How Much Will Hearing Aid Repairs Set Me Back?

01/21/2021 | Hearing Aid Repairs, Hearing Aids, Patient Resources

 

Your frustration due to the poor performance of your hearing aid might tempt you to toss it into your junk drawer with all your other malfunctioning electronic devices. Besides wasting your investment, the cost of abandoning your hearing aids includes an increased risk of developing serious mental and physical health issues.

The cost to repair a malfunctioning hearing aid is minimal when compared to the consequences of living without it, which is why we provide hearing aid maintenance and repair to hearing aid wearers in Northeastern Oregon.

Three Hearing Aid Repair Problems

The hearing aids brought to us because they are malfunctioning or not performing as designed typically have one or more problems to address, including:

  • Earwax Accumulation. Hearing aid manufacturers include wax filters and cleaning tools with their devices due to the fact that between 20% and 30% of hearing aid breakdowns are the result of earwax accumulation in internal tubing and/or delicate electronic components.
  • Corrosion from Moisture. The worst enemy of the delicate electronic components is moisture. Moisture causes corrosion, producing circuit failure, reduced performance and/or a complete shut down.
  • Physical Damage or Defects. A damaged case and/or loose wires from dropping or stepping on a hearing aid are common issues. Less noticeable issues, like damaged or defective microphones, receivers, tubes, tips and earmolds, must be addressed for your hearing aids to function properly.

Daily hearing aid cleaning and maintenance is an excellent habit to develop, not only because it helps eliminate earwax and moisture damage, but it makes it easier to spot physical damage and defects before they become a serious problem that requires more costly repair.

Cost of Hearing Aid Repair

The cost of repairing your hearing aid depends on the repairs necessary as well as whether your instrument is still under warranty.

Repair costs begin at $68 and range up to $496 depending on the extent of the repairs and the cost of the parts we replace. A quick tuneup in our office includes compression treatment, diagnostic testing and any necessary repairs.

If you want to keep repair costs down, your best option is to schedule regular hearing aid checkups and bring your device to us the moment you notice a problem.

When Is Replacement the Better Option?

Replacing your hearing aid rather than having it repaired can be the best option in certain situations. At between three and five years old, your hearing aids are nearing the end of their life expectancy.

Their outdated technology means that you might be missing out on innovative features with greater benefits and value than you can get from your repaired unit. It is also to your advantage to replace hearing aids that have seen extensive damage or undergone repair multiple times, even if they are less than three years old because potential repair costs could exceed the cost of a new unit.

Daily Hearing Aid Care Reduces Repair Costs

Keeping your hearing aids free of earwax, moisture, debris, excessive temperatures, and harsh chemicals while storing and handling them with care helps performance. Daily care, which extends the life of your device and keeps repair costs down, should include:

  • Clean, inspect and handle over a soft surface
  • Avoid moisture, especially the battery compartment
  • Prevent damage by pets and children, UV exposure, and extreme temperatures by storing properly
  • Avoid harsh chemicals (hair care products, colognes, cleaning solvents, etc.)

Expert Hearing Aid Repair from Audiology and Hearing Aids Associates

I have been repairing hearing aids since 1998. I have been to numerous manufacturer training with major brands like Starkey, Resound, and Phonak several times over the years. Jan has trained under my guidance for the last 2 years. Continuing education while technology continues to grow is an important, annual, and ongoing process for us.

Our team at A&HAA fix 100’s of hearing aids annually. We focus on minimizing the amount of time your device is out of service, providing loaner devices if the repairs will take a few days. In addition to repairs, we provide troubleshooting assistance, cleaning, maintenance, and repair. If you or a loved one are struggling with your hearing aids, take advantage of our expertise and contact us to schedule an appointment.

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Erika Shakespeare CCC-A

Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A, specializes in pediatric and adult diagnostics and amplification. Working with adults to help manage tinnitus and hearing loss since 2002, she is an expert in both of these areas. Additionally, she is a pediatric audiology mentor and educator for pediatric audiologists across the country and is one of the most respected experts on pediatric audiology.

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    Erika’s Story

    I’m Erika. I love learning about new technology, particularly with technology designed to help people hear and connect to their families, friends and community. I first learned about the Jabra Enhance Plus 18 months ago in a tech talk related to OTC hearing aids. OTC stands for “over-the-counter”; this was driven by the PCAST report (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) that was published in 2016 and was rejuvenated by Biden’s Executive to the FDA to develop regulations and labeling on a new classification of non-prescription hearing aids that would be available to purchase by consumers without professional engagement.

