Private Hearing Services
Are you a new hearing aid wearer over 26 years of age and not a pensioner or DVA cardholder? Then our private hearing services are the solution for you!
If you are a pensioner or DVA cardholder please call our EarDeals brokers on 1300 010 064 to access the fully funded Australian Government Hearing Services Program.
Welcome to Ear Deals,
Let us introduce ourselves! We offer free to use hearing aid brokering services, independent of hearing aid manufacturers. We aim to provide transparent, unbiased information about the latest hearing aids on the Australian market. From there, we hope to help you pick the right device and work to find you the best price before you can be fitted at one of our clinics across Australia.
Self-Funded Hearing Aids
In the hearing industry, there are two types of people. Those who are self-funded, meaning they purchase the hearing devices themselves and might make a claim through their health fund or pay their hearing devices off on an interest-free payment plan by Humm.
The other option is available to Pensioners or DVA cardholders. In Australia, Pensioners and DVA cardholders can access subsidised hearing services from the Australian Government. If you are a pensioner or DVA Card Holder, it is often best to register with the Australian Governments Hearing Services Program (HSP). If you do not like the devices that are offered by the government, you can always use the voucher provided through the program to reduce the price of the hearing aids you do want.
About Self-Funded Hearing Aids
Unlike the Government devices which tend to be older models of hearing devices from the hearing aid manufacturers and with fewer features, self-fund devices are the latest on the market and the most advanced in technology. Due to the many features available across all the major brand hearing aids, this is where the process of selecting the right hearing device can be tricky. The best place to start is by breaking down the hearing device choice into three key areas. You really want to tick the box of each of these areas when settling on the right device. Below is a guide on what these points are and how to use them to filter out what you don’t want and obviously what you do put a value on. Just like buying a car.
Hearing Aids Fit For All Lifestyle Choices
Choosing a hearing device with lifestyle in mind is incredibly important as your demands on your hearing and how much support you need really does come down to the places you frequently visit, if you are still working and of course your social life. It is important to note that hearing devices can support any lifestyle no matter how quiet or social it may be.
Let’s talk about common features now in hearing aids in context to lifestyle and how they may help you. The aim here is to match features to your lifestyle in a seamless way. After all, once you have chosen the right hearing aid you want to then forget about the device until you need to change the batteries or put them on the charger.
Bluetooth Connectivity – Taking Phone Calls With Hearing Aids
Bluetooth connected hearing aids support a large range of options when it comes to lifestyle. The most popular use for Bluetooth connectivity is wireless phone calls – directly from the mobile phone to the hearing aids. With a Bluetooth connected device, you can link your mobile phone to your hearing aids and in some cases, multiple phones such as a work and personal mobile.
Some models allow you to answer calls by waving your hands past your ears. This will answer the call without you having to try and find a small button or having to find your phone deep in a handbag. This option also helps when driving a car and needing to be hands-free.
It’s also important to note that using a mobile phone between brands of hearing aids can also be different. For example, Resound devices still require you to hold the mobile phone in front of your face while you speak into the microphone. Why would Resound do this? It comes down to interference of ambient noise, If you speak directly into the mobile phone, the audio is clearer, because the mobile phone refines the audio being sent to the person you are speaking with.
The alternative option is what Phonak and Unitron use: You can leave your phone in a bag, accept a call through your headphones and start speaking. The only issue here is that sound has to travel quite a distance between your mouth and your hearing aid behind or in your ear. As a result, the hearing aid needs to work harder to pick up your voice. In noisy environments, this can be troublesome for the person on the other end of the phone.
Taking Bluetooth connected calls on your hearing aids is best done in quieter environments, to limit the amount of extra sound entering the call conversation. Phonak and Unitron are working hard on this area as it is considered the easiest hands-free option and improvements have been made.
The best option is to ask your Ear Deals hearing aid broker for a trial if you are considering this option to see if you are happy with the performance.
Bluetooth connected calls on hearing aids is a technology that has been available for well over five years now. Phonak, Resound and Unitron all use Bluetooth to connect your hearing aids to your mobile phone as of 2021. There have been vast improvements in the technology to support hearing calls in both ears, connectivity for stability during calls and clarity of voice delivered over calls amongst a few more notable advances.
Know that when choosing Bluetooth, it is important to consider the devices you use with it, for example, an Android or Apple device. Some manufactures can connect to both operating systems. Others, however, require an intermediate device or accessory to be able to connect.
Your Ear Deals broker will be able to assist you with finding the right hearing aid for your devices. Give us a call at 1300 010 064 or use the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch with us.
