Hear what experts say about hearing loss and hearing aids
The name almost sounds like it could be a beautiful flower:
Presbycusis. But no. There is nothing pretty about this ugly word. Presbycusis is the medical term that means age-related hearing loss (ARHL) and it is characterized by progressive deterioration of auditory sensitivity along with other issues.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports ARHL is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older Americans with hypertension and arthritis being the top two. ARHL is a leading cause of adult hearing handicaps in the U.S. and medical experts say it should continue to rise for the next several decades as the baby boomer population increases.
“ARHL is a general term that refers to hearing loss in the elderly and represents the contributions of a lifetime of insults to the auditory system,” according to a report from the NIH. “...It has a serious impact on the quality of life and even leads to mental and physical diseases in the elderly. In addition, ARHL has been reported to be a risk factor and a frailty marker for dementia and Alzheimer disease. Many crosssectional studies found some association between ARHL and cognitive impairment. One of the potentially modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline is ARHL. Therefore, the early intervention for the ARHL is crucial to prevent the disease. A hearing aid is an effective treatment for ARHL.”
William Dennison, who is board certified in hearing instrument sciences has worked for years helping people of all ages with their hearing problems. As head of Dennison Hearing Solutions at 3511 Braselton Highway in Dacula, Dennison is a noted expert in the field and recently spoke about the many changes taking place in the hearing aid industry, many of which have left the consumer confused, he said.
Dennison points out that all insurance plans are different and nowhere is that more obvious than when it comes to hearing aid coverage. He said Dennison Hearing Solutions is happy to check a patient’s insurance benefit to see what if any coverage it offers for hearing aids. He said Medicare does not provide any coverage for hearing aids, but that some supplemental Medicare Advantage plans do have some type of benefit. Like regular insurance plans, these supplemental plans can also vary widely in their benefits, he said, adding that some only pay for a certain number of follow-up visits.
“Most hearing aids purchased directly from Dennison Hearing Solutions include our exclusive Complete Hearing Healthcare,” he said. “This means all of the follow-up care you may need from our office is done at no additional charge for the life of the hearing aid. This includes batteries and other supplies, cleaning, hearing check-ups and adjustments to the hearing aids. These are all services that you might have to pay for if your discount program only provides limited follow-up care.”
Dennison also mentioned hearing aids sold over the counter, which he says are basic amplifiers just meant to increase volume and not helpful in the process of amplifying specific frequencies to adjust to where a person’s hearing is lacking. He said there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for hearing aids. He cited the advancements in hearing aid technology and a range in pricing, but says the key is finding the right instrument that works for the patient. He said when someone purchases a hearing aid from Dennison, they are not just getting the device, but his expertise in selecting the best instrument for the patient, programming the instrument, fitting and adjusting the hearing aid as a person’s needs change over time. “The truth is, if finances are a top priority, I can help someone hear better for less than $3 a day,” Dennison said. For more information or to schedule a visit, go to www.dennisonhearing.com.