Adult Audiology Services
The Adult Cochlear Implant Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill represents a close partnership among professionals from the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Hospitals, including surgeons and scientists from the Department of Otolaryngology, and UNC Hospitals audiologists. The UNC Implant Program is the largest and most prestigious cochlear implant center in North Carolina and is well recognized across the country.
The program has been in existence since the late 1970s / early 1980s and has expanded continually throughout the years, providing quality medical care to over 1000 cochlear implant recipients young and old. The number of patients implanted annually continues to rise as a result of expanding candidacy criteria for implantation as well as new developments in cutting-edge cochlear implant technology.
The adult program actively serves patients 18 years of age and older who are likely to benefit from implantable technology. There are no upper age limits to cochlear implantation. In fact about one third of our patients are above the age of 65 years.
The Adult Cochlear implant audiologists are able to take care of patients with all three major cochlear implant devices. UNC School of Medicine cochlear implant research audiologists are on site with the clinical audiologists so patients have access to many study opportunities as well as the potential to get the newest devices before they are released to the general market by participating in clinical trial studies.
For more information on the UNC Adult Cochlear Implant Program, please visit the School of Medicine Adult Cochlear Implant Program page.
If an audiological evaluation together with the Ear Nose and Throat Specialist determine that a hearing loss is not medically or surgically treatable, then hearing aids are one option for management. Today’s hearing aids are vastly improved when compared to those available just a few years ago. Fitting techniques have also improved. Such technological advances assist the audiologist in selecting and fitting the device so that it most closely meets an individual user’s needs.
UNC Medical Center Audiology offers the latest digital hearing aid technology from a variety of hearing aid manufacturers. Hearing aids, like many items, come in a variety of styles with a variety of options. Pricing is based on the level of technology and options selected. UNC financial counsellors are available to verify any hearing aid benefits offered by your health insurance. In addition, zero interest payment plans are offered on all hearing aids. Diagnostic evaluation, repairs and programming are also available for most makes and models of hearing aids whether purchased from UNC Medical Center or elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to see an Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) physician before purchasing a hearing aid?
For adult patients, it is strongly recommended that an ENT physician be consulted as part of the hearing evaluation process prior to being fitted with a hearing aid. If the audiological evaluation does not result in any indication of potential medical issues, an adult may choose to sign a waiver confirming that he/she does not wish to be seen by a physician. However, every child diagnosed with a hearing loss at UNC Medical Center must be evaluated by a physician in the Department of Otolaryngology/HNS before any treatment or rehabilitation recommendations are made.
Are hearing aids covered by health insurance?
Some insurance plans provide hearing aid benefits. Since plans and benefits differ, it is necessary to check with each individual’s provider. Financial counsellors at UNCMC will contact your insurance carrier to determine your benefits prior to the hearing aid appointment. Other programs such as the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s “Hear Now” program or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services may offer assistance to individuals who have no coverage and qualify financially.
Are hearing aids covered by Medicare?
At this time Medicare does not provide coverage for hearing aids or hearing aid related services.
Are hearing aids covered by Medicaid?
North Carolina Medicaid covers hearing aids and related services for patients from birth to 21 years of age. No hearing aid related services are covered for adults.