Archived Q&A and Reviews


Audiologist in Berkeley area

Aug 2014

I need a recommendation for an audiologist for a hearing test in the Albany/Berkeley/Oakland area? Anon

Definitely go see Jessa at Herrick Hospital. She is great and they take most insurance! Got my ears checked by Jessa

First, as many folks already know, do avoid the ''free'' tests at hearing aid stores and discount stores.

My wife and I recently had our first-ever audiology examinations at the Audiology Center at Alta Bates/Summit on Dwight in Berkeley. We felt Dr. Jessa Traylor was excellent, and insurance paid for 100%. John

Looking for a good audiologist

Feb 2012

My Dad relocated to the area and could use a good audiologist. He has a difficult to correct hearing problem that involves loss in the upper registers. This makes it hard for him to hear people in any kind of noisy situation. He needs someone who's good and professional, and reasonable skeptical about the claims of hearing aid manufacturers. Grateful daughter

I had great results with Dr. Andrew Valla of the ''Whisper Clinic'' in San Rafael. He has studied the inner ear for 12 years at UCSF, has opened the Whisper Clinic. I would give him a call. Rosa M

I highly recommend Rick Oliva on 4th Street (Oliva Optical and Hearing) in San Rafael. I've used him for my hearing aid needs for the past five years or so and he's the best audiologist I've had in my almost 40 years experience of wearing hearing aids in both ears. He's current on the latest technology and sincerely cares about his patients. He's never tried to sell me stuff I didn't need and provides excellent customer service. Hearing aids are expensive, but you get what you pay for with Rick. He offers longer warranties than most providers and will go the extra mile for you. I've just moved from the Bay Area and am missing him already! been there

Greg Free at the Center for Better Hearing is fantastic- - clear, patient, a great communicator, I can't recommend him highly enough. Charity

Need to get my hearing checked

Jan 2009

I'd like to get my hearing checked. Although I'm only 41, and feel like I can hear sounds fine, I've always had trouble interpreting what some people say. I don't know if I need hearing aids or not, but I want to find an audiologist who isn't going to push aids on me if that's not really what I need. Anyone have someone they trust?

David Hicks, Summit Hearing, I think. 510-465-3067. Nice, gentle, caring. Extremely experienced audiologist and hearing aid fitter. When I needed a hearing aid, he was cheaper than Costco. Great service -- three years after purchase, he still gives me complimentary service on it. He considered my situation, recommended the middle of the road of three price ranges, and he'll even replace it if you lose it in the first year. Note that if you think you want a hearing aid, you'll probably need to be examined by and ENT first. Peter

Do you have health insurance? You may want to see an audiologist that is covered through your medical plan say at Kaiser or Alta Bates Herrick? I am an audiologist at Children's and do not dispense but could give you some referrals. I think the best thing is to make sure you are seeing an audiologist for a diagnostic work-up and not a hearing aid dispenser who sells hearing aids. Audiologists can also dispense hearing aids but will have a masters or doctorate degree. I know the audiologists at Kaiser are great but if you don't have Kaiser insurance...there is UCSF Audiology, San Francisco Hearing and Speech Center or Valley Audiology in Concord I think. Good Luck! ali the audiologist

Audiologist in East Bay or downtown SF

Jan 2007

I am looking for a good audiologist in Oakland, Berkeley or the financial district in San Francisco. I'd like to consult with someone who has experience with both digital and analog hearing aids, and with options for someone with one-sided hearing loss (please don't suggest a cochlear implant - I've lost the entire auditory nerve!) Many thanks! Hard of hearing

I heartily recommend David Hicks, at Pill Hill. 510-465-3067. I have sporadic loss in one ear, and he was very thoughtful about my choices. His prices are fair or better than most. Very important point: You get a full 30, 100% money back guarantee. If you've researched hearing aids, you have learned that a lot of dispensers cheat on the gurantee -- they charge restocking fees (15%) or start the 30 days on the day they make the mold (about 10 days before you get the aid). Plus, David is just a very nice guy.
No longer saying ''eh?''

