Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the UNC HCC and the UNC Hearing and Voice Center (also on NC 54)?

The UNC HCC is the School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health’s faculty practice. All clinicians working at the UNC HCC hold faculty positions in addition to their clinical audiologist role. There is no shared affiliation with UNC Hospitals, Physicians, or funding. The UNC HCC serves as a training facility for students in the Doctor of Audiology program, and is a not for profit clinic.

How often should I come for a hearing aid check?

Our clinic recommends a 6 month checkup routine. At these appointments, the hearing aids will be cleaned, small parts (tubing, wax guards, microphone covers) will be replaced, and a listening check will be conducted to verify amplification.  If necessary, the internal components of the hearing aids can be tested to ensure the hearing aid is functioning up to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications. Patients are encouraged to come prior to the six month mark, should they experience any difficulty or lack of benefit.

How often should I get my hearing checked?

If your hearing changes suddenly, you should seek immediate medical attention. Call your primary care physician or your local Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) physician and tell them you need to be seen immediately due to a sudden drop of hearing. If there has not been a sudden change in hearing, a new hearing test is only warranted when there has been a change in symptom(s), ie; ringing, dizziness, gradual change of hearing, feeling of aural fullness, or when an individual is being fit with new hearing aids.

Do I need a referral for my hearing test?

Medicare statutorily excludes annual/routine hearing tests. However, if you feel there has been a change in symptoms related to hearing (gradual decline, ringing, dizziness, aural fullness), discuss this concern with your primary care physician prior to making an appointment.

What can be billed to Medicare?

Medicare statutorily excludes annual/routine hearing tests, hearing aids, and hearing aid services. If your primary care physician (PCP) submits a referral citing medical necessity, the hearing test can be billed to Medicare. Without a PCP referral, you will be asked to complete and sign an Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN), which outlines patient responsibility for billing and payment.

What can be billed to insurance (Non-Medicare)?

Contact your carrier to determine if the UNC HCC is an in-network provider for hearing tests and hearing aid services.

How long should my hearing aid(s) last?

According to hearing aid manufacturers, hearing aids should last between 4-7 years. However, this will vary greatly from patient to patient. Taking good care of the hearing aids and scheduling routine checkups every six months can help prolong the life of your hearing aid(s).

When do I need new hearing aids?

New technology is warranted when an individual no longer benefits from their current hearing aids.  Manufacturers launch new technology every 18-24 months, and the HCC works closely with representatives from a variety of companies to ensure the best care with the latest technology. Schedule an appointment with an audiologist to determine if new technology is recommended.