How to Find the Best Hearing Aid Dealers and Hearing Test Centers in San FranciscoIf in need of battery replacements or hearing aid repair, or even if you've decided it's time to upgrade to the latest technology in hearing aids, you can get good service at hearing aid dealers or hearing test centers throughout San Francisco. The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best hearing aid providers in San Francisco and issues related to buying new hearing aids and hearing aid repair.
Updated March 16, 2013
Top 10 Hearing Aid Providers in San Francisco
|Pacific Audiology Inc|
2100 Webster St
San Francisco, CA 94115
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Alamo Square, Pacific Heights, Alamo Square, Laurel Heights, Cow ...
|Hearing & Speech Center of Northern California|
1234 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Pacific Heights, Japantown, Anza Vista, Laurel Heights, Alamo Square
|Sunset-Park Merced Hearing Aid|
2620 Ocean Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Stonestown, Lakeside, Merced Manor, Ingleside, Lake Merced, Balboa ...
|Westlake Hearing Aid Center|
600 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94105
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Rincon Hill, Embarcadero, Financial District, South Beach, South ...
|Audiological Services of San Francisco|
3150 California St
San Francisco, CA 94115
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Presidio Heights, Laurel Heights, Pacific Heights, Anza Vista, ...
|Golden Gate Hearing Services|
1400 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Polk Gulch, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, North Beach, Pacific Heights
|Jeanette White Hearing Aid Center|
490 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Civic Center, Union Square, Lower Haight, South of Market St, SoMa
|Avenue Hearing Aid Center|
4293 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118
Areas Served: San Francisco CA, Laurel Heights, Sea Cliff, Richmond District, Little Russia, ...
For many, hearing loss is just another part of a progressing life. But these days, a lot can be done to help. Over time, new clearer and smaller hearing aid technology has become available to the hearing-impaired. The mid- ‘90s saw the introduction of digital hearing aids along with new cochlear implants and smaller devices that are virtually invisible. These and other devices, as well as the necessary maintenance and fitting, are available at the hearing aid centers in San Francisco.
San Francisco Hearing Aid Dealers Perform Numerous Services
Hearing aid dealers in San Francisco are specialized centers of hearing loss treatment. Patients are generally referred by a general practitioner when preliminary testing shows hearing deficiencies, from mild tinnitus to complete deafness. The hearing aid dealer might be staffed by board certified specialists and audiologists. These professionals can conduct in-depth testing and customized diagnosis and fittings for a large client base, including children, adults, the elderly and occupational health cases.
Based on a doctor's recommendations, hearing dealer technicians may run audiometric evaluations, measurements of hearing sensitivity for air and bone conducted sounds, speech discrimination ability, speech reception thresholds, and assessments of middle ear function (impedance audiometry).
The results of such hearing tests may warrant the purchase of any of several different hearing devices, most of which are sold within San Francisco hearing aid centers. Hearing aid dealers in San Francisco often accept Medi-Cal and private insurance. Hearing devices may be available for a free trial prior to the actual purchase, and follow-up warranties usually include in-house lab repairs and hearing aid refittings.
San Francisco Hearing Aid Centers Sell Many Brands of Hearing Aids and Accessories
Hearing aid dealers and audiologists can often offer custom hearing aids are fabricated, fitted, and repaired on-site. The staff can educate patients and customers about the different options for their particular diagnosis, including pricing, clarity, durability, and other features. They'll be familiar with digital and analog hearing aids, bone conduction hearing aids, canal hearing aids, full-shell hearing aids, half-shell hearing aids, completely in-canal hearing aids, behind-the-ear hearing aids, wireless listening systems, and noise reduction circuitry. These basic systems are better known as the following: ITE: in-the-ear units, ITC: in-the-canal units, MC: mini-canal, CIC: completely-in-the-canal, BTE: behind-the-ear, and PAC: post-auricular-canal-instrument.
Aside from the main speaker and microphone mechanism, hearing aid dealer employees can fit the core and tubing, curved tubing, custom ear molds, ear hooks, mushroom inserts, and straight tubing. Almost all hearing aid centers in San Francisco take care of accessories and maintenance as well. They carry replacement hearing aid batteries, swim plugs, noise protectors, and hear-and-go aids. San Francisco hearing test centers also carry several types of ALDs, or assistive listening devices. They'll sell audio induction loops, infrared systems and FM modulated systems, TV listening devices, and telephone amplifiers. For specific hearing aid needs, investigate the available products and services of the hearing aid dealers in San Francisco before you choose one.
