Hearing Aid Program Overview

Hearing aid consultation

A hearing aid expert (audiologist) talks with a woman about her hearing assessment.

Mayo Clinic audiologists have experience with almost every type of hearing disorder, including tinnitus, noise exposure, hereditary hearing problems, hearing loss due to surgery or other medical conditions, and age-related hearing loss. When you have hearing loss and come to one of Mayo Clinic's hearing aid clinics, an audiologist takes the time to listen to you, talk with you about your options and answer your questions. At Mayo Clinic, you work with a highly qualified audiologist who has earned a doctoral degree. Mayo Clinic has a hearing aid clinic at each of its campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

All evaluation, consultation and hearing aid fitting is done by audiologists who have access to the most current technology. Mayo Clinic offers a wide selection of hearing aids, many of which are compatible with the latest Bluetooth devices, such as cellphones and other listening devices. Hearing aids from several manufacturers are available, and your audiologist will help you select one that meets your specific needs.

Hearing aid evaluation

Your hearing aid evaluation will likely begin with a complete examination of your ears and hearing by an audiologist. If this exam shows that you have a medical condition, you may be referred to your primary care doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist. If the results of your audiology testing suggest that you are a candidate for hearing aids, an audiologist reviews the results of your hearing examination with you and discusses your communication needs and difficulties. He or she can then refer you to the Mayo Clinic Hearing Aid Program so that you can talk with an audiologist and get recommendations for a hearing aid based on your needs.

If you already have hearing aids but aren't satisfied with how they are working for you, an audiologist can perform tests on your hearing aids to determine if they are working properly and if they need any adjustments.

Hearing aid fitting

The Hearing Aid Program team has experience fitting all types of hearing aids, from tiny devices that fit completely in the ear canal to the more traditional behind-the-ear style.

All hearing aids at Mayo Clinic are fit for an adjustment period. You are encouraged to return to your audiologist for follow-up visits during this period for consultation and adjustment as needed. If, after the 30- or 45-day adjustment period, you cannot adapt to hearing aid use, you may be able to return the hearing aids for partial credit, depending on state regulations. Testing and fitting fees for the adjustment period are nonrefundable.

The 'best' hearing aid

Mayo Clinic audiologists select hearing aids from several manufacturers. Because there is not one "best" hearing aid for everyone, your audiologist will work with you to find a hearing aid that best serves your needs. Mayo Clinic is involved in audiology research and makes sure the most recent technology in the industry is available.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Hearing aids not 'one-size-fits-all'

Cynthia Hogan, Ph.D., Audiology, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Hogan: "Hearing aids, because they're digital, can be adjusted over a wide range of hearing loss."

That's one reason why audiologist Dr. Cynthia Hogan says with these devices, one-size-fits-all does not apply.

Dr. Hogan: "So there isn't one best hearing aid for older people versus younger people. We try to choose a hearing aid that's going to fit the person's needs."

Important decisions include whether the device will have rechargeable batteries or ones that need to be replaced, and whether the hearing aid will sit behind or in the ear.

Dr. Hogan: "This is a full-shell, in-the-ear hearing aid. And, so, it fits all into the ear."

One of the benefits of this device is wearers can answer and listen to a phone call as they have their whole life. Some hearing aids can even connect to a person's cellphone.

Dr. Hogan: "They can watch videos or things like that directly from their phone to their hearing aid."

An audiologist like Dr. Hogan can help you sort through all the options and create a personal solution for your hearing problem.

For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Jeff Olsen.

Dec. 06, 2018