What is the Michigan Hearing Expert Difference?
1. We Build Long Term Relationships
We don’t just treat hearing loss, we treat you as a whole. We learn who you are and what’s
important to you. Many of our patients have worked with us for years. Relationships are the best
part of our workday – they are why we do what we do.
2. Highest Trained Professionals
As Doctors of Audiology, we are the highest trained professionals in our field. Our more
comprehensive understanding of hearing problems means we can serve you better.
3. Combined Services with Ear Nose and Throat Doctors
Most other audiology offices do not work with Ear Nose and Throat Doctors, but we do. If you have
wax problems, ear fluid, or another medical problem, we can schedule you for a same day
4. Real Ear Measurement
When you buy hearing aids with us, we use Real Ear Measurement to make sure you can
hear your best. This technology simulates hearing in the real word. It’s no wonder the American
Academy of Audiology recommends Real Ear Measurement to verify the performance of hearing
Don’t trust your hearing loss to just anyone. Your brain and health are far too important! At Michigan Hearing Experts, we put your interests first, no matter what. As a team of Doctors of Audiology and Medical Doctors, we’re held to oaths stating that we will act in your best interest. Our practice is independent, is tied to no one, and exists only to serve you well.
Do I Need a Referral from My Doctor?
Just call us – 616-994-2770.
We’ll take it from there.
What if I Don’t Do Anything – Will my Hearing Get Worse?
If you don’t do anything – your hearing will get worse. All hearing function declines with time. Our team likes to explain this by saying that our ears and brain simply weren’t designed to last 150 years. However, this doesn’t mean you should throw your hands in the air and give up. There are things you can do.
How Can I Stop More Hearing Loss?
Protect Your Ears
Loud and prolonged noises will damage your ears further. Thus, we recommend you limit exposure to loud sounds. This include things such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, loud sporting events, and even a hair dryer. If you are going to be around these noises, we recommend protecting your ears with ear plugs. Standard ear plugs cost less than $1 and can protect your ears up to 20 decibels. They should be thrown away after a few uses. If you need more robust and regular protection, then custom ear plugs may be a good option for you. Custom ear plugs are molded to your ears, last longer, and are much more durable.
Wear Hearing Aids
Hearing aids do not slow any physical hearing loss, but certainly are a proven strategy to keep your ears and brain active. Have you ever heard of the old adage, “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” This is hearing loss. If we don’t use our ears and brain regularly, “we lose it.” In fact, hearing aids may not work if you start using them too late because the centers in your brain responsible for hearing and understanding haven’t been worked out. Thus, hearing aids are wonderful way to keep your system going.
My Hearing Loss Really Isn’t That Bad – Do I Need Hearing Aids?
Anyone with medically proven hearing loss will benefit from hearing aids, even if you don’t feel like your hearing loss isn’t that bad.
What you need to understand is that you actually hear with your brain – not your ears! This makes a big difference in answering this question. Hearing with your brain means that even a small amount of hearing loss keeps your brain from being fully stimulated. Research shows that hearing loss is linked to brain wasting, memory problems, social isolation, and relationship stress. In addition, the latest research shows that even those with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia. Ouch. Who wants that?
With Hearing Aids, Will I Hear Better Right Away?
Hearing aids will most certainly help you hear better immediately. Every day we have people who come to our office, are fitted for hearing devices, and walk away in amazement over how well they can hear. It’s like the person who couldn’t see, puts on a pair of glasses, and voila…they can see! To help people rediscover the ability to hear again is awesome! It’s why we do what we do.
At the same time, we cannot expect the brain and nerve pathways to be so quick in their response to hearing aids. It really does take time for your ears and brain to get used to hearing aids. If you’ve put hearing loss off for a while, wearing hearing aids will send new messages to your brain that it hasn’t heard in a while. It takes a while for your body to get used to these new signals. Slowly, but surely your body will settle in and will find its new normal.
Does Health Insurance Pay for Hearing Aids?
Though 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, most health insurances do not help pay for hearing aids. In fact, 8 out of 10 people who buy hearing aids do not buy hearing aids with a health insurance benefit. We recommend that you call your health insurance company before you meet with us to see if your health insurance helps pay for hearing aids. It could save you money!