- Rechargeable Hearing Aids
You might ask what rechargeable hearing aids have got to do with lifestyle? Well, the answer is quite a lot! This feature is much more important than you would first think. Let’s start with how hearing aids are powered and work back from there.
There are two types of power sources for a hearing aid in the market. The first is a replaceable battery option and the second is a rechargeable battery option.
Below we’ll discuss the positives and negatives of both.
The hearing aid manufacturers we stock offer lithium-ion rechargeable battery options. This is the latest battery type to be available in a hearing aid. In the past, there have been other options of rechargeable batteries, however, their popularity didn’t take off until lithium-ion batteries were being used. There are a few key reasons as to why.
Size and weight. Lithium-ion batteries are small and weigh very little, making them a great option for power for a device that people rely on for most, if not all of their day and traditionally speaking, want small and discrete.
Charging time. Lithium-ion batteries charge very fast up to 80%, so this means that you can put the hearing aids on charge for 15 minutes and get anywhere up to three hours of listening. This speed has made lithium-ion batteries much more appealing compared to the predecessors of rechargeable batteries.
Stability. Lithium-ion batteries are very stable in their charge and last a long time compared to the previous types of rechargeable batteries. This is very important as you don’t want to have to send them to the manufacturer every year to have the batteries replaced. To date, lithium-ion rechargeable battery hearing aids sold through Ear Deals four years ago, are still in use and we have not sent even a single one back to be replaced.
This gives you peace of mind with your purchase. There are also the obvious environmental benefits whereby you are not replacing the batteries every week and the batteries ending up in waste.
Some brands, like Signia with their Styletto range, offer an additional charging case with their devices. This charging pack comes with a built-in battery within the case. This allows you to charge your hearing aids on the go. When they run out of juice you simply place them in their case and the case’s lithium-ion rechargeable battery charges the hearing aids. This is fantastic for people who live busy lives and don’t want to have to worry about charging their hearing aids each night.
Replaceable battery options in hearing aids are the industry standard and have been around since hearing aids were first available. The key benefit of replaceable batteries is that you can just change the batteries and the hearing aids will work right away – without downtime. In the case of rechargeable lithium-ion battery options, there is a wait for the hearing aids to recharge.
This does worry those who are concerned about used batteries entering our waste networks. Safety issues are another downside: Small, replaceable button batteries, if swallowed, can be very harmful to young children and pets. You should also consider if you have dexterity issues – they could make it more difficult to replace small parts. If you struggle to put a pen lid back on, you should opt for rechargeable batteries.
With replaceable batteries, you’ll need to be organised and ready for your hearing aids to run out of power. This means ordering batteries online instead of having your clinic post them out. You also have to factor in the ongoing cost. The cost for replaceable batteries can range from $25 online, all the way up to $60 a box. In most cases, one box will last 6 months.
If you are looking for safe, easy to use and affordable hearing aids, it is best to consider a mid-range, rechargeable hearing aid.
Hearing Aids with A Telecoil
What is a telecoil and more importantly: Do you need one? Telecoil is a wireless technology that automatically picks up the audio if you are in a telecoil activated location. A telecoil is a small coil of wire that is placed inside some hearing devices. The telecoils design, allows it to pick up an amplified magnetic signal produced by a public service announcement system.
These types of announcements can also be pre-recorded audio for example, the audio from a movie you are watching in a cinema. In Australia, it is becoming more popular especially in cinemas, transport hubs and services, museums, universities, airports and churches.
The telecoil is a physical coil of wire, which means it takes up space inside the hearing aid housing. It is not the software on the processing chip of the hearing aid. As a result, telecoil hearing aids, whilst still very small compared to traditional hearing aids, are larger and in most cases, tend to be the largest of their range.
If you are still unsure, you can trial a telecoil device or speak with one of our brokers about the technology and how it will help you. Give us a call at 1300 010 064 or use the contact form below to get in touch!
Please note that if the telecoil connectivity is available in a location you will see a small blue and white sign with an ear and a slash through it to notify those of hard of hearing that telecoil is available.
Apps For Hearing Aid Adjustments
Are you too busy, live too far away or just do not want the hassle of being tied to your hearing clinic every time you need an adjustment? You might want to consider the many remote adjustment options available. Once you have had your final hearing aid fitting and adjustment appointment, you can use your mobile phone to take your adjustments into your own hands.
It is very common for people to use apps as an alternative to clinic visits, especially if just want to tweak a setting here and there. Each manufacturer has its own apps that are downloadable from the Apple and Google play store.
What hearing aid manufacturer has the best supporting app?
