Frequent Questions

What are Kaiser Permanente Hearing Centers?

Kaiser Permanente operates 18 Hearing Centers in Northern California. Each center offers professional hearing aid services, products, and accessories, including:

  • A broad range of digital, programmable, and conventional hearing aids
  • Personalized service and follow-up from licensed dispensing audiologists
  • Competitive prices
  • Three-year repair warranty on hearing aids
  • A 30-day trial period for hearing aids
  • Hearing protection, other assisted listening devices, and batteries
  • 3-year manufacturer's repair warranty
  • One-year manufacturer's loss and damage warranty

Do you need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to use Hearing Center services?

Nonmembers and members who do not have a hearing aid benefit can still purchase competitively priced hearing aids in San Francisco, Sacramento, and other Northern California communities through a Kaiser Permanente Hearing Center. However, they must have a current hearing test (within 6 months) and medical clearance from their primary care doctor for a hearing aid prior to purchasing a hearing aid. Kaiser Permanente members can have a Kaiser Permanente audiologist conduct a hearing test, and nonmembers should have their hearing tested by a licensed audiologist through their health care provider.

How do members access Kaiser Permanente Hearing Center services?

Members must have their hearing tested by a Kaiser Permanente audiologist who will produce an audiogram for each ear. Click here to learn more about hearing tests we offer. If a hearing aid is deemed necessary, the member can contact their local Hearing Center to schedule an appointment for a hearing aid consultation. The hearing test needs to be performed within 6 months of purchasing a hearing aid. Kaiser Permanente members have coverage for medically necessary hearing tests, and some members may have coverage for hearing aids.

How can I find out if I have a hearing aid benefit?

For more details about your health benefits, call our Member Service Call Center at 1-800-464-4000 or 1-800-777-1370 (TTY for the deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Do you accept other insurance?

Unfortunately, no. However, persons with outside insurance can pay for our services in full and then submit a reimbursement form to their insurance company.

Do you offer a payment plan?

Kaiser Permanente does not provide any payment plans. However, we do accept credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

How long until I will receive my hearing aids?

You should receive your hearing aids about 3 to 4 weeks after your hearing aid consultation.

What causes hearing loss?

There are many possible causes of hearing loss, including aging, genetics, noise exposure, infection, and various disorders and diseases affecting the ear.

What are the warning signs of hearing loss?

A few indicators that you may be experiencing hearing loss include:

  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  • Losing parts of conversations when there is a lot of background noise
  • Often feeling that people mumble when they speak
  • Increasing the volume on the TV or radio to very high levels in order to hear comfortably

If you think you have hearing loss, take our hearing health quiz for a more in-depth analysis and contact your primary care doctor.

How many people live with hearing loss?

About 30 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. People of all ages can develop hearing loss, which in most cases is irreversible. Many millions of Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of noise in the workplace or during recreational activities.

What noise level is dangerous?

Exposure to excessive noise can damage your hearing. Longer exposure and closer proximity to a loud noise in general will cause more damage. There is no way to restore life to dead nerve endings in the ear, so you always must take precautions when entering a noisy environment, including wearing earplugs when necessary. Unprotected exposure to noise above 105 decibels (dB) can immediately damage your hearing. For reference, here are some common noise levels:

Shotgun blast 140 dB   Baby Screaming 80 dB
Jet Takeoff 130 dB   Vacuum cleaner 75 dB
Portable stereo 95 dB   Normal conversation 60 dB
Electric blender 90 dB   Whisper 30 dB

Which hearing aids are the best?

Your audiologist will recommend a hearing aid based on such factors as the type and severity of your hearing loss, affordability, and the noise you experience in your day-to-day environment. There is no one type of hearing aid that will work for all San Francisco and Sacramento residents, but your audiologist has the experience to offer a hearing aid that is best for your needs and comfortable to wear long-term. Currently, our audiologists work with such manufacturers as Oticon, Phonak, Siemens and Starkey.

I have ringing in my ears. Can this be treated?

This condition is called tinnitus. If you hear sound when no external sound is present, you may have tinnitus. There are many causes of tinnitus, such as exposure to loud noises, wax buildup against the ear drum, middle ear infections, age-related hearing loss, and other conditions. Learn more about tinnitus and find out about available treatment options.