Cairns Audiology Group - Hearing - Technology - Communication - Solutions

CALL (07) 4054 5561

OR

FAX (07) 3036 6928

Hearing Aids

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to the fitting of hearing aids. Once you have undergone a comprehensive audiological assessment and it is determined that you would benefit from the use of hearing aids, your Audiologist will suggest some hearing devices suitable for your hearing loss, communication goals and lifestyle needs. It is important to remember that not all hearing aids are suitable for all types and degrees of hearing loss and what you see advertised in the media is not always accurate. It is important to ask questions of your Audiologist so an appropriate recommendation can be made.

Hearing Aid Styles:
•    Invisible In the Canal (IIC) hearing aids (Link to IIC subhead below)
•    Completely in the Canal (CIC) hearing aids (Link to CIC subhead below)
•    In the Canal hearing aids (Link to ITC subhead below)
•    In the Ear hearing aids (Link to ITE subhead below)
•    Behind the Ear hearing aids (Link to BTE subhead below)
•    Open-Fit or Receiver–in–the-Ear Hearing Aids  (Link to RIC subheading below)
•    Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (Link to BAHA subheading below)

Types of Hearing Aids:
Hearing aids are basically miniature computerised amplifiers and although they vary in size and shape, they all consist of the same basic components which carry external sounds, most importantly speech, to your ear. As a general rule, the smaller a hearing aid is, the less powerful it will be.

The most common types are:

  • Invisible–in-the-Canal Hearing Aids(IIC)
    This is the smallest style of hearing aid available. It is shaped to fit in the ear canal like the CIC (see below), except it is located deeper in the canal near the ear drum so it is invisible to anyone looking at the wearer. This aid is not able to be fitted to everyone as it depends on the size of the ear canal and the degree of hearing loss. This style of hearing aid is also not usually recommended for those susceptible to outer ear infections.
  • Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids (CIC)
    These are shaped to fit right inside the ear canal and are usually recommended for those with flat, mild to severe hearing loss. They are popular because they are not very visible, are less subject to interference from wind and can be used relatively easily with the telephone.  The main downside is they tend to have a shorter battery life due to smaller batteries.  This aid is not able to be fitted to everyone as it depends on the size of the ear canal and the degree of hearing loss. This style of hearing aid is also not usually recommended for those susceptible to outer ear infections.
  • In-the-Canal Hearing Aids (ITC)
    These sit less deeply in the ear than the CIC hearing aids above. Again they are effective for mild to severe hearing loss. They are slightly more visible than CICs and some may not fit well in smaller ears, but they can include more features than CICs and are easy to use with the telephone.   
  • In- the- Ear- Hearing Aids (ITE)
    These aids include all other aids which are made in one piece and sit partially in the ear canal. They may fill a small part or the whole of the concha.  These aids are shaped to fit the ear.  Depending on their size they are suitable for mild to severe hearing losses.  As they are larger they are able to provide directional microphones, volume controls and blue tooth compatibility.  These aids are often chosen for people with handling issues. The disadvantage of these aids is that they are more visible than their smaller counterparts.
  • Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
    These fit by hooking over the top of the ear and sitting behind it, amplifying sound and carrying it to a mould that fits inside the ear.  They are very flexible and can be used for most types of hearing loss for people of all ages. They come in a large range of sizes and colours.  Most are small and discrete, sitting snugly behind the ear.  These hearing aids provide all the acoustic features available and most are Bluetooth compatible.
  • Open-Fit or Receiver–in–the-Ear Hearing Aids
    These are usually small devices that sit behind the ear. Sound is carried from the device to the ear by a small receiver tube to a speaker inside the ear mould in the canal of the ear. They are often used for those with good low frequency hearing loss and mild to moderate high frequency hearing loss, although they can be modified for most hearing loss.


Bone Anchored Hearing Aids:

At Cairns Audiology Group our Audiologists are also trained to fit a special type of surgically implanted hearing aid known as a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA).  

Bone anchored hearing aids (BAHAs) are devices that are surgically anchored to the temporal bone of the ear. They work by converting sound into vibrations which are then conducted into the inner ear (cochlea) via the bones in the skull.

BAHAs may be suitable for patients where:

  • There is no ear canal or middle ear (ear malformations).
  • There are severe chronic middle or external ear infections that do not allow the use of a conventional hearing aid.
  • Hearing loss is largely conductive (middle ear) in nature.
  • The patient is affected by single-sided deafness, where one ear is severely hearing impaired (or has a total hearing loss) and the other ear has either normal hearing levels or at most a mild to moderate hearing loss.


