Hearing aids improve people’s quality of life by allowing them to do things that are important to them, like carry on conversations with friends and loved ones or even listen to their favorite songs. Today’s devices also offer plenty of options—so much so that actually choosing a hearing aid can be a complex decision! Don’t fret, though; these five tips will help you decide on a device that’s best for you.
1. Get Advice from an Audiologist
Audiologists are doctoral-level experts in diagnosing and treating non-medical hearing loss. Their expertise makes them the best choice for getting advice about hearing aids. Not only can your audiologist fit and service your hearing aid, but they can also make recommendations about the best device for your needs.
They also use advanced diagnostic techniques to determine the type of hearing loss you have, and they provide more comprehensive care, which means you can be sure they’re making recommendations that take into account your unique situation. Audiologists will also consider your budget and provide you with a written estimate for your purchase.
2. Think about What’s Inside
Most people are concerned with how hearing aids look on the outside, but they don’t think quite as much about what’s on the inside of the device.Most devices have proprietary technology in them, which means they can only be adjusted by those professionals with specific software. They should also be repaired by the original manufacturer when possible to ensure they are repaired to original specifications if they need a manufacturer repair.
If you travel regularly, you may discuss how to find an audiologist while you are out of town who can work with you or your device if needed. Many audiologists in private practice are able to assist travelers across the nation. This may not be the case if purchased from some retail centers, online purchases, or discount warehouses.
3. Look for Options
Reputable practices should offer devices from more than one manufacturer and more than one model. This is important because hearing aids are not created equal: Different models will have different capabilities, and a particular manufacturer may offer models that suit you better than another’s offerings. If the practice you visit only offers one make or model, shop around to ensure that you are getting the device that best suits your needs.
4. Price Isn’t Everything
Plenty of people are seduced by advertisements for low-cost hearing aids. This is understandable, as price is often a big concern for those shopping for hearing aids. Nonetheless, low-cost models are often entry-level devices, which may not offer the level of hearing support you need. In fact, depending on your type of hearing loss, these devices may be all wrong for you.
Instead of the bottom line, think about the value of the device you’re purchasing. If you purchase a low-cost device that doesn’t offer you the support you need, was it really worth it? Your money probably would have been better spent on a more expensive model that actually provides you with the features you need.
5. Support Services
Your hearing aid—and your hearing health more generally—will likely require care at some point or another. Another downfall of retail outlets is that they cannot provide support services, such as diagnostic assessments or earwax removal. You may also be prevented from using any insurance benefits you have that could help to cover the cost of your new device. Always research what services your provider offers.
You should also ask about a loaner program, which supplies you with a loaned device to use in the event your hearing aid has to be sent to the manufacturer for repairs. Some providers will not offer this essential service, which could mean you’re without your hearing aids for weeks at a time during repairs.
Schedule an appointment with one of our doctoral-level audiologists to ensure you get the hearing aids that are right for you.