Audiological evaluation for toddler at Herrick

May 2005

My 26 month old son has a referral for a hearing exam at Herrick. (He is a late talker and we're checking his hearing just to make sure.) Can anyone tell me exactly what a standard audiological eval at Herrick is like for a 2 year old? And any advice on how we can prepare him. He is currently harboring a fear of doctors/any exam type situation, which quickly results in screaming and a fit of sheer terror! Thanks for the advice. anon

Our son was evaluated at around the same age (perhaps a bit younger, I can't remember!) at Herrick. I was allowed to have him sit on my lap. The testing booth has dim lighting, and toys that move and make various levels of sounds (then the child just turns their head towards the sound if they hear it). My son was upset/scared, but they were able to get enough of a sampling to determine his hearing was fine. Recently we finally managed to get a good test done at the pediatrician's office (my son is 5 now)!! Good luck. Anon.

We just had an exam there (Herrick) with a gentle audiologist (Crouch?) who got my 8yo thru a session about which she was quite anxious. They promised we only only be there 45 minutes and they were right. He was happy to answer any questions we had and give advice after.

Here is my unprofessional recollection of our test... I presume he studied the referral from our primary MD before taking us down the hall into the audiology ''sound rooms''. He asked a few questions first (in private if you like..?) He then told her about the first part of the test. He sat in a room with a window into another room where the child sat with headphones (with a parent nearby) and was asked to raise her hand for every sound--air plane, ice cream, football, etc.

The most helpful test of all for us would be an important part for a two year old--where he put a small ear plug in his or her ear and played some sounds on the computer and we all looked at the pressure responses in computerzied graphics , which I believe he said is reliable or ''always accurate'' if it is a ''good response'' but not definitive if it is an abnormal response, because the child could have an inflammation from allergic congestion or viral infection of the inner ear..

Good luck! pleased mom

I didn't see the original posting but I would like to warn you not to go to Herrick/Alta Bates for an Audiological exam for children. They incorrectly diagnosed our daughter at 5 months and told us she can hear when she is actually severely and profoundly deaf in both ears. PLEASE take your children to Children's Hospital if you have ANY issues with a child's hearing. They are set up and HIGHLY experienced with working with ONLY children while Herrick is not. Our daughter went without the benefit of hearing aids for SEVEN months due to this mistake. I would hate for anyone else to go through that experience. Amy

Know a good audiologist in Orinda, Moraga, Walnut Creek area?

July 1999

Can anyone recommend a good audiologist in the Orinda, Moraga, Walnut Creek area? Has anyone had experience with Better Hearing Aids in Walnut Creek? My mother lives in an assisted living facility in Moraga and needs to get her hearing aid fixed or get a new one. I have spoken to Better Hearing Aids and they said the broken one can be fixed by the manufacturer, but they recommend getting a newer, more powerful hearing aid. Technology has improved, but her hearing aid is only three years old and the replacement cost is five to nine times the repair cost depending on the programmability. I want to make sure there will be enough benefit to warrant the expense.


I don't know any audiologists in the East Bay, but I have a couple of suggestions. First, there is a great website,, that has lots of general information. They also have audiologists who will answer your questions. I was getting conflicting recommendations from three audiologists, and wrote to ask for their opinion. They responded quickly, seemed to know all the relevant issues, and had a reasonable solution.

You could also call the Audiology department at Mills-Peninsula Hospital, (650) 696-5538, for a recommendation. They are independent audiologists, and don't have the same kind of financial incentive to steer you towards higher-end equipment that you might not need. However, they are very comfortable with the latest and greatest. I have been very happy with them.

The new technology is pretty amazing, but the incremental benefit over the older technology really depends on the configuration and degree of hearing loss. You should be able to have a trial period with the hearing aids they recommend. Also, I was told to expect my daughter's digital programmable hearing aids to last for only 3-5 years, so the hearing aids may need to be replaced anyway. Good luck!