Dr. John Folmar, AuD,
the owner of Peninsula Hearing Services in Burlingame. Many patients ask about my clinical philosophy and how I can help with their ear and hearing concerns. I’m a graduate of Northwestern University with over 23 years of experience practicing audiology. I’ve seen the concern and even distress imposed by hearing loss and tinnitus and how these medical issues can affect the quality of life. My patients find me to be an experienced and empathetic practitioner who uses the newest technologies available to help them hear better and feel better as soon as possible.
I’ve built my practice around a conservative yet no-nonsense approach to diagnosing and treating hearing loss and tinnitus. We use state-of-the art diagnostic equipment to assess the different parts of the ear and hearing.
Choosing Hearing Aids
With so many hearing aid models, styles and price differences marketed in newspapers, magazine and the internet, I receive a lot of questions about whether one needs a hearing aid and if so, how a hearing professional chooses a hearing aid that is “best” for each individual.
Nobody wakes up “wanting” hearing aids. However, if you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, it is like any other medical condition that if left untreated becomes a “chronic” condition that becomes worse over time and more difficult to treat. However, the vast majority of people seek hearing aids because they feel isolated and lonely and simply yearn for the emotional relief of feeling closer to others and part of conversations and their social network again. Hearing aids also provide a huge physical relief after years of straining to hear.
As a former researcher for a hearing device manufacturer, my office has reviewed most of the hearing aids on the market and has expertise and experience with fitting them
There are generally 3 factors considered when a provider recommends a hearing aid:
There are 6 major brands (manufacturers) of hearing aids internationally. Over twenty years ago, there were over 40! However, most have since closed their doors or merged with today’s major brands. The remaining 6 brands have each been in business for 60 or more years and are extremely competitive with one another. Because of this, all provide excellent products, are capable of appropriately treating hearing loss and offer the consumer a diverse portfolio of products to meet almost any hearing need.
To review their hearing aids, click on the icons below:
Because of the miniaturization of computer chips, technological innovation and improvements in battery design, the vast majority of patients are able to wear what is known as the RIC (receiver-in-the-canal) style devices. This style is small, discreet, comfortable, has a natural sound quality, and yet is powerful enough to fit even severe hearing losses). Only the more severe hearing losses or those with chronic ear infections are fit with the older, larger BTE (behind-the-ear) style devices. There is no difference in cost between the different sizes/styles.
All of the 6 major manufacturers design different “tiers” or technology levels for hearing devices. These levels have nothing to do with the size or appearance of the devices, but rather with the sound processing capability of the computer chip inside the hearing aids. These technology levels drive the cost of hearing aids and are generally referred to as “standard”, “advanced” and “premium”, with standard being the least expensive and premium the most expensive. While all 3 levels are capable of providing an excellent improvement in hearing, the more advanced level features are marketed to provide ease of comfort in louder listening situations like restaurants.
A hearing evaluation is the first step needed for an audiologist to begin making a recommendation for hearing aids. Peninsula Hearing Services is in-network with all major health insurance carriers.