A component of the cost of your hearing aid is related to the professional services provided to you by your Audiologist. Audiologists have considerable clinical training and are educated in normal and abnormal auditory anatomy and physiology. They can identify conditions that may require medical treatment. Audiologists are also trained to understand electronics, speech acoustics, and how the ear and brain process speech. This knowledge allows your Audiologist to select features and programming that will maximize your ability to hear speech and other important sounds in a variety of listening environments. Audiologists will also verify that your hearing aid meets a set of standards which include volume, output, cosmetic appeal, and physical comfort. If earmolds or custom hearing aids are ordered, it is necessary to ensure that their characteristics are appropriate for the degree of hearing loss and physical characteristics of the ear.
The cost of the hearing aid also includes the professional time for follow-up visits in addition to the initial fitting and orientation appointment. Follow-up appointments are usually necessary to make adjustments to the device. Everyone has unique tolerances to sound and your Audiologist may need to tailor the response of your device based on comments over an extended period of time as sounds are reintroduced to your ear.
Costs also include the hearing aid technology and the research and development which helped to design these devices. The technology in modern digital hearing aids is sophisticated and consists of microphones, amplifiers, miniature computer systems and are designed to enhance the sounds from the environment. All sounds are filtered through a series of processors to provide the best possible signal. The device is constantly analyzing the environment and making adjustments based on the type and volume of the background noise present. Many hearing aids today also have the ability to communicate with each other, as well as connect to external devices such as cell phones and other Bluetooth devices.
As is the case with many high tech electronic devices, hearing aids require the expertise of highly trained professionals for proper fitting, adjustment, function and care. That professional is your skilled and capable audiologist.