Hear in Maine

Hear in Maine Logo

Hear in Maine is an Alpha One program addressing hearing aid need and acquisition within Maine.

Our primary goal is offering people resources to find hearing aid services and programs. We will maintain a comprehensive database of resources.

For a customized listing of audiologists/hearing aid vendors in your area, as well as specific financial resources,

contact Beth Mogan at 1-800-640-7200 or bmogan@alphaonenow.org

 How you can get involved

We ask for your support in continuing this valuable program. To make your tax deductible contribution, please click the button below or make checks payable to:

Hear in Maine c/o Alpha One
127 Main St.
S. Portland, ME 04106

 

Signs of hearing loss

Do you frequently ask people to repeat themselves? When going to places like restaurants, theaters, or traveling in a car, is it difficult to hear speech? Is it easier to understand others when facing them? Do you turn the volume up on the TV or radio to the point others complain? Do you feel left out of conversations because you can’t hear someone? If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it is time to get your hearing tested.

To get a better sense of whether you need hearing aids, click here

 

Who to go to?

  • Otolaryngologist, also known as, ear, nose, and throat specialist. These are physicians who have specialized in medical conditions of the ear.
  • Audiologist is a person who holds a mater’s or doctorate degree in the field of Audiology. The training for an Audiologist consists of not only hearing aid selection and fitting, but also detailed study of the ear and its function.
  • Hearing Aid Specialists are people who have been sponsored and trained by someone in the field of hearing aid distribution. In Maine, a Hearing Aid Specialist is required to pass a written and oral exam in order to receive their dispensing license.

Hearing exam

What to expect during the exam, audiogram and how to read it

  • The purpose of a hearing exam is to quantify and qualify hearing in terms of the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss and the configuration of the hearing loss.
     
  • The degree of hearing loss is quantitative information. Hearing levels are expressed in decibels (dB) based on the pure tone average for the frequencies 500 to 4000 Hz and discussed using descriptors related to severity: normal hearing (0 to 20 dB HL), mild hearing loss (20-40 dB HL), moderate hearing loss (40-60 dB HL), severe (60-80 dB HL) and profound hearing loss (80 dB HL or greater). 

Audiogram chart
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The type of hearing loss is information that suggests the point in the auditory system where the loss is occurring. The loss may be conductive (a temporary or permanent hearing loss typically due to abnormal conditions), sensorineural (typically a permanent hearing loss due to disease, trauma, or inherited conditions), mixed (a combination of conductive and sensorineural components), or a central auditory processing disorder (a condition where the brain has difficulty processing auditory signals that are heard).
     
  • Configuration of the hearing loss is qualitative attributes such as bilateral versus unilateral hearing loss; symmetrical versus asymmetrical hearing loss; high-frequency versus low frequency hearing loss; flat versus sloping versus precipitous hearing loss; progressive versus sudden hearing loss; and stable versus fluctuating hearing loss.
     
  • An Audiogram is a report that is generated by hearing tests which graph out a chart of your hearing loss. Click here to see how to read an Audiogram. It is recommended to get a copy of your Audiogram so that you can bring this with you to compare other brands, vendors, and services. It is important that you feel comfortable with the person you are working with in purchasing hearing aids, here are a list of questions to ask.  

 

Costs

Exams and hearing aids

  • Hearing exams are generally covered by insurances, but you should always check before making an appointment to be sure.
  • Hearing aids costs are as varied as the style, brand, and types of hearing loss. Prices can range from $700 each all the way up to over $5,000 each! Most insurances will not help with the cost of hearing aids, but there are a few exceptions, so again it is always better to check to be sure.
  • Financial assistance is available. The Hear in Maine program has done research to help narrow the information down and can provide customized information based on your individual circumstances. 
     

Styles of hearing aids
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Care of hearing aids

More than 75 percent of all hearing aid repairs are due to moisture and earwax accumulating in the hearing aid. The vast majority of these repairs are 100 percent preventable. It is extremely important to clean the entire hearing aid every time it is removed from your ear by wiping and brushing it.

To better protect your investment, use a DRY-AID kit every night! Electronic dry-aid kits are the best. They include a germicidal light that kills most bacteria and other germs. They also have desiccants to absorb moisture and fans to circulate air around the internal components of the hearing aid. Get in the habit of cleaning the hearing aid after each use and keeping the hearing aid in the dry-aid kit at night. The hearing aid is electronic and moisture is the enemy! Preventive maintenance is the key to trouble free, long life from a hearing aid. A well maintained hearing aid can easily last 5 to 7 years, maybe longer.


Batteries 

Hearing aid batteries normally last 7-14 days when the hearing aid is used 16 hours per day. Performance will vary depending on the style and type of hearing aid technology you are using. You can buy them at most general retail stores (drug stores, grocery stores) and also via the internet. Batteries cost about one dollar each so on average, if you wear 2 hearing aids, expect to spend about $4 per month.

Hearing aids come in different sizes and the size is coded by color. Ignore the size name and number, just pay attention to the color. If your audiologist started you off with hearing aid batteries color coded orange, you can buy any brand of battery with the same color coding.

The sizes of hearing aid batteries are listed below along with their standard number and color codes. They run from smallest size (Red) to largest size (Blue)

  • Size 5: RED
  • Size 10 (or 230): YELLOW
  • Size 13: ORANGE
  • Size 312: BROWN
  • Size 675: BLUE

 

Resources

  • For equipment needs such as amplified phones, large button phones, door bell alert system, alarm clock alert, flashing fire alarms, etc. please contact the Maine Center on Deafness at http://mcdmaine.org 
  • For a resource guide of services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or late deafened, www.maine.gov/rehab/dod
  • For more information on hearing loss, visit www.hearingloss.org/docs/AARPhearing_guide.pdf
  • For a customized listing of audiologists/hearing aid vendors in your area, as well as specific financial resources, contact Beth Mogan at 1-800-640-7200 or bmogan@alphaonenow.org