Hearing Aid Costs:
If you are not an eligible pensioner or veteran, hearing aid costs can vary considerably. The price of a hearing aid depends on its level of technology and its features (not its size and shape). At Cairns Audiology Group, we understand that the purchase of hearing aids is likely a big decision for most people and our Audiologists are experienced is aiding each client to find a device which best suits their lifestyle, budget and communication goals.

Claiming the Costs
Medicare does not provide any rebate on the cost of hearing aids. However if you are in a private health fund you may be able to claim a proportion of the cost on your extras cover.  This is different for every fund and it is best to check this before making a final decision and ordering your device. We also recommend that you insure your hearing aid against loss and damage.

Money Back Guarantee:
You will not be required to pay a deposit when you order hearing aids.  However, when the aids are fit you will be required to pay for them in full before you take them home.
Cairns Audiology Group offers a 60 day money back guarantee period. If the hearing aid is unsatisfactory in any way it can be changed to a different aid or a refund on the device cost and unused consultation fees can be given if the aid and its packaging are returned in good condition within this period. Should you decide to purchase hearing aids from Cairns Audiology Group, you will be given written confirmation of the device specifications and the details of the return options.

How to Choose:
The Audiologists at Cairns Audiology Group have extensive experience in assessing hearing and fitting hearing aids based on each client’s individual communication goals, lifestyle needs and budget.

The technology in the hearing aid industry has come along in leaps and bounds and there are now hearing aids available to suit most budgets and lifestyles.  However, at Cairns Audiology Group we appreciate that, like any major purchase, it is important to make an informed decision, not only on the device but also the provider you chose to manage your auditory rehabilitation plan. Here is some helpful advice to aid you in making a decision.

Qualifications:
Check the qualification of your hearing specialist. Audiologists are University trained, Masters level hearing specialists who are experts in assessing hearing and providing tailored solutions to hearing problems. An Audiologist has the skills to advise you on the configuration of your hearing loss and diagnose whether a medical solution is required prior to or instead of hearing aid fitting.

Independence:
Unlike many practices, Cairns Audiology Group is not owned by or commercially linked to any hearing aid manufacturer. Nor do our Audiologists receive commissions for recommending and fitting one style or brand of hearing aid over another. This means that you will get completely independent advice on what option will best meet your needs and suit your lifestyle.

Local Understanding:

Cairns Audiology Group is a locally owned business, meaning that, where possible, we try and support our region and community by sponsoring local junior sporting clubs and promoting hearing awareness to local aged groups, schools and musical ensembles. This also allows us to have local knowledge of which products best suit our unique lifestyle and climate, which is vastly different to what would be appropriate in more Southern communities.

Ongoing Personalised Care:
All our clinical staff reside in the local region, meaning that Cairns Audiology Group is in a unique position to offer continuum of care to our clients allowing them to have access to the same audiologist wherever possible throughout their auditory rehabilitation journey.

Technology:
The technology in the hearing industry is improving in leaps and bounds every year. However, the decision on which device to purchase can be overwhelming due to the large variety of devices available and the abundance of poor or false advertising in the media.
At Cairns Audiology Group our Audiologists are experienced in guiding you through these choices in an unbiased and independent way to find a hearing solution that is right for you based on your lifestyle, budget and communication goals, as well as offering you realistic advice about what to expect from your hearing aids.

Buying Hearing Aids Online:
We are regularly asked about buying hearing aids over the Internet. This method is not generally recommended if you wish to achieve the best hearing outcome for the following reasons;

  • Without a proper assessment by a trained health professional, misdiagnosis or oversight of more significant medical conditions is possible.
  • Our Audiologists have at their disposal a huge variety of software, tools, spare parts and fitting accessories to customise your auditory rehab solution because everyone's ears are different.
  • Experience matters. With such a large choice of brands, styles, models and features available, knowing what has worked for others in similar situations is one of the keys to a successful outcome. When common problems arise, your Audiologist will know what steps to take to resolve the issue.
  • When you get fit with a hearing aid by Cairns Audiology Group, our money back guarantee (link to money back guarantee subheading) means you will not be stuck with your first choice if it does not work out. If you do buy over the internet, make sure you understand the seller's policies first.


You might also wish to review the official position on this subject from Australia's professional body for Audiologists. This document also contains links to similar official positions from 5 respected world-leading hearing aid companies. (Link to PDF Document)