Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What does it cost to find out if I have hearing loss?
A. If you are only curious about your hearing or want a baseline measurement, book an appointment for a hearing evaluation and consultation. The Advanced Group of Clinics does not charge for an educational consultation.
Q. How much do hearing instruments cost?
A. Hearing instruments range in price from approximately $1300 to as much as $3600 each. In Ontario, there are many agencies that help with the cost of hearing aids for Ontario residents and for individuals who find that obtaining hearing aids is cost prohibitive. Our consultation is done at no cost and it takes only an hour of your time with our audiologists to discuss your needs, prices and funding. Investigate your personal insurance to see if they cover any portion of the cost of hearing aids.
Q. How do I pay for the hearing instruments?
A. A deposit is required at the time of the order and the balance is payable within a three month time frame. Cash, cheque and credit card payments (Mastercard, Visa, and American Express) are accepted. If you wish to finance your hearing instrument purchase, ask our audiologists about your financing options.
Q. What does it cost to exchange my hearing instruments for something different?
A. During the 60 day trial period you can exchange your hearing instruments. Most people who exchange their instruments do so because they want the benefits that come with higher end instruments. At the Advanced Group of Clinics, we charge only the difference in the cost of the hearing instruments which in some cases could even include a refund to the customer because the new instruments they select may be less expensive.
Q. If I change my mind and don't want to wear hearing instruments, what does it cost to return them?
A. During the trial period you have the option of returning the hearing instruments. A full refund less a service fee per instrument for services to date will be refunded.
Q. Is the refund fee lost forever?
A. The Advanced Group of Clinics will gladly apply your return fee to a hearing instrument purchase any time within two years of the return. Most hearing instruments that are returned is due to the fact that someone is not mentally prepared to hear better with assistance. The same people are usually prepared within a one year period.
Q. What kind of hearing instruments do you have?
A. Advanced Hearing Aid Clinic carries a wide variety of manufacturer's hearing instruments. For information on the major manufacturers, refer to the links to our products page.
Important Note: In an era where there is a lot of activity into the research and development of new and improved hearing aid circuits by different manufacturers, our Audiologists are constantly assessing the benefits and efficacy of this technology. It is important to discuss newer technology with one of our Audiologists. Bear in mind that accessing information on a manufacturer's website may provide you with a skewed perception. No manufacturer will admit that they produce a "poor" or "ok" hearing aid. It is in your best interest to discuss optimal technologies for your individual hearing needs with one of our hearing healthcare staff.
Q. What is the benefit of digital hearing instruments?
A. Today's digital hearing instruments are far superior to analogue and even the first generation digital hearing instruments. Digital hearing aids can precisely fit any type of hearing loss for superior distortion free sound quality and some can even control background noise effectively (refer to the Advanced Technology section on this website for more information on digital circuitry).
Q. How do I know which style of hearing instrument is appropriate for me?
A. A hearing test, lifestyle evaluation and needs assessment with your audiologist can help determine the best brand, technology, model and style of hearing instrument appropriate for you. Speech-In-Noise testing will provide our clinicians with additional information about the need for directional microphone technology which will dictate the style to some degree.
Q. How long does it take to obtain a hearing instrument?
A. Once the earmold impression is taken and is sent to the manufacturer, a finished hearing instrument arrives in approximately 10 to 15 business days. A rush delivery of 48 to 72 hours can be acquired for a small additional fee from most manufacturers.
Q. What happens at the hearing instrument fitting appointment?
A. The fitting appointment typically requires 60 minutes. At this appointment, your new hearing instruments will be programmed for your hearing loss and your lifestyle. An audiologist will also perform an REM (real ear measurement) or Digital Speech Mapping evaluation to ensure that you are receiving adequate gain for your hearing loss. The REM and/or Speech Mapping evaluation is an extremely important part of the fitting. It allows the audiologist to accurately fit the frequency response of the hearing instruments to the user's ear and to ensure that tolerance parameters are maintained.