It’s easy – here’s how:
1. Find your health insurance card
2. Call the number on the back of the card
3. Ask: Does my health insurance help towards covering the cost of hearing aids?
Can I Use Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Dollars to Buy Hearing Aids?
Most people who use an HSA or FSA to buy hearing aids save 15-35% off hearing aids.
If you have health insurance through your work, you may have access to either an HSA or an FSA. These are accounts where you can save money tax-free to spend on medical costs, even if they aren’t covered by your insurance. Everyday people use these accounts to cover the cost of medical co-payments, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, dental work, and, yes, hearing aids!
These accounts are easy to set up. Simply talk to someone in your Human Resources department about how to do so. FSAs need to have money deposited in them through pay-roll deduction and need to be used before the end of the calendar year. HSAs “rollover” meaning any money you put into the account stays there forever. Any interest you earn on an HSA grows tax-free – another cool benefit. There are no tax problems so long as you use the money on qualified medical expenses – which of course as you know by now,
includes hearing aids!
Is it Smart to Buy Hearing Aids at a Grocery Store Club?
Though buying hearing aids through a grocery store club may seem like an attractive option, many people aren’t aware of the problems that follow. There is a large difference when you work with an independent medical practice compared to club stores. Here’s where club stores fall short:
1. Device Locking
Grocery store clubs can perform device locking. Device locking means your devices can only be serviced within their store. This limits your options when your devices need a tune up.
2. Defeatured Devices
Hearing devices sold in big box stores are typically defeatured. This is when certain premium technologies in hearing aids are turned off by the manufacturer before they are even sold to the store. Without premium technology, you don’t hear as well.
3. Poor Customer Service
Chain stores and grocery clubs are large enterprises and consequently their customer service is poor. One major club store has a hearing department that is rated 2.5 stars out of 5. Of people who buy their first set of devices through a grocery store club, only 25% return to buy their second set there.
Why do Hearing Aids Cost What They Do?
This is the age-old question.
Let us explain.
1. Research and Development
A large portion of the cost of hearing aids comes from Research and Development. The top companies spend millions of dollars each year to make hearing aids smarter, safer, and more comfortable – this isn’t cheap for them. You may not realize it, but we benefit from them spending money to make our world better. Contrary to what some people believe, hearing aid cost is not gouging, is not a monopoly, and is not a conspiracy.
2. Advanced Digital Technology
Cheaper hearing aids simply increase the volume of sound and do not offer sound processing. This leaves sounds to be grainy, uncontrolled, and not clear. Premium hearing aids use newer digital software which filters out unwanted sounds. This allows you to hear well in any environment. Digital technology is always changing.
3. Professional Services
In order to get the full benefit from hearing aids, they must be fitted properly by a Doctor of Audiology or other hearing aid professionals. Our providers spend a handful of hours for each patient we serve throughout the entire process. Many times the frequent visits you need with a Doctor of Audiology are bundled into one upfront cost.
4. Small Market
Hearing aids are only a small market in the entire economy. Only approximately 2-million hearing aids are sold each year. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that 320 million people currently live in the US. In other words, 1% of the population buys hearing aids. This is a lot different than the nearly 150-million cell phones that are sold in the US each year.
I Didn’t Buy Hearing Aids from You – Can You Still Help Me?
Yes…for the most part.
Just call or come on down. We’ll take care of you.
As Doctors of Audiology, we service nearly all types of hearing aids. Though, some models purchased over the counter or through the internet we are unable to service. However, as we told you earlier, we act in your best interest. We’d love to chat with you about how we can help. Sometimes charges apply to have devices evaluated, but just call and we’ll get you the answers you need.
Can I Return My Hearing Aids If I’m Not Satisfied?
If you return hearing aids, it’s likely you’ll still have some fees associated with the transaction. Many manufacturers still charge a “return fee,” which is usually only a few hundred dollars. Not ideal, but manufacturers can’t actually re-use the hearing aids you return. In addition, office visits associated with device fittings are not refundable.
How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?
Hearing Aid Warranties – What do I Need to Know?
A small replacement deductible applies.