss
Earwax can clog speaker; can be difficult to adjust; smaller battery
$1,700 - $2,900
Completely in the canal (CIC)
Custom-made to fit inside ear canal
Smallest and most discreet; less sensitive to wind noise
Vulnerable to moisture and earwax buildup; fewer features; small battery
$1,700 - $3,000
How to choose a hearing aid in Nashville
As you choose a hearing aid in Nashville, consider these factors:
Your degree of hearing loss
Hearing aid style
Quality of sound
Support from hearing care professional/manufacturer
Whether there is a risk-free trial period
Also, think about which features you want on your hearing aid. Hearing aid technology has advanced significantly in a short period of time. Available features on hearing new hearing aids include:
Multiple channel settings
Getting a hearing aid test and fitting
During a hearing test and fitting, an audiologist or hearing specialist will evaluate your hearing ability, determine if you are a candidate for hearing aids, and, if so, discuss device options and offer recommendations. You likely will be asked questions about your preferences for hearing aid type, which features matter to you and your lifestyle.
Once you’re hearing aid is ready, an audiologist or hearing specialist will program your hearing aid for use and make sure it is comfortable for you to wear. You’ll learn how to use and insert and remove the hearing aid and how to care for the device. Be prepared to ask any questions, such as:
What can I expect as I adjust to my new hearing aid?
How do I use the features?
How do I charge/replace the battery?
How do I clean the hearing aid?
Do I need to come in for a follow-up appointment?
What happens if I need adjustments?
How much do hearing aids cost in Nashville?
Most hearing aids in Nashville cost between $1,000 and $4,000 per device. This price usually includes testing and fitting, the device and follow-up care, like an annual hearing exam, cleanings and adjustments. Most hearing aids come with a warranty lasting one to three years that covers damage, repairs and loss.
Many hearing aid manufacturers and hearing aid sellers offer payment plans or financing options. Private insurance plans in Tennessee must include hearing benefits for children but generally don’t cover adults; check your plan for details. The Hearing Loss Association of America has a list of hearing aid financial assistance resources.
Does Medicare cover hearing aids?
Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or hearing tests. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, check to see if the plan has hearing benefits.
Eargo hearing aids come in three models and are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss. All hearing aids come with a one-year warranty and lifetime personalized assistance, including setup. Nashville customers love how their Eargos are virtually invisible and say their hearing has improved significantly.
Miracle-Ear has over 70 years of industry experience and more than 1,400 hearing aid centers around the country, including several in Nashville. Customers in Music City choose Miracle-Ear for its cutting-edge technology, industry-leading three-year warranty and the lifetime cleanings, adjustments, repairs and annual hearing tests.
Zounds’ four hearing aid models have features like unmatched sound quality, rechargeable batteries, noise cancellation and remote control. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and monthly financing. Customers give Zounds positive reviews and recommend its hearing aids to others.
Beltone has hearing aid solutions for every lifestyle, budget and type of hearing loss. BelCare, Beltone’s program of ongoing support, includes an annual hearing evaluation, complimentary inspections and cleanings and a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. Nashville customers like Beltone’s two-year protection in case of a change in hearing loss.
ReSound Hearing Aids
ReSound has been providing hearing solutions since 1943 and has devices for hearing loss ranging from mild to profound. Advanced and intuitive apps help users personalize and control their devices. Customers like integrating their ReSound hearing aids with their smartphones and being able to quickly find their hearing aids using the Find My Hearing Aid function.
Widex Hearing Aids
Widex hearing aids are sold in over 100 countries around the world. Customers can sign up for a no-obligation trial of any Widex device, including EVOKE, marketed as the “only truly intelligent hearing aid.” Widex gets mixed reviews from customers; some mention frequent repairs and inconsistent performance.