Q. What is the importance of the REM or Speech Mapping?
A. All hearing instruments are designed to be most effective with a frequency response (to simplify - the bass and treble settings) based on the type, degree and configuration of the hearing loss and the technology within the hearing instruments. The problem that arises is that each ear has its own unique physical characteristics which influence the frequency response. A smaller ear canal will increase the power of a hearing instrument (which results in uncomfortably loud amplification) and a larger ear canal will decrease the power of a hearing instrument (which results in unusually quiet amplification). An REM or Digital Speech Mapping will precisely measure the power created or deleted by your unique ear canal characteristics allowing the audiologist the opportunity to precisely correct for it with the hearing instrument software. Simply stated, without an REM you may not acquire the most effective benefits of amplification and you may be unsatisfied with your hearing instruments. The signal used to test with REMs is a pure tone sweep, a simulated speech signal, a music file, or simulated listening situations (such as a voice in noise or a restaurant situation).
There has been much current research on verification of amplification once the hearing aid is placed in the patients' ear. Some researchers and clinicians will do speech mapping instead of REM, as an actual speech signal is used to assess the gain one receives through the hearing aid (your significant other can speak into a microphone and the hearing aids can be adjusted accordingly). Further, our advanced equipment, which is unique to our clinic, can simulate a hearing loss. Your actual hearing test can be inputted into the computer so that others can actually hear what the world sounds like to and individual with a particular hearing loss. Different types of sound stimuli (men's voice, woman's voice, speech in quiet, speech in noise, and different types of music) can be used to demonstrate your hearing levels and will show others how you perceive these different types of sounds.
ADVANCED HEARING AID CLINIC OFFERS BOTH METHODS OF VERIFICATION. BOTH EVALUATIONS ARE ACCEPTABLE METHODS OF VERIFICATION, HOWEVER, SPEECH MAPPING MAY PROVIDE MORE PERTINENT INFORMATION ABOUT ACTUAL SPEECH PERCEPTION. SPEECH MAPPING IS MORE COMMONPLACE AT THE PREMIER HEARING HEALTH CLINICS
Q. What if I don't like the hearing instruments or realize I need something better?
A. Hearing instruments are sold with a minimum 30 day trial period. The Advanced Group of Clinics offers a 60 day trial period with flexibility if required. You can return or exchange your hearing instruments any time within the trial period. See pricing questions above for return fees.
Q. How many appointments will I require after the initial fitting?
A. The number of appointments will vary depending on your situation. It could be as few as one follow-up appointment or as many as ten. It is strongly recommended that you have at least one follow-up appointment 2 weeks following the initial fitting. If at that point you are happy with the hearing instruments performance and you are not experiencing any difficulty with care and maintenance of the instruments, then you may not require another appointment for 6 months. However, the short-term follow-up appointments should be utilized to ensure that you are satisfied with your new instruments and that they are "fine-tuned" optimally for your particular listening situations.
Q. In the past I have required many appointments to get the correct fit and settings in my hearing instruments. Is that normal?
A. Many factors influence the degree of difficulty for a quality fitting. The first item requiring fine detail is the earmold impression. If the impression is not adequate, it may result in a poorly fitting hearing instrument. After that, a small percentage of people experience movement in the hearing instrument while talking or chewing. Expect an in office modification or a remake of the earmold for this problem. Other issues can arise from the settings in the hearing instruments. Usually the REM or Speech Mapping can solve amplification issues. This is why Advanced Hearing Aid Clinic audiologists perform this measurement during the fitting appointment. It should be noted that only audiologists are regulated by a college and require an REM or similar verification method to be performed on every hearing instrument fitting.
Q. What is the warranty on hearing instruments?
A. At The Advanced Group of Clinics, most hearing instruments come with a three year repair warranty and 1 year loss and damage warranty (a small deductible will apply). The repair warranty ensures that there are no charges to repair or replace (if necessary) a manufacturer's defective product. The loss and damage warranty allows a one-time replacement for loss or accidental damage beyond repair of your hearing instrument.
Q. What services are included with the cost of hearing instruments?
A. Advanced Hearing Aid Clinic includes "Advanced Care" for 3 years at no charge with the exception of a Loss and Damage, where there is an applicable fee.
Q. What is "Advanced Care"?
A. "Advanced Care" is a comprehensive service package. It includes annual hearing re-assessments, reprogramming of your hearing instruments as needed, verification (REM's), clean and check of your hearing instruments on a quarterly basis (or more often if required), counseling and small parts replacements such as earhooks, battery doors and wax filters.