What To Do When You Can’t Hear Them Now

Two close, smiling white seniors walk on a snowy trail in a forest.

“Can you hear me now?”

A cellphone company hit the marketing jackpot with this often-parodied question in its commercials a few years ago.

When you take it literally, however, it’s not funny for those whose answer is “no.”

World Hearing Day, March 3, is a great opportunity to schedule a routine exam to assess your hearing.

Is Your Sound Sub-par?

One in three adults between 65 and 75 years of age has some type of hearing loss. It’s a common condition often associated with aging, genetics, long-term exposure to loud noise, or a combination of these.

Because hearing is essential to physical and emotional health, U-M provides coverage for hearing aids through its Health Plans. Health plan members with hearing loss receive coverage for hearing evaluations and hearing aids every three years while covered in these U-M plans.

An Ear to Hear

Addressing hearing loss is important because hearing is vital to communication. When you can’t hear properly, your comprehension of a doctor’s instructions is diminished, and you can’t recognize crucial sounds such as alarms and communication devices. Your connection to loved ones also lessens, which can lead to isolation, depression and even dementia.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Sometimes, hearing loss is mistaken for other conditions, or accepted as part of getting older. With proper diagnosis and the right device, most types of hearing loss can improve. See your doctor if you:

  • Have trouble hearing during phone calls
  • Turn up the volume of the television, computer and other devices to levels that those around you find too loud
  • Have difficulty following conversations, especially when women and children are speaking
  • Often ask others to repeat what they’ve said

You’ll likely be referred to an audiologist, and might undergo specific exams to detect the degree and nature of your hearing loss. The goals will be to pinpoint your auditory needs and find a device that will best address them.

Aids for Better Hearing

U-M’s coverage for hearing loss assists members in purchasing quality, standard hearing aids for each ear every three years. Many standard hearing aid options that may meet your needs and don't require out-of-pocket costs are available. The benefit also covers standard auditory testing and follow-up visits with no co-pay if you go to a network provider.

Keep in mind that hearing devices range from the standard to the Cadillac. While standard hearing aids meet the needs of many health plan members with hearing loss, advanced and premium versions with additional options you may need or choose will require some out-of-pocket cost.

Hearing aid networks vary by the Health Plan you choose. To get the most value, review your specific plan coverage and network provider.

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