The UNC-HCC is the School of Medicine, Department of Health Sciences 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. We work with a wide variety of hearing aid manufacturers and provide itemized billing for hearing services.
Our clinic recommends a six-month checkup routine. At these appointments, the hearing aids will be cleaned, small parts (tubing, wax guards, domes) 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.
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. Most patients have their hearing tested every 2 years.
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. A referral can be faxed to our office (919-493-7985) or sent electronically via EPIC.
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.
Contact your insurance carrier to determine if the UNC HCC is an in-network provider for hearing tests and hearing aid services.
The UNC HCC is committed to offering affordable hearing technology for all patients. Our itemized billing allows patients to find solutions within their budgets and only pay for the services needed. A few Medicare Advantage plans offer “discount” programs for hearing aids through TPAs. The UNC HCC is not in network with any TPAs, as the limited terms of service are not conductive for patient care. Patients should be careful when enrolling in TPAs, as they may be locked into specific value devices or have trouble finding quality providers in-network. Routinely, the “discount” advertised by TPAs are already comparable to the every-day pricing of UNC HCC hearing aids. Our team would be happy to help you navigate your insurance benefits and programs to find the best, affordable solution for you.
According to hearing aid manufacturers, hearing aids should last between 5-7 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).
New technology is warranted when an individual no longer benefits from their current hearing aids. This can occur if the hearing aids are no longer functioning and require costly repairs or if the patient’s hearing/communication challenges can no longer be addressed with the existing technology. Manufacturers launch new technology every 18-24 months, and the UNC HCC works closely with representatives from a variety of companies to ensure the best care with the latest technology. Because hearing aids can be reprogrammed over time using real-ear verification, age alone is NOT the reason to get new hearing aids. Schedule an appointment with an audiologist to determine if new technology is recommended.