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Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I know if I need to see an audiologist?

  • You frequently need to ask people to repeat themselves or to speak more loudly.
  • You have difficulty hearing in a noisy room or avoid social situations such as restaurants or parties where noise can make it difficult to hear.
  • You have ringing in your ears.
  • You have dizziness or loss of balance.
  • You have difficulty hearing on the telephone.
  • You have difficulty hearing alarms on watches or birds singing.
  • You have a history of hearing loss in your family.
  • You turn up the television to a volume level that disturbs others.

How do I know if my child may need to be evaluated by an audiologist?

  • Your child is not developing speech/language skills as quickly as other children his or her age see speech/language milestones.
  • Your child is not making adequate speech/language progress despite appropriate therapy services.
  • Your child has frequent or persistent ear infections.
  • Your child does not respond consistently to both soft and loud sounds.
  • Your child needs the television turned up very loud to hear.
  • Your child often asks you to repeat what you say to him or her.
  • Your child seems overly sensitive to loud sounds.
  • Your child talks loudly.
  • Your child has trouble localizing sound direction (telling where sound is coming from).
  • Your child has a risk factor for hearing loss in children:
    • Family history of permanent childhood hearing loss.
    • History of bacterial meningitis.
    • History of head trauma with loss of consciousness or skull fracture.
    • Identification of syndromes associated with hearing problems.
    • Some cancer treatments.

Will Medicare cover hearing aids?

No, but the UPMC Hamot Audiology Department offers very competitive prices on digital hearing aids including entry-level to high-end products. Hearing aids are dispensed on a 30-day trial period. The full cost of the hearing aid will be refunded if the hearing aid is returned.

Do I need a physician referral for audiology services?

To bill Medicare and most other insurance plans, a physician referral is necessary for the hearing test. Please check with your individual insurance carrier for referral criteria.   For adults who are seeking hearing aid services, no physician order is needed since this is typically a self-pay service.

What brand of hearing aid does UPMC Hamot dispense?

UPMC Hamot dispenses Phonak ® digital hearing aids. Phonak ® is a major hearing aid manufacturer along with other auditory assistive devices. Additional information can be found at Phonak's ® website at

We also dispense Widex ® digital hearing aids.  Additional information can be found at Widex’s ® website at

What if I'm not happy with the hearing aids after I get them?

You are under no obligation to purchase the hearing aids, as long as they are returned within the 30-day trial period. That time is used to make any adjustments needed. You will not be billed the hearing aid charge until after the 30-day trial period, once you are satisfied.

How much do hearing aids cost at UPMC Hamot?

Our charge for the actual hearing instrument(s) is typically significantly less than other offices. However, we do charge professional fees which are not refundable.  These include selecting, programming, and fitting the hearing aids, in addition to reviewing/training in their use and care. Please call for details regarding our hearing aid pricing policy before you schedule an appointment, since it is different from most other offices.

Can you help me if I got my hearing aids somewhere else?

The Audiology Department assists with repairs and adjustments of Phonak ® and Widex ® hearing aids that were purchased elsewhere. Please note that there will be a nominal charge for this service (usually not covered by insurance for adults). In certain situations, the Audiology Department may be able to assist with other major hearing aid brands. Please call 814-877-2820 to find out if the department can help with your hearing aid.