That is, of course, a matter of opinion. But there are some key differences to note and consider. You can always download the apps you are considering, even before purchasing a hearing aid. This will give you a better understanding of what could be achieved as far as adjustments to your settings go.
The question you need to ask yourself is: How much control do you want? Some apps like the GN Resound app have a vast array of adjustment tools to assist you. Phonak, on the other hand, is simpler and a little easier to use as a result. If you are considering Unitron, their app is very intuitive and will suggest improvements to the benefit of your overall listening experience.
If you decide to trial a hearing aid, it is important to test the app as well, because you want to ensure what you are seeking in a hearing aid is supported. After all, hearing aid apps are free and designed to be simple and intuitive to use!
A Budget Question
Another important consideration to make is your budget. At the end of the day, a hearing aid is a tiny computer with a very powerful processing chip designed to be customised to deliver a tailormade listening experience. Like all consumer electronics, the more you pay, the more features and benefits you can access.
Each hearing aid setting is made to suit your hearing loss and your preferences to volume and sound type. So, what does this all have to do with cost? Well, the software on these computer chips is different from manufacturer to manufacturer.
The software solutions used by hearing aid manufacturers:
Brand Software Name
Unitron Discover Next
Within each of these software solutions are technology levels. Most manufacturers break their software down into four levels. With each level, you are accessing more sophisticated programs designed to assist you to hear better. As you go higher in these levels, you go higher in price.
The software levels of each hearing aid manufacturer:
|Brand||Software Name||Software Levels||Software Type|
|Unitron||Discover Next||DN 3
Brands such as Signia offer their latest releases in two technology levels, the essential and premium levels. Some manufacturers will only offer their latest software on flagship devices and this tends to be the receiver-in-the-canal device – or what the industry calls a RIC.
RICs have a small body that sits behind the ear. A wire goes over the top of the ear and connects the body to the receiver just inside the ear canal. RIC devices are typically the first devices to be offered with new software, as they are the most popular and more likely to be sold to potential hearing aid wearers.
Type and Degree of Your Hearing Loss
When it comes to selecting the right hearing aid for your hearing loss there are a few factors to consider. Some of these may be out of your control as they rely on the trained Audiologist who fits your device. What you can choose is the technology level. In most cases, any technology level can be fitted to every hearing loss type, however, the consideration here is the hearing loss level and expectation on performance from the devices.
For example, if you have a large loss and you choose the cheapest technology level you cannot expect the device to perform at the same level as the top of the range. In this instance, it will become very obvious when you challenge the hearing aids’ ability in more complex listening environments with lots of background noise.
Equally, some people choose the lower levels due to their budget restraints and find that a lower-level device, is all they need and this is because their demand for technology is less, due to their quiet lifestyle. Someone who is still working a busy job and has an active social life that challenges their hearing will find that the lower-level devices may not meet their expectations.
What If You Do Not Need The Bells And Whistles
It is easy to get caught up in the hype of Bluetooth connected calls and rechargeable hearing aid batteries, but if you are looking at saving costs or you just do not need the features and just want a hearing aid to be just that an aid, then you can save some money by not seeking a hearing aid that is Bluetooth and rechargeable.
Most brands have this as an option in their ranges and in doing so you may find yourself capable of moving higher in the technology levels for less money. It is important to note that hearing aids without Bluetooth can still connect to apps and additional accessories.
Let’s Talk About Hearing Aid Styles And Features
There are many styles of hearing aids available on the market and styles often influence choice and how the hearing aid will assist a varying degree of hearing loss types. Let us start with a typical receiver-in-the-canal device (RIC).
Receiver-in-the-canal devices (RIC)
These are the most common devices sold globally. Of all the devices offered by leading hearing aid manufacturers, there are more variations amongst this style to choose from than any other hearing aid style.
The reasons for this are, that a receiver-in-the-canal hearing aid is:
- Easier to fit for an Audiologist
- Cheaper to manufacture
- Better performing in noise
- Easier use
- Not limited by the size of the ear canal
RIC devices give you the ability to change receivers based on your level of hearing loss. A receiver is a small component that produces amplified sound. As the name suggests, the receiver is in this case located in the ear canal. Being able to change receivers, you can adjust it to produce more powerful amplification, even if you’ve purchased a lower or essential level hearing aid.
In addition, you also have the option of using one of the hearing aid manufacture apps (free to download Apple App Store and Google Play Store) on your smartphone to boost the volume. If you are struggling to connect the app to your hearing aid you can always call your EarDeals hearing aid broker for help on 1300 010 064.