    The purpose was to introduce lower cost entry to hearing aids for consumers. This is opening a whole new pipeline of devices from manufacturers of consumer electronics to manufacturers of medical devices to get into the lucrative market of entry level amplification. Bose had launched their new “hearing aid” which was a terrible flop, it didn’t have rechargeability, it had a ton of feedback (whistling), it didn’t even have basic streaming features. Signia launched a product, Apple Air pods added transparency mode and developed an app to “test” your hearing to apply mild gain to your Air Pod Pros, and Resound’s research team partnered with GN’s consumer electronic group that makes Jabra products to develop a hybrid hearing aid/consumer electronic sometimes referred to as a Hearable, PSAP (Personal Sound Amplifier), or and OTC hearing aid. Other companies have come out with products that they are marketing as hearing aids, the FDA has been playing whack-a-mole with these illegally labeled products. Whatever you may call the widget, it is an electronic device that is not programmed by a licensed hearing health care professional.

    I was awarded a slot to participate in a pilot project to evaluate the Jabra Enhance Plus product before it was released commercially to the public. I have been wearing the device for the last 10 days. I have about 4 pages of feedback for the developers for the app and also the device itself. Here is my pro/con list.

    Pros: The size and fit. It doesn’t look anything like a hearing aid, it is like a small button Bluetooth or wireless earbud. There is nothing hanging out of the ear to catch on masks. The green, faded yellow and red indicator lights on the device and the charger are intuitive ways to alert to battery life. The little charging case holds a charge even when it is not plugged in. It is easily portable, fits great in a pocket of my purse so I have them with me. The streaming is pretty seamless. The app controls are deceivingly simple, it seems like there should be more, but it is really just the volume up and down. They were a lot more comfortable to wear while reclining and listening to streaming audio than other wireless earbuds that I have used. It was easy to switch to a call while streaming. They enhanced listening when I was watching TV.

    Cons: The built-in personalization didn’t seem to customize the sound; The filter setting was something that I wanted to change frequently, but it is a buried feature in the app. The fit was sort of uncomfortable in one ear and the selection of domes were not adequate. The occlusion effect for my own body noises was significant. My voice sounded too far away for people on the other end of the phone call. The sound quality for phone calls and streaming audio was inferior to other wireless earbuds that I use. I struggled in noisy situations to hear other people over my own body sounds. They move a lot in my ears with talking. They don’t connect to my computer, so going between zoom meetings and phone calls or other activities was cumbersome and I have to switch devices.
    My overall assessment is that there is a place in the consumer electronic world for these cute little hearing enhancers, but they will not yet replace my wireless earbuds. I look forward to future software updates that will hopefully improve and expand usability (like connecting to my PC for zoom calls).

    Tom’s Story

    Tom was not as happy as Donna after his 10 days with the devices. He much preferred his own hearing aids. He did like that his mask never got caught on them. His biggest issue was that he got whistling from them when he turned them up loud enough for him to hear the TV. He did enjoy the streaming capabilities. He struggled the most with pairing the devices, which may have been because he used his Bluetooth a lot for other things and the Jabra devices did not seem to respond well to intermittent connectivity.

    Donna’s Story

    Donna wore the devices for 10-12 hours everyday for ten days. She loved how much better she heard in group settings and in conversations with friends and family.

    She mentioned that after a long day she did notice that her ears would get a little sore and she thought maybe a smaller prescription hearing aid would be better for her long term, but she thought these self fitting hearing aids were great and easy to use. She would definitely consider buying them and even had several of her friends ask where they could buy them.

    Linda’s Story

    Linda wore the Jabra Enhance Plus 5-6 hours a day. Mostly while watching TV. She loved how much easier it was to hear the dialogue on TV. She also enjoyed hearing her husband more easily while they were having conversations. She had little difficulty connecting the devices to her app, the most difficult part of the connection that Linda had was remembering her apple password. She was really impressed with the product and the price.

    Beth Story

    Beth wears the Jabra Enhance Plus about an hour a day, primarily for streaming while exercising. She loves the quality of the streaming for phone calls and listening to audio books. She tried the devices in a restaurant with friends, but really struggled to adapt to her own voice and thought that it was actually harder to focus on the voices she wanted to hear over some of the other environment sounds being amplified. She really didn’t find them helpful in the classroom like she had hoped, but she admitted that only tried them once in that setting.

    Jan’s Story

    I'm Jan. I have enjoyed being part of this new technology. After day two I did experience right ear canal discomfort and was not able to wear the device for a few days. I feel if the device was a little bit smaller it would be more comfortable for me.

    I felt muffled and my own voice was hollow. After a few days I didn't notice it as much. I am not totally comfortable with new technology but found the setup for Jabra to be easy. The charging was easy, and the hearing test was relatively easy. I have normal hearing, therefore did not experience a lot of amplification. I found the app was user friendly. I would recommend them to someone who had a mild to moderate hearing loss that could not afford hearing aids.