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Tips on hearing aid purchase
#1
Tips on hearing aid purchase
I have an appointment scheduled tomorrow for hearing tests. I’ve had tinnitus for years along with hearing loss which is getting to the point I need to do something about it. Does anyone have any tips on selecting and purchasing hearing aids? The one feature I’m sure I want is Bluetooth capability. Other than that, I’m not sure what else I need to consider. 

I know I will have to keep an eye on the doctors and DME. The insurance provider I have uses a management company that is supposed to help set everything up. So far they have only made things more complicated. I may end up taking my prescription and going on my own instead of taking the so called “discounts” offered for using the management company. I guess it could be worse. I’m fortunate enough to have coverage for hearing aids.
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#2
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
After many years of hearing loss, my husband finally went to our ENT doctor, and was sent for testing.  If you think dealing with a DME and purchasing a Cpap is stressful, then beware!

Just like Cpap, do research and if you can drag any information from your insurance company on what your coverage is, do it ahead of time.

First, the hearing tests went well, and off course he can’t hear.  Good thing I went with him. Now off to another room, where they have an array of hearing aids to choose from.  

Three or four different manufacturers, and any color you could possibly want. Rolleyes
You can choose from digital or battery powered.  

I don’t recommend battery powered, as you will be changing the batteries weekly.
My husband choose digital (Bluetooth).  You just pop them into a little case to charge at night.  You can then set this up on your IPhone, and adjust your own settings as needed.  
Of course, they frown on you for making your own changes. Sound familiar?  Too-funny

Now the fun part.  We were handed a phamphlet that gave a breakdown of prices.   Shock-2

We had a choice of Good, Best and Premium....from $3500.00, $5500.00 to $7000.00 for a set.(Meaning two hearing aids.)  Your lucky if you only need one.  We choose the mid price as they told us his hearing loss was so bad that the lowest price hearing aids would not work for him.

Now my head is swimming, knowing that our coverage was up to $1,100 per hearing aid.

Also, I was quite aware that this company was contracted with Humana Medicare (which is what my husband has), and just like Cpap, they will overbill, but receive much less.

Also, know that if you have Medicare coverage, they should not be able to “balance bill” you for anything not covered.  

Well, Medicare denied coverage, so we had to appeal it.  I believe they do that just to put you through hell.  They finally reconsidered and paid $600.00 per hearing aid for a total of $1200.00.  And of course the Doctor balanced billed us for $4300.00, and even offered us a 12 month, no interest contract.   Huhsign

I called Humana, and they said that per the contracted agreement, they have to accept Medicare’s payment in full and cannot balance bill us. Then the Doctor appealed, but didn’t receive any more.

It’s taken us several months to get this all straightened out.  We only ended up paying 20% copay of the covered amount of $1200.00 which was $240.00.  

It was a battle, but he finally received his hearing aids and they work well.  He can no longer ignore me. Smile

Sorry for the long post.  I know that many folk don’t have coverage for hearing aids, so I am grateful that in the end, we didn’t pay much.  But the stress they put you through is insane.  

If you don’t have coverage, then you need to shop around.  

I hope your experience is better.
OpalRose
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE.  ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA.  INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#3
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Opalrose offered a lot of insights from a personal story. I will just add, don't overlook heavily discounted sources like Costco and Walmart. They offer modern BT hearing aids at prices that are a fraction of the small shops and doctors that sell equipment. Consumer Reports has reviewed hearing aids if you have access. Their article discusses the different types of hearing aids, features, how they work, how to tune them, working with a hearing healthcare provider, shopping tips and getting started with your new hearing aids.

The hearing aid ratings place the Costco Kirkland brand at the top of the list followed by Signia, Oticon, Phonak, Widex, Recon, Rexton, Liberty and so on down the list. Ratings are based on our Spring 2018 survey from 17,626 CR members reporting on their prescription hearing aids. It may be worthwhile for you to access this article.
Sleeprider
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#4
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
The info OpalRose gave is in line with what I'd have passed on. I tested for hearing aids about a year and a half in the past for hearing loss and tinnitus. Glad you've got insurance because these typically aren't covered and are expensive. To combat tinnitus, go digital. If you can go digital with BT all the better. I was told digital units have notch filters for editing small sections of the sound frequency spectrum which is important in tinnitus reduction. I'd not be at all surprised if you experience something like that with CPAP DME headaches.
Dave

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#5
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Thanks for the information, OpalRose. It is exactly what I was looking for. The models I am looking at have the features you listed at about the same price range you quoted, plus I get a small discount. Fortunately, my insurance will cover 80% for up to 2 hearing aids every 10 years. Unfortunately I don’t have Medicare to put a cap on the price, but I my insurance works the same way. 

Thanks for tips, Sleeprider. I will look into the resources you gave me. I’ve been researching the different brands, styles and prices. I hadn’t thought of Costco. It may be the best source if I have to purchase on my own. The cost would still be covered by insurance, but I would lose some discounts.
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#6
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Are you a veteran? If so, go to the closest VA first. Just yesterday, I was talking to a veteran, and the subject of hearing aids came up. 

He went to his local VA and his hearing aids ended up being free. I'm a veteran as well, and I do have some hearing issues, but I'm just not yet ready to act on them. 

Anyways, just thought that I'd mention this in case you are a vet.
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#7
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Thanks for the suggestion, Big Guy. Unfortunately I’m not a veteran.
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Advisory Members serve as an "Advisory Committee" to help shape Apnea Board's rules & policies. Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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#8
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Dang, Dave, I didn’t see your post. Guess I need new glasses, as well. That’s what happens when I log in on my phone. 

I’ve already decided on a digital in the ear with Bluetooth. I drive a great deal where I work so I use Bluetooth headset. I would like to carry that functionality over to the hearing aids. It’s amazing what you can do with an iPhone using Siri these days.
Useful Links
Download OSCAR
Organize your OSCAR and SleepyHead charts
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Advisory Members serve as an "Advisory Committee" to help shape Apnea Board's rules & policies. Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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#9
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
No problem, I sneak up on ya sometimes. Post updates if/when you buy. I'll need a pair to fight tinnitus and some hearing loss, I'll probably need to do out of pocket after disability approval.
Dave

OSCAR
Standard OSCAR Chart Order
Mask Primer
Dealing With A DME
Soft Cervical Collar Wiki
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#10
RE: Tips on hearing aid purchase
Will do. I’m going to buy. I’m getting tired of not being able to hear. The info sleeprider pointed me to was very helpful.
Useful Links
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Advisory Members serve as an "Advisory Committee" to help shape Apnea Board's rules & policies. Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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