Brattleboro Hearing Center

130 Austine Drive
Suite 210
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: (802) 254-3922

Brattleboro Hearing Center

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does a hearing evaluation take?
    A routine adult evaluation usually takes about 45 minutes. An evaluation for a child usually takes about half an hour.
  • Does health insurance pay for hearing tests?
    Yes, usually. It is always a good idea to check your policy before assuming coverage. We accept many major health insurance plans, including Medicare and VT Medicaid.
  • How do you test a baby or young child?
    Under six months of age, we evaluate an infant's hearing using distortion product otoacoustic emissions testing. This type of testing does not require a response from the baby, and the best results are obtained when the baby is sleeping.

    From six months to approximately 3 years, we use visual reinforced audiometry (VRA). During VRA testing the child is seated on the parent's lap in the sound booth. The child is conditioned to look at puppets when they hear either speech or warbled tones/narrow band noise.
  • Is there anything I should do to prepare my child for a hearing test?
    If your child is under six months old, please bring in your child either sleeping, or when they would normally sleep. We’ll get the best test results if we can test your baby while he or she is asleep.

    Over six months of age, please bring your child awake, alert, and not hungry or tired! Please avoid regular naptimes or mealtimes.
  • Can someone else come with me and my child to a hearing test?
    We can accommodate family members, but only one adult can go into the sound booth with the child or baby being tested. If you must bring other children with you to your child’s appointment, please bring another adult to stay with them while you and your child are having the hearing test.
  • How much do hearing aids cost?
    A single hearing aid typically costs between $1000 and $3000. Prices have not risen substantially over the past decade. That amount includes the device itself, the fitting of the device, and service of the device for 5 years.
  • What makes a hearing aid cost so much?
    There are huge research and development costs, a relatively low volume of sales when compared to other electronic devices, and almost no third party (health insurance) coverage. Also keep in mind when you are purchasing a hearing aid that you are not just buying the instrument itself, you are also purchasing our expertise in fitting the device to you appropriately, and servicing the device for five years.
  • Will I need one or two hearing aids?
    Typically, if your hearing is similar in both ears, two aids will be recommended. Multiple well-researched studies have shown significant hearing benefit when people use two hearing aids, particularly when listening in background noise and in localizing sounds.
  • What's the difference between a $1000 hearing aid and a $3000 hearing aid?
    These days, the difference in price in hearing aids is dictated by the computer chip running the aid, not by the size of the aid. Like cellular phones, you can get a relatively basic model or an extremely advanced model. Basic hearing aids are excellent at amplifying sounds that are needed but can only make a few changes to the sound in noisy environments. Premium hearing aids can tell the difference between speech and other environmental sounds and have features built into them to help your brain receive the clearest signal from your ears.
  • Do hearing aids need batteries?
    Yes. All hearing aids require batteries which usually need to be changed weekly.
  • Can I try a hearing aid before I buy it?
    Depending on your loss, we may have demo units for you to try in the office. The state of Vermont has a 45-day trial period on all hearing aids, so you may return hearing aids that have been ordered for you during the first 45 days of use.
  • How do I pick a hearing aid?
    Many factors go into choosing a hearing aid, including degree and shape of hearing loss, dexterity/handling issues, lifestyle, and budget.
  • How long does a hearing aid last?
    Five to seven years, with regular maintenance and an occasional repair.
  • Can hearing aids be adjusted if my hearing changes?
    Yes, and we recommend regular hearing evaluations so that small adjustments can be made to reprogram the aids if needed
  • Will my health insurance pay for my hearing aids?
    Not typically. There are some plans that offer hearing aid coverage, so it's always a good idea to check with your insurance provider.
  • Why does it seem like everyone is mumbling?
    One of the most common configurations of hearing loss is loss of acuity in the higher pitched sounds. This can make speech sound a bit muddy, as those higher pitched speech sounds drop out of people’s words. For people with this configuration of hearing loss, the volume of people’s voices sounds fine, but it’s difficult to make out the words. Hearing aids can often help restore those higher pitched sounds, making people’s words sound crisper and clearer.
  • How should I clean wax out of my ears?
    You shouldn’t! Your ear is a self-cleaning mechanism. If there is wax that is reachable with your fingers, you should be able to wipe that away. If wax is any deeper than that, it will work its way out on its own. Putting a q-tip in your ear will typically just push any wax that is there further back, where it will have a hard time working its way out naturally. Occasionally, people will get a build-up of wax in the ear that requires more intervention. This is best done by a medical professional.
  • Should I wear earplugs when I’m mowing the lawn?
    Yes! Machinery like lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners, and hair dryers are loud enough to damage your hearing. A good rule of thumb is if you have to raise your voice to talk to someone when the machine is on, it’s too loud for your ears and you should be protecting your hearing.
  • Even with my hearing aids on, I sometimes can’t hear the person who is talking to me. Why is that?
    Even the best hearing aids in the world can’t restore normal hearing. Sometimes, you need to use some communication strategies to get the most out of your hearing aids. Some easy tips – make sure you can see the person who is talking to you. Even if you’re not trying to read lips, your brain is using visual information to supplement what you are hearing. Ask your loved ones to get your attention before they start talking to you – that way they’ll have your undivided attention before they start to say something important. Avoid places that are very noisy. If you are going to the hottest restaurant in town, go at 5 o’clock on a Sunday rather than 7 o’clock on a Friday. Ask people to slow down their speech rather than talk louder to you. It gives your brain a little time to catch up as you’re figuring out the sounds.
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