General FAQ

Do I need a referral from an ENT or GP to come for a hearing test?

Do I need a referral from an ENT or GP to come for a hearing test?

Depending on your medical aid benefits, you may need a referral to visit one of our centres and consult with our hearing healthcare professionals. Should you need to visit an ENT or GP we will gladly refer you to one.

Do I need a referral from an ENT or GP to come for a hearing test?

The basic range of hearing tests costs in the region of ± R750 – depending on the tests done. All tests at the Ear Institutes are charged according to medical aid tariffs. You are responsible for your account, and can claim the test from your medical aid if your medical aid provides for it.

How much does a hearing test cost and do you charge medical aid rates?

Hearing test – Depending on the type of testing needed, or as requested by your GP or ENT, prices range from R750 up to R1500. Most medical aids cover hearing tests. Hearing aids – most medical aids contribute a fixed amount to hearing aids – some on a biannual basis.

Will my medical aid pay for my hearing test and hearing aids?

A typical first consultation will take between 60 and 90 minutes.

How long does a hearing test take?

Most hearing aids require a custom-made ear mould that takes two to three days to manufacture before you can actually wear your hearing aid. Depending on the hearing loss there are some models that we are able to fit immediately.

If I come for a hearing test today will I be able to be supplied with my hearing aids on the same day?

Most hearing aids require a custom-made ear mould that takes two to three days to manufacture before you can actually wear your hearing aid. Depending on the hearing loss there are some models that we are able to fit immediately.

How do I know if I have a hearing loss?

If your answer to any of these is YES, you may have a hearing loss.

  • I experience difficulty hearing people over the telephone.
  • I have to turn the TV’s volume up louder than others prefer.
  • I have to strain to hear people speak during conversations.
  • I worry that I won’t hear the doorbell or the phone ring.
  • I have trouble hearing conversations in a noisy environment such as a restaurant.
  • I don’t always know where sounds are coming from.
  • I don’t always catch all the words in a sentence and often need to ask people to repeat themselves.
  • I have trouble hearing the voices of women and children.
  • I experience difficulty hearing the speaker in a large room, such as a meeting.
  • Many people I talk to seem to mumble or speak unclearly.
  • Social activities and conversations are difficult to maintain.
  • Family members and friends have told me they think I may have a hearing loss.
  • Click here for your nearest Ear Institute, who can assist you with a hearing test or advice.

Can I first test out the hearing aids before I buy them?

Should you consider purchasing hearing aids we will gladly assist you. We will also give you the opportunity to listen to the hearing aids and experience different computer generated sound environments. We are unfortunately not in a position to ‘lend’ you the hearing aids but we will give you a money back guarantee in the unlikely event that you are not fully satisfied. Our 30-day money back guarantee excludes the hearing tests, ear moulds/shells and batteries or other consumables used.

Should I wear one hearing aid or two?

People have two ears so that they can hear perfectly. So in most cases it makes sense to wear two hearing aids. Some people want to save money and only wear one. However, one hearing aid can never do the work of two, so the improvements are never as good as they could be. It’s the same with music: stereo sounds definitively better than mono. For the brain to process information properly, it needs input from both ears. The two ears work together just like the two halves of the brain.

What features should I look for in a hearing aid?

  • Your hearing aid should have directional microphones, which improve speech understanding in noisy environments. They use two microphones to better separate unwanted sounds coming from behind you, from the important speech sounds coming from the front.
  • Your hearing aid should have multiple channels – more channels means better sound quality, and that finer adjustments can be made to personalise your sound experience.
  • Your hearing aid should also have multiple automatic programmes, which allow for seamless transition between different listening environments.
  • Noise reduction is also important – it makes listening to speech more comfortable in noisy situations. It also reduces wind noise when outside.
  • Feedback cancellation ensures that you experience no whistling.

How will I benefit from hearing aid accessories?

Wireless accessories help turn challenging communications into confident ones. They make it easy to Skype your friends, watch TV at a normal volume, use your mobile phone, make video calls, hear your GPS, take hands-free calls, and more. Remote controls allow you to change settings on your hearing aids without having to touch them.

I had my hearing test done by another audiologist. Can I bring the audiogram and receive a quotation for a hearing aid from you, or should I first come for another hearing test at the Ear Institute?

You do not need to re-test your hearing. You can visit us with the audiogram and we can make recommendations on hearing aids. Should we wish to verify the audiogram, we will re-test your hearing free of charge.

How long does a hearing aid last?

Depending on how well you look after your hearing aid e.g. inserting it into a drying system every evening, etc. you can expect 4 to 6 years of service from your hearing aids. From a technological point of view you will be able to upgrade your hearing aid every 3 years.

Where can I find my closest Ear Institute?

There are 20 Ear Institutes situated throughout South Africa and Namibia. Click here for a full list.

What must I do before I come for a hearing test?

Contact one of our Ear Institutes for an appointment and remember to bring along your medical aid membership card with identification. Please bring along your spouse or partner!

How often must I see the audiologist again after I have received my hearing aids?

We recommend that you visit us within 2-3 weeks after being fitted for a follow-up visit. This allows you time to adjust to all the new sounds and discuss possible problem areas with your professional. Thereafter you may visit the centre at your discretion and we will gladly do all adjustments and follow-up visits free-of-charge during the guarantee period (usually 12 months).

My family keeps telling me that the television is too loud. Is there something wrong with my hearing?

Family members often notice a hearing problem because the hearing-impaired person turns up the television or radio and everybody else thinks it is much too loud. We recommend making an appointment for a hearing test during which we can determine what the cause might be.

My work place is very noisy. Will this eventually affect my hearing?

High noise levels are the most common reason for obtaining a noise induced hearing loss. Workers in high noise environments should wear hearing protection and ideally custom made hearing protection devices with the SABS Mark of Approved performance. One such product is Noise-Ban and is obtainable from all Ear Institutes.

For some time I have had a constant ringing/ noise in my ears. Is that a sign of a hearing problem?

Tinnitus (a constant ringing in the ears) is a far reaching problem amongst many people. Please contact one of our Ear Institutes for more information. Tinnitus can be managed and can help you do so – please phone for an appointment without obligation. Click here for an Ear Institute near you.
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