Research Hearing Aid Dealers in San Francisco
Hearing aid dealers may take different approaches to your aural care. Depending on what you need and whether or not you are working off of a general practitioner's orders, find some details about the hearing aid dispensers in San Francisco. Aside from capabilities, try to gauge the history of the hearing aid center, the reputation of the employees, and any details on prices of hearing aids. You'll get a better idea of where they fit into the grand scheme of things if you can compare potential hearing aid centers to others in San Francisco. Hearing health association listings can provide some of this information. See the article, "Key Resources for Hearing Aids in San Francisco" for helpful links.
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these hearing aid centers in San Francisco: Westlake Hearing Aid Center, Hearing & Speech Center of Northern California, Audiological Services of San Francisco, Jeanette White Hearing Aid Center, Golden Gate Hearing Services, Avenue Hearing Aid Center, Sunset-Park Merced Hearing Aid, Pacific Audiology Inc, Presidio Hearing Instruments. Other hearing aid dealers that might still serve the San Francisco areas include: .
Learn About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids in San Francisco with Additional Research
The path to healthy hearing begins with some independent research. There are many valuable sources on the internet and in print that can educate you about different disorders and solutions. In order to expedite this process, we've compiled some of these resources and listed them in The Prime Buyer's Report article "Key Resources for Hearing Aids in San Francisco". It never hurts to be an active participant in your health and welfare.
Step 1: Get Tested
You have the option to skip the initial doctor's examinations and head straight to the hearing test, which can often be provided by the hearing aid dealer (as well as a licensed audiologist or otolaryngologist). But if there are underlying medical problems (especially those that are correctable), only a medical practitioner can detect and diagnose them. Additionally, it is more likely that doctor visits are covered by your insurance. In all respects, it is not advisable to forego a preliminary medical exam.
Step 2: Research the Product
If you already know which type of device you need, do some outside research to price different brands and features and check your insurance coverage to identify exactly which are covered. You can start with the resources we've provided in the article "Key Resources for Hearing Aid Centers in San Francisco."
Step 3: Interview Different Hearing Aid Dealers
Call several hearing aid dealers in San Francisco and ask questions about their business practices. In addition to pricing information, there are several things you should know before you sign a contract with the hearing aid dealers who will not only sell you the hearing aid device, but care for it in the future. Use the list of questions below to guide your phone interviews. Take notes for the final comparison and determination.
How long have you been in business?
Do you give hearing tests on site?
Is testing conducted by a licensed audiologist, otolaryngologist, or licensed speech pathologist?
What brands and models do you regularly carry and specialize in?
Are you familiar with analog and digital devices?
What does the base cost of the hearing device include? (Ask to see a written breakdown)
What are the costs of any additional features?
Do you charge a re-stocking fee after the (FDA-mandated) 30 day trial period?
Can my hearing aid be adjusted remotely?
Is there a fully-covered warranty period (including adjustments and reprogramming)? If so, how long is it?
How do you price major repairs?
Is there a discount or trade-in policy for upgrades?
Step 4: Background Research
After a preliminary assessment of the hearing aid dealers you've interviewed, look at the qualifications of those you would consider pursuing. All professionals involved in the testing and fitting process are required to have state licensure such as the following: Audiologists must have at least a Master's level education and a California State license, which can be verified at the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board of the State of California. More established and skilled practitioners have earned a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from ASHA, which can be verified at the ASHA Web site. The ability to dispense hearing aids is a separate certification, which can be verified at the Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau of California. Also verify their BC-HIS (Board Certification in Hearing Aid Sciences) at the NBC-HIS by emailing your inquiry to email@example.com.
Step 5: Choose a Hearing Aid Dealer
Based on the interviews and sufficient certifications, make a final decision. Arrange for an appointment (or a walk-in, if possible) where you will get a fitting and evaluate merchandise and pricing.
Step 6: Sign a Contract
If you think the pricing or warranty is not up to your standards, you still have the option to seek services elsewhere. But if you feel comfortable with a particular hearing aid dealer, and after you've approved of the warranty agreement, pricing, and professionalism, it is safe to sign a contract.
Do You Want An Initial Doctor's Visit?
The FDA allows you to waive a visit with a physician and head straight to a hearing test. If your hearing problems are the result of an underlying medical issue, consider a doctor's visit before you have a separate hearing test. Your doctor may be able to perform this test anyway, possibly under your insurance coverage.
Licensed Hearing Aid Dealers in San Francisco Are Specialists.
