We help patients meet their communication goals with state-of-the-art hearing solutions.

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations.

There are different kinds of hearing aids. They differ by size, their placement on or inside the ear and how much they amplify sound. The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on what kind of hearing loss you have and how severe it is.

Why choose Ohio State for hearing aids?

Our hearing professionals bring many years of combined audiological experience to the treatment of hearing loss for patients of all ages. We provide patients with premium quality hearing healthcare services while maintaining a supportive understanding environment.

Our audiology team continues to expand the scope of our practices as technology advances and, as a result, offers some of the most comprehensive services in the central Ohio area related to the diagnosis and rehabilitation of the auditory system. We take pride in being able to offer a wide variety of state-of-the-art affordable solutions designed to help patients meet their communication goals.

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

The behind-the-ear hearing aid device requires a custom-fitted mold or a universal dome that is inserted into the ear canal. This earpiece is coupled to the device and is used to direct amplified sound to the ear as well as maintain placement of the device. There are miniature versions of behind-the-ear hearing aids currently available.

Advantages of behind-the-ear hearing aids:
  • Less repairs are needed during the life of the devices
  • More flexibility in programming and adjustment as a result of a larger fitting range
  • Least expensive style of hearing aid

Disadvantage of behind-the-ear hearing aids:

  • Generally more difficult for telephone use due to placement of the hearing aid microphone


Types of behind-the-ear hearing aids

Behind the ear hearing aid

Behind-the-ear hearing aid

Open fit receiver in the canal Front

Open fit/receiver in the canal behind-the-ear hearing aid

In-the-Ear Hearing Aids (Custom)

In-the-ear hearing aids are available in a variety of sizes. They are custom molded to fit each individual’s ears. All of the custom hearing aids are seated directly in the ear.

Advantage of custom in-the-ear hearing aids:

  • Easiest for telephone usage

Disadvantages of custom in-the-ear hearing aids:

  • More expensive, as the size of the device is miniaturized
  • Less flexible for programming with the smaller sizes
  • The smallest completely in-the-canal aid is too small to accommodate dual microphone technology for improvement of hearing in noise

Types of custom hearing aids

Full Shell in the Ear

Full shell in-the-ear hearing aid

Full shell in the ear hearing aid

Half shell in-the-ear hearing aid

Half shell hearing aid

In-the-canal hearing aid

Completely in the canal hearing aid

Completely-in-the-canal hearing aid

Hearing Instrument Technology

Automatic Signal Processing

Hearing instruments can monitor your environment and automatically adjust the volume to make speech audible and reduce background noise. Soft sounds are amplified and loud sounds receive little or no amplification. This type of signal processing keeps the output of the hearing instrument comfortable, so manual changes are unnecessary.

Feedback Management

Feedback is the whistling or buzzing noise that a hearing aid can make. Feedback management technology allows hearing aid users access to increased high frequency amplification without feedback. High frequency information carries the sounds of speech responsible for clarity. It is possible to reduce feedback by reducing the volume, though this can affect the clarity of speech. Modern feedback cancelation methods continually monitor the incoming signal and adjust the hearing instrument to minimize feedback without reducing gain.

Noise Management

The inability to hear amidst background noise (in a restaurant or at a party) is a common complaint among people with hearing loss. Modern hearing instruments are able to continually monitor the incoming signals and determine the amount of noise in the environment. They then automatically minimize background noise. This allows the user to listen to speech more comfortably and clearly in noisy environments. 

Directional Technology

Another type of technology that improves speech understanding in noisy environments is the use of directional microphones. Most directional microphone systems help focus on the sounds of interest coming from the front by reducing amplification from the sides and back of the user. The most current directional microphone systems automatically reduce the noise source in the environment.

Hearing Instrument Features

Multiple Listening Programs

This feature allows the hearing instrument user to change listening programs depending on their environment. For example, hearing instruments can be set with programs for everyday listening, listening in noise or when using the telephone.


A telecoil attempts to eliminate the feedback or whistling that occurs while wearing a hearing instrument and using a telephone. This feature will only amplify telephone signals from hearing compatible phones. This feature can be accessed automatically when a telephone is placed near the hearing aid or manually by pressing a program button.

Direct Audio Input

Direct Audio Input allows a hearing instrument to communicate with assistive listening devices. It is often used in classrooms and auditoriums to assist in hearing performance. Direct Audio Input is typically available on BTE hearing instruments.

Wireless Accessories

Wireless accessories are devices that pair with your hearing aids to enable better listening on your Bluetooth compatible cell phone and devices. Wireless accessories can also pair to your television. Ask your audiologists for more detailed information about devices and compatibility.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are two hearing aids better than one?

In truth, we don't really hear in our ears. Actually, we "hear" in our brains. Our brain processes the electrical signal sent to it by the ears. Hearing with two ears is called binaural hearing. Sound localization is very dependent on input from both of our ears. For example, when we hear something in the distance, such as a friend calling our name, the input the brain receives tells us from which direction our friend's voice is coming. The ability to tell the direction from which the sound is coming is called localization. 

Research has shown that people who wear two hearing aids (binaural amplification) instead of one understand speech and conversations much better. Binaural amplification will deliver more of the sounds you need. Then, your brain can process the sounds correctly. 

There is a phenomenon called adult late onset auditory deprivation, which is when word recognition ability decreases as a result of lack of stimulation to the auditory processing centers of the brain. Approximately 80 percent of people who suffer from hearing loss have it in both ears. Amplifying only one ear when both ears have hearing loss can put you at a disadvantage. Binaural hearing aid wearers have reported that listening and participating in conversations is more pleasant with two hearing aids.

Can I use a family member or friend's old hearing aid?

If the hearing aid is the style that fits behind the ear and is appropriate for your type and degree of hearing loss, the answer is yes.

We would need to assess your hearing and determine if you can wear the old hearing aid. You would need to buy an earmold and pay a nonrefundable fitting fee, which includes the fitting and three follow-up visits. Any hearing aid with instrumentation that fits entirely in the ear is a custom-made piece that cannot be modified to fit another user.

Do I need to return to have my hearing aids serviced on a regular basis?

Our audiologists recommend you return to our office for visits every six months to have your hearing aids thoroughly cleaned and checked.

Do I need to take my hearing aid out when going through airport security?

No, you don't need to take your hearing aid out when going through airport security.

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Do I sleep with my hearing aids in?

Typically not. Hearing aids are not comfortable to sleep in. If you are concerned that the severity of your hearing loss would prevent you from being alerted to the telephone, door bell or fire alarms, there are a wide variety of assistive devices that you can use at night time while your hearing aids are out.

Do you have a payment program for the purchase of hearing aids?

No. However, we do offer information from CareCredit. For the services to be covered, the patient must first be approved for the loan to cover the services.

Does Medicare or my private health insurance cover the cost of hearing aids?

Medicare does not pay for hearing aids under any circumstances. Some private health insurances cover a portion of the hearing aid cost but it can be difficult to determine exactly how much of the cost that they will cover. When you schedule a hearing aid evaluation appointment, your insurance company will be contacted to determine an estimated coverage. 

If my physician recommends it, does my health insurance cover the cost of a swim plug?

Typically not. Only rarely do some health insurances cover swim plugs. It is most likely going to be an out-of-pocket expense, even if your physician recommends it.

Does my new hearing aid come with a warranty?

All new hearing aids come with at least one year of warranty coverage, which typically includes repairs, loss and damage.

How do I reactivate my dry-aid kit?

You may have a metal canister containing the drying crystals, and this system can be placed on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. Once the blue color is restored to the crystals, the kit is reactivated. Make sure it is cooled before placing it back in the plastic container.

If you are using a dry brick system, check for a change in color on the brick package. The old brick will need to be discarded and replaced with a new one. The brick typically needs to be replaced every several months.

If you have a plastic container of crystals, you can place this in the microwave, screen side up, for 20 seconds on high. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before handling. Repeat until your beads turn amber or gold in color. Then your kit is reactivated.

How frequently do I need to have my hearing aids tested?

Every two years or sooner if you notice a change in your hearing sensitivity.

How many visits are required when purchasing a new hearing aid?

On average there are four to five visits associated with the initial fitting of hearing aids. This includes a hearing evaluation, a hearing aid evaluation, a fitting and instruction, a two-week follow-up appointment and a 30-day trial end appointment.

How often do I need to replace my hearing aids?

Approximately every five years. Hearing aid technology changes significantly about every five years. Replacing your hearing aids after five years would afford you the opportunity to take advantage of the most sophisticated technology.

If I decide I don't like the hearing aid, can I return it for a refund?

We offer a 30-day trial period during which you can return the hearing aid for any reason. If you decide you do not like the hearing instrument(s), all of your money will be refunded, minus the initial deposit.

May I donate my old hearing aid(s)?

You may send your hearing aid directly to HEAR Now:

Hear Now Program
Attn: Hearing Aid Recycling
6700 Washington Ave. S.
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Call 866-354-3254 for more information. 

My hearing aid won't work. What should I try first?

The first thing to check is the battery. If the battery is good, inspect the sound bore (where the sound exits the shell of an in-the-ear hearing aid or the earmold). With slim tubes, remove the slim tube from the hearing aid and run the thin filament cleaning tool through the silastic tubing. For devices that have a wax filter, try removing and replacing the filter. If you are unsuccessful, you may contact our office for an appointment or to drop off the hearing aid to be checked.

What are the most common reasons hearing aids fail to function?

Moisture and earwax. You can protect your hearing aids from component failure due to moisture by keeping them dry, and not leaving them in the bathroom while bathing. If you will be perspiring heavily during physical activity, you may choose to leave the hearing aids out. If you have a dry-aid kit, place the aids in the kit overnight.

Wax can clog the opening where sound is delivered to the ear, either in the earmold or the sound bore of the hearing aid itself. Inspect the hearing aid on a daily basis to be sure the sound bore is open. There are small brushes, loops and thin filament tools that can be used to remove the wax.

What do I do if I have lost or damaged my hearing aid?

You will need to call the office and schedule an appointment for an earmold impression. If the hearing aid is covered under warranty, there is a replacement fee as stated on the contract that is due at the time of the earmold impression. Many manufacturers require a notarized statement regarding the hearing aid's loss or damage. You will need to bring this statement with you to the earmold appointment.

What if I get my hearing aid wet?

Get the hearing aids out of the moisture as quickly as possible. Remove the battery and place them in your dry-aid kit (follow the kit instructions). If you do not have a dry-aid kit, open the battery compartment and dry the aid with a blow dryer on low heat. Schedule an appointment to have the hearing aid assessed in our office.

What is a hearing aid evaluation?

A hearing aid evaluation is a one-hour appointment scheduled with an audiologist to determine the appropriate style and technology of hearing aid to accommodate your communication needs and lifestyle. Should you decide to go through an evaluation with amplification, the hearing aid can be ordered during this visit and a deposit toward the cost of the hearing aid is collected that day.

What is the cost to purchase hearing aids?

The cost of hearing aids often varies per person, depending on insurance and product type. To learn more about pricing, we prefer that patients schedule an appointment with Ohio State Audiology to receive a personalized recommendation based on need and budget. To schedule an appointment, please call 614-366-3687.   

Where do I buy hearing aid batteries?

Hearing aid batteries can be purchased at our office by the package or in bulk. In addition, any store that has a pharmaceutical counter typically will sell batteries.

Our Audiologists


Laura Feeney, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Laura Feeney, AuD, earned both her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science and her doctoral degree in Audiology from The Ohio State University. She has been with the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery since 2007. She is board certified by the American Board of Audiology and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Academy of Audiology. Laura’s interests include basic audiological testing and working with patients with hearing aids and cochlear implants.


Laura Garish, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Laura Garish, AuD, earned her bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University in 1992. In 1994 Laura received her master’s degree from the University of Akron. She worked as the director of Audiology in the Huntington Ear Clinic in Huntington, West Virginia, from 1994-1996. Laura joined the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here in 1997. Laura completed her doctorate degree in May 2001 at the University of Florida. Dr. Garish is a founding member, board member and treasurer of the nonprofit foundation, Project EAR, Inc. 


Brenda Hall, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Brenda Hall, AuD, graduated from the University of North Carolina with a master’s degree in Audiology. She received her doctoral degree from Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2010. She has been a member of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery since 1991. Her interests include working with patients with cochlear implants and hearing aids.


Debby LaPrete, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Debby LaPrete, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. She graduated from the Arizona School of Health Sciences with her doctoral degree in Audiology in 2009. Debby has worked at Ohio State since 1994, and specializes in providing services to recipients of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants.


Cari Mickelson, MEd

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Cari Mickelson, MEd, graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Audiology. She has worked in a variety of medical settings for the past 25 years. Her interests include diagnostic audiology and hearing aid dispensing. Cari is a member of the Ohio Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from The Ohio State University in 1998 and her master’s degree in Audiology from Ohio State in 2000. She obtained her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2008. Melissa joined the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here in 2001, and her interests include hearing aid dispensing and cochlear implants.


Saul Strieb, AuD

Audiologist & Vestibular Laboratory Coordinator

Saul Strieb, AuD, obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Maryland. He received his doctoral degree in Audiology from the University of Florida in 2009. He served as an audiologist at the Washington Hospital Center from 2001 through 2011, before joining the staff of the OSU Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in 2011. His clinical interests include hearing aids, BAHA, vestibular assessment and treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.


Eryn Staats, AuD

Audiologist & Audiology Manager, OSU Hearing Professionals

Eryn Staats, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Ohio University in 1996 and her master’s degree in Audiology from The Ohio State University in 2003. She obtained her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2012. Eryn has been an audiologist with the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here since 2008. Dr. Staats’ clinical interests include diagnostic audiology, bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA), hearing aid dispensing and rehabilitation.


Gretchen Waggoner, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Gretchen Waggoner, AuD, earned her bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Ohio University in 1994 and her master's degree in Audiology from Bowling Green State University in 1996. She earned her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2006. She has been an audiologist in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here since 1996. She is a founding member and secretary of Project EAR, Inc. She has participated in seven mission trips and provides diagnostic services and hearing aid fittings. 

Kara Vasil

Kara Vasil, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Kara Vasil, AuD earned a BS in speech and hearing science from The Ohio State University in 2012 and her Doctor of audiology from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium in 2016. Her clinical interests include diagnostics, cochlear implantation, hearing aid fitting and assistive devices. She's a research audiologist at Ohio State's Buckeye Center for Hearing and Development. She's a member of the American Academy of Audiology, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Ohio Academy of Audiology.

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