Buying Hearing Aids
Purchasing a hearing aid can be overwhelming. With so many offers and providers in the marketplace, it’s tough to know what to do. Associated Audiologists offers you the following tips to help find the right provider and right technology for you.
1. Find the Right Doctoral-Level Hearing Aid Provider
Find the right provider and begin with a comprehensive hearing evaluation, which is the “blueprint” for your individualized recommendations. Ninety percent of your success with hearing aids is related to the professional you work with. At Associated Audiologists, our doctoral-level audiologists have received extensive education in hearing, hearing aids, tinnitus and balance disorders.
2. Select Options Specific to Your Lifestyle
Work with an audiologist who can give you options specific to you and your lifestyle. Your audiologist should be able to choose from a variety of hearing aids by a number of respected manufacturers. Franchise or “chain” stores often do not provide this flexibility for consumers. Hearing aids purchased from these providers usually cannot be re-programmed by other professionals due to the limited brand of technology used and locked software.
3. Understand That Hearing Aid Technology Varies
There are significant differences across hearing aid technology. A hearing aid uses a tiny computer chip to process sound. More sophisticated computer chips have better processing, which results in improved satisfaction and performance. Costs start at $675 per hearing aid for customizable technology, and vary, depending upon the level of technology and professional services included with your purchase. Advanced technology with enhanced features will cost more than simpler technology and will perform better in more demanding listening environments, like noisy situations.
4. Insist on the Industry’s Highest Standard of Care
Your audiologist should use specialized testing and verification equipment, including real-ear probe microphone, speech mapping measures and maximum power output measurements. These sophisticated tests independently verify how the hearing aid functions in your specific ear canal. This is the standard of care you can expect at all our clinics.
5. Schedule Routine Maintenance
Regular follow-ups are necessary, so expect to pre-schedule your appointments. Routine maintenance and regular monitoring of hearing and hearing aids are critical to success.
6. Ask if Your Provider Offers a Satisfaction Guarantee
A hearing aid purchase should include an assessment period during which most of the cost of the hearing aid is refundable, less a non-refundable re-stocking and professional fee, if the device isn’t satisfactory. Be sure to ask about the other options available if a particular device doesn’t work out during the assessment period.
7. Be Informed
Advertisements that offer big discounts or special “discount plans” are usually based upon an inflated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). “Free trials” are often non-custom devices fit under “study or clinical trial.” These marketing techniques can be misleading because hearing aid manufacturers conduct these studies prior to new product release or in a very controlled manner in which only those who meet specific criteria may participate.
8. Be Cautious of Online Stores
Hearing aid manufacturers discourage the sale and purchase of hearing aids online, especially from retailers that are not directly supported by local, licensed professionals trained to fit their sophisticated hearing aid technology. Hearing aids purchased online may not be warrantied, may be difficult to return, and in some cases take advantage of the online consumer.
The specialists and staff at Associated Audiologists are professionally trained and equipped to help you find and fit the hearing aid that best suits your needs. Request a consultation with us today to get started on your path to better hearing!