Hearing aid dispensers in San Francisco are licensed and regulated by the State of California SLPA-HADB (Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board). To be a licensed H.A.D. (Hearing Aid Dispenser) one must take and pass the state licensing exam to show a proficiency in the specialty of hearing loss and hearing aid dispensing, fitting, and adjusting. According to state law, no physician or audiologist who is not a licensed hearing aid dispenser may emply a hearing aid dispenser for the purpose of hearing aid fitting or hearing aid sales, except if affiliated with an HMO or PPO. Any arrangement that includes a fee or percentage of sales for the referral of hearing aids is illegal. Neither party can advertise the other's services; for example, a hearing aid dispenser cannot advertise "physician or audiology services available," and an audiologist cannot advertise "hearing aid dispenser on staff," unless he or she is a licensed hearing aid dispenser in San Francisco.
The Binaural Advantage.
Often, hearing loss is limited to one ear. This does not mean that a single hearing aid is the most beneficial. Sound, like eyesight, requires balanced input to optimize the signal to the brain. One hearing aid can cause the other ear to strain and overcompensate, similar to the effect of wearing a single eye patch. Though the issue is still debated and circumstances may warrant special treatment, many dealers and doctors will advise this, and with good reason.
Investigate Financial Aid.
Hearing aids are expensive, there's no way around it. Many insurance companies offer at least partial coverage, but when it comes to a $500 to $8000 price tag, most people need all the help they can get. Luckily, such help exists. HEAR NOW (1 800-648-HEAR) is a non-profit organization that might be able to offer financial support. For a listing of other related organizations, see the article, "Key Resources for Hearing Aids in San Francisco."
AAA American Academy of Audiology (www.audiology.org)
AAO-HNS American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (www.entnet.org)
AHAA American Hearing Aid Associates (www.ahaanet.com)
ALDA Association of Late-Deafened Adults (www.alda.org)
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (www.agbell.org)
ASDC American Society for Deaf Children (www.deafchildren.org)
ASHA American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (www.asha.org)
ATA American Tinnitus Association (www.ata.org)
BBB Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com)
BHI Better Hearing Institute (www.betterhearing.org)
CAA California Academy of Audiology (www.caaud.org)
CICI Cochlear Implant Association, Inc. (www.cici.org)
CSHA California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (www.csha.org)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (http://www.dca.ca.gov/)
Diamond Certified www.diamondcertified.org
HADBCA Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau of California (www.dca.ca.gov/hearingaid)
HLAA Hearing Loss Association of America-California State Association (www.hearinglossca.org)
HIS International Hearing Society (www.ihsinfo.org)
LHH League for the Hard of Hearing (www.lhh.org)
NAD National Association of the Deaf (www.nad.org)
NBCHIS National Board for Certification Hearing Instrument Devices (www.hearingnbc.org)
NHCA National Hearing Conservation Association (www.hearingconservation.org)
NIDCD National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (www.nidcd.nih.gov)
SHA Sight and Hearing Association (www.sightandhearing.org)
SHHH Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc (www.hearingloss.org)
SLPAB Speech-Language Pathology Board of the State of California (www.slpab.ca.gov)
Media & Web Resources
Hearing Health Magazine
Hearing Loss Magazine
If you need hearing aids, hearing aid repair, or hearing tests, The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Hearing Aid Providers in San Francisco within the following zip codes.
94101, 94102, 94103, 94104, 94105, 94107, 94108, 94109, 94110, 94111, 94112, 94114, 94115, 94116, 94117, 94118, 94119, 94120, 94121, 94122, 94123, 94124, 94125, 94126, 94127, 94129, 94130, 94131, 94132, 94133, 94134, 94140, 94141, 94142, 94146, 94147, 94157, 94158, 94159, 94164, 94165, 94166, 94167, 94168, 94169, 94170, 94172 and 94188
Hearing Aids San Francisco CA
Audiological Services Of SF San Francisco CA 94108-1500
Audiological Services Of SF San Francisco CA 94115-2464
Golden Gate Hearing Service San Francisco CA 94109-5426
Guardian Edge Technologies Inc San Francisco CA 94107-5421
HEAR San Francisco CA 94115-2914
Hearing & Low Vision Solutions San Francisco CA 94110-2431
Hearing & Speech Center of Northern California San Francisco CA 94115-3911
Hearing Health Care San Francisco CA 94117-1034
Hearing Science of Stonestown San Francisco CA 94132-1912
Jeanette White Hearing Aid Center San Francisco CA 94102-1406
San Francisco Audiology San Francisco CA 94115-2375
Sunset-Park Merced Hearing Aid San Francisco CA 94132-1616
Union Square Hearing Inc San Francisco CA 94102-1414
Westlake Hearing Aid Center San Francisco CA 94133-1966