In this article, we'll cover all key options, provide a comprehensive understanding of the landscape, and offer an unbiased overview of the pros and cons of each choice.

The Most Helpful Walkthrough Of All The Different Ways To Treat A Hearing Loss In Alaska

04/20/2023 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

If the time has come where you or a loved one is considering which treatment is best to manage a hearing loss, then this article will give you all the answers you need in order to make the best choice.

With so many marketing messages from different providers promising the world, it can be really tough to decipher what’s real and what’s emblazoned hype, which may leave you feeling overwhelmed and longing for an easy-to-digest, fact-based list!

That’s why, in this article, we’re going to explain ALL the key options available to you and give you a full understanding of the landscape, as well as share an honest and unbiased overview of the benefits and negatives of choosing each option.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start Your Search

When it comes to a hearing challenge, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution to addressing it.

The right option is very much dependent on your unique circumstances, lifestyle, and budget.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the level of your hearing loss?
  • How active is your lifestyle? Does your hearing need a little help or a lot of help?
  • Do you prefer to see a specialist face to face, or do you prefer remote support?
  • Can you travel for appointments or need care from home?
  • Do you demand the best of the best or want a solution on a budget?
  • Do you want to work with an individual for the long term, or are you happy to work with a
  • corporation and speak to different people?

There is a lot to consider but when armed with an understanding of your preferences, you can make a better decision on which of the many options available is right for you.

The Full List Of Hearing Loss Treatments In Alaska

There are many options to choose from, ranging from low-budget to high-budget depending on your preferences and circumstances. They include:

1. Earphones and Cell Phone Apps [$0-$250]
2. Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids [$800-$1000]
3. PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products) [$79-$1250]
4. Online Hearing Aids with Audiological Remote Support [$1850-$2400]
5. Big Box Retail Stores [$1250-$4000]
6. Audiology Clinic [$2500-$7800]
7. Hearing Loss Surgery (Cochlear Implants) [$30,000-$50,000]

Although they all hold similar promises, they all have very distinct differences. Let’s explore each option in more detail.

Low priced comprehensive hearing solution

#1 – Earphones And Cell Phone Apps

If you have zero budget and simply need some form of amplification in certain environments, then there are a few apps on Apple’s App Store that allow you to turn your earphones into amplification tools.

Essentially, they use the microphone of the device and then increase the volume on all sound, giving you an increased ability to hear. One notable app is called “Chatable” – it’s free to download and allows you to simply increase the level of volume on all sounds that your cell phone/earphones pick up.

In order for this app to work, you must have wireless earphones or wired headphones connected to your cell phone.

You can then sit your cell phone on the table to help you hear conversations better, with the elevated volume being pumped into your ears.

It offers 99 minutes of free listening per month, and then it asks you to sign up to a subscription of $59.99 per year.



  • Doesn’t require any large fees (mostly free)
  • Only requires technology that you likely have available


  • Only works in environments with very little background noise
  • Requires you to wear headphones/earphones and sit your cell phone in a very specific position
  • Is not unique to your hearing loss – it simply makes sounds louder
  • Doesn’t help address a hearing challenge
  • Includes no support or care – you’re on your own

This could be compared to using a magnifying glass if you had vision problems. It may help in very specific circumstances but is not a solution that will allow you to live your life comfortably or address the core challenge.

#2 – Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

In 2017, the federal government passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, which aimed to give consumers greater access to affordable hearing aids. After many false starts, these devices are now slowly reaching the market.

The first big-brand device was the Bose SoundControl priced at $850.00 that delivered two devices for each ear, an iPhone app, and a 90-day return policy.

These devices can be purchased without any form of hearing assessment; you fit them yourself, and you then use an app on your phone to select specific environments and make tweaks to the sound.

In many ways, they’re very similar to the earphones and cell phone app option that we recently discussed, but they supply you with devices that look very similar to traditional hearing aids.

Already, Bose is advertising these devices to the wider world, and it’s resulting in many people asking questions about them.

You can read our professional take on the Bose SoundControl devices by clicking here.



  • Easily accessible
  • Purchase from your computer
  • Very competitively priced


  • Not tailored to your hearing loss
  • Doesn’t require any form of testing (it could be a buildup of earwax that is responsible for your reduced
  • hearing, or you may have no hearing loss)
  • Need to fit them yourself, leading to potential discomfort and lack of performance
  • No support outside of your 90-day returns period
  • No warranty if you lose or damage them

To continue the comparison to your vision, this is the equivalent to buying off-the-shelf readers. They will help in certain situations, but overall, they are a very generic option that isn’t unique to you.

#3 – PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products)

If you have seen the hearing aid-type devices for sale on the internet, through adverts, or even in Walmart, then the chances are that it’s a PSAP, which is an amplification tool.

It takes in sound through a small built-in microphone and then makes it louder into your ears, helping you to hear the sounds around you.

Starting as low as $79.99 and ranging to over $1000 – they provide a solution if you have a very mild hearing loss and require a “one-size-fits-all” amplification with very little room for adjustments.



  • Easy to purchase (either online or in-store)
  • Very low cost, priced from $79.99


  • Not tailored to your hearing loss
  • Doesn’t require any form of testing (it could be a buildup of earwax that is responsible for your reduced
  • hearing, or you may have no hearing loss)
  • Need to fit them yourself, leading to potential discomfort and lack of performance
  • No support outside of your 90-day returns period
  • No warranty if you lose or damage them

If you’re experiencing challenges with your sight, then these are the equivalent to readers – they help in certain situations but aren’t tailored to you, nor a long-term solution.

#4 – Online Hearing Aids With Audiological Remote Support/Direct-To-Consumer

You may have seen adverts from Listen Lively or other popular online models that share how you can access hearing technology and audiological support online, and they make a great case.

You don’t have to visit a doctor, they’re reasonably priced, and the process feels very slick.

They serve as a solution to match commonly used gain and slope hearing loss targets, usually allowing you to connect to a cell phone app to make minor adjustments yourself or through a video call with one of their online audiologists.

They’re gaining in popularity due to their convenience, with online reviews being mixed between good and poor experiences.

You can order them for as low as $1850, and you receive a box with your hearing aids programmed based on your online hearing assessment with online follow-up appointments.



  • Easy to purchase online
  • Highly convenient
  • Hearing technology is developed by a reputable manufacturer
  • Often come with a money-back guarantee


  • They only require you to have an online hearing assessment (which is often inaccurate and can result
  • in your devices being programmed incorrectly)
  • Nobody physically looks into your ears, meaning that there may be other reasons for a hearing
  • loss (earwax, blockages, etc.)
  • You don’t receive any in-person support, help, or attention
  • You cannot utilize your insurance benefits
  • You don’t have one hearing care professional who you can build a relationship with, and you often
  • speak to a different audiologist each time

This is definitely a good option depending on your level of hearing loss, circumstances, and needs. If we continue the comparison to eye glasses, then this would be the equivalent to completing an eye test at home on your own and then having a company mail you your eye glasses.

#5 – Big Box Retail Stores (Costco/Sam’s Club, Etc.)

A common option for purchasing professional hearing aids is to visit your local Costco or Sam’s Club that often has an internal hearing aid center.

If purchasing real hearing technology that is customized to you is important to you, then this is a big step in the right direction compared to purchasing online.

Firstly, they require you to have a hearing screening to understand the rough level of your hearing loss.

They then have access to their own Kirkland branded hearing aids plus some reputable manufacturer technology, which ranges in price in the low thousands of dollars mark.

The technology is high quality, and you receive a professional fitting (often by a trained hearing aid dispenser), plus a warranty that varies from 1 to 3 years depending on where you purchase.

It is in a retail environment, so receiving follow-up care and support can sometimes be tricky with people waiting weeks before receiving support, and if you lose or damage your devices, then it can be a long process that can leave you without your devices.



  • You receive a hearing screening
  • You receive an in-person fitting
  • You wear professional technology
  • You have a warranty
  • You can return for help/cleanings/support


  • You don’t receive a comprehensive or advanced hearing evaluation (this means that other factors
  • could indicate a hearing loss, such as a buildup of earwax)
  • You don’t receive ongoing service
  • Getting an appointment for support/help can sometimes have a long wait
  • You can’t utilize your insurance
  • Payment plans are not available
  • A membership fee is often required

#6 – Audiological Care Within A Clinic

This could be considered as the traditional approach.

This is where you visit a doctor of audiology for a comprehensive hearing assessment that doesn’t just check your level of hearing but also your overall hearing health.

From there, they explore your options and help you to make a decision on which level of technology is right for you with access to all levels of the latest technology without limitations.

Upon a professional fitting, you then receive ongoing support and care for many years, including cleanings, readjustments, any repairs, and having a team of experts alongside you with appointments often available within 48 hours.

Often your devices come with extended warranties and protection, and your hearing health is the key priority throughout the process.

You can also utilize your insurance or payment plans.


  • You’ll have to attend multiple appointments to ensure complete accuracy


  • You’re personally treated by a doctor of audiology
  • You receive ongoing in-person care
  • You’re fitted with the latest technology from a leading manufacturer
  • You receive a warranty/protection
  • You can utilize your insurance
  • Payment plans are available
  • You’re one of a small number of valued patients
  • You’re working with a small business rather than a large corporation

To use the eye glasses comparison, this is the equivalent to visiting an optometrist, having your eyes professionally tested, working with you to find the perfect eye glasses, and then supporting you to continually check any vision changes, replace any parts, and offer you in-depth support.

#7 – Hearing Loss Surgery (Cochlear Implants)

If your hearing loss is severe, then an option available to you is a cochlear implant.

This is a surgical implant that is positioned inside your cochlea that converts sounds into electrical impulses, which are then interpreted by the brain, all aimed at replacing your cochlea’s function.

Generally recommended for people with a severe hearing loss in both ears that have not received benefits from traditional hearing aids, a cochlear implant can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 on average, according to Boys Town National Research Hospital.

They’re a solution often covered by insurance but usually require replacement parts that may not be covered (it’s always worth clarification).

As one of the only audiology clinics in Alaska to offer this service, you can find out more about this by clicking here.

How Do You Decide?

Hopefully, the above explanation gives you a better understanding of the options available to you and guides you in a direction that feels right for you.

As I said at the beginning, there isn’t a right solution for everybody – it depends on your circumstances and preferences.

If you’re still unsure and would prefer to chat to a trusted hearing care professional to explain your situation and receive tailored advice, then you can complete the Request a Callback” form on this page, or you can call our office at (907) 522-4357.

Our job is not to guide you in any particular direction, but it’s to understand your situation and make a recommendation that is right for you.

We’re always here to help you.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Emily E McMahan

Dr. McMahan attended the University of Cincinnati where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2009. She furthered her professional education by obtaining her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in Philadelphia in 2013. She completed her residency in Anchorage and has been applying her expertise to her patients in the Pacific Northwest for several years. Whether you need hearing testing, hearing aids, or assistance with managing tinnitus in your daily lives, Dr. McMahan is qualified